9-hour 42-km bicycle exploration of beautiful Kenting, Taiwan (台湾垦丁。脚踏车。我)

台湾垦丁。脚踏车。我 (Kenting Taiwan . 42 km Bicycle Ride. Me)

In recent years, whenever I travel overseas, I have made it a point to combine sports, travel and food. :) I would either run (run a marathon or at local park or route) or cycle as a way to explore the richness of the local culture, the uniqueness of the people and the different ways of life of people of the world.

So with my recent trip to Taiwan (Feb 2016), there wasn't any exception. Besides running marathon in Kaohsiung and cycling around Kaohsiung city, I also took the opportunity to explore Kenting by bicycle, public transportation (local public bus) and by foot.


During the 4-day-3-night stay at Kenting, I'm going to share on the Day#2 of Kenting trip:  42 km, 9-hour leisure bicycle ride along the beautiful coast of Kenting and then into the inroads of Kenting before heading back to Kenting Street where I stayed.

I hope it will excite you to explore Kenting Taiwan one day on bicycle as well. :)



About Kenting, Taiwan


The Kenting National Park (墾丁國家公園), commonly known as Kenting(墾丁), is a national park located in the  Hengchun Peninsula (恒春) of   Pingtung County 屏东县)Taiwan (台湾)  covering Hengchun (恒春)Checheng (车程), and Manzhou (满洲) Townships. 

Kenting is Taiwan's oldest and southernmost national park, covering the southernmost area of the Taiwan island along Bashi Channel. This national park is well known for its tropical climate and sunshine, scenic mountain and beach, the Spring Scream rock-band festival  (春天呐喊)held in every March, and has long been one of the most favorite resort places in Taiwan.

 And for those who can read Chinese, remember Taiwan movie Cape No. 7 (海角七号)released in 2009? Most on the backdrops were shot here in Kenting. :)



Kenting National Park is at the most southern part of Taiwan.



Kenting Dream B & B 墾丁尋夢園  at Kenting Street was where I stayed. It served as starting point.
The map shows all the tourist attractions of Kenting National Park

The 42-km, 9-hour bicycle route exploring Kenting National Park



As you can see from the google map, it was a pretty long ride. 

Total distance was about 42 km, cycling up many mountain hills, facing gusty winds up to 56 km / hour and drizzling rain. The weather was about 24 degree celsius but made even colder by the wind chill factor especially cycling along the coastal road facing Pacific Ocean.

Part 1: 
Cycling along the coastal road from Kenting Street (垦丁大街) down to the most southern tip of Taiwan (最南端)

Part 2: 
Cycling along coastal road on the east facing endless Pacific Ocean up to the north until reaching Gang Kou (港口)

Part 3:
Cycling inroads to the west direction from Gang Kou (港口) to Henchun Town (恒春) 

Part 4:
Cycling down south from Henchun Town (恒春) back to Kenting Street (垦丁大街)

Up to the challenge? :)

Here is the recount of the cycling experience:


1. Kenting Street (垦丁大街) (Starting Point)

From Kaohsiung to Kenting - beautiful scenery seen from the bus


It was a 2.5 hour bus ride from Kaohsiung MRT station 左營 to Kaohsiung Kenting Street. 

On the journey I passed by some places with breathtaking views.  It is nice to travel from a city to a beach town. And I must say my first impression of Kenting was awesome!! 

Kenting Street is the busiest most touristy area. At night, this is where daily night market is held with lots of local Taiwan street food. Yum Yum! That's why I decided to stay here, the most convenient most central location.

The street is very clean. People are friendly. It still has the small town feel in a developed nation like Taiwan.

You will see battery-powered scooters everywhere on the streets. Most locals here ride the scooters. And many scooters are for rent. All are battery-powered! :) Such an eco-friendly country!

Well - that's not all, from the picture below, you would also see the rubbish truck passing by street to pick up rubbish. 

And the most wonderful thing is that I didn't see anyone coming down from the rubbish truck to help throw the rubbish onto the truck. 

Instead, it's the citizens, the people of Taiwan, who would queue up on the road side waiting for the rubbish truck, then to throw the rubbish themselves into the truck!!

Oh by the way - before I forget - do you also know that in Taiwan, one can hardly find any rubbish can on the streets? 

So you might wonder - where do they throw all the rubbish? Well - I guess Taiwanese have learned not to simply throw on the streets. And to discourage that, usually a country would prepare many trash cans for people to litter the waste. But Taiwan practices the other way around. No trash cans for you - so better don't create rubbish!! Such a wonderful idea!!

I managed to chat with some Taiwanese locals and I found out that they started it through education. So all the kids were trained to behave. And they are the ones to influence the older generation for an eco-friendly nation. 

I rented a bicycle for 12 hours costing only NT 150 (MYR 18). The bike condition is not very good but since it's a leisure ride, I thought it is ok. The only setback is that no helmet is provided. :(


Ok - let' start our ride exploring the beautiful Kenting! :)


2. Sail Rock (船帆石)


Sail Rock (船帆石)

You can see a big rock in the middle of the sea. From afar, it looks like a sailing boat about to sail out into the Pacific Ocean. The sail rock is about 18 meter, formed by old died corals and rock.

From what I read, they used to be able to see dolphins and whales here. But due to development, dolphins and whales don't appear here anymore.

This is where I also bought a local baked yam from a street vendor to fill my stomach. :)


3. Oluanpi Park and Light Tower (鹅銮鼻公园)

Oluanpi Park and Light Tower (鹅銮鼻公园)

This is a very huge park and we needed to pay a minimal fee to enter. There is a very beautiful white light house inside. The scenery is beautiful. And due to the location which is rather high on the hill, I can see the sea and mountains of Kenting. 



4. The Southernmost Tip of Taiwan (台湾最南点)


Sorry for the not so clear picture due to the overcast, drizzling weather. This is actually the southernmost tip of Taiwan. You can see the Pacific Ocean from here. Also - there is a batter charger station for the batter-powered bikes! :) How cool!


5. Longkeng (龙坑)

After about 8-10 km bicycle ride, we were so tired!! The stretch leading to here was quite hilly. 

We stopped by one of the only 2 restaurants on the hill top to have lunch. If you also cycle here, please make sure you stop here to eat your lunch!! No other places to eat for the next 12 km or so (note: the 12 km might take longer than you think because you would stop to see the tourist attractions. Additionally, with all the hills and cold weather - the stomach will be making noises!! :))

You know - the friend rice tasted so so nice! It made it to the top 10 food I have tried during this trip. :) I guess I must be very hungry! 

But seriously - the fried rice with beef was very home-made. It felt as if it was made with love! :)

One interesting thing that I also found out that shows how extensive Taiwan has been promoting eco-friendly environment. 

See - I bought coca cola in a can but I was told I am not allowed to bring it along with me unless I transfer it to my water bottle.  Strange right? :) But after finding out further from the lady boss, then I realized that in order to preserve the cleanliness of the Kenting National Park, they are forbidden from bringing any drink cans to travel on the road in case some people will litter on the streets or road side!!

And true enough - throughout the whole stretch as we cycled here, we didn't even see any rubbish on the road side!! Such a clean place!!


6. Longpan Park (龙磐)

Jumping for joy!

This was one of my most favorite spot along the cycling journey!! It was also the highest point of the mountain. The wind was so strong - blowing at around 56 km / hour. I had to push my bike up the hills to reach here. haha! 

I have never felt so scared in a long long time.

Due to the height of the mountain and the road was so close to the Pacific Ocean, I was so worried and scared I would be blown into the Pacific Ocean by the gutsy strong wind blowing at 56 km / hour with drizzling rain.

So I would rather push my bike! :)

I even prayed!!

That shows how scared I was!

But the experience was so unforgettable!

That's why you could see me happily jumping up and down when reaching the top! With the beautiful Pacific Ocean as the back drop, how could I resist not to jump for joy?

I'm truly amazed by how beautiful the nature is. It's a pity that the weather wasn't sunny and I couldn't take some nice shots. But on the positive side, the cold weather, the strong wind, and the rolling hills made the whole cycling journey even more exciting and unforgettable!

7. Shuiwaku (水蛙窟)



Cycling up rolling hills!! This time I was totally out of breath!! THe strong gutsy wind continued. So I gotta come down to push my bike because I was still scared I would be blown into the Pacific Ocean. haha!

And surprise surprise surprise!!

I saw a man WALKING TOWARDS ME PUSHINIG A BRIEFCASE!!!!!

I was like, "What? Is that a crazy man? Why would a person pushing briefcase on the main road in the middle of no where? Must be xiao xiao one! Or is he trying to hitch hike?

Then I decided to initiate a conversation with him.

He was embarking on an Around-the-Taiwan-Island Walking Expedition. 

When I asked him how long has he been walking. 

He said, "28 days!". And he started from Taipei!!

My jaws dropped! I almost fell off my bike!!! This is truly a man of courage, purpose and mission!! He doesn't care how other people would perceive him. He continued to march on to fulfill his dream of walking around the Taiwan island. He has earned my utmost respect!

And I was so deeply motivated by him that I said I could make it - overcoming the fear of height, the strong wind riding on a bicycle!! 


As I reached the Shuiwaku (水蛙窟), I could see a patch of beautiful green fields. There is a small village whereby people there make a living by raising herbage. The meaning of "Shuiwaku" in Chinese means a lake with many frogs. There used to be a lake which you could hear the sounds of the frogs but the lake is gone.

Nonetheless, this is a beautiful place. I also saw people taking wedding photos during my ride there.




8. Fengchueisha (风吹沙)

This is another one of my most favorite spots!! In Chinese, Fengchueisha means "wind-blowing sand" (风吹沙)!

Due to the meeting point of the sea and river along with the sand, it has formed this extra ordinary phenomena whereby when the wind blows, you will be see many sands flying up in the air!

You can see beautiful Pacific Ocean from this point too. And please look out for the mountain goats along the dried river banks stretching to the sea.

I love this place very much!!

9. Yakouhai (哑狗海)




Before reaching Gangkou, we passed by this small little fishing village. I love the blue bouses, blue boats against the blue sky and blue sea. Very beautiful!



10. Gangkou (港口)


This is a pier where many fishermen would come back from sea. There are some restaurants here as well.

This is also where you would need to look out for direction to turn LEFT going towards Henchun direction.


11. Chuhuo (出火)

From Gangkou cycling eastward towards Henchun, it also means the end of the coastal ride. From this point onwards, I passed through some padi field, villages, quiet roads, rolling hills leading to Chuhuo. 

Chuhuo literally means "out with fire" in Chinese. Natural gas seeps up from the earth and ignites on its own in this otherwise dead area of rock and sand ground.

There are several areas of fire to see and there are vendors in the parking lot who will sell you popcorn to pop over the eternal flames. 

But perhaps it was a low season. We didn't see any street vendors selling corn. Otherwise, we would have bought to make it pop as well.

However, this place is best to visit at night where you can really see the eternal flame!! As we reached there in the daylight, I could see it but I couldn't capture it nicely to show it here.

So go and watch yourself! :)

By the way - please be careful when cycling along this route. The road tends to be rather small with may tour buses driving passed with full speed. 

I had a close encounter with a tour bus and I was almost hit by the bus. Thank God I quickly stopped my bike!







12. Henchuen Ancient City (恒春老街)

This is an ancient city with many old houses surrounded by 4 gates! As we arrived there late around 4.30pm already, we were worried we wouldn't be able to make it back to Kenting Street before dark. 

Our cycling took longer than expected due to the earlier hilly routes and strong wind and rain. 

So in order to catch up with time, we decided not to venture inside the ancient city by only took picture from the Gate.




13. South Bay (南湾)

This is very close to Kenting Street already. It is close to a nuclear plant. And it's a very popular beach for sea sports with crystal clear water.


Completion of 42-km, 9-hour exciting cycling ride 

Phew! We finally made it back to the hotel in Kenting Street in one piece before sunset!! haha! 

We departed at 8.30 am in the morning and we got back around 5.30 pm. The whole cycling exploration took around 9 hours to cover 42 km distance!!

Was it fun? Yes, definitely!

Was the scenery beautiful? Yes, definitely! I love the Pacific Ocean, the Longpan Park (龙磐) and  Fengchueisha (风吹沙)the most!

Was it scary? Yes, it was for me! I have never felt so scared before riding on a bicycle being blown by gutsy wind up to 56 km / hour under drizzling rain. i felt as if I would be blown off the road onto the cliff into the deep Pacific Ocean anytime!!

Was it exciting? Yes, definitely!! Cycling to see the places I travel to is such a wonderful joy!!

I have cycled in Kaohsiung, Sun Moon Lake, Hualian and now Kenting in Taiwan. I also cycled in Seoul, Korea before. For each leisure cycling tour, it brought me different experiences and memories. 

For Kenting's cycling exploring - I would say it was the most fun, most dangerous, most exciting and most scary cycling experiences I have ever had!! 

Would I do it again? Yes yes!!! I would! But this time - I would want to rent a better condition bike and wear a helmet!! And I would also improve my cycling skill beforehand.



Written on 2016.04.10 for Feb 2016 Kenting Taiwan Trip.

vincent

5 comments:

  1. What an exhilarating time! Thank you for detailing the spots! If I ever go to Kenting, it would be for diving. You should consider adding another sport to your list too! Were you there on your own? Or with a friend? 42km is a long way to be by yourself!

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    1. Hi Pamela.. I was there with another running friend. So it is ok.. not so boring the cycling ride. Haha! I haven't been diving in many many years. I think I only logged in about 12 dives or something. Yeah.. see many scuba divers there on kenting area... u will love it... for me.. Pacific ocean.. I think about it.. I still have fear... haha..

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  2. Replies
    1. Yeah beautiful places ... yulian :) thanks for reading.

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