Yes, you should go to Kenting. Kenting has some of the best natural scenery in Taiwan, from beautiful white sand beaches that are warm year round to limestone mountains with hundreds of caves and waterfalls to explore. Although it may not be a world class beach resort destination yet, it should definitely be on your list on your trip to Taiwan.
The area around the Hengchun Peninsula was once coral that has been uplifted over millions of years. The first people to live here were Taiwan aboriginals, from the Paiwan and Puyuma tribes (who caused the Rover Incident as portrayed in Seqalu: Formosa 1867).
Kenting was first settled by Han farmers and fishermen during the Qing Dynasty. The word Kenting comes from two 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 pioneers of the area to cultivate the land, hence the area was named Kenting for them. The aboriginal people were mostly assimilated with the local Chinese population.
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. The Whaling industry continued here in the ROC era until the international ban on whaling in 1986.
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).
When to go:
Summer is the best time to go because there is warm sunny weather and not a lot of wind. However, there are more people and there may be Typhoons.
Winters are windy and colder, but the water is still warm enough to swim in. Winter is a better time for activities like hiking and surfing.
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.
Looking for scooter rental in Kenting? Click here or here to search for options.
If you are looking for car rentals, you can also search here.
By Bus: Busses leave daily to Kenting from Zuoying HSR station, Kaohsiung Station, and Pingtung. You can book tickets to Kenting via high speed rail (HSR) on Klook here or KKDay here, or book tickets via the normal train (TRA) on Klook here. You can book tickets to travel to Kenting via inter-city bus on Klook here.
Once in Kenting, you can save money by booking Kenting's bus pass.
By Plane: There are direct shuttle busses to Kenting from Kaohsing's Xiaogang (KHH) Airport. You can search for cheap flights in Taiwan here.
By Bicycle: Cycling is the best way to enjoy Taiwan's landscapes if you have the time and energy. Looking for bicycle rentals in Taiwan? You can search on KKday here and search for tours on Klook here. You can also check out our Taiwan cycling guide here.
Looking for a hotel? Find out where to stay in our Taiwan hotels guide or search for the best hotel deals in Taiwan here. We recommend booking through Agoda here, which provides the best quality selection of accommodation in Taiwan.
I have stayed at many hostels and hotels in Kenting, and even almost bought a house here. Some places that I have stayed at and can recommend are Nanwan Kiki (book on Agoda here, Booking.com here), a B&B next to Nanwan Bay, Kenting's most popular Beach. There are also a few decent hotels near Kenting Street Night Market like Kenting Star Inn 888 (book on Agoda here, Klook here, Hotels.com here, Expedia here, or Booking.com here), or Kenting Dajianshan Hotel (book on Agoda here, Booking.com here, Hotels.com here, or Expedia here). You will notice that none of these hotels are five star resorts (I do not come to Kenting to waste my time at a resort, but you can still search Agoda, Booking.com, Hotels.com, or Expedia for those) but they are in my opinion the above have the best value for the money.
You can also book Wifi and SIM cards for Taiwan on Gigago here.
How to get around in Kenting:
1. Rent a scooter - the best way to see Taiwan. Electric scooters that do not require a license are also readily available. For better range and speed, rent a gas scooter. You can search for scooter options here or here, and you can check out our scooter rental guide here.
2. Rent a car - more expensive than a scooter but may be more suitable for a large family. You can search for car rentals here or here, or check out our car rental guidehere.
3. Take the Kenting bus - cheap but slower than your own transportation, and it doesn't stop everywhere. You can book tickets to travel to Kenting via inter-city bus on Klook here.
4. Cycle - you can rent a bicycle or bring your own. This is a great way to enjoy the scenery at a slower pace. You can search on KKday here and search for tours on Klook here. You can also check out our Taiwan cycling guide here.
5. Hire a taxi - more expensive than a rental car but perhaps more convenient. You can also search for a car charter service here or here.
Tours and Activities in Kenting:
There are many activities available in Kenting, such as snorkeling, diving, SUPing, surfing, submarine riding, and river tracing.
You can find more tours of Kenting on Klook here or KKday here.
Just to let you know, if you book using the links above, we get some commission at no cost to you, and you can help support our blog. You can click here to receive $5 USD on your first Klook purchase.
Map of sites in this blog:
For an overview of Kenting, check out our drone video below:
Okay, let's get this guide started, going clockwise from Zhenan Temple.
Checheng Zhenan Temple 車城鄉統埔村鎮安宮
Checheng Zhenan Temple is an important place for Taiwanese folk religion and one of the most popular tourist attractions in Checheng Township of Pingtung. It is dedicated to Guanyu, a deified military general from the Eastern Han Dynasty of China. It is the most prominent landmark on Highway 199 from Taitung to Pingtung...(read more)
Looking for a hotel? Find out where to stay in our Taiwan hotels guide or search for the best hotel deals in Taiwan here.
Haikou Harbor Art Gallery 海口港美術館
A-lei Solo Exhibition (春江獸月夜) of a monster leaning onto the Haikou Harbor Art Gallery in Checheng, Pingtung. This was the first exhibition after the gallery's renovation, reopening as the only glass walled art gallery with an ocean view in Taiwan.
You can book Wifi and SIM cards for Taiwan on Gigago here.
National Museum of Marine Biology and Aquarium 國立海洋生物博物館
The National Biology Museum and Aquarium in Pingtung is the best Aquarium in Taiwan and one of the best aquariums in Asia. It includes beluga whales, sharks, rays, penguins, and much more. It is a must see stop on your trip to Taiwan...(read more)
You can book discount tickets to the National Biology Museum and Aquarium on Klook here or KKday here.
You can also sleep over night here for a fee.
Golden Shores 黃金海岸
Kenting's Golden Coast is on the northwest side of the peninsula, where you can get the beach all to yourself. If you feel that lack of people is the defining criterion that makes a great beach, then this is the place for you.
Renting a scooter? You can search for scooter options here or here, and you can check out our scooter rental guide here.
Wanlitong is one of the premier scuba diving and snorkeling spots in Taiwan, and sits inside Kenting National Park. The waters here are clear and full of coral and sea life. Other popular activities here are kayaking, SUPing, and eating seafood...(read more)
You can book snorkeling and paddle boarding activities at Wanlitong on KKday here or on Klook here, here, or here.
Hengchun Old City Walls 恆春古城
Hengchun's old walled city is the best preserved walled city in Taiwan, with all the city gates intact, as well as most of the city wall. The city was built to help contain the native population after the Rover and Mudan incidents. It is definitely a well preserved historical area and worth a trip if you go to Kenting...(read more)
You can take a tour of old Hengchun from Klook here.
Pingtung Chuhuo (Eternal Flame) 屏東出火
Chuhuo (Eternal Flame) is an area where natural gas escapes from the earth and is burned as never ending flames in Hengchun Township of Pingtung County. The area lies just outside Kenting National Park. It is an interesting geological sight, what more reason do you need to visit than an endless fire? You should definitely stop by on your next trip to Kenting...(read more)
You can take a day tour of Kenting including a visit to Chuhuo on Klook here.
Kenting White Sand Bay Beach (Baishawan) 墾丁白砂灣
Baishawan Beach in Kenting (aka White Sand Bay, not to be confused with Baishawan Beach in New Taipei) is arguably the best beach in Taiwan, with excellent sand, warm clear water, warm temperatures year round, and fewer visitors than Kenting Beach...(read more)
You can take a chartered tour to Kenting including Baishawan on KKday here or Klook here.
Maobitou Park 貓鼻頭公園
Maobitou Park is a coral and limestone cliff area with a viewing platform that offers amazing panoramic views of the Hengchun Peninsula. There are also many interesting rock formations such as a rock that looks like a cat, as well as plants and wildlife. You should definitely stop by on your next trip to Kenting...(read more)
You can take a private cruise around Maobitou and other sights in Kenting on Klook here.
Xingshawan is another beach nearby in Houbihu Harbor. It is really just a patch of sand inside the harbor. You can check it out if you want.
Houbihu Beach 後壁湖沙灘
Houbihu Beach (aka Zhongzhou Beach or Daguang Beach) is a long coral beach between Houbihu Harbor and the No. 3 Nuclear plant in Taiwan. It features shallow water and great snorkeling. Also due to its location and lack of facilities, there are usually not many people here...(read more)
There are multiple activities available here, such as snorkeling, diving, SUPing, submarine riding, and camping.
Nanwan (South Bay) Beach 南灣沙灘
Nanwan Beach in Kenting (aka South Bay) is the premier beach destination on the Taiwan mainland and attracts more visitors than any other beach on the island. It features beautiful white sand and long, flat beaches, as well as clear water that is relatively warm year round. In addition, the beach has sunshine for most of the year. Popular activities include jet skiing, water skiing, surfing, swimming, and sunbathing...(read more)
You can book watersports such as tubing and jet skiing at Nanwan on Klook here or Kkday here, as well as horseback riding on the beach here.
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...(read more)
Looking for car rentals in Kenting ? You can search here or check out our car rental guide here.
Kenting Street Night Market 墾丁大街夜市
Located right next to the beach is Kenting Street, a great night market for snacking and tourist oriented shopping. It is the main street in Kenting, and at night both sides come alive to become a tourist night market in Taiwan. It may be the purist tourist night market in Taiwan, with most visitors coming from out of town to enjoy Kenting's warm weather and beautiful beaches...(read more)
Lovers Beach 情人沙灘
Lovers Beach is a small secret beach behind the Youth Activity Center in Kenting. It is small but usually free of crowds, and has calm, clear water. If you have time, you should check out this secret beach paradise...(read more)
Frog Rock 青蛙石
Frog Rock is about 50 meters high and can be reached from the youth activity center near Lovers Beach...(read more)
You can take a tour of Frog Rock and other sites in Kenting here.
Xiaowan Beach in Kenting (aka Little Bay) features beautiful white sand and a long, flat beach, as well as clear water that is relatively warm year round. In addition, the beach has sunshine for most of the year. Popular activities include surfing, swimming, and sunbathing. Located right next to the beach is Kenting Street, a great night market for snacking and tourist oriented shopping...(read more)
Kenting National Forest Recreation Area 墾丁國家公園森林游樂區
Kenting's forest recreation area is a unique forest built on coral rocks that were pushed out of the sea about 500,000 years ago. The forest is covered in coral rock formations and caves.
You can book discount tickets to Kenting's Forest Recreation Area on Klook here or KKday here.
Silver Dragon Cave and Fairy Cave 銀龍洞及仙洞
Fairy Cave in Kenting National Forest Recreation Area is the longest limestone cave in Taiwan, and right next to it is Silver Dragon Cave. These two caves are some of the most beautiful and easily accessible limestone caves in Taiwan. Next to the caves, there is also a tower with a cafe and viewing platform that offers amazing panoramic views of the Hengchun Peninsula. You should definitely stop by on your next trip to Kenting...(read more)
Sea View Tower 觀海樓
The sea view tower at Kenting's Forest Recreation area provides amazing 360 degree views of Kenting. There is also a restaurant at the top of it.
Sheding Nature Park 社頂自然公園
Sheding Nature Park is a nice hike that offers amazing views of Taiwan's Southern and East Coast. You can also enjoy tropical forests with gaping coral rocks and crevasses everywhere. It is a nice place for a short hike to enjoy nature and the scenery around Kenting...(read more)
Sail Rock Beach 船帆石沙灘
Sail Rock Beach in Kenting is a small beach near Sail Rock, a large piece of coral rock that broke off the mainland. It features a short yellow sandy beach, as well as clear water that is relatively warm year round. In addition, the beach has sunshine for most of the year. Popular activities include jet skiing, water skiing, surfing, swimming, and sunbathing. It has everything you would want from a Kenting beach but it is smaller and there are fewer people than Nanwan Beach...(read more)
You can take a tour of Sail Rock Beach and other sites in Kenting here.
Shadao Beach in Kenting (aka Sand Island) is arguably the best beach in Taiwan, with excellent sand, warm clear water, pristine surroundings, warm temperatures year round, and no visitors. That's right, this beach is so great that it has been made into an environmentally protected area that no one can visit. Humans are banned...(read more)
Eluanbi Cape Lighthouse 鵝鑾鼻燈塔
Eluanbi Lighthouse is a nice place to relax on the very southern tip of Taiwan in Kenting National Park. It is surrounded by a grassy park and hiking trails through tropical forests with coral rocks. It is also within walking distance of the most southern tip of the island of Taiwan on Cape Eluanbi. It is a must visit place for travelers to Taiwan...(read more)
You can book discount tickets to the lighthouse park on KKday here.
Most Southern Point in Taiwan 台灣最南點
Taiwan's most southern point looks like this and is mainly just coral rock.
Longpan Park 龍盤公園
Longpan Park is one of the most beautiful places in all of Kenting National Park. It features a large grassland that covers the southern tip of Taiwan. has great views of the shoreline on the east side of the peninsula, featuring a wind-cut sandy landscape and sea cliffs...(read more)
You can take a tour of Longpan Park and other sites in Kenting here.
Shuiwaku Grasslands 水蛙窟大草原
Shuiwaku is one of the most beautiful places in all of Kenting National Park. It features a large grassland that covers the southern tip of Taiwan. has great views of the shoreline on the east side of the peninsula, featuring a wind-cut sandy landscape and sea cliffs...(read more)
Fengchuisha is one of the most beautiful places in all of Kenting National Park. It has great views of the shoreline on the east side of the peninsula, featuring a wind-cut sandy landscape and sea cliffs. It is a must see on your trip to Kenting National Park...(read more)
Manzhou Beach 滿洲沙灘
Manzhou Beach is a small sandy beach on the southeast coast of Kenting National Park. It features gold sand and warm year round temperatures. Seasonal winds also mean there are usually waves here to surf on. Due to its remote location and lack of facilities, usually it is devoid of people...(read more)
Gangkou Suspension Bridge 港口吊橋
Gangkou Beach near Jialeshui Scenic Area in Kenting is one of the premier surfing beaches in Taiwan, with its most famous landmark being the Gangkou Suspension Bridge which leads to the Diaoqiao Wetland area. Popular activities here include surfing, kite surfing, swimming, and hiking. It is a must see on your trip to Kenting. Due to its location, there are rarely crowds here even on weekends...(read more)
Jialeshui Scenic Area is one of the most famous geological parks in Taiwan, with its most famous landmark being the Shanhai Waterfall which flows into the ocean. These rock formations have been forming for thousands of years through erosion of soft sandstone due to wind and water. Hurry and see these formations soon before they are gone forever...(read more).
7 Hole (Qikong) Waterfall 七孔瀑布
Qikong Waterfall (aka 7 hole waterfall) is a seven-tiered set of waterfalls in Manzhou township of Pingtung County. The hike here is super easy, and there are plenty of places to play in the water here. It is definitely a fun trip in the mountains that will not take too much time, and a great place for an easy river trace...(read more)
You can go on a river trace of Qikong waterfall on Klook here or KKday here.
This concludes our guide to Kenting, but we will be updating this guide soon!
Things we missed:
There are many many more places to eat, explore, and relax in Kenting. Go explore Kenting for yourself!
You can also check out our full guide to Pingtung County here and our full travel guide to Taiwan here.
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.