Kenting – Taiwan’s Southern Gem

When researching Taiwan, Kenting, with its National Parks and beaches, always featured in any “top attractions” list. So after seeing lots of beautiful photographs of this region we made the easy decision to travel the 100kms south from Kaohsiung to experience it for ourselves.

We had only three nights booked at a little family run hotel, (our review here) so we knew we would be on the go for our stay. Trying to maximise our time we had already pre-purchased two-day Kenting Shuttle bus tickets for unlimited rides. The Kenting Shuttle buses essentially complete specific routes around the must-see attractions and towns within the region, arriving at each stop every half hour. Unfortunately these buses were not the most reliable and rarely stuck to their schedules and sometimes not turning up all.

As the temperatures were in the high thirties and wanting to escape the heat we hit up three different beaches during our stay; Kenting Beach, Baisha Beach (White Sand Beach) and Little Bay Beach. All of which were lined with amazing white sand leading into the very blue South China Sea; it was also very nice to see very little, to no rubbish on the beach or being washed up with the tide.Beaches of Kenting_TaiwanWe also visited both of the southern most points of Taiwan, Maubitou Park was our first stop and although this location is on the tour bus circuit we timed our visit just about perfectly, arriving and leaving in-between several large coach loads of tourists. We paid a small entry fee for adults of just 30 NTD/$1.45 NZD each and it was clear that some money had been spent on the facilities. Wooden walkways and paved areas leading up to the viewing platforms which look out to where the South China Sea and the Philippine Sea meet one another. The coast is lined with rock formations with one that supposedly resembles a cat lying down; although to be honest, I couldn’t see it.Maubitou Park_Kenting_TaiwanThe mainly regarded southern most point of Taiwan is however Eluanbi Park and it’s lighthouse; with a lot more people taking in its grounds while we were present. Another small entry fee here for adults of 60 NTD/$2.90 NZD each. The lighthouse is situated at the top of the small hill providing a great vantage point of the two meeting seas. The lighthouse initially built in 1883 has been rebuilt a number of times after being severely damaged during both the first Sino-Japanese War and World War II by the allied bombing. Walkways lead down towards the ocean where two separate viewing platforms are located allowing you to reach the southernmost point of the country. Eluanbi Park Lighthouse_Kenting_TaiwanAfter seeing a snake warning sign, Lincoln proceeded to educate us on snakes and how to identify a venomous bite from a non-venomous one, along with several random snake facts. According to our resident animal expert, a venomous bite has only two puncture wounds, as opposed to multiple puncture wounds from a non-venomous snake.

The kids highlight of our time in Kenting was undoubtably our visit to the National Museum of Marine Biology and Aquarium. This place is absolutely huge and is by far and away the most impressive aquarium we have ever been too. All displays are incredibly well thought-out and put together, with all the animals having massive enclosures to live in. The only let down was they have three beluga whales, which each take a turn at being on display in a very plain tank, devoid of any character, and a stark contrast to the rest of the facility. The main aquarium includes a ship wreak, which has multiple glass tunnels leading into, and out of it, over different levels. This single aquarium hosts many different types of sea life, from stingrays to various types of fish and sharks. It is extremely well done, right down to the little details showing the Captain’s quarters being overtaken by sea-life and the Captains’ jacket still hanging in the wardrobe.National Museum of Marine Biology and Aquarium_Kenting_TaiwanAnother section of the museum displays fresh water fish, creatures that live in the mud flats and within the tidal marks. This display even mimics the waves with water been dumped into the display every 10 seconds or so to resemble waves. At the main entrance there is a large water play area for the kids, which includes a number of whale statues that both Lincoln and Braxton enjoyed cooling off in at the end of the day.National Museum of Marine Biology and Aquarium_Kenting_Taiwan_1During the day, Kenting itself seems like a sleepy little town, however this changes at night when it comes alive with the main street lined with people trolling through the endless food options, children playing carnival type games and tourists picking through souvenir stalls. The stalls stretch the entirety of the main road through the town so there are lots of options to choose from. Sometimes finding something other than deep-fried food can be an issue from time to time in Taiwan, as the Taiwanese absolutely love their deep fryers, with most things you can think of being battered and thrown in the oil for consumption by the masses. However, here there were lots of different options to choose from, including flame-grilled beef, abalone and one of Lincoln’s personal favourite foods, clams. At between 50 and 100 NTD ($2.40 – $4.80 NZD) the offerings are on he cheap end, however they are smaller portions, with the exception of the giant corn dogs which Lincoln also took a liking too.Food_Kenting Night Market_TaiwanOur three days went decidedly quick, I would have loved to explore inland into the National Park if we had a little more time. However with our time up, we jumped back onto the bus to Kaohsiung (a two-hour trip) and then the high-speed train north to the city of Taichung (a one hour trip) for a 10 day stay.

Average Daily Spend – $183.64 NZD ($11.14 over budget per day)

– Logan

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