Kenting Taiwan: Everything you need to know to explore this amazing town.
We spent an amazing spring break in the southernmost point of the island. Kenting Taiwan perfectly combines sun, fun, and adrenaline for everyone. In the Henchun peninsula, this place is home to the perfect vacation environment. From the beach, museum, nature, caves and a good variety of food, Kenting was the perfect place to get out of the city for three days.
Exploring Kenting Taiwan.
Being from Costa Rica I was craving for a good time in the sand relaxing to the sound of waves, however, some of my friends in Taipei suggested me not to get excited about the beach in Kenting. Is different, but I wasn’t disappointed at all.
We headed there from Taipei, around 9:00 am. We went with friends and they drove us to Kenting. Very comfortable six hours ride. The road is impeccable and well signed.
As we were getting closer, we felt the warmer weather and the beach vibes. Colorful houses and seafood restaurants around the road let us know our destiny was close.
Based on my experience, let me recommend you some tips to get the most out of this beautiful place.
What to do in Kenting Taiwan?
There is something for every taste, doesn’t matter age or favorites Kenting offers a good variety of activities. Let me start with my favorite:
Kenting National Park.
Your visit to Kenting can’t miss a good time in this national park. Make sure you take time, either a whole morning or afternoon to get to visit their trails and caves.
The entrance is in Kenting main street, so it’s impossible to get lost. There is a big parking lot so you can leave your car or scooter safely. Depending on the area you will like to start your route there will be a parking cost of $50NT per car and $20NT per scooter.
The ticket for entrance to the park costs $150NT per adult, there are special rates for kids, students (with proper ID) and elderly people.
Once you walk you will be surrounded by nature. The first thing you’ll see is the visitor center, a beautiful, big white house at your left. Here you can find the restrooms, souvenirs, and snacks. Make sure you buy water for your way in because you’ll need it.
There are few paths you can follow, the trails are nicely paved and accessible, from time to time you will find stairs, however, is easy to get around the park.
After wandering around for a bit, we found the Silver Dragon cave, this one is short but cool, you will see a lot of cool sea rock formations, as everything used to be underwater a zillion years ago.
Then, you will find the Viewing Tower. In here you can go up to the top floor (by elevator don’t worry!) and enjoy a complete 360° view of the park, including the Henchun peninsula where the Taiwan strait meets the Pacific ocean. If you need a snack break, this is your place, as the six floors tower has a little restaurant and you can use their facilities to eat your own snacks.
Make sure you take a picture of each landmark stated in the viewing tower, we had a perfect cleared sky that day and could see the frog-shaped rock and the Eluanbi Lighthouse from here.
Once you have enjoyed the view, is a time for you to go to the second and largest cave. This one has narrower and taller halls, as soon as you get in, you feel how the environment changes, on a hot day is perfect as the air is way cooler down there.
There are several interesting shaped rocks through all the cave, is signed, so pay attention and take a picture if you find them.
The park closes at 5:00 pm, so try to arrive with enough time, one can do it in 3 hours.
To find out the most updated info on the park schedule and activities you can access their English website.
On a funny note, when we were going out of the park and were to cross the street, we found the most popular and lovely traffic lights in the world. So, the traffic light guy was alone and sad, then he got a girlfriend, proposed, got married, and this week I found out they had a baby!
I have no idea that the Taiwanese have invented this love story for the little traffic light guy!
I’m starting with the famous one, Baisha bay has a beautiful sand and perfect-colored water. Some areas are rocky so you need to be careful when dipping in the water.
You need to have your own ride to get to this beach as there is no bus service stopping nearby.
This beach was the place where Taiwanese director Ang Lee shoot scenes for the Life of Pi movie.
This one is the busiest one as it is the center of all the fun water activities, you can rent jet-skies, banana boats, and even surf. There are also more restaurants and juice bars around.
Xiao Bay or Little Bay.
As it names shows is a small beach at the north edge of Kenting. Is one of the few places where may swim and you can find several commodities here, like restrooms and showers, but you need to take your own umbrella as there is no shadow to cover from the sun.
This one is the biggest and most centered. You can find it right across the main entrance of the national park. Some areas are dangerous so watch for the no-swimming signs around.
Also, as is easy and convenient to get here, this beach is very crowded all day long.
Built in the 1880´s this still functioning lighthouse is one of the nicest spots around. Is part of Kenting National Park but has a separate entrance and fee, which is $30NT per adult.
It has a mixed vibe of ancient history with long white Mediterranean walls. The halls in the little museum next to the lighthouse are perfect for a framed picture with the blue ocean in the back.
Besides getting to know the history of this place, you can also walk around the scenery area with several trails heading to the coast.
Where to eat in Kenting?
To be honest, the couple of restaurants we went were ok, a little overpriced and nothing memorable.
We enjoyed the night market very much and ate there two nights in a row. Very similar to any other night market in Taiwan you can find a good variety of street food, maybe the only difference I could find was the beer and cocktails kiosks around the street.
Hotels in Kenting.
We stayed in a little hostel in the middle of Kenting street and its night market. Couldn’t have picked a better location, we were in the middle of everything!
Kenting has a place for every budget, you can find the resort with the big pool and the little trail going to the beach and most modest places where you can leave your stuff while being outside all day. So it’s pretty much your call what to choose, but know this, most hotels and hostels advertise themselves as being in Kenting, but, there are many hotels actually in the northern town of Henchun, which is far away from the main street and the beach.
Best way to move around Kenting.
We were all around with our friends in their car, neat!
However, if you aren’t as lucky as we were, your best choice is to rent a scooter. The daily fee goes from $400NT to $600NT depending on the place you ask.
These scooters are electric and have a low cylinder capacity, hence you won’t need a driving license to get one, but still, there will be good enough to be around town.
How to get to Kenting Taiwan?
If you are coming from abroad and want to land as close as possible pick the Kaohsiung airport. There is a smaller airport in Henchun, closer to Kenting, however, this one almost never operates.
The best route is to get to Kaohsiung. From Taipei, you can get there by High-speed rail, only two hours and ten minutes but it’s a bit expensive. The train is comfortable, with a better view for the half of the cost, but takes from 4 to 5 hours.
Also, you can take the bus which is the cheapest option and can take you about 6 hours.
No matter the way, once you are in Kaohsiung, go to the Zuoying Station, outside you will find the bus stop, take the bus 9117 to Kenting National Park, should take you only 2 hours to get there.
When is the best time to go to Kenting?
Kenting has a tropical warm weather all year round, but please have in mind that Taiwan has its typhoon season from June to October, and this may affect the normality of the services and the tourist attractions.
- There are a few long holidays all year round in Taiwan, so make sure you double check the calendar for your visit and make hotel and transportation arrangements on time. This is a popular destination among Taiwanese.
- Have cash with you, most places won’t accept a credit card. Also, the banks are far away, if you can use the ATM at the 7/11 you are good.
- The National Museum of Marine Biology and Aquarium is worth a visit, we couldn’t go but is on our to-do list.
- The easy and most famous route to Kenting is from Kaohsiung, but there are also buses coming from Taitung, in case you are circling around the island.
I have a great time in here; it was a perfect little celebration of our first months living in Taiwan. If you are ever in the area, make sure you reserved time to visit Kenting, you won’t regret it.