Backpacking in Taiwan: Kenn Ding/Kenting

The day trip to Kenting was planned for our second Sunday in Taiwan. Kenting is a massive national park on the south coast of the island, which includes nature trails, beaches and a small village, called Kenting. Yet pronounced “Kenn Ding”, somehow once again the Chinese Mandarin was slightly lost in translation when it got converted into English. After spending an entire night wide awake in the city of Kaohsiung, we boarded a 6.15 am bus to Kenting. The bus cost 298 Taiwanese Dollars and would drop us right in the heart of Kenting, and a few hundred miles south of Kaohsiung.

We slept on the bus all the way down and got off just after 9 am, stranded bang in the middle of Kenting town centre with the hottest sun I’d ever felt. First stop was water and light snacks, and the 7-11 was the place we went. After that we wanted a relaxing sleep on the beach, so it was a 5 minute walk east to the tiny cosy “Caesar’s Cove” beach inlet.

We walked down to Caeser’s Cove, found a wee spot and added some sun cream. Natalja, Neil and I all took turns to swim in the Pacific Ocean for the first time on this trip. It was warm water, very refreshing, but a little shingle – ey. There were also tiny crabs and random weird sea animals walking past – tiny creatures but ones I’d never seen before. We all lay down regardless and got (or at least tried to) get some sleep. It was tough in the heat though, and I put sun cream on, my Factor 4 one from Boots in the UK. I would later learn it wasn’t strong enough, and I didn’t cover my skin properly. There was a massive rock on one side of the cove, which added to the scenery, and a few families of random Taiwanese locals added to a relaxed calm easy atmosphere,

As usual almost everyone around us was Taiwanese, but Neil shouted “there’s some Westerners, let’s go and chat to them.” It was a family of 4, a Mum, Dad, daughter and son combination. They were all from Chicago in the USA. The Dad had got a contract living in Taiwan, up north somewhere for a car firm if I remember rightly. The family had emigrated to there and seemed to be enjoying their new life. After that I fell asleep with Taiwan Lonely Planet book and iPod. We decided to leave the hot hot Caesar’s Cover around noon, meaning we’d had 3 hours in the hot sun. I was scorched already and could see my skin turning red. It was time for Neil to make a call from a coinbox to his friend Jen from the “Ocean Every Day” pub in Shinying as she was to join us that day. Unfortunately she had decided to go to Kaohsiung instead, but later turned up just as we were leaving Eluanbi further down the coast.

We wanted to eat food at this point, and there wasn’t as much choice in Kenting as there was in all our previous places in Taiwan. However we found a nice Thailand/Myanmarese restaurant on the main street. It was also slightly dearer than in places such as Tainan and Shinying, so maybe £2 for a full meal and an extra £1 for the beer that me and Neil had. In there the three of us each chose something different and shared the meals. I went for Goat noodles with mixed vegetables. Natalja went for Coconut chicken and Neil for a Thai chicken curry. We got free water in a strange silver tin beaker and got tore into what was a well deserved and craved proper meal. Even the normally poor Taiwan Beer in its less than elegant green and white packaging tasted somehow special. With mountainous forest on one side of the street and the pacific ocean on the other side, we had found a needed respite there and then. We finished the meals before heading on a bus trip down to the southern tip of Taiwan (see post on Eluanbi). We spent the rest of the afternoon down there.
We had some more time in Kenting, just Natalja and I before our bus trip back to Kaohsiung that night to meet Eva. We decided to relax some more at the main beach in Kenting, a much more beautiful sandy beach with a clean, fresh ocean to swim in. Entrance, as with Caesar’s Cove was free, but you had to enter via a campsite and a place called Dawan Road. There were some fishermen on the beach and a few other holiday makers. No foreigners, just us. Natalja swam in the sea, looking like a lady from a James Bond film. Ursula Andress sprung to mind. After an hour or so there, the sun began to set, creating a beautiful image shining onto the beach and waves at Kenting.

After this the pair of us relaxed with the two drinks we had left over in my bag from the journey down – my warm Taiwan Beer and Natalja’s warm red wine. IT was calm and peaceful. After that we decided to get the 8 pm bus back to Kaohsiung main station. It was a sleepy bus, which we needed again and soon we were back in Kaohsiung waiting for Eva Jun, and to begin another crazy Taiwan adventure – the trip up the East Coast to Tailuga

Where we went – Kenting Park (Kenting Village, Caesar’s Cove, Kenting Beach)

Who went – Jonny, Neil, Natalja

Transport Used – 88 Bus from Kaohsiung (cost 298 dollars one way)

Bars Visited – Myanmarese Restaurant

Nicest Food – Goat noodles

Key song – Dire Straits – So Far Away


Don’t Stop Living is Jonny Blair‘s journey round the globe. He is the travelling Northern Irishman and he lives a lifestyle of travel! Loved Kenting Taiwan!

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