Kenting National Park is one of the most beautiful natural areas in Taiwan. Lying on the southern peninsula of Taiwan, it features natural scenery from beaches, coral reefs, waterfalls, grasslands, tropical forests, sand dunes, mountains, and more. Popular activities include hiking, cycling, swimming, snorkeling, surfing, and any other water sport you can think of. Also it has year round warm tropical temperatures and sunny weather, making it an ideal vacation destination.
Kenting was first settled by Chinese during the Qing Dynasty. The word Kenting comes from twp words that mean cultivate (ken3 墾) and strong man (丁 ding1). During that time, a group of strong men (or Zhuang Ding 壯丁) came from Guangdong, who were basically Chinese pionners of the area to cultivate the land, hence the area was named Kenting for them.
The area was considered to be made into a park during the Japanese occupation due to it being the only tropical location in the Japanese Empire, but was never officially created.
Kenting National Park was established in 1984 as the first national park in Taiwan after WWII.
Kenting became a major vacation spot, becoming a center for hostels and hotels for travelers.
Kenting is considered by many to have the best beaches in Taiwan. This is because of its fine white sand and year-round warm temperatures and sunshine (it is in the tropical part of Taiwan after all).
Price: Free entrance into the park, however certain sections require an entrance fee:
Gueishan 龜山: 60 NT per person
Eluanbi Park 鵝鑾鼻公園: 60 NT per person
Maobitou Park 貓鼻頭公園: 30 NT per person
Kenting Forest Recreation Area 墾丁國家森林遊樂區: 150 NT per person
Jialeshui Scenic Area 佳樂水風景區: 100 NT per person
Kenting Youth Activity Center 墾丁青年活動中心: 50 NT per person
Sheding Park 社頂自然公園: Free
Longluan Lake 龍鑾潭: Free
South Bay Recreation Area 南灣遊憩區: Free
Little Bay 小灣海灘: Free
When to go:
Summer! It's when the water is warmest and the sun is hottest. However there will be more people in summer, and there could be Typhoons.
Spring and Fall are also good times to go, as there will be less visitors and cooler temperatures.
Winter is an okay time to go as well, it will be warmer than the rest of Taiwan and the water will still be warm enough to swim in.
How to get there:
By Car/Scooter: Take provincial highway 1 south to the bottom of Taiwan until it becomes provincial highway 26. After that keep going past Hengchun into Kenting National Park.
By Bus: Busses leave daily to Kenting from Zuoying HSR station, Kaohsiung Station, and Pingtung.
By Plane: There are direct shuttle busses to Kenting from Kaohsing's Xiaogang (KHH) Airport.
Map: Please see below:
Jiugong Tunnels (aka Siwei Tunnels 思維坑道) are the most impressive tunnels on Little Kinmen, and extremely similar to the Zhaishan Tunnels on Kinmen Island. Originally built to protect ROC ships from bombing raids, the tunnels actually go through the island, connecting the ocean from each side.
Jiugong Tunnels were completed in 1965 to protect ships, connecting Jiugong Pier to Luocu Fishing Harbor. The tunnel connects these by going under a hill on the south side of Little Kinmen. The tunnels are 790 meters long and 11.5 meters high, feature 5 underground piers, 4 exits to the sea, and in its prime it could fit up to 52 ships in the tunnels.
Hours: 8 AM to 5 PM every day
How to Get There: From Jiugong Pier turn left, and go south on Binhai Boulevard to the end of the road. The tunnels will be on the right.
Map: Please see below:
The area around Hujingtou in the island of Little Kinmen (aka Lieyu 烈嶼) is full of historical significance. It was the closest front line in Taiwan after the Chinese Civil War, only 5 KM from Xiamen. Now the museum and displays in the area are open to tourists who can experience what it was like to be on the front lines during the standoff between the PRC and KMT forces.
The Hujingtou Battle Museum was built in 1988 , and features a castle like building, including moats and cannons on display. The museum details battles that occured on little Kinmen such as the Da Eer Battle and the August 23 Artillery Battle (aka Second Taiwan Strait Crisis) in which the PRC and KMT forces battered each other with artillery fire for 4 weeks, killing roughly 800 soldiers in total. The battle resulted in a stalemate, with neither side gaining any ground and the Chinese using up all their ammunition.
The Battle Museum also conspicuously leaves out history of the 1987 Lieyu Massacre in which ROC forces shot and killed 19 Vietnamese shipwrecked fisherman and tried to cover it up.
How to get there:
From Kinmen, take the ferry from Shuitou Harbor to little Kinmen. You can drive your scooter onto the ferry, or take a taxi once you get to the other side. The fort is on the northwestern corner of the island.
8:30 AM - 5:00 PM every day
Map: Please see below:
Cheng Ching Lake (aka Cheng Cing Lake or Ching Qing Lake) in Kaohsiung is one of the most beautiful parks in Taiwan. Much of the lake is full of traditional Chinese gardens and architecture. Because of its size, it cannot be properly appreciated by only going there for one afternoon; there are simply too many things to see and do there.
People often don’t realize that Kaohisung has a lot to offer to tourists. Many of the places down south aren’t represented as well as sites in Taipei, which is why we want to help everyone realize what a great place it is. I used to live in Kaohsiung and exercise at Cheng Ching Lake daily, and boy do I miss it! There are many lucky elderly Kaohsiung residents that visit the lake daily for free, and I envy them.
How to Get There:
From the Weiwuying MRT station, you can take the 70A bus straight to the main entrance.
100 NT per person, 50 NT for students, 60/100 NT for cars (there is a discount for cars on weekdays), and 30 NT for scooters. If your ARC or National ID has a Kaohsiung address, you can enter the park for free!
Hours: 4 AM - 9 PM (no entry after 6 PM)
We are US Expats that have extensive experience living, working, and travelling in Taiwan. In our day, we had to learn many things about Taiwan the hard way. But we have come to learn that Taiwan is one of the best places in the world for Foreigners to live. Our blog does not represent the opinions of every foreigner in Taiwan. We are just trying to help others learn more about this beautiful country.