Kenting National Park is located on the Southern tip of Taiwan on Hengchun Peninsula. While the entire area is considered a national park, it’s not in the same style as an American national park. There are small townships, houses, and farms throughout it. The best-known place to stay is Kenting Town. However, unless you are looking for a spring break vibe, avoid it at all costs! Instead, consider driving about ten more minutes South and find a place in the next township.
I’m honestly not sure what the name of the this township is. We were hard pressed to find one. However, here’s a link to the Google coordinates of the 7-11 right in the middle of it. We stayed in a friend’s vacation house in the hills above the town, but there were plenty of quaint B&B’s lining the street.
Once you’ve found your accommodation, it’s time to start your vacation! We stayed in Kenting for just two days. Here are our top seven suggestions based on our own itinerary (this is not meant to authoritative or definitive!).
1) Enjoy the Early Morning View.
Wake up early and enjoy the view. If you are staying in town, walk down to the beach before the heat of the day. We weren’t able to walk down to the beach in the morning but enjoyed our view from our perch above the village.
2) Find a local breakfast shop.
We found a small shop just down the road from 7-11. There’s nothing quite like a Taiwanese breakfast, so if you haven’t had one, make sure to enjoy it now. Our favorites? Nai cha/奶茶 (milk tea-pictured above), peigan dan bing/培根蛋餅 (a bacon and egg sandwich wrap-pictured above), and luo bo gao/蘿蔔糕 (turnip cakes).
3) Visit Eluanbi.
After breakfast. Rent a scooter or hail a taxi and head down to Eluanbi. The admission fee is just 60 NT (about $2 US). The park includes Eluanbi lighthouse and numerous walking trails. There’s a lot I could say about how beautiful the area is, but you’ll have to visit for yourself.
4) Walk the Coast from Eluanbi to Longpan Park.
Ok. We are crazy. I never denied that. While scooter rentals are a dime a dozen in Eluanbi, we chose to trust our feet instead. While the road from the Kenting Town area to Eluanbi is busy and not too scenic, a walk along the Eastern side of the Hengchun Peninsula up to Longpan Park is definitely worth it! The views are breathtaking and best enjoyed at the speed of walking, not the speed of a scooter, even a slow-poke electric scooter. It’s about three miles from Eluanbi to Longpan.
5) Stop for some tea along the way.
There’s nothing quite like a Taiwan milk tea to refresh you after a long walk. We found a sweet little tea shop just about halfway between Eluanbi and Longpan. They also served some small lunch dishes. The shop doesn’t seem to be on Google Maps, but it was right next door to this seafood restaurant (which looked pretty interesting as well).
6) Thoroughly explore Longpan Park.
You might be tempted to give the coral reef cliffs and grasslands a quick look and then travel on. If you do this, you’re missing out. Look out for the paths that follow the cliffs. And while walking them, keep your eyes open! We saw mountain goats travelling at record paces and making their way down the steep sides toward the ocean.
7) Enjoy a beach or two.
There are plenty of beaches to enjoy in Kenting. We missed out on most of them but were quite content with our own little beach near the township where we stayed. However, if you are interested in some more famous spots, consider the beach in Kenting Town or the more secluded Bai Sha Beach a few miles outside Kenting. It’s where several scenes from Life of Pi were filmed.
You can go to Kenting for parties and wild nights, but if you miss out on the quiet scenes and breathtaking vistas, then you’ve missed out on it all.
A few things to consider:
- Getting there from Zuoying Station. There’s an easy shuttle bus from the HSR to Kenting. Just follow the signs for the Kenting Express at Zuoying. Make sure to buy a return ticket then as well. It’s open-ended and much cheaper. Round trip tickets cost 600 NT ($18 US). The drive will take a couple hours.
- Eating. Most of the restaurants in Kenting are pricey. Many have a wild and crazy spring break feel. Our little town had no restaurants open in the evening except a small, overpriced, French-themed bistro. Make sure to plan ahead for this. We ended up eating our lunch and supper at 7-11.
Words by Rachel Kaye. Images by Benjamin.