Today I travelled from Tainan to the southern most town of Taiwan: Kenting. This post is about my first impressions of this beachside town.
How to get there
It’s very simple to get to Kenting, you can go by train (not HSR), bus, taxi, or if you’re like me: ride a motorbike. There’s one road which takes you to Kenting and that’s the number 1 highway which turns into the number 26 highway. To put it simply, it’s the one big road that goes from north to south on Taiwan’s west coast. If you keep heading north you’ll get to Kaohsiung (pronounced Gow-shung). If you keep heading south you’ll hit the bottom most tip of Taiwan, sling yourself around the lighthouse and be on the east coast heading back up north.
What greets you as you enter?
The whole journey in you’ll get to enjoy the magnificent ocean to the right of you, and the mountains jutting up to the left of you. There’s literally about 300 meters from the shore line to the base of the mountains.
You’ll know when you reach Kenting as the empty road will instantly become a tide of hotels, resorts, restaurants and shops – all comfortably nestled in with the surroundings. It’s certainly not an eye sore, I actually found it quite welcoming.
Kenting feels like a tourist town, built for tourists, but without the over population and tackiness of some other places, for example the Gold Coast in Australia or Vegas. There’s the main street which is where all the action is, and behind that, closer to the sea is another smaller street with the more luxurious resorts. The main street itself is only about 200 meters long, and can be casually strolled down in about 20 minutes.
What to eat?
There is literally every cuisine you can think of (except I didn’t see any Indian). Everything from cuttlefish on a skewer sold by a street vendor, to Smokey Joes Steakhouse, which as the name suggests, sells a lot of steak and beers. You can also get fruit, BBQ, candy and every type of sea food. There’s also a pharmacy, convenience stores and clothes shops. Also your typical souvenir shops.
The brilliant thing about this place is the majority of the menus are in Chinese and English, so you know what you’re getting. However, if you want to brave the unknown and test your Chinese there were some restaurants that have Chinese only menus.
I’ll get some Italian later.
Where to stay?
I don’t think you’ll have a problem getting a room in this town as there is an abundance of hotels. However, if you don’t want to deplete all your funds I suggest you book ahead, especially in summer. I feel booking last minute in a tourist town would be quite expensive.
As I was riding in a woman pulled up next to me on her bike and shouted “do you need a hotel? Have you paid for one already?”. I had, so I declined her offer, and she scootered off to find some other tourist. It was a nice gesture for her to do that. All the hotels are either on, or very close to the main drag, so everything will be walking distance. Be sure to watch the sunset from the beach if you can.
What else can you do?
Granted I’ve only been here about five hours, but through your research you’ll know that this is the home of Kenting Nation Park, which I will venture through tomorrow on my way to my next destination. There are a ton of scooter rental places, so I recommend hiring a scooter and heading off into the park. I think riding on a scooter always beats a car or bus when it comes to slowly traveling around and exploring places.
To sum up, Kenting feels very welcoming, and there is everything you could possibly need here, including petrol and other essentials.
I hope this mini guide helped, and for other posts about Taiwan have a look at my Taiwan page.