Day 7 – A Surprise Hot Spring, Luye

On April 18, 2012 by admin

Antong Hot Springs to Luye

We tried to get up a bit earlier to actually get a warmer breakfast as opposed to our usual 9:30 am saunter in to the Taiwanese breakfast buffet. We got up at 7:30, I hate to say it but even though it was warmer it didn’t have any more taste for my North American palate. The hot springs here at Antong are high in alkaline, which is “beneficial for making good coffee” (as the lonely planet states). They didn’t lie, the coffee is great, and it is one of the only known places that makes coffee using hot spring water.

Back to our room where we filled up the private hot spring bath. It was a beautiful black tile bath, true hot spring style with rock floor, not a regular tub at all. The water that piped into it came directly from the hot spring source as well. It was a nice relaxing morning soak. I couldn’t resist going out to the main spa and soaking in the hot pool one more time, then laying back on the rocks in the sun.  Nothing like it!

We definitely recommend this hotel, the Antong Hot Springs Resort.  During your stay, look for Joe (English name) who speaks great English and is super helpful.

Finally we hit the road by about 10:30am, as usual. It’s 2.5k downhill to start, always a bonus, to the cycle station at the bottom. One thing to note is all Taiwan’s Giant Cycle Shops close on Thursday’s… today. From here we turned left on highway 9 heading south through the East Rift Valley. From the cycle station, get onto the cycling road right there, and follow it instead of the road. It’s a two lane cycling road built along the edges of an old railroad track.  They filled the center of the rails with dirt and grass, put a nice fence on either side above the rice paddies, and it was done. An awesome cycling path with great views.

The sun was out to start the day, but from about noon the cloud came in. We arrived at the town of Fuli at about the 23km point and decided to have lunch at the 7-Eleven, since it had nice tables outside in the shade. To my surprise there were two other bike tourers there already eating their lunch and sipping a Taiwan beer. We got to chatting and it turned out they were from Hong Kong and have been bike touring Taiwan for a couple of months! I’m sure I got their English names wrong but I believe it was Marbal and Yok. It’s always great to chat to fellow travelers and share information on routes and sights. They turned out to be really good people and it’s too bad that our paths were going opposite ways, because they’d be fun to have a few beers with! In fact they had two big bottles just at lunch, but their bike day was almost over by this time. They usually ride by 7:30am and noted that Taiwans weather is usually good in the morning and bad in the late afternoon, something we’ve found as well. On our Japan tour, we usually were riding by 6:30am, this trip has definitely been more relaxed. One recommendation they made was that we go to Lisong Hot Spring, west up highway 20 at 1500m elevation in the Jade Mountains, then a 2k dirt path bike ride, then an hour hike, finally arriving at Taiwan’s best hot spring in the wild. While we would have loved to go do it, our timeline was a bit too tight. Another time!

After about an hour lunch and chat with them, we all departed. The weather was turning for the worse, and the rain began again. I was so sure there would be no rain that I even packed my rain gear in my panniers, not on top of the rack. So much for positive thinking.

We never really knew all day where we would stay, this gives you the ultimate freedom in choosing where you stay depending how you feel. Luye Town was on our horizon about 15k south, and beyond that the Hongye Hot Spring area. Beyond that is Taitung City. What we did know was that tomorrow we were going to stay at Jhihben Hot Spring Town. So anything we ride today makes tomorrow shorter.

The rain started really coming down so we pulled over to gear up. At this point we turned right onto a 5k side route off of the 9 that was designated as a quiet road for bikes and families. It had tall thick canopied trees lining the roadsides which were planted by the Japanese during occupation to use as cover while transporting missiles. Or so the sign said.

Approaching Luye we were looking forward to a B&B to stay at, but the main street area was very bland and busy with automotive shops. Deciding we had energy and would carry on, we later realized that in the lonely planet, it said to go up onto the Luye High Plateau and don’t judge the town by the station area… where we were… which we did. Ah well.

Carrying on south we saw on our left the Luminous Hot Springs Hotel and pulled in to check on prices. We were offered a room for $4500 TWD ($152.50 USD), way too extravagant for our price range. We pulled back on the 9 going south into a tiny sleepy community. After some confusion, we were shown a room at the hot spring there, and got a decent room with hot spring access for $1500 TWD ($50.85).  Luckily it wasn’t more, since we were almost out of cash and hadn’t had any luck finding a bank (or a coin laundry for that matter, my socks are disgusting and zip locked anytime we are in a room).

The hotel was called the Ying Hia Hot Spring, it’s right off of route 9 on the right hand side, across the street from the convenience store, Family Mart. The hot spring is really nice, with a few 42 degree Celsius pools to choose from. We had some curry for dinner and an early night in anticipation of an early morning heading south that next day in search of a laundry and a bank before Jhihben.

Bike stats
Distance 66km.
Riding time 4hours

One Response to “Day 7 – A Surprise Hot Spring, Luye”

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