Kenting,Taiwan – Revealed

Posted in: News, Taiwan experiences, Trip reports- Aug 10, 2014 No Comments

Kenting

Greg Hung World explorer, film-maker & entrepreneur

Greg Hung World explorer, film-maker & entrepreneur originally from Vancouver, Canada. Currently in Taiwan.

I had lived in Taipei, Taiwan almost a year and during this time I heard lots of positive things from locals about Kenting’s beaches and great weather. It was a 2-hour high-speed train ride and a 2-hour drive south of Taipei. I decided to travel there and see for myself.  Kenting is located in the far South of Taiwan. We took the HSR from Taipei to the closest station in Kaosiung called Zuoying左營站. From there we rented a car and took a 2-hour drive down south to Kenting .

Tip: if you have internet on your phone use google maps for audio navigation

We would have gotten lost if it wasn’t for google maps. The driver’s in Kaoshiung are terrible and you can expect cars to change lanes without signaling, tail-gating, and if you leave a car space in front of you some idiot will attempt to overtake you (by weaving in and out) by using that space.

We stayed at the Kenting Culture Resort, which provided a good value, free breakfast, internet, free water, free parking, and great customer service for about 2000nt a night. It wasn’t right by the beach, but it was quiet and a close drive to all the places we wanted to go.

Our first night we decided to take a 15 minute drive to a seaside hill called Guanshan 關山. I discovered it by accident while searching for the sunset time. I clicked on one of the pictures and found that CNN actually rated this viewpoint for one of he world’s best sunset views. Interesting.

We drove to Guanshan shortly before sunset with my camera gear and drone. It was packed with people and mosquitos.  The views are spectacular to say the least. I also discovered a viewpoint that wasn’t as crowded just a 5 minute walk west of the main viewpoint. We woke up early the next morning just after sunrise for a filming session at that secret viewpoint with no other tourists to compete with.

After that we decided it was a good time to film the main street, which happens to be Pingtung night market墾丁大街 . I’ve seen a lot of night markets in my one year here. You will see your typical night market fare here as well. What is unique about this night market is that the night market is just on one large street that transforms from a regular street to a night market that you can easily cover in an hour. I could see some interesting accommodation on the second floors of this street and around the area, but could imagine how noisy it could get on most nights. The gem my friend introduced me to was the Mambo Thai restaurant near the end of the strip. It was probably the most authentic and best tasting Pad Thai I’ve had in my life for about 200nt.  I’ll just let the picture speak for itself.

Our hotel was conveniently located across from a famous baozi shop. A baozi is a steamed bun with some filling. This shop was serious about their baozi’s. They had a large selection on their menu and everyday you could watch the staff make them fresh from making the dough to preparing the filling wearing their surgical masks.

After we decided to check out the lighthouse area and the most Southern point in Taiwan, which was about a 20-minute drive. We parked and walked down to what looked like a teashop for a break and drink.  I must mention that the summer down here is blistering hot. The temperatures hover around the mid to high 30’s and the sun is intense. Expect to leave the car air conditioner on “full blast” and it’s a good idea to take regular cold drink breaks. They had an observatory platform to view the ocean. It was special to imagine being at the most southern point of Taiwan. There was still a short distance to walk to the shore, but we could see many tired people coming back that deterred us. We decided to get a coconut milk drink. This was no coconut drink from 7-11. This was the real deal with a straw right into the coconut with pure natural coconut milk. Delicious! We were lucky to get special access to see how he prepared the coconuts, which you may see on our video.

It was a couple hours before sunshine and it was time for the secret beach known as Baisha (White sand beach). If you want to put it on goggle maps you need the chinese words for it (白沙彎) I had heard so much about. The sign into the beach was discreet and easy to miss. We drove down the driveway as we saw people coming out.  We scored a free parking near the ocean and got our stuff. Before you enter the beach there were a couple of older looking Taiwanese women that you had to speak to if you wanted an umbrella and seats. I think it cost 200nt for the package. The beach was busy lined with umbrellas, Taiwanese girls in bikini’s, and local guys trying to dare each other to see who could walk closest to the ocean. I didn’t see any sign of any foreigners or anyone swimming. The sand was awesome, but the waves were really rough. We stayed until sunset. I wish I had a couple more days to enjoy that beach and just decompress.

Our final stop was at the Houbihu Fishing Port to sample some of the fresh seafood. We had some trouble finding the right place, but there was a large building by the ocean near the wind turbines. We went to the second floor to skip the crowded uncomfortable seating area. I got a small order a sashimi for about 200nt, which is enough for one hungry person. The same amount would probably cost about 100-150nt more in Taipei. I had 3 different types. It was a delicious and inexpensive way to end our Kenting trip.

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