Days 13-15: Kenting, Taiwan
As I drafted my last post, I was on the way down to Kenting. I arrived in Kenting around 11AM on Thursday. Check-in time, as usual, is 3PM. I dropped off my luggage at Kenting 157 Boutique Hotel, which is dead center on Kenting Main Street. I then decided to explore the area.
One thing about Kenting is, there’s no way for you to explore without having your own mode of transportation. Public transportation is not that convenient here. The public bus comes once every 30-45 minutes, and they do not always stop at their own bus stop. There is no MRT system here, so unless you plan to take the taxi everywhere, which can easily cost NT$300 (~$10 USD) for a 2-3KM ride, you should really consider renting a scooter. If you do not have an international driver’s license/permit, then you are only limited to electric scooters, which only goes up to 40KM/H. I wish I knew this before and applied for an international driver’s permit before I started traveling. The California Driver’s License does not count as one here (although I’ve heard some people were able to rent a gas scooter in other cities without the permit at certain shops).
I ended up renting the electric scooter for 2 days, at NT$500 per day. It’s $NT800 per day if you only rent a single day. There’s room for negotiation so you should check with a couple different vendors before you commit to one. They tend to hit you up first anyway, so just be patient.
POINTS OF INTEREST
Bai Sha Wan (White Sand Bay)
My first stop of the day was Bai Sha Wan 白沙灣, or White Sand Bay. This beach became popular after Taiwan’s Film, “Cape No. 7” (great movie btw!), and Ang Lee’s “Life of Pi,” were filmed here. It’s also known for its great views and soft white sands–hence its name. It was pretty crowded when I visited, most likely due to its growth in popularity over the years.
Southernmost Tip of Taiwan
A little further down, you can park your car or scooter and walk down to the southernmost tip of Taiwan.
It’s definitely a spot that you must visit if you are ever down in Kenting.
Around the Southern Tip
Further down the main road after the Southern Tip, you will get to see a gorgeous view of the ocean. In my opinion, this road gives you the best view of the natural beauty of Taiwan. If you are riding your scooter, there is nothing that can top this experience. Just imagine yourself riding along through the natural grassland by the sea, with no one around to disturb you. It’s like you are the only person on this beautiful island. Yes, you heard that right! You barely see any tourists here. I would do anything to be able to ride through this area whenever I want, with no one to disturb me.
Kenting Night Market
After exploring the beautiful natural areas of Kenting, the night market on Kenting Street is the place to go for food. The prices here are not the cheapest compared to other cities in Taiwan since it is a touristy area. Prices are NT$70-120 ($2-$4USD) per order. They have vendors here who also sell alcohol and cocktails for $NT150-250 ($5-$8USD) and beers for NT$60 ($2USD).
There isn’t really a nightlife here in Kenting, compared to the big cities of Taiwan. Night clubs like the ones in Taipei and Kaohsiung do not exist here. They do have a “club”–as they call it–that offers all you can drink for an entrance fee. If you want to drink, it’s probably best to just hit up some local bars along the street. Personally, I decided to skip out on the nightlife here.
Kenting National Forest Recreational Area
During my last day here, I decided to check out Kenting National Forest Recreational Area (Note: This is different than the Kenting National Park on Google Maps).
Before you start Googling how to get there, my personal recommendation is to just SKIP THIS AREA. Here’s why:
- It’s really hard to get up to the area without gas-powered scooter or car. I ended up taking a taxi up for NT$250. To get back down, you need to have prearranged transportation as the taxis do not normally go up there to pick up people. There are also no public buses that go up there from what I observed. I learned this the hard way.
- The area is completely deserted on a Saturday, and there is not much of a view up there. It is mainly a forest area with a bunch of bugs. It’s great if you want to get lost in a secluded area and get a good workout up there, but personally, I think there are better options.
- The area closes at 5PM, so if you want to watch the sunset, that isn’t possible. But again, once you are inside, no one will be in there searching for you when the area closes. I would not want to be in there alone when it gets dark–Trust me on this.
After my visit here, I ended up just walking the entire way down because there was no transportation to take me back. I mean, it was a good workout, but if you’re already tired from walking around up there, having to walk back down is a killer.
Overall, Kenting is definitely a must visit place if you are ever in Southern Taiwan. The beauty of Taiwan can be mostly seen here. Rent a scooter so in order to get around. The only place I would skip is the Recreational Area. I stayed 3 nights here, but I think 2 nights is plenty to get the full feel of the area.