Kenting Dawan Beach (aka Kenting Beach Swimming Area) is a premier beach destination on the Taiwan mainland, and attracts a fair amount of visitors, especially those that stay at the Kenting Chateu Beach resort that sits right on the beach. It features beautiful yellow sand and the longest beach in Kenting. In addition, the beach is right next to Kenting Street Night Market, a great night market for snacking and tourist oriented shopping.
Kenting was first settled by Chinese during theQing 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.
During the Japanese era Nanwan was used as a whaling area and there were a few fishing villages here.
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).
The facilities at Kenting Beach include a foot wash, and swimming is actually technically prohibited. Therefore usually you will not see many people on the beach.
Kenting Beach: 24/7
Kenting Street Night Market: 6:30 PM - Midnight
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. The beach will be on your right as you pass the a 7-11. There is a parking lot next to the beach.
By Bus: Busses leave daily to Kenting from Zuoying HSR station, Kaohsiung Station, and Pingtung. Get off at the Kenting Arch Stop (墾丁牌樓).
By Plane: There are direct shuttle busses to Kenting from Kaohsing's Xiaogang (KHH) Airport.
Map: Please see below:
I have been to Kenting's Dawan Beach many times, although never to swim. Swimming is technically forbidden here, although there is not really anyone to stop you if you do. There are not any showers here except for hostels and hotels nearby, but there is a free foot wash that I will show you later in the blog.
The main parking lot for the beach on its south side.
Near the south parking lot, in a park south to the parking lot, are some public bathrooms. Here you can find a free foot wash! This way you don't have to walk with sandy feet back to your car or hostel.
View looking south with Frog Rock (青蛙石) in the distance.
Looking straight out onto the water.
View further up the beach. You can see there are more people playing in the water near Kenting Chateau Beach Resort.
Closeup on the pale yellow sand.
The beach is also a nice quiet place for a stroll after snacking at Kenting Street Night Market, which is in walking distance.
View of the moon over Frog Rock.
Another view from the small stream that cuts through the center of the beach.
Looking toward Frog Rock at dusk.
Another view looking north.
More Taiwanese people enjoying views of the water.
If you have time you should also check out Kenting Street Night Market. It may be the most expensive night market in Taiwan as a whole, but you can still find reasonably priced food here.
Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more blogs on Kenting to come!
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.