Taiwan is not just known for its night market. If you like beaches, you are going to love Kenting. Located in Pingtung which is at the southern of Taiwan, Kenting is a popular place for beach lovers especially for its beaches which are clear swimming pools created by nature. Remember to bring a fast charge power bank before you go for a short weekend getaway!
How to go from Kaohsiung Airport
We arrived at Kaohsiung airport and were about to take a bus to Kenting when we saw this uncle who was offering his transport services to Kenting. If you manage to clock at least 4 people in his minivan, he offers NT$400 each (SGD$17) to Kenting straight to your hotel/guest house.
Considering the price of the bus to Kenting, we thought NT$400 was reasonable and definitely faster than bus. The trip took us around 1hour and 40 mins, the driver was very friendly and shared lots of Kenting attractions but we were just so tired while we practically concussed on our trip there.
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Renting Electric Scooters
After checking in our hotel at Caesar Park Hotel, we visited one of the shops along the streets immediately to rent our electric motor scooters. Don’t worry, these are not the electric scooters we see in Singapore (see above). Riding electric scooter is a fun way of exploring Kenting and it costs generally NT$600 (SGD$25) for a full day rental. Not to mention, it is not easy to hail for a cab in Kenting.
In the beginning, we thought we were pretty smart by just simply renting them from the nearest shop next to our hotel so we didnt have to walk too far back to our hotel when we returned them.
The electric scooters we rented had irregular speeds. We could go up to 35-40km/h at times, but most of the times it barely hit 25km/h which was super slow. One of the scooters had its rear brake light malfunctioned and my friend almost crashed into my scooter when I e-braked.
So here are some trips to choose your electric scooters (other than obvious checks such as brakes, front light, brake lights etc).
1. Always check the mileage for these electric scooters
The electric scooters we rented had almost 20,000km of mileage. High mileage means shitty scooters as we doubted they were maintained or serviced regularly. Of course, we weren’t expecting brand new scooters, but the ones we rented on the 2nd round had around 10,000km of mileage and they worked properly as intended.
2. Manage your mileage
Always monitor your scooter battery when riding and take the owner’s estimate of the battery with a pinch of salt. We did see a few guys pushing their scooters all the way back in totally darkness along the way when their scooters ran out of juice.
3. Types of electric scooters batteries
The battery for the electric scooters generally can run about 50km to 60km. After renting our 2nd unit from another shop, we realized there were two types of electric scooters.
The standard electric scooter has two batteries hidden under the seat, you can swap the battery once the other is depleted. The other type of electric scooter uses a battery that can be recharged from certain parts of Kenting. While charging remotely is slow, having a rechargeable electric scooter means you wont get stuck in the middle of nowhere when your battery is depleted.
Follow the Traffic Rules
Riding the electric scooter can be fun but it can be really dangerous if you don’t follow the rules.
- Taiwan roads are right hand drive which is opposite from Singapore roads.
- Always ride in the same direction of the traffic, there are some winding roads and it might be dangerous to ride opposite the traffic flow.
- Generally most of the time, there is a small left hand lane for motor bikes and electric scooters to ride. If there isn’t, just keep to the left side of the left lane, you will be fine.
- If you are making a left turn in a cross junction, be sure not to follow the red line as shown in the image above. You should follow the green line as if you are a pedestrian. Many accidents involving electric scooters occur because riders follow the red line and get hit by the incoming traffic.
Exploring Kenting Beaches
Unlike our muddy beaches in Singapore, Kenting beaches are absolutely gorgeous with its crystal clear water. Surrounded by Pacific Ocean, the Taiwan Strait, and the Luzon Strait, it is basically just next to Philippines. There are several beaches along the main road so you can choose to stop at any popular hot spot if you are riding your electric scooter.
Another big mistake we made was the timing of our visit. While the weather in mid March was cooling at 15°C, the water could be as cold as 8°C. Despite so, the beach was so beautiful that we had to take a dive and swim.
The water is so crystal clear that you can see the rocks in the sea from far! Nevertheless to say, we had a great time on the beach. However, never forget to put on sunblock even though the weather is cool. Because of the cold weather, we didnt realize we had a bad sunburn till the latter part of the day.
後壁湖海鮮 （HOUBIHU FISHING HARBOR)
You definitely have to visit Houbihu if you love seafood. It is the largest fishing port in Kenting. There are many seafood restaurants, hence without a doubt, the seafoods served in these restaurants are fresh and affordable. You will see a lot of sea urchin, Mahi Mahi, which is dolphinfish, and sailfish.
Sashimi is definitely the highlight here. However, before you try it, you might want to know that Houbihu is just situated next to a nuclear power plant. Then again, Taiwan has practically near zero nuclear accident. We will cover more about the nuclear power plant later on.
Since we loved sashimi, we ordered the smallest plate of tuna salmon mix at NT$100. We were pleasantly surprised to see 12 thick slices of tuna and salmon and it costed barely SGD$4.20). They were fresh, thick and succulent. There were 3 sizes of servings, NT$100, NT$200 and NT$300. The NT$300 serving was insanely huge that could feed a family of 8.
Unfortunately, we were so hyped over the sashimi that we decided to order a lobster as well. While lobster was insanely fresh, it was very expensive ( NT$2300 ~ SGD$97) and the meat was a little tough.
Maanshan Nuclear Power Plant (馬鞍山核能發電廠)
The Maanshan Nuclear Power Plant (馬鞍山核能發電廠 or 核三) is just a 5 mins scooter ride from the Houbihu Fishing Harbor. Established since 1984, the Maanshan Nuclear Power Plant is Taiwan’s third nuclear power plant and second-largest in generation capacity. It is one of the hidden attractions in Kenting and it is absolutely breathtaking.
Being so up close to a nuclear plant outlet did make us feel excited and vulnerable at the same time. If you are really worried about the radiation, rest assured that the area is safe.
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Water is used only to cool down the nuclear reactor and nothing radioactive is expelled into the sea unlike Fukushima. While the temperature of the surrounding water was slightly higher at that time, recent water quality tests showed that the sea water surrounding Kenting was of good quality.
The view at the nuclear power outlet was absolutely stunning. We couldn’t help to wonder why the water was so suspiciously blue. The water looked so blue that the entire nuclear outlet looked as if it was a gigantic swimming pool. Despite so, there were quite a few fishing enthusiasts trying their luck there. It was very windy and was exceptionally pleasing experience especially after a heavy meal.
Moving on to Cingjing
In all, it was a short trip in Kenting, we definitely love to explore more the next time we visit. By the way, we do not receive any sponsorship for recommending some of the services as shown below, hence if you have a better suggestion where to have fun in Kenting, please share with us in the comment section below!
Our next stop is to Cingjing farm in Taiwan and be sure to check us out there!