When I was in 10th grade, I went back to Taiwan with my mom and sisters. Kenting was one of the places we visited with my uncle. My memory of the place is pretty fuzzy but I vaguely remember a market, really tall ice cream cones and a dingy hotel room. This time around Tessa found a deal online with Caesar Park, one of the nicer hotels there so we decided to give it a go. The taxi ride is a good 2 hours from Kaosiung and we arranged for a taxi to take us for $40CAD per way. I must say that buying a local SIM card for your unlocked phone is not absolutely necessary but extremely helpful when you’re staying somewhere for a week or so. I had mine to call the cab driver and my uncle.
15 minutes before we arrive, we start getting glimpses of the coast and the beautiful, deep blue water. The weather is SO warm and nice when we get there. Our room is luxurious by North American standards, with a semi open feel, what with the sliding washroom doors that opened up to the rest of the room. Immediately after check-in, we go grab lunch. The weather is less humid than Kaosiung and reminiscent of a very hot summer day in Vancouver (rare, I know…). The restaurants are quite quirky and moderately priced. Menus even have English!
First order of business is to rent scooters. Unfortunately, none of us have a Taiwanese license so the only people that rent us scooter are the hotel at a whopping $20CAD/24hours. Not shabby but not exactly cheap either. Scootering around Kenting is THE highlight as you enjoy a great sense of freedom and exhilaration, without the imminent danger of driving in busier roads. First stop is the main beach area where we spend an hour in the mid day sun. The water is nice and warm, something completely foreign to Canadians! If Canadians feel warm ocean water at their beach, they start giving the people around them dirty looks! We would have stayed longer but it was just scorching hot, and we were being charged to sit under a beach umbrella.
The main road in Kenting National Park goes in a giant circle around the park, although not necessarily around its perimeter. We start riding Eastward, towards the top of the mountain. Once the road begins to plateau, we pull over across a coconut truck and walk the sandy path among tall grass to get a breathtaking view of the cliffs and surrounding ocean. The emerald of the mountains are dotted with rocks and the water could only be described to be the richest shade of blue I’ve ever seen. This was far from the clear, teal-ish colour of SE Asian water, but a deep, almost regal shade. We’re amongst many tourists at this viewpoint so after a few moments, we venture further along the road.
We ride for another 20-30 minutes eastward. This is truly a beautiful stretch of highway to explore. We passed portions where we had cliff walls or grass on one side, and expansive fields leading to the ocean on the other. These were dotted by a few local villagers living alongside the road in their humble homes. We chance upon a deserted beach and park our scooters to have a closer look. A steep, unkempt set of stairs leads down to the sand, which holds large pools of seawater and enormous rock formations. If shot close up, you could be fooled into thinking these were large mountainous areas. Being the only ones there, we had an awesome time exploring this stretch of what seemed like abandoned beach.
At this point, a few ominous clouds began to move in so, not wanting to get caught in the downpour, we started racing back to our hotel. The ride back is equally captivating, with view of the sun breaking through the clouds. Scootering around the national park gave us the freedom to explore large areas of territory and allowed us to find a little piece of Kenting to call our own. The sites along every point of the ride were magnificent. Not too shabby for $20 if I do say so myself!