When the weather is fine and the great outdoors beckon there are few resorts in Taiwan to beat Kenting. Located on the Hengchuen Peninsula at the southern tip of Taiwan, Kenting is surrounded on three sides by water: the Pacific Ocean to the east, the Bashi Channel to the south and the Taiwan Straits to the west. The rugged coast has been shaped by centuries of erosion and offers spectacular views. The ocean provides some of Taiwan’s richest fishing grounds, the coral reefs are a tourist’s delight and the weather a holidaymaker’s dream. Kenting’s subtropical climate means that the beaches are open all year round and that the many forest reserves and recreation areas are full of amazing birds, beasts, flowers and trees. Along the beachfront nightlife rages at bars, discos, restaurants as well as holiday resorts where visitors can party away into the early hours.
The centrepiece of the Hengchuen Peninsula is Kenting National Park, Taiwan’s only tropical national park. Established in 1982, Kenting National Park covers a total area of 33,268 hectares of land and maritime environments. This is Taiwan’s most densely populated national park and it includes large stretches of agricultural land providing visitors with a view of typical Taiwanese rural life. In addition, the national park includes mountains, forests, pasture, lakes, sand dunes, beaches and coral reefs.
White Sand Beach (Baishawan): A beautiful beach can be found hidden away along Kenting’s rocky western coast about 2 km to the west of Maubitou. This is White Sand Beach. With some 400 metres of finely ground seashell sand the level of purity almost rivals that of Sand Island on Taiwan’s southern coast (see entry for Sand Island). As it is a little distance from the main resort areas of South Bay and Small Bay on the southern coast, White Sandy Beach is often less crowded than the other beaches.
The Kenting National Park Visitors Centre: The Kenting National Park Visitor Centre is the ideal initial stop for people visiting Kenting for the first time. Depending on the visitor’s interests, the friendly staff is able to provide advice on the best places to visit. The centre also has an interactive computer information service that provides information about the many different activities that Kenting National Park offers and also timetables for buses and price lists for accommodation.
The Visitors Centre also has an exhibition area in which many of the geological, botanical and zoological features that make Kenting unique are displayed and explained. The centre has a slide show which is shown periodically throughout the day. These services are intended to provide visitors with the knowledge they need to get the most out of their visit to Kenting Nation Park.
- How to Get There: There are frequent bus services from Kaohsiung, south Taiwan’s main urban centre and the island’s second largest city, to Hengchuen. Services from Hengchuen to Kenting are less frequent and less dependable. Depending on your plans and the amount of time you have, Hengchuen, and the beachside towns of South Bay and Kenting are all possible locations from which to explore Kenting.
An alternative to depending on the bus service between Hengchuen and Kenting is to rent a motor scooter in Hengchuen. Motor scooters are the most useful means of transport on a trip around Kenting. If you choose to set up your base camp in Kenting itself there are also numerous establishments with motor scooters for hire. The distance between Hengchuen and Kenting is about seven km. Alternative means of transportation around Kenting include bicycles and jeeps that can be hired through hotels or from private operators at the various resorts.
- Where to Stay: Accommodation on the coast centres on the resorts of South Bay and Kenting. At these locations you can find a wide variety of establishments from the five-star Caesar Park Hotel Kenting and Howard Beach Resort Kenting with its variety of in-house recreation facilities to simple family-run hostels which provide comfortable rooms at significantly lower rates. There are also resort locations such as the Kenting Youth Activity Centre, located at the 33 km mark of the Pingtung-Eluanbi Highway which provide many recreation facilities.
- Join in Tour (Booking From Travel Agency)
- By Air: Visitors to Kenting coming from northern and central Taiwan can fly to Kaohsiung or Pingtung and take a bus from there. Both these locations are served by many of Taiwan domestic carriers. Flights from Taipei to Kaohsiung or Pingtung cost about NT$1,500. Trains and buses provide a wide variety of transport alternatives to Kaohsiung.
- By Bus:
- Taiwan Motor Transport Company:
Kaohsiung to Hengchuen (Via Kaohsiung International Airport): About every 40 min. between 5:40 a.m. and 8:30 p.m. Price: NT$200
- Kaohsiung Train Station to Kenting: 7:10, 7:45, 8:20 and 13:20
Kenting to Kaohsiung Tran Station: 10:50, 11:20, 12:10 and 16:50
More information can be obtained at Tel: (07)235-8352
- Kaohsiung Bus Company: Kaohsiung Main Station (Junction of Shrchiuan Road and Tzli Road) to Hengchuen: About every 20 minutes between 5:50 a.m. and 10:05 p.m. More information can be obtained at Tel: (07) 746-2141
- Taiwan Motor Transport Company: