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.
Kenting was first settled by Chinese during the Qing Dynasty. The word Kenting comes from twp words that mean cultivate (ken3 å¢¾) and strong man (ä¸ ding1). During that time, a group of strong men (or Zhuang Ding å£¯ä¸) 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.
The fire at Chuohuo has been witnessed since before Han settlement in the area, by Paiwan indigenous people. The fire has moved slightly over the years, and sometimes the flames are brighter or dimmer. Chuhuo Natural gas is a product of the Kenting Shale formation in the area, which seeps up from cracks in the shale. Cooking or otherwise utilizing the natural gas to burn things is prohibited.
9 AM to 8 PM
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 and take Sheding Road to the Kenting National Forest Recreation Area parking lot.
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:
I have only been to Chuhuo once after countless times visiting Kenting. Now I want to go back at night because it is hard to capture the flames during the day.
See above for a video of the flames.
The park is right next to the main road to Manzhou, and there is usually plenty of parking.
There is also a grave yard right next door which people were visiting.
No camping, fireworks, or otherwise using the fire to cook food etc.
Open from 9-8, and don't do anything stupod here.
View of the wood steps down to the fire pit.
Another view of the steps.
The wooden steps then become a brick path.
Under the tree there are a couple of guys that sit there all day and make sure no one is making trouble with the fire.
The main pit is encircled with a chain and concrete post fence.
View of the mountains in the background.
Again, no camping or barbequing.
"Chu Huo Hengchun County Records"
"Chuhuo is located just past Hengchun's east gate. The local topography is made up of mudstone. There are many cracks in the mudstone through which natural gases are emitted.
There is a fire source, these gases can be ignited...it is best to visit this area in the spring."
Closer view of the ring of fire.
The flames are really hard to photograph. They flicker.
Closer view of some flames.
Another view of the flames.
View from the back.
The flames actually had come out of the circle a bit.
More flames on the ground.
You can see a flame here.
From this view it is hard to see any flames. I assume at some times the flames are bigger than other times.
Thanks for reading and be sure to check out more of our 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.