After 2 days in Hualian, we went on a 2 hour train ride to Taitung. Most people seemed to rent a car or had shuttle service, and Taitung train station was much quieter than Hualian station. Other than taking trains, we biked a lot in Taitung, and had the best biking experience in Taiwan with bike lanes, scenic views, and fresh air.
The downtown is where the train used to stop, but the Taitung station was moved due to a more efficient route at the new location. Nowadays, this area was repurposed to a space for artists and vendors. From the old train station, we walked to the night market street for a few snacks and refreshments.
We rented Giant bikes one block away from Chishang train station, 100 NTD per person (this was a very good price). The bikes did not come with locks, and the boss lady said there is no need to lock the bikes. Indeed, when I looked around, bikes were usually unlocked. When we returned the bikes, an old man happily thanked us for renting and would like to see us back to Chishang. I loved this kind of small town friendliness and safety.
We stopped by this lake park on our bike ride to Brown boulevard. Our bike rental boss lady told us about a dragon boat contest in the park. Just a five minute bike ride from the train station, we arrived at the park packed with a large local crowd. The lake was beautiful with mountains in the background, and the water shone in such sunny weather. We observed the local junior high school students rowing the dragon boat for a few rounds, hoping this tradition to pass down for many more generations.
Paradise road & Brown boulevard (伯朗大道)
Brown boulevard was probably the most popular bike route in Taitung. From Dapu park, we first rode to Paradise road that ended on Brown boulevard. Paradise road started from a little hill, with a mildly winding path downward with golden rice paddies on the side, green mountains in the back, and blue sky above. I truly felt like in a paradise, taking a few moments with this scenery before biking down the road.
Rice box lunch (池上飯包)
Rice is what this town in Taitung is known for nationwide, and I still get Chishang bento in Taichung and Taipei. Although their rice can be bought anywhere in Taiwan, having a bento box lunch was an experience in Chishang. There were a few bento shops near the train station, and we picked this one but any of them would have the Chishang rice.
This is another bike friendly town close to a train station (Guanshan stop), just 10 minute away from Chishang station.
12km bike loop
We rented bike again near the train station, and went on for a much less crowded bike ride around town, a loop about 12km. The scenery was not as green as in Chishang, but the path was well paved and the air was refreshing without many vehicles.
We stopped by this rice business compound for a cold drink. The store had all kinds of rice products, including the childhood snacks made of Taitung rice. This place seems to be very family friendly, with educational exhibitions, rice packaging machines and small animals. A few steps from the “school”, there is also a field of flowers that blossom in certain seasons.
On our first afternoon, we rode the old bikes from the B&B to downtown and took a break here. The forest park has an entrance fee but super low (30 NTD, free for Taitung residents). The seaside park is connected to the forest park by a walking/biking trail. We enjoyed some relaxing time biking around the park, stopping by at the lakes, and sharing a bag of pineapples by the ocean.
Since our itinerary was mostly reachable by train, we stayed about 10 minute walk from Taitung train station. However, Taitung train station is pretty quiet and not walking distance to downtown where the train station used to be. Our homestay was nice with breakfast and bikes, and it worked out for us for just two days.
Taitung has the best bike infrastructure I’ve seen in Taiwan so far. I absolutely loved the dedicated bike lanes for both directions on some big roads where cars went. I would certainly come back for more bike rides surrounded by the rice fields, mountains, and the simple lifestyle. Next time, I would also like to rent a car to explore other parts of Taitung.