Beyond the neon lights, scooter waterfalls and bustling city life is Taiwan’s little slice of paradise ~ Kenting (墾丁). Situated at the southern tip of Taiwan in Pingtung County, Kenting is the island’s premier beach destination and a huge must on any Taiwan itinerary.
With white sandy beaches, turquoise water, lush tropical forests, stretched-out seaside cliffs and a bustling night market, Kenting has a lot going for it! While most visitors only visit Kenting on a quick weekend getaway, you should definitely stay longer if you can. Why? Because Kenting is stunning and there are loads to do!
In this guide, I’ll share the very best things to do in Kenting, plus all my insider’s tips to make your Kenting trip all the easier.
Ready to find out what to do in Kenting? Let’s dive right into the very best things to do in Kenting!
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15 Absolute Best Things to do in Kenting
Hit the Beaches
Kenting is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in Taiwan. And as a result, it’s a paradise for beachgoers and sun seekers with dreamy white beaches, palm trees, and warm tropical water.
There are several fantastic beaches in Kenting, with Nanwan (South Beach) and Little Bay (opposite the Caesar Park Hotel) among the most popular. Other popular swimming spots include Kenting Beach (along Dawan Road), Sail Rock (in Chuanfanshi) and my ultimate fave Baisha (White Sand Beach).
Since Kenting’s beaches are quite spread out, you’ll definitely need wheels to access places like Nanwan, Baisha, and Sail Rock. But if you’re just sticking to the main tourist area, you can easily walk to Kenting Beach and Little Bay.
Apart from just chilling on the beach or taking a dip in the warm waters of the Luzon Strait, most of the beaches also offer a wide variety of water sports activities – think jet ski rides, banana boat rides, SUP, and snorkeling.
Kenting is also a popular diving spot, so don’t forget to bring your favorite dive camera along to capture the diverse marine life here! If surfing is your thing, Jialeshui (roughly 20km east of Kenting) is one of Taiwan’s best surf spots.
Check Out the Eluanbi Lighthouse
Eluanbi Lighthouse, also known as “The Light of East Asia,” is one of the top 8 landmarks in Taiwan. Interestingly enough, it is also one of the few manned lighthouses in the world.
To this day, the tower is armed, and a trench surrounds it. You might even spot a few gun holes in the walls if you stroll around a bit. There’s also a great little museum filled with memorabilia and old photographs where you can learn more about the lighthouse’s history.
The lighthouse is also home to beautiful gardens and sweeping ocean views. So if you fancy a picnic, this is the perfect spot!
Entrance fee: NTD 60 per adult
Parking fee: NTD 10
See Chuanfan Rock
Chuanfanshi is one of our favorite areas to stop by in Kenting. The main road, Chuanfan Road, is lined with some pretty peculiar and colorful accommodation options. If you are a shutterbug, you can easily get lost in the weird color combinations and diverse themes here – from Greek to Industrial to even a very bizarre rock-shaped house.
Apart from the colorful architecture, Chuanfanshi is home to one of Taiwan’s most iconic landmarks – Chuanfan Rock, also known as Sail Rock. The limestone rock resembles a sailboat setting sail and has been shaped by years of erosion.
Chuanfanshi is a great place to watch the waves come and go, wander along the promenade, or bake in the sun at Sail Rock Beach. The beach is relatively small, but it’s a nice swimming spot, and there are some great water sports activities on offer if you’re into that kind of thing. The best part? It’s not nearly as crowded as Nanwan.
See the Southernmost Point of Taiwan
Just a stone’s throw from the Eluanbi Lighthouse is the Southernmost point of Taiwan. The footpath is 1500m long, and it only takes about 20 minutes to reach the end. There’s a neat little structure signifying the point and some incredible ocean views.
Admire the Views at Maobitou
Maobitou, best known for its “crouching cat” rock formation, lies on the southeast corner of the Hengchun Peninsula. It offers magnificent ocean views and unique natural landforms such as seashore coral reefs, caves, and ditches.
The panoramic views are best enjoyed in the early morning before the crowds gather and at sunset.
Entrance: NTD 30 per adult
Parking fee: NTD 10
Wander Around the Harbor
Although Houbihu Harbor isn’t huge, it’s a great place to stroll around, snap pics of the fishing boats or watch the boats come and go.
Like most harbors in Taiwan, the Kenting Harbor sells freshly caught fish every morning. There is also a fantastic seafood restaurant in front of the market’s entrance. Diving, snorkeling, and boat ride packages can be purchased here too. And if you want to take a quick dip, there’s a nice little white shell sand beach nearby,
Eat Your Way Th
rough the Kenting Night Market
Kenting Night Market is one of the most famous night markets in Taiwan and a huge must-visit place!
The night market offers all the usual local snacks you’ll find at any other market across the island (stinky tofu, fresh fruit, sausages, bubble tea, banana pancakes, etc.), but the food tastes so much better here! Plus, it has a fantastic selection of fresh and tasty seafood – oysters, giant squid, clams, tiger prawns, sea urchins, and all kinds of fish; you name it!
There are lots to try here, but some must-eat street food include the Korean spicy pork seaweed rolls and the barbecued oysters. If you have a sweet tooth, don’t miss the croffles – absolute heaven!
The market is huge and lines both sides of Kenting Street. Most vendors start to open up around 5 pm, and it gets crazy busy from 7 pm onwards. Come hungry, wear comfortable walking shoes, and get ready to join the scrum!
Grab Drinks at the Funky Truck Bars
Another unique attraction in Kenting is its quirky roadside truck bars.
Truck bars in Kenting are quite a big deal, and each one is unique with its own colorful decorations, funky playlist, and an array of boozy drinks.
You’ll find the best ones near the Ceasar Park Hotel, opposite Xiaowan Beach. Definitely check out the super laid-back Reggae Bar. The cocktails are amazing, and there’s ample seating scattered around the truck where you can sit back and enjoy a boozy cocktail while listening to Bob Marley.
Take in the Views at Longpan Park
Roughly five minutes drive from the Eluanbi Lighthouse, you’ll find one of the best examples of Taiwan’s rugged coastline – Longpan Park.
The sprawling roadside area offers sweeping views over the Pacific Ocean, towering cliffs, and grassy hills of Kenting National Park. It’s quite popular among photographers, sunrise chasers, and stargazers, making it a must-visit attraction in Kenting.
The local authorities have recently made some good changes here, so the trail is much safer now than it used to be. The first section is now fitted with a wooden walkway, and the viewing area has been leveled out. Just a heads up – it’s quite windy here, so don’t go too close to the edge and keep an eye out for the signs which mark the most dangerous areas.
Visit the National Museum of Marine Biology and Aquarium
Another great place to go in Kenting is the National Museum of Marine Biology and Aquarium (NMMBA).
Located in the northwestern corners of Kenting National Park in Checheng Township, NMMBA covers more than 60 hectares making it the largest aquarium in Taiwan.
What really makes NMMBA such a hot spot is that it houses a diverse range of aquatic life, both large and small. A 16-m whale shark, dolphins, sailfish, belugas, and penguins are just a few of the incredible marine animals you can see up close here. Other highlights include the Coral Kingdom Pavilion, housing an 84-meter underwater tunnel filled with colorful coral, and the Giant Kelp Tank.
With multiple displays, educational activities, and even sleepover tours for those that really want to get acquainted with the underwater world, it’s a great place to take the whole family. However, since the aquarium is a popular tourist attraction in Kenting, it’s best to grab your tickets online to avoid disappointment. Entrance to the aquarium is NTD 450 per adult.
Kenting aquarium is roughly 30 minutes drive from Kenting Town and is also easily accessed by bus. Bus 101 (Kenting Orange Line) departs every hour from Kenting and takes about 45 minutes.
Relax at Baisha Beach
As already mentioned, Kenting has a whole host of incredible beaches. But there’s one beach, in particular, that stands out from the rest – Baisha.
Baisha is on the peninsula’s western side, away from all the crowds. The famous “Life of Pi” beach features a stunning 500m long strip of soft sand mostly formed by shells and dreamy turquoise water.
There are hardly any waves here, so it’s the kind of place where you can float on the water or swim for hours. If you’re looking for something a bit more thrilling, enjoy a jet ski or banana boat ride. The drivers really go wild, so get ready for some fun!
You can rent umbrellas and chairs for NTD 300 a day. And at the northern end of the bay, there’s a cute little bar where you can get everything from freshly cracked coconuts and ice cream to boozy cocktails and ice cold beers.
Watch the Sunset at Guanshan Cafe
Just a short drive from Maobitou is the top sunset viewing spot in Kenting, Guanshan.
Here you’ll find a lovely little outdoor cafe (see Google Maps) with breezy decks overlooking the ocean where you can sit back and watch the sun dwindle under the horizon. You’ll need to buy a ticket (NTD 100) to enter, but you can use it for any snacks or drinks on the menu. They don’t serve alcohol here but have all the usual drinks and a small selection of light snacks.
It gets crowded, so make sure you get there at least an hour before sunset to grab a seat. And bring bug spray!
Stop by Shell Beach
Shell Beach or Shadoa is a beautiful 220-m long white shell sand beach that you simply have to visit.
The beach is an ecological reserve, which sadly means visitors can’t access its sandy shores. But you can walk along the viewing deck and even down to the rocky shore to admire it a bit closer. What really makes this beach so unique is that 97.7% of the sand here is formed from seashells and coral debris.
Make sure to also pop into the exhibition center to view the shell sand up close and learn a little more about the ecology of Kenting’s gorgeous beaches.
Eat Ice Cream at Day by Day
Day by Day is located just past Shell Beach, on the same grounds as the cool Ocean Day by Day Hotel. The cute vintage ice cream truck serves lip-smacking delicious ice cream and drinks, and there’s an outdoor area with lots of room to enjoy your treats as you gaze over the ocean.
The ice cream truck is open from 12 pm to 5 pm. You have to buy an entry ticket (NTD 90), but it can be used to purchase goodies at the truck. Try the Gang Kou Milk Tea Ice Cream and the Sparkling Mango Ice Cream Float – both are delish!
Have Sundowners at YagouBlue Rooftop
If you continue along Route 26 towards Jialeshui, make a pit stop at Xinghai Fishing Harbor. It’s a nice spot to watch the fishing boats come and go, but there’s also an amazing little rooftop cafe here, YagouBlue Rooftop (see Google Maps).
The cafe overlooks the harbor, and it’s a great place to have a coffee and some dessert while watching the sunset. This Kenting hidden gem is quite small, so it can be hard to get a seat. Therefore if you want to go, it’s best to phone ahead (08-8801198) to check if they have any seats available. Reservations aren’t allowed.
The cafe is only open from 3:30 pm to 6 pm, weather permitting.
How To Get to Kenting
Kenting is easy to reach with Taiwan’s excellent public transport system. Like elsewhere in Taiwan, buses and trains are frequent and reliable modes of transport. However, the only way to get to Kenting from Taipei or other parts along Taiwan’s western coast is to use a combination of transport modes.
First you’ll need to get to Kaohsiung. And the easiest way to do that is to take the HSR to Zouying Station (the very last stop on the high-speed rail). Once you get to the high-speed rail station, getting to Kenting from Kaohsiung is pretty straightforward. There are several ways to travel, but the easiest one is to take the Kenting Express Bus. The ticket office is located at Exit 2 of the HSR station.
Kenting Shuttle Bus return tickets cost NTD 600 and are open-ended, meaning you can use the return ticket anytime. The bus drivers do not speak much English, but there are random announcements in English. So, be sure to listen carefully. You could also check with your accommodation (before arriving) which stop to get off at.
Tip: If you only want to buy a one-way bus ticket, I highly recommend using an Easy card as it works out a lot cheaper.
How To Get Around Kenting
Getting around Kenting village is extremely easy, as most of the shops, restaurants, and even the beach (Little Bay) is a short stroll from Kenting Street.
However, the majority of the main attractions in Kenting, such as Maobitao, Longpan Park, and Chuanfanshi will require transport.
If you haven’t rented a car, the easiest way to get around Kenting is by scooter. There are tons of scooter shops scattered around town where you can rent a motorcycle for NTD 450 a day. I highly recommend Feng-Xiang Motorcycle Rental (see Google Maps). The owner speaks excellent English and is super friendly and helpful.
You will need a valid local license or an international driver’s license for a scooter to rent a scooter in Kenting (and everywhere else in Taiwan). If that is not an option for you, you may still be able to rent an electric bike (at some shops).
Alternatively, the local bus runs along the main road, which will get you to Chuanfanshi and Nanwan Beach but not to places like Maobitou. Grab a 1 or 2 day pass here. To see places a bit further afield, joining a tour will be your best bet.
Where to Stay
Kenting has no shortage of great accommodation options, from cheap hostels to boutique hotels to luxury beachfront resorts. I’ve written an entire guide on exactly where to stay in Kenting, but if you’re in a rush here are a few pointers.
Most people stay in the heart of Kenting, near Kenting Street. And, if it’s your first visit to Kenting, it’s best to do the same. That way, you’ll be right in the center of town, with lots of shops and eateries around you.
It is, however, imperative to know that Kenting is a popular holiday destination for locals and tourists alike. And as a result, it is often crowded, especially on weekends and special holidays.
If crowds aren’t for you, rather stay along Dawan Road. Other great areas with minimal crowds include Chuanfanshi and Nanwan, but it’s best to have transport when staying there.
Recommended Hotels near Kenting Street:
- Budget: Hido Hotel
Recommended Chuanfanshi Hotels:
- Budget: Jin Yan Hostel
- Mid-Range: Chaunfan Haku Beach Days Inn
Where to Eat in Kenting
Besides the night market, there are a couple of other nice places to eat in Kenting. Here are some of my favorites.
- Amy’s Cucina on Kenting Street makes some of the best pizza in Taiwan. Seriously. If pizza is not your thing, try the lasagne.
- Bossa Nova Beach Cafe in Nanwan has a great selection of western and Asian cuisine. The food is reasonably priced, and the outdoor seating is amazing. Try the Caesar Nova salad!
- Lumi Cafe is a cozy little cafe that serves vegan cakes and other sweet treats.
- Under Star Lab is a lovely modern bistro with a tantalizing menu. Great for brunch!
- Magic Kitchen (魔法廚房複合式早餐) makes simple yet oh-so-delicious Taiwanese-style breakfast burgers, sandwiches, and dan bing.
Other Things To Do Near Kenting
If you have a few extra days to spare on your Kenting itinerary or want to see a bit more of Southern Taiwan, here are some places worth checking out near Kenting:
- Hengchun is the closest town to Kenting. It’s famous for its Old Street and Ancient City Gate.
- Cikong Waterfall: A secret cascading waterfall where you can actually swim! You’ll need to hike to get to the waterfall, but the effort will be worth it!
- Jialeshui is a laidback surfer’s town where you can take surfing lessons, chill at the beach, or kayak along the Gangkou River.
- Orchid Island/ Green Island: Most people don’t know this, but you can actually take a ferry from Houbihu Harbor to Orchid Island and Green Island. See details or book tickets here.
- Kaohsiung: Taiwan’s third largest city is the place to go if you’re into street art, cool cafes, riverside walks, and temple hopping. Check out my list of best things to do in Kaohsiung, this 2-day Kaohsiung itinerary, or this Kaohsiung sightseeing ideas guide.
- Tainan: Taiwan’s ancient capital city is a hub for foodies and culture seekers, with more than 1000 temples to explore! Find out what to do in Tainan here.
- Xiaoliuqiu: A tiny coral island where you can swim with sea turtles, lounge on dreamy beaches, go freediving or snorkeling, and explore some pretty impressive caves. Read my super detailed Xiaoliuqiu guide for more tips.
What To Do in Kenting in Conclusion
Kenting is one of the most beautiful places in Taiwan, with so much to see and do! Whether you want to relax at the gorgeous beaches, see all the tourist spots, or try the snacks at the night market, a visit to Kenting will not disappoint.
Well, that wraps up this guide on what to do in Kenting! If you think I’ve missed any must-do things or popular Kenting attractions, let me know in the comments so that I can check them out on my next visit!
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