My wife has long been informing me that I am far too rotund for my own good. Which is, unfortunately, very true. So, I’ve decided to add some more exercise to my travel regimen. While in Taipei, I decided to bike the length of the city. From Guting in southern-central Taipei, up to one of my favorite places in Taipei, Danshui (well technically, New Taipei City, not Taipei City).
I personally hate city biking, so I choose to use the river-side parks that cut through the city. I started at Guting MRT station. There, I checked out a uBike, which is a bike sharing service. You can use your MRT card to register and pay, so it is super simple. If you are in Taipei, I would highly recommend grabbing these over taking the train. They are very cheap, well maintained, and you can see the city while you commute!
After a short bike on the roadways, I managed to make it to an overpass into the riverside park. Once you come down from the pass, it’s amazing how quickly the city fades. The parks are full of bikers, speed walkers and various sportsmen. At one point I can across a temple filled with people singing karaoke…. Because you know… what is a temple without karaoke.
Eventually, the park narrowed and the beautiful sights disappeared. It was a bit miserable at this point… driving between a mucky river and a flood wall. However, persistence and dedication pay off. After a while, the path spits back out into a beautiful park.
Now, the first half is biking through the city, but eventually you make it to a bridge. There’s a spot of nasty traffic, but the bridge has a separated bike lane, so fear not. After the bridge, you leave the city behind.
Northern Taiwan is a beautiful jungle broken up with rice patties, temples, and small neighborhoods. If you follow this trip, once you arrive in this area, take a quick break and grab a coffee at one of the river side coffee shops.
As I neared my goal, I happened upon an old cobblestone street. The road turned left, with a small path up to the right. I went left. Bad call. Apparently left is a military base and they weren’t too happy with me riding full sail into their midst. So, yea. Reminder to self, turn right.
Danshui itself is beautiful. It’s a bit of a tourist destination for Taiwanese on the weekend, so it can be quite busy, but if you can get by the crowds, it’s fun. Walk along the riverside or tour through the night market. For food, get some a-gei from one of the shops in the market. Only available in Danshui, it is amazing. There is an unlisted shop here: https://goo.gl/maps/FoMhwdUtAbG2 that sells some that is pretty good. Grab a beer at a little pub here: https://goo.gl/maps/V2LZaXr6zzB2. It’s also not listed, but they have a few chairs, and sell German-style beer made locally across the river.