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Around Kaohsiung

Introducing Around Kaohsiung

It’s the end of the road down here, but there’s nothing remote or isolated at all about Kenting National Park (Kěndīng Guójiā Gōngyuán). Over 5 million visitors a year flock here to swim, surf, snorkel, dive, visit museums, hike, visit hot springs, eat good food and enjoy a little nightlife. And they do so all year round. The average January temperature is 21°C (many days are much warmer). Unless a cold front has hit the island, you can usually swim even year round. In July it can get to a scorching 38°C.

The park occupies the entire southern tip of Taiwan, an area known as the Hengchun Peninsula. Low mountains and hilly terraces prevail over much of the land, along with, in a few places, rugged high cliffs and sandy deserts. The swimming beaches won’t stun you with their beauty like those in Thailand, but they are lovely nonetheless, with yellow sands and turquoise waters. All in all, the topo­graphy is wonderfully suited for recreation, in particular cruising around sightseeing on a scooter.

In many ways, the park gets better every year, but also worse. You can no longer just pitch a tent anywhere, but now fireworks are banned on the beaches. There’s a greater emphasis on cleanliness but with more and more travellers visiting, some places are trashed during the busy season (summer and Chinese New Year). The main street in Kenting Village is looking better, but there’s still no plan for a pavement.

Suffice to say, some love it here for what there is, while some do not for what there isn’t.