Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Bicycle Taiwan: Taipei, Yangmingshan National Park and Tien-Lai Spring Resort

If you need an idea for a picturesque and rewarding bicycle ride out of Taipei City, try this: start at Cafe Bike in Taipei, go straight up into Yangmingshan National Park to elevation 900 meters (2700 feet), over a dormant volcano, and down Yang Jin Road to the amazing Tien Lai Spring Resort, where you can soak in hot mineral spring spas.


The Bike Cafe (and I'll tell you the location later) is a coffee shop that caters to cyclists. We stopped their to change into our cycling kit and got started on the road.

The road to Yangmanshan National Park isn't the most pleasant -- hordes of scooters with noxious exhaust fumes passed us going uphill. Once we got to the National Park, however, the traffic volume dropped considerably. Yangmingshan features forested dormant volcanoes with waterfalls, active fumaroles, and superb views of the basin below. The mountain roads are very narrow with limited sightlines, but I never felt too endangered by passing traffic.

Once we summited at around elevation 900 meters, we screamed down the mountain at close to 70 km/hr, passing motor scooters along the way.


We rolled into Tien Lai Hot Spring Resort, which features mineral hot springs and spacious rooms. There's also a small water park on the premises with a big water slide and a children's play area. The main water feature, though, is a series of outdoor mineral baths. You can enjoy the usual onsen style mineral bath and soak, but special highlights at the Tien Lai include features like a Rainforest Shower that is indescribably deliciously sensual experience that's like absolutely nothing I've ever felt before.


  1. How did Mark's custom Davidson handle on those 70 KPH downhills?

    Looks (and sounds) like you guys are having a blast...me, I never get invited anywhere!!!

  2. @GR - The rest of us are riding Giant Hybrids that don't handle all that great at speed either, which is why we're limited to 70 :-) My fastest was 62 km/hr. This was a pretty last minute thing and it's only through complete luck that I even learned about it!