Kenting is a small town located on the southern tip of Taiwan popular with the locals for its tropical beach getaway. The young travel there to make the most of their summer vacation, and the young at heart go to take a break from the hustle and bustle of their busy city lives. Well-known for its clear blue skies and colourful coral reefs, a trip to Kenting will undoubtedly fill your day with fun and adventure and your nights with amazing food.
01. Travel by e-bike
Rent an e-bike, or more commonly known as a scooter! You do not need a license as they are considered relatively safe in Taiwan, with designated lanes on the roads for them. These bikes go for as little as NTD400 a day and would require you to leave a deposit of either your identification card or passport. Feel the sea breeze ruffling your hair as you glide down the roads from the north of the city to the Southernmost point of Taiwan, where beyond the seemingly unending stretch of the South China Sea there is an unobstructed view of the horizon.
02. Heng Chun City Gates
One of the oldest city gates which still stands in Taiwan and the only remaining ancient Taiwanese castle town with its city gates still intact are the gates of Heng Chun Township. Pay close attention to the carvings in the rocks used to form the walls of the gate – they were intricately carved by hand in a time when industrial machinery were not yet available.
03. Eternal Fire Pits
The Eternal Fire Pits is a bizarre yet intriguing natural phenomenon in Kenting and my favourite night scene. In some protected areas there are patches of empty land where small potholes of fire fuelled by natural gas released from the core of the Earth can be seen. After the sun sets, these fires light up the dark sky and provides its spectators warmth from the chilly nights.
Unfortunately, many businessmen have tried to turn this natural beauty into a money-making opportunity, selling popcorn to be popped over the flames along the parking lots leading up to the pits. I encourage you not to partake in this, because we need to remove the demand to get rid of the supply!
04. Snorkelling or Scuba Diving
You do not have to travel to the Maldives to learn how to scuba dive – Kenting offers a great stretch of coral reefs where you can observe beautiful sea creatures in their natural habitats. While you are in the ocean which many fish call their home, always remember to take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footsteps and keep nothing but memories.
05. Kenting Avenue
The main avenue of Kenting becomes a bustling night market once darkness falls. Walk down the street or ride an e-bike while keeping an eye out for the local delights – from local fruits and Taiwanese sausages, to salted steam chicken and fried mushrooms. Be adventurous, you’ll be surprised how amazing street fare can be.
06. NTD100 Seafood Restaurants
Scattered throughout Kenting are small seafood restaurants with their characteristic signboards announcing that they sell dishes at NTD100 per plate. And true to their word, you can order everything from pork knuckles and fried prawns to steam fish for just NTD100 per dish. It is a great bargain and a fantastic way to experience the freshness from the local catch of the day.
Stay at a local guesthouse, the original Airbnb. It all began when people purchased summer homes which were left vacant when they went back to the city, or when the elderly lived in houses too big for themselves after their children left in search of work in the bigger cities. The empty rooms were let out to backpackers and tourists who wanted to experience living like the locals.
The hosts are helpful and friendly too; I once stayed in the cosy attic of a store that served traditional breakfast of egg rolls and Taiwanese toast in the daytime and which turned into a snack bar at night. The friendly owners and staff would chat with us while preparing our breakfast or over a beer after a long day and introduce us their city.
08. Chateau Beach Resort Kenting
The best resort hotel in Kenting owns a little stretch of a private beach which guests can enjoy. You can simply lie on the beach and get a tan, or read a book while sipping a cocktail. The more adventurous can sign up for some exhilarating water sports with the concierge.
09. Mosquito Repellent
A holiday is great, so do not let the abundance of mosquitos in the summer spoil it for you. Pack a bottle of mosquito repellent or buy one from a local store.