If you’re in Taiwan, Kenting should definitely be on your top 5 things-to-do list. Sure it’s the opposite end of the country to Taipei, but that HSR trip to Kaohsiung and then bus trip to Kenting will be worth it (or indeed car rental or scooter). In a nutshell: make sure you go.
Before you read this post you should read about my first impressions of Kenting, as it’ll give you an honest, in-the-moment account of what it was like arriving in town, plus some handy tips about getting there.
Rent a scooter to see Kenting National Park
Sure you could get on a massive coach and be driven everywhere, stopping at the important ‘tourist must-see’ attractions, but that has its limitations. Or you could be a tad more adventurous and hire a scooter for the day.
I highly recommend hiring a scooter and that’s easy to do. Around the Main Street and at nearly every hotel you’ll see rows of scooters lined up for rent. Oddly enough this is the only place in all of Taiwan where I’ve seen scooters for rent, so they’re strongly giving you a hint that it’s the best way to see the park. I didn’t rent a scooter myself as I own my own one, but with so many options you’ll be able to find a reasonable price.
What to see and do
There is literally too much to list it all, all you need to do is open Google Maps and pick 5-10 stops you’d like to do and plan your own route. I would recommend seeing Eluanbi Lighthouse inside Eluanbi park. This lighthouse is one of only a handful of fortified lighthouses in the world. It also has a brightness of 1.6 million candles. I’m unsure how they figured that out but it’s impressive.
You can also wander through the park and see everything there is to see, including some nice lookouts and caves made by two massive rocks falling against each other. It costs $80NT to enter the park and $20NT to park your scooter. The lighthouse is free.
The southern most point in Taiwan
Just down the road from the park is the southern most tip in Taiwan. That’s right, you can stand there, reach out with your hand and be the most southerly person in all of Taiwan (apart from the fishing boats that might be going past). I did it, I stood there basking in the fact that I was the most southerly person in all of Taiwan for a few minutes. It costs $30NT to park your scooter.
One thing to note is that the most southern point in Taiwan isn’t in Eluanbi park, you need to turn right out of the park and keep going down the road a bit.
Kenting National park (by scooter)
The park is massive, you could spend all day in there if you wanted and there’d still be a ton to see. There are nature trails, hikes, waterfalls, temples, lookouts, suspension bridges and stunning views everywhere. What I’d recommend is to pick a few things you want to do and stick to that. Remember that you’ll come across things on your way to your destination. Or you could just do what I did and see what popped up: I was traveling through the park on my way to Taitung which is about 130km north of Kenting on the east coast.
What are the roads like in Kenting National Park?
One word: immaculate. They must have recently been upgraded, because the bitumen is smooth with zero potholes (on the vast swathes of roads I went on anyway). The edge of the road is marked with a big white line, so if you happen to misjudge time and travel at night, it’ll be easy to navigate. If the road is wide enough there is a white line in the middle, and there are blind spot mirrors everywhere. It’s not really that steep either. I felt quite safe on the road, so I think it’d be fine for lesser experienced drivers.
make sure you go into the park with a full gas tank
Kenting National Park to Taitung – a breathtaking road
I mentioned earlier that I drove through the park on my way to Taitung which is about 130km north of Kenting. Half of that drive was through national park, and the other half was along an awesome coastal road that’ll see you, in parts, right next to the ocean or 200 meters above it on a road literally jutting out from a cliff. The beaches are all a grey/black colour, created from crushed volcanic rock that’s turned into sand. Although you’ll not find these beaches on any tourist maps, for me they were a highlight of the trip.
Kenting National Park is an easily accessible park that has lots of roads joining one ‘place of interest’ to the next. While I didn’t specifically go into the park just to look around, I did do some research and there’s a big list of places you could see. If you like waterfalls seek them out. If you like lookouts then drive there. You could simply pick 3-4 places you think might be nice and connect the roads together yourself to plan a route.
Whatever you end up seeing you’ll have an amazing day
For more information about Taiwan take a look at my Taiwan page.