Alternate Title: Depending On Who You Ask, I Either Have or Have Not Left China. 
Sunrise as seen from the boat. 
“What’s the next station on your journey?” is a question I hear a lot.
“I’m going to go to Taiwan and then come back to China after about two months” is the answer I usually give.
If the person asking me the question has known me for more than about ten minutes, there’s a 90% chance that he or she will respond, with a voice good natured but full of pity for my naivete, that Taiwan belongs to China and therefore my sentence doesn’t make sense.  In response I usually I smile politely, but if I’m feeling feisty I mention that my Taiwanese friends disagree.  The conversation never goes any further. 
To be fair, two people have told me that their stance is that Taiwan belongs to Taiwan, no matter how much history it may share with China. 
I most definitely did not bring any of this up ago just minutes ago when Chinese immigration officials stamped my passport with a big fat 

“CHU,” the character for “exit.”  Now my bike and bags and body are all moving Taiwan-wards at a speed measured in knots. 
In other words, I survived the first part of this crazy-ass trip of mine.  Some statistics and reflections follow.
Days permitted by visa: 90
Days on the road: 86
Kilometers Traversed: approximately 5000
By Bike: About 4400, or 90%.  Had to take one bus ride to meet a friend and one train ride to make my visa deadline and not get thrown in jail.
Dollars spent: 1358.  1/3 of that went to visa fees and the two boat trips (Korea-Dalian and Xiamen-Keelung).  Not counting those, it’s 834.
Breakdown:  $777 (58%) on Misc (see note above), just shy of $300 on restaurants, and a bit under $200 each on accommodation and street food/fruit and veg. 
Daily Average: Counting everything, just under $16.  $7 if excluding the miscellaneous costs
An average day: $3 in restaurants, $2 for street food or fruit and veg, $2 for accommodation.  Days with misc spending were few and far between.
Money saved by camping rather than going to hotels:  $100.  My tent is now half paid-off. After a couple months, I’ll actually (ok, not actually, but kind of, in a sense) be making money every time I sleep in it.  

Injuries: 0

Cases of traveler’s diarrhea: NONE!  One or two rough mornings after overdoses of a) Chinese “bai jiu” vodka or b) dried peppers and pepper oil, but no cases of illness related to old, spoiled, or dirty food.  And that’s after 3 months of eating fruits and veggies from vendors, sweet potatoes and pancakes from the same, and meals from dingy little roadside restaurants.  Nothing sanitized, nothing wrapped up in plastic, nothing kept in bottles or refrigerators.  

Water bottles used in the last two months of the trip: 1!  Once I found out that I could get restaurants to refill mine, it was smooth sailing.

If there’s anything you’d like to know, ask via comment and I’ll do my best to answer.  Otherwise, I will fight the temptation to go on listing bizarre and pointless statistics and will get to the point: traveling this way is CHEAP.  Anyone can go fauxbo, I guarantee.  A month of total freedom costs less than a car payment or a night in a fancy hotel. A month of delicious, fresh, exotic food costs less than a bottle of high-end booze.  A week of scenery and frolicking on beaches and in forests costs less than a video game.  Sell your car, sell your junk, cancel your lease, come hit the road!  You know where to find me.  

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3 Responses to Taiwanwards!

  1. Seth Conger says:

    I am really excited to hear about Taiwan. And I have definitely had those same conversations with people about what is Taiwan. All I know is that the people I know from Taiwan are quite adamant about not being a part of China.

    Anyways, how long can you stay on a travelers visa/no visa in Taiwan? 90 days or 30 days?

  2. Mike says:

    Seth! Yo! Good to hear from you.

    As of Nov. 1, we the’Mericans get an automatic 90 day visa exemption in Taiwan.

  3. Yunyeong says:

    Good Mike! You always inspired me.
    Now you are in Taiwan, I am also going to Taiwan before you left there!