After having spent most of my Taiwan trip in big cities, visiting Kenting was like a breath of fresh air. If you dislike big cities and want to escape the crowds and pollution, Kenting is the right place for you. There I discovered that Taiwan was actually beautiful and had a lot of natural wonders to explore, starting with Kenting National Park. There are actually many things to do in Kenting where you’ll find impressive tourist attractions and many breath-taking natural sights.
The peninsula is famous for the Kenting National Park, a large protected area including beautiful beaches, many natural wonders, and a few nice trekking trails. Don’t expect a regular National Park with an entrance where the headquarters are and from where you can start trekking, see it more like a protected area encompassing most of the peninsula.
There are plenty of other things to do in Kenting besides visiting the park. You’ll find gorgeous beaches, lush natural areas, and weird natural phenomenons within the protected area, as well as a bit further, outside of the park.
Kenting is located at Taiwan’s southern tip and has been protected from heavy development, it boasts several protected areas and natural parks. I recommend staying at least 3 days to fully explore the area. You’ll need to rent a car or motorbike as public transportation is not ideal. You can also join a tour or hire a driver.
The easiest would be to stay in Kenting Township, where there are plenty of accommodations to choose from. From there you can easily visit Kenting’s top tourist attractions and natural wonders as it’s a central location. In the evenings, the main street turns into a 2 km night market, full of delicious street food.
The best way to explore Kenting National Park and beyond is to drive around the peninsula where you’ll see several viewpoints and nice beaches. Kenting has a lot of beautiful places to visit, you could stop every 100 meters and see something different every time. There are so many things to do in Kenting! Read on to discover all the best things to do in Kenting, how to get to the tourist attractions, as well as useful travel tips to plan your trip to Kenting National Park.
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Maps of Kenting National Park attractions and tourist spots:
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Best things to do in Kenting National Park – Top Kenting Tourist Attractions:
1 – White Sand Bay – Bai Sha Beach
This beach is where some of the scenes from Life of Pi have been filmed and I understand why the director chose this spot. The beach is just amazing, especially compared to most Taiwanese beaches. The water is crystal clear, not too wavy, so perfect for swimming, and the sand is clean and thin. The beach is far from the road, so the place is really quiet, there’s no big building and the beach’s surroundings are mostly left wild.
There are a couple of hotels nearby and a campsite right in front of the beach. You can rent chairs and umbrellas as well as organize water activities. You can also rent paddles and explore the coast. Visiting Bai Sha Beach is one of the best things to do in Kenting, it’s a must-see.
Entrance fee: Free
2 – Maobitou Park
Near Baisha Beach, you can also visit Maobitou Park, famous for its corals’ sculptures, one representing a cat about to jump (entrance fee: 30 NTD). The park also offers nice views of the ocean. It’s a nice thing to do in Kenting but I wouldn’t recommend visiting it if you’re short on time or if it’s not on your way.
3 – South Bay – Namwan Beach
If you like beaches and have time to spare, pay a visit to South Bay also known as Nanwan Beach. The scenery there is stunning and the sea perfect for surfing especially during the winter and spring. There are also areas where you can swim safely.
It’s a bit more developed then Baisha Beach with guesthouses, convenience stores, bars, and restaurants. The southern part is the busiest, head to the north if you’re looking for some peace and quiet. The beach can get pretty crowded with locals during weekends and national holidays, especially as spending some time relaxing there is one of the top things to do in Kenting.
You can easily access South Bay from Kenting via public transportation.
If you like to surf, you can also check out Jialeshui, a scenic little village only 20 km east of Kenting and one of the top surfing spots in the country.
4 – Wanlitong Beach
Wanlitong Beach might not be Kenting’s prettiest beach but it’s one of the quietest and probably the best ones for snorkeling. You can rent snorkeling gear near the beach and just swim to the reef. The reef there is well-preserved and colorful, with many fishes swimming around.
5 – Jialeshuei Scenic Area
This place is famous for its rock formations. Along a 2 km road, you’ll see many sculptures made by the ocean, with a bit of imagination you might be able to spot some animals. The guide only speaks Chinese, but if you have someone to translate for you, you’ll realize they are obsessed with frogs, every 10 meters they’ll point a rock looking like a frog, even with a good imagination I couldn’t spot half of them.
You can choose to walk by yourself or take the free shuttle that will stop at every interesting point. The end of the road is the most spectacular with the biggest rocks and many cliffs.
Jialeshuei Scenic Area entrance fee: 100 NTD – Open every day from 7 AM to 5 PM.
6 – ChuHuo Eternal Flame
Apart from being beautiful, ChuHuo is famous for its small fires coming out of the ground. The area is full of natural gas, where it leeks to the surface and ignite, but don’t worry it’s not dangerous. The size of the flames depends on the season, the best time to visit is during summer and dry weather. You can just make a quick stop here on your way to Hengchun.
Entrance fee: Free
7 – Sheding Natural Park
This other protected area is great for trekking and you’ll find many caves to visit right along the main path. Sheding Natural Park used to be the land of the Paiwan people, one of Taiwan’s most predominant aboriginal tribes. Nature there has been really well preserved, you’ll see many different types of plants as well as animals especially butterflies. If you’re lucky (or hire a local guide) you might spot glowing mushrooms, Formosan Sika Deers, land crabs, and tree frogs.
Sheding Park is less frequented than Kenting National Forest Recreational Area so it’s a nicer experience, with more peace and quiet. The park is also wilder and trekking there is one of the best things to do in Kenting if you’re looking for a less frequented place.
Entrance fee: free
8 – Eluanbi Lighthouse and Park
In the southern-most part of Taiwan, the Eluanbi lighthouse is a must-stop on your visit to Kenting. The lighthouse in itself offers nothing special, but the park around it is worth a stroll. Along the main path, you’ll find many viewpoints of the ocean and surrounding mountains, as well as several caves and rock formations.
The site is of archaeological importance as a couple of prehistorical tools have been found there. Count at least 2 hours if you want to fully visit the park.
Nearby, don’t forget to stop at the Southernmost tip of Taiwan and take a selfie next to the sign. It’s a 20-minute walk from the lighthouse, it’s also a good spot to watch the sunset.
Eluanbi Lighthouse and Park entrance fee: 60 NTD – Open every day from 6:30 AM to 6:30 PM.
9 – Hengchun Township
Visiting Hengchun is one of the best things to do in Kenting if you’re interested in culture. There are plenty of things to in Hengchun, you can start by walking around the old commercial district. Around town you’ll find 4 ancient gates, the city wall is still intact in some places and some of the gates are still in use and well preserved. Hengchun is the only fortified city in Taiwan with its 4 gates still standing, it’s also an important historical site.
10 – Monkey Cave
In Hengchun, you can also visit the Monkey Cave. Nowadays you won’t see any monkeys and even less a cave. It’s now just a big coral rock, you can climb to the top. The area used to be covered with water, that’s why you’ll find coral so far from the sea. A lot of legends surrounds what used to be a cave, several earthquakes destroyed it and modern life chased the monkeys to less developed areas.
11 – Beer Museum
Not far from the city center you can visit the Beer Museum, they also craft beers here but you cannot visit the factory. To me, the museum is not worth the 100 NTD entrance fee, but if you drink beer it’s fine because you get a free beer. Just seeing the bar area is sufficient, that’s where most of the interesting things are, and the entrance is free. On one of the walls, you’ll see thousands of beer glasses forming the word “BEER”. On another one, you’ll see a huge replica of Mona Lisa made only with beer tags.
12 – Longluan Lake
On your way back from Hengchun, you can drive by Longluan Lake, taking in the scenery and passing through lush fields.
13 – Mount Turtle – Gueishan
Nearby, you can also go to Gueishan, also known as Mount Turtle, the 15 minutes hike to the top will bring you to amazing views of the ocean and of the surrounding mountains. The entrance fee is 60 NTD. This place is not on most tourists’ routes so it’s really quiet and you won’t see many people there. It’s also a good spot to watch the sunset.
14 – Sail Rock
Sail Rock, also known as Nixon’s head, is famous for resembling a US president, some people also see a sailboat about to depart. You can make a quick stop on your way back from the lighthouse. You can also stroll around Chuanfanshi colorful streets, boarded by cute cafés, and let’s be honest, weird architectural and design choices.
15 – Go Diving
Kenting features some of Taiwan’s top diving spots with beautiful reefs, colorful fishes, and impressive shipwrecks. You can book a diving trip from the main street in Kenting or at most beaches nearby. The dive sites near Kenting are quite challenging as there’s usually a strong current but there are a couple of beginner-friendly spots as well. Going on a diving or snorkeling trip is one of the best things to do in Kenting during the dry season.
16 – Kenting Forest Recreational Area
Kenting Forest Recreational Area is the best place in Kenting National Park to trek and explore caves, this protected area was once an undersea coral reef and was turned into a botanical garden centuries later by the Japanese. Walking around, you’ll pass by intriguing limestone caves, narrow canyons, and cliffs, seeing ancient banyan trees and maybe spotting a few macaques.
There are a lot of amazing viewpoints along some of the paths and an observation tower in the middle of the park from which you can see the whole peninsula.
Entrance fee: NT$ 150 – Open every day from 8 AM to 5 PM
Is Kenting worth visiting?
Definitely YES, Kenting is worth visiting! First off because it’s different from the rest of Taiwan and it’s where you’ll find some of the most beautiful beaches in the country. Visiting Kenting’s tourist attractions is a nice change to visiting Taiwan’s huge cities like Taipei, there you’ll find a lot of natural attractions, as well as cultural activities to join. There are so many things to do in Kenting National Park and around!
Kenting National Park Itinerary
Kenting is worth spending at least a day, but I would recommend staying at least two days. You can spend half a day to a full day trekking in Kenting Forest Recreational Area and a second, renting a scooter and going around the peninsula. You could easily visit all the tourist attractions listed above within a day.
You can spend a third day at the beach if you’re there during summer.
How to get to Kenting from Taipei?
In Taipei head to Taipei Main Station where you’ll take an HSR high-speed train to Kaohsiung. Then, from the train station, take an express shuttle bus to Kenting. The bus from Kaohsiung to Kenting takes 2,5 hours, buses depart every 30 minutes.
How to get around Kenting?
The easiest way to visit Kenting is to rent a car or scooter, you’ll need a Taiwanese or international license for each of those (the driving license you have must state you can drive a scooter). If you don’t have the right driving license, you can rent an electric scooter without it, as it’s not mandatory to have a license to drive those.
You can also hire a private driver for the day, just ask your hotel about it or negotiate with a cab driver.
Some places can also be reached by bus, but not all of them so it’s not the optimal solution to get around Kenting.
What to do in Kenting at night?
One of the best things to do in Kenting is visiting the night market along the main street where you can sample some local delicacies as well as international dishes with a local twist. You should also check out the funky truck bars and grab a cocktail or two there. You’ll find them near the Howard Plaza Hotel. All of the trucks serve original drinks and have a unique decoration.
You can also catch the sunset at Little Bay Beach while having a drink.
What’s the best time to visit Kenting National Park?
If you want to avoid heavy rainfalls and hot weather, the best time to visit Kenting is from March to May and in October and November. This being said, you can visit Kenting year-round and you should be fine (unless you’re unlucky enough to be there during a typhoon).
Where to stay in Kenting National Park – Best accommodations
There are plenty of accommodation options in Kenting for all budgets, from quirky backpackers to luxurious resorts and everything in between.
For backpackers, check out Kenting my Home and Kenting Original Hostel. Both are super well located, with a cool design and a lot of common space to meet fellow travelers and hang out. They offer female-only and mix dormitories, Kenting Original Hostel has bunk beds and Kenting My Home has capsules (not a good option if you are claustrophobic but great for privacy).
For something nicer check out Bai Sha Tan Cottage (don’t let the name confuse you, it’s not on Bai Sha beach and there’s no cottages), the hotel is conveniently located in the city center near Kenting National Park. The rroms are spacious and modern with a balcony. Breakfast is included and most of the staff speaks good English.
If you want to splurge, check out Gloria Manor, it’s a bit excentred but the view is just spectacular. The rooms are beautiful and they have a big ocean view garden with a pool. Breakfast is included and the restaurant serves tasty international as well as local dishes.
Related posts to help you plan your trip to Taiwan:
- Taiwan Complete Travel Guide – Everything your need to know to plan your trip to Taiwan: budget, best places to visit, food, best time to visit, and much more…
- Best day trips from Kaohsiung – Kaohsiung is the biggest city near Kenting, It is worth stopping for a few days, the city is full of cultural activities and the county is rich in natural activities as well.
- Taitung’s best tourist attractions – If you’re planning on visiting Taiwan’s East coast after Kenting and want to discover Taiwan’s vibrant aboriginal culture, you should definitely include Taitung in your itinerary.
Useful Travel Resources:
- 18 travel essentials to pack to help you save space and travel lighter.
- Staying at a hostel – Everything you need to know + what to pack + hostel etiquette.
- Getting over the fear of traveling alone – How to solo travel like a pro.
- 30+ secret budget hacks to save money when traveling so you can travel more!
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