Monday, November 19, 2012


Kenting is one of the most visited tourist attractions in Taiwan. I still remember the sore on my butt from sitting too long on a motorcycle from riding to the beaches years ago. It was the time when spring scream was just a few amateur bands improvising on one stage and I could pay NT$200 for a beer and a spot in a tent to crash overnight. I used to love the atmosphere of freedom and relaxation of white sandy beaches, blue ocean and sky; Kenting emitted this exotic illusion that lured me back every year. Like every tourist hot spot, Kenting became unbearably crowded on weekends and throughout the summer vacation, so I changed my visit to dreadful winter time when the sky is usually gray and the water too cold to jump in. The inspirational spring scream became the biggest music festival in southern Taiwan, and it was up to me to improvise, to be able to find a way in and find a place to stay overnight.  I'd forgotten how beautiful this place could be until my latest trip to Kenting in early October. The weather was great: the sunlight was sparkling on the white coral sand, compromising the cobalt blue sky and ocean. The wind wasn’t too strong to stand still, just enough to attract surfers. The temperature wasn’t melting hot as it was in summer nor too cold to get in the water and best of all was that the summer crowd was fading away so I could enjoy the beaches and streets at my leisure.

 I was planning to get up early and go to Jialeshuei for sunrise but the drizzle at night and my cozy room kept me in bed until the noise from a construction site nearby woke me up. Looking out from my balcony, the stunning blue sky and ocean made every penny I paid for the room worth it. Jialeshuei is famous for its various weird shaped rocks that were eroded by the sea. It puzzles me that administrations of these kinds of tourist attractions in Taiwan try so hard to visualize the rocks with some animals or even genital and preach to the tourists. I could correlate some of the rocks with the animals they said but sometimes I would have to pretend that I got the pictures so they would move on.

White sand beaches are jewels of Kenting, the sky and ocean wouldn’t be as blue if it wasn’t for the white sand. Except for naturists, everyone could probably find a beach that fits and spend a half day there. Nanwan (south bay beach) has the most water activities provided in the area; shiaowan (small bay) has a beach bar operated by the Caesar park hotel, providing luxurious indulgence; baisha bay (white sandy shore) is the top choice for campers, and Jialeshuei, supposedly, is good for surfing as it was the venue of the 2012 international surfing contest and I never knew there is a sandy beach in Jialeshuei until this trip. I spent a beautiful afternoon at Nanwan seeing people playing football, jumping in the water and enjoying it so much that it made me actually join in even though I can’t swim.

More info:
Kenting National Park: the official kenting national park website
UU Kenting: probably the most useful website for Kenting, Chinese only
If you have more time in Kenting, sign up a night in the aquarium, highly recommended.