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.
Sheding Park is not large but there are over 329 different kinds of plants here and over 50 different kinds of butterflies alone. The northeast wind here combined with coral rocks makes for a unique wind swept and rocky forest environment. There are over 50 limestone caves in this small park alone.
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).
Sheding Park 社頂自然公園: 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:
Sheding Nature Park 社頂自然公園 has some nice nature trails close to Kenting Beach and is free to enter (although you will have to pay for parking). A walk around the entire park takes one to two hours I would say.
Entrance sign near the parking lot.
The park features hikes through coral rock and tropical forest landscapes that are truly unique. There are multiple tunnels through the coral limestone that you can pass under.
More interesting shapes in the coral rock.
View out to the ocean near the top of the trail.
View to the southeast.
Rock formations protruding out of the forest canopy.
The trail is not that steep or long, so just take it easy and enjoy your surroundings.
View of the ocean to the southeast from the lookout tower at the top of the trail.
View to the southern tip of Taiwan.
View to the northeast.
Walking down the boardwalk on top of the forest canopy.
Another coral hole that you have to walk through.
Thanks for reading and be sure to stay tuned for 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.