*This post was originally published on 13 January 2017. I’ve updated/rewritten it with new information and images.
10 Fun ways to Experience Kenting
Hanging on for dear life, I looked out over the ocean. The wind whirled around me and made my eyes water. My face was starting to sting from being whipped by my hair. I didn’t dare get any close to the edge though – a gust of wind would surely blow me away and send me tumbling down the rocky cliff.
But the ocean! I just had to stay a minute longer to gaze over the sparkling blue sea, waves frothing over the sandy shore.
Kenting National Park is Taiwan’s subtropical beach hangout
The area, commonly just called Kenting, is on the tip of the Hengchun Peninsula, the southernmost point of Taiwan. The national park and surrounding area are famous for their sandy beaches, coral reefs, caves, mountains, cliffs, food markets, and surfing.
The area can be reached from Taipei in about 4.5 by high speed train and then bus. Here are a few things to do if you are thinking about visiting Kenting for a few days. Some things are relaxing, and others are much more thrilling.
1 Rent a scooter
This is by far the best way to get around Kenting. It’s practical, easy, and gives you the freedom you need to do what you want, when you want. Imagine yourself scooting through small towns, past perfect beaches, and through subtropical forests. Go on, imagine it.
There are plenty of scooter rental shops all along the main street. Technically, they are not supposed to rent to foreigners who don’t have an international driver’s license, though some places will let you rent if you have a valid driver’s license from your own country.
2 Cape Eluanbi, Park and lighthouse
A perfect place for a short walk, Eluanbi Park has a rolling green lawn and a lighthouse at the end of it. After strolling through the park, you can enjoy vast views of the ocean and a lovely walk along a footpath. There are some interesting rock formations and a few small caves in this area.
3 Longpan Park
As you are scooting around Kenting National Park, be sure to make a stop at Longpan Park. There is a cliff where you can look out over even more incredible views of the ocean and beach below.
However, be very careful of the wind. There is a rope fence along the edge of the cliff, and for good reason. It can get extremely windy on the top of the cliff, so don’t get too close to the edge, and hold on to your belongings. Take a minute to appreciate the beauty, but don’t get too confident – the winds come quickly and strong.
4 Hit the beach
Craving a swim or a lounge on the sand? There are several sandy beaches perfect for just that. The waves can get strong (strong winds seemed to a theme when I was here), and it might not be super warm in the winter, but still a great place to check out. Weekends and holidays can get packed though, so if possible come during the week.
5 Hengchung Old Town
Kenting has remnants of it’s past as a walled city. There are a few places around town where you can walk up on to the walls and look down on the street. And a few brick gates remain in the city. They are usually in the middle of the round-a-bouts, but if you watch traffic carefully, you can run in for a closer look.
6 Street night market
After scooting around all day, stop at the street night market on Kenting Road. For some food, of course. Take your pick from tropical fruits, stinky tofu, or deep friend Oreos. Though be warned, if you try deep fried Oreos, regular Oreos will forever be a bit of a disappointment.
7 Chuanfanshih, Sail Rock
Ever wanted to see a large rock that looks like a head? Chuanfanshih is what you are after. This is a large rock in the ocean that apparently looks like a head, Nixon’s head, to be precise. It’s interesting to see, yes. But personally, equating it with a head is a bit of a stretch. Maybe I just know well enough what Nixon looked like. Anyway, it’s in the Eluanbi direction, so check it out at the same time you visit the park and lighthouse.
8 Go surfing!
I really wanted to try surfing when I was in Kenting, but the only morning that we could go, the winds were too strong for beginners. If you get a chance, Jaileshui Beach is a good spot to learn how to surf.
9 Manzhou suspension bridge
A white and red walking bridge in the Manzhou Township of Kenting. There were kayaks under the bridge, so I think there is also the option to go for a paddle in the water below.
10 Chu Huo, Eternal Flame
This is a hole in the ground where natural gas is ignited and is continually burning. If you are interesting in this, my advice is to go at night. Don’t go during the day like I did because you will hardly be able to tell anything is burning. You might feel some heat, but you won’t be able to see any flames.
I have no photo of this because it was daylight, and it would have just looked like dirt.
Now go forth and experience Kenting!
It was windy when I visited Kenting, but these are a few of the most noteworthy things I found to do. They will be enough to fill a few days, or stretch it out to a week if you want to relax and take things slow, or spend a couple days surfing. If you’ve already tried surfing in Kenting, let me what I missed out on.
Where to stay: Rainbow Wave Surfing Hostel gave us a wonderful stay
Which of these attractions looks like the most fun to you? Is there anything that I missed? Let me know what you think in the comment section.