If you are visiting Taichung and are looking for a day trip to get you away from the crazy city and massive crowds, then Houli is the trip for you. My day in Houli consisted of a long bike ride and a relaxing ride on the SkyDream.
Houli is North East of the central Taichung district. I took a train there from WuRi station, and it was about 20-30 minutes. There is a language barrier when trying to buy a ticket, but the ticket attendants and people in Taiwan know enough English to find out where you want to go and can tell you what time the train leaves and what platform to get on. If you have a Easy Card (for Taiwan public transportation), you can use that!
Once you get off of the train and out of the Huoli station, there will probably be bike rental companies trying to catch you so you can rent a bicycle. Luckily, that happened to me. I only had plans to find a random bike company and start riding, so as soon as I was out of the station and looking all confused, a nice lady came up to me and once she noticed I did not speak English, she simply said “Bicycle?” When I nodded, she walked me to a shop just 100 feet from the train station. I rented a bike for only about 150NTD, about 5USD, for the whole day. I really wanted one with a basket, but they have cheaper ones available and electric bikes too, if you’re not up for much exercise. One of the guys at the shop was kind enough to drive to the end of the Houfong bikeway and I rode it from end to start (no problem with that though, still the same sights!). It was difficult to find, so thankfully the guy was able to take me.
The Houfong Bikeway
The Houfeng bikeway is not very long, and it is very flat too. If there is a physical problem, you could always rent an electric bike. This was truly the most amazing bike ride I have ever been on. At the 2km750m mark is where the old train tunnel turned bike tunnel starts. It is, if I remember correctly, between 1-2km long. It is really an awesome experience. At the end of the tunnel it is like you are in a different place because you are going straight to an old steel bridge that will leave you speechless. There are beautiful views that will make you want to stay on the bridge as much as possible. Once you get off the bridge you can just follow the trail to the end. The rest of the trail is very cute and there are a lot of other bike rental places and even a little temple (Taiwan has so many!).
Once I got to the end, which is technically the start, I decided to start on another trail called Dongfeng Green Way. The start of the trail is the same as as Houfong, so you see it go off in two directions.
Dongfeng Green Bicycle Way
This one is longer, but I only rode it until the Shihgang Dam and then turned around. I am really happy I went through this route and I think I would have done it to the end if I wasn’t so hungry. This trail is covered in the shade from so many trees around, so it is very beautiful. You will cross a little bridge that looks like this:
At first I thought this was the Dam, but it isn’t. It’s just a cute little bridge. Once you go under a little bridge and see this:
You take a left off the bridge and the dam should be right there.
I stayed long enough for some selfies and a little snack. I wanted to go back through the tunnel, so I turned around and took the Houfeng trail back to where I started.
ZhongShe Flower Market
Those two bike rides were a breeze, but since I had the bike for the whole day, I decided to take advantage of that and ride my bike all the way to the flower market. It was a pretty far ride, and the only reason I was able to find it is because of GoogleMaps on my phone. The ride to the flower market went through a rural part of the town, some cool back ways, but also a really busy street. There was a huge downhill as you got closer to the flower market, but there is no sidewalk so I rode on the street. The flower market cost 60NTD (2USD), to look around and take as many pictures as you wanted.
After this I rode the bike back to where I rented it. The way up the hill was killer – I had to walk the bike up. It is for this reason you should find a plan that gives cellular data in Taiwan, because that is the only way I was able to find my way back to the bike rental place.
After returning the bikes I took a bus to Lihpao Land. Google Maps is amazing, because it tells you what bus to get on, and how long it will take. Lihpao Land is an amusement park and Water park, and then there is an outlet mall which has the “SkyDream,” a 120 meter ferris wheel that gives you awesome views of Taiwan. The cost of this is 300NTD (10USD).
Shopping is one of my favorite things to do, so I had to take a stroll around the mall, and I ended up leaving with a pair of new running shoes. Also, I know Starbucks is an American chain, but you can’t leave Taiwan without trying one of their unique drinks. I had the Purple Sweet Potato Cream Frappuccino.
After this, I was extremely tired, so instead of taking the bus back to the train station, I took a taxi because I wanted to get back to WuRi before the sunset since I was walking from the train station to where I was staying. The Taxi cost 200 NTD (7USD).
This was probably the biggest highlight of trip to Taiwan. I am huge fan of bike riding, so being able to do that on a a beautiful trail was in a foreign country was an awesome experience. The fact that it was an old railway station made it even more meaningful. Biking through the little town gives you the opportunity to see the local life, dine locally, and see the beautiful scenery. I definitely would love to return to the Houli district one day, and explore more of it with friends and family!