Around Christmas a lot of people left Taipei to travel in Taiwan or abroad, so we decided to escape Taipei and its horrible weather forecast for the upcoming days as well and travel to the south of Taiwan — Kenting for some serious beach action.
Kenting is located on the southern tip of Taiwan and is well known for its tropical climate (more or less the only place in Taiwan with tropical climate) and its beautiful beaches and landscape (Kending Nationalpark). Kenting is easily accessible from Taipei via the High Speed Railway and Bus. The whole journey takes around 4 hours. Of course it’s also possible to get to Kenting by car, but depending on the traffic the whole journey takes way longer (around 7 hours).
The town Kenting itself is situated at a beautiful beach (unfortunately swimming is forbidden here) and offers everything the typical Taiwanese tourist is asking for, mainly all different kinds of food on a quite big night market. While the town is more or less just providing beds and nutrition, the actual star is the surrounding area with the beautiful Kending National Park, cliffs and sand beaches. The best way to explore the area is to rent scooters in one of the dozens shops in Kenting and just start driving and stop at every nice place. There is the choice between electric scooters and usual scooters. To rent the latter ones an international driver’s license is needed, but I can recommend to do that because they have more power, a bigger range and are cheaper.
On our first day we did a circle trip down to the south along the coast and back to Kenting via Hengchun. After a couple of minutes on the scooter one of the highlights of the area can be found — the Sailing Rock. It’s more or less a 10x10x10m big rock close to the coast, which creates a movie like scenery. After again a couple of minutes on the scooter, we arrived at a part of the coast, which had a beautiful combination of big coral rocks and a perfect sand beach (which is closed for the public — again).
From this spot we drove further southwards and arrived at the most southern part of Taiwan. It is possible to walk to a viewing platform (and most southern point of Taiwan) on the coast, but it is actually not worth the effort, because the view isn’t special and it is kind of a boring 10 minutes’ walk. From there the road leads upwards through to a Taiwan Armed Forces Outlook. Next to the outlook it’s possible to stop and enjoy the dramatic view over the whole surrounding area and coast. Be aware of the really, really heavy winds in this area!
From this point the road follows the coast line to a small town in Manzhou Townshop. On the way there are several viewing points, which offer amazing views over the roaring coast. The town itself is a possible place for lunch and also activities like kayaking or surfing are possible here. From there we turned westwards and followed the road to Hengchun. This road leads through a nice rural area and several sights can be found cyking waterfalls and eternal flame. From Hengchun we drove to the popular beach of Baishin (aka “white beach”), but we didn’t stop there because it’s obviously quite popular and therefore too crowded. We decided to go to Nanwan (South Beach) and lie a little bit on the beach and enjoy ourselves. Some words about Taiwanese beach culture (or the lack of) and the beaches in the south. Taiwanese people are no particular beach lovers, watersports are rather uncommon (it developed a little in the last years) and also the ability to swim is not really widespread. Therefore, the activities on the beaches in Taiwan are different than in Europe (sunbathing and swimming) and usually include acitivities like jet skiing, banana boat, etc. . Unfortunately these activities produce a lot of noise and therefore big beaches in this area can be quite unpleasant. Nevertheless, the beaches in the south are the most beautiful ones among Taiwan and the smaller ones are pretty good (f.e. a small one next to Kenting). But don’t expect white beaches comparable to some tropical destinations like Koh Samui.
After relaxing on the beach we drove to the Dongdang fish market to eat some fresh and raw fish. If you are a fish lover, that’s the place for you. All kinds of sea food are available and the fish are really fresh and delicious.
On the next day I went scuba diving with Taiwan Dive. Because I have only seen two dive sites I can’t say that much about the dive sites in Kenting, but my impression is that they are basic, not bad but also not stunningly good. But I really liked the whole experience and dive center is quite good. The rest of the day I spent driving around with my motor cycle and just enjoying the scenery and the sunshine.
The next morning started after a late breakfast with some river and waterfrall tracing (Chikong). It’s fun, but definitely not a must do. The rest of the day we spent on a small beach close to Kenting and after enjoying the sunset at the sailing rock we travelled back to Taipei.