I have just returned from an eight-day trip to Southern Taiwan and two days of it was spent in Kenting. Kenting is located at the southern tip of Taiwan in Pingtung County. It was our favorite among all the places we visited during our trip. We wished we stayed longer but with the two days we spent, we pretty much visited all the interesting places in the area. Planning to visit Kenting? Here are my recommendations for the things to do there:
Check out the Sail Rock along the west coast of Kenting
If you are on your way to the southernmost point of Taiwan, you will see the Sail Rock along the west coast. The rock rolled down to the coastline from a nearby plateau. They say that from a distance it looks like a sailboat that is about to sail, from where it got its name. It is also sometimes called “Nixon’s Head” because up close it looks like the profile of former US President Richard Nixon.
Try the Teppanyaki Ice Cream with Wine at 沙灘小酒館 Beach Bistro
We came across this beach bistro while looking for a place to eat on our way to the southernmost point of Taiwan. It is located near Banana Bay. The Teppanyaki Ice Cream with wine consists of fresh cream at the top, vanilla ice cream in the middle and homemade cake at the bottom. It must be eaten right away after the red wine has been poured over. You enjoy three different textures with one bite.
Snap a selfie at the southernmost point of Taiwan
The southernmost point of Taiwan has a cone-shaped concrete marker with a flat side facing the western side of the island. To get to the view deck, you need to walk for about 5 minutes from the parking lot. The trail is shaded with trees. The view deck has an awesome view of the ocean.
Explore Eluanbi Park
Eluanbi Park is a big natural area with caves, viewpoints where you have amazing views of the ocean and a nice spot to watch the sunset, interesting looking rocks, and trees. This is also where the Eluanbi lighthouse is located. However, the lighthouse was under renovation when we visited the park. The admission fee to the park is NTD 60 and the parking fee for motorbikes is NTD 10. The park is open from 6:30 AM to 6:30 PM.
Go on a food trip in Kenting Night Market
The Kenting Night Market is a 2 km strip of stalls along the main street that is popular with both tourists and locals. The stalls are located on both sides of the street. There is a wide range of food here. I recommend trying the fried xiaolongbao, it was good. There are some stalls selling cocktails and shots, some selling clothes and there are also games like bursting balloons with darts and ring toss. Motorbike parking is available near the public toilet.
Explore Kenting National Forest Recreation Area
The Kenting National Forest Recreation Area used to be the area of a Paiwan Village. It became the Hengchun Tropical Plant Nursery, established by the Japanese government in the early 20th century. Today it is devoted to academic research and historical preservation. There are two parks to visit here, the Sheding Natural Park and the Kenting Forest Recreation Area. Both have trails, coral rocks, and ocean views. And I saw monkeys in both.
There is an admission fee of NTD 75 at the Kenting Forest Recreation Area. There are caves in Kenting Forest Recreation Area but all were closed when we visited. The area is open from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM.
Visit Fongchueisha Beach
Fongchueisha is a roadside beach area offering breathtaking views of the sea. We went there on a motorbike and the place is very windy. The place is easy to reach, you just need to drive slowly though because the wind is so strong. Parking lots are available.
How to get to Kenting:
Buses travel every hour from Taipei Bus Station (get there via Taipei Main Station MRT) to Kaohsiung. UBus (United Bus), is a popular company that offers such a service for NT$430. There is no Wi-Fi, but the seats recline and there is a roughly 20″ screen mounted on the ceiling of the bus every 4 rows. The trip can range from 5 to 6 hours.
From Kaohsiung to Hengchun and Kenting buses travel frequently – take the line 9188 from the Kaohsiung bus terminal (don’t get confused with city buses). The price of a ticket is roughly NT$350. The transit time from Kaohsiung to Kenting is approximately 2½ hours. There is both a regular and express bus. The express bus arrives on the hour. It can be difficult to discern which bus is the express bus and it is also unlikely the driver will speak English.
Along the coast and passing by Fangliao and Fangshan (for transfer from Eastern Taiwan) at least four different buses can be taken to get down to Hengchun and Kenting: 101, 9117, 9127, 9188, 9189. The price from Fangliao or Fangshan to Hengchun or Kenting is NT$112-150.
Note that GoogleMaps states travel times for the bus of 3-5 hr to Hengshun and Kenting from Fangliao – this is wrong. The buses take barely an hour to go down the coast, and about 20-30 min from Fangshan to Hengshun, since it does barely stop at any of the 60-80 official buses stops along the road.
Kenting is accessible via the HSR or High-Speed Rail which connects Taipei with Zuoying, Kaohsiung. The total travel time from Taipei to Zuoying (Kaohsiung) via HSR is approximately 90 min. After arrival in Zuoying, exit the station and head outside where there is a bus stop. Line 88 bus to Kenting operates 24 hours/day, so getting back to the HSR on time is no problem. Ask your place of accommodation about shuttle buses, or you can take a taxi, which usually picks up passengers until it’s full and then quotes a price per person for the trip.
It is advisable to reserve your HSR tickets by telephone or online if traveling on the weekend. Weekend trains are often sold out.
Where to Stay:
Luxury hotels, homestays, B&Bs, hotels, and hostels are available in Kenting. We stayed at Kenting Amanda Hotel, a lavish Middle Eastern-themed hotel surrounded by gardens. The room is clean with beautiful interiors and the buffet breakfast was great. For other accommodations in the area, check out Booking.com.
I hope this guide made you want to visit Kenting, Taiwan or if you are visiting it soon, I hope you find this post helpful. If you have any questions, feel free to write it down in the comments section. Subscribe to my blog if you don’t want to miss any of my posts. And please follow my Facebook page @iwentanyways and like my Instagram accounts @iwentanyways and @tnadeperalta for updates. Also, you can view highlights of our trip to Kenting in my IG stories in @tnadeperalta. Happy travels!