Taiwan 2015: Kenting
Thursday, May 7, 2015 @ 2:14 AM


Itinerary credits to the other n4girls!
(1SGD=22.63TWD during time of travel)

On the 24th of April, the n5girls (it used to be NS girls because we got close working at Night Safari together) embarked on our very first long holiday together! It was a long-awaited trip because we booked our flight with Scoot approximately half a year ago at 275SGD.

Upon touching down at Taoyuan International Airport in Taipei, we took a 50-minute bus ride (120TWD/pax) to Taipei Main Station to catch our pre-booked ride onboard the High Speed Rail (HSR) to Zuoying Station! The HSR can only be booked 28 days before the date of departure, and it costed us 1630TWD each one-way. We were so excited for the train ride! It was an approximately 2-hour ride. The trains run on a fixed schedule - when they are scheduled to depart at 8:00am, they depart on the dot at 8:00am. Make sure to leave enough buffer time for travelling from the airport to the HSR station!

We only barely tapped out of Zuoying HSR Station when a dubious lady came up to us, offering to drive all five of us in her car to our accommodation in Kenting at 2000TWD. We did not even have much time to consider before she ushered us to her car. It took about an hour to get us to Kenting.

WHERE WE STAYED

The driver dropped us at Happy Town Resort (160SGD/night), our accommodation for two nights! The resort was crazy beautiful. One can spend a whole day doing a photoshoot right in its backyard. It was all very step-Santorini. As soon as we stepped into our room on the second floor, we could admire the beautiful seascape printed like an artpiece right onto our window. Not to mention the blue and white theme which blended it perfectly into the backdrop.

They even had BBQ pits, trailer homes, a number of tables and chairs facing the sea view, a baby pool which we lounged in while taking turns to shower, a beautiful swin and a non-accessible ship.

The only downside was, it was not very accessible without a mode of transport. While we initially wanted to rent those cute little electric bikes, we were glad the driver persuaded us otherwise. It would have been costly to rent the electric bikes (which would run out of batteries), and due to the tightening of the laws in recent years, we were not allowed to rent the cheaper alternative - the scooters that ran on petrol, without a bike license.

Prior to the trip, I had googled in vain to find a trustworthy site to rent a car. Most travel sites could only offer suggestions to rent a car from Taichung/Gaoxiong and driving it down to Kenting. Thankfully, the locals know best, and our driver drove us to this shady little paintball shed to rent us a car! Dubious as it is, we rented a pretty new car for two days at 2500TWD. Super worth it! They also provide watersport services.

平安 小客车租賃有限公司
Pyng An Rent Car Co, Ltd
陈浩良 0932-301866 / 0960-301866
kt8861626@gmail.com

With a car, everywhere in Kenting became accessible. We first drove out to get our Sim Card at 台湾大哥大! 500TWD for 7-days unlimited data and 12 minutes of talk-time. We also stopped by a random shop for lunch at Kenting Main Street because we were famished after 12hours of travelling. Kenting Main Street is dullsville in the day, most of the shops were closed. We even thought Hengchun Street, where we bought our Sim Cards, was more happening.

WHERE WE WENT

猫鼻头 Maobitou

One of the must-visits in Kenting. Since it was just a stone throw away from where we stayed, it was the first pit-stop of our road-trip on the first day. It is a beautiful place, but definitely not one of my favourite due to the throng of tourists. It was a little trying to take a decent picture without a stranger photobombing. There ocean view was beautiful though, and me and Doreen dared to venture out to the rocky prohibited area for some photos. It is always nice to have an unobstructed view of the scenery. SY and Doreen bought some snacks on the way back to the car, and the salted crispy crab was mad awesome?

关山 Guanshan

Noted as one of the best location to view the sunset, and since we were running pretty late, we just illegally parked in front of another car on a random slope and brisk-walked all the way up to the viewing point. It was less crowded than Maobitou, which was great, but it was cloudy when we went so we couldn't enjoy the full splendor of the sun setting into the horizon. We did, however, manage to catch the whole ball of fiery before it disappeared behind the thick clouds, so I believe that place is indeed home to magnificent sunsets like it is all hyped up to be.

Kenting Night Market

As the day gives way to night, Kenting Street also undergoes a major transformation. When we drove there after the sunset, Kenting Night Market was bustling with human crowd. Traffic is congested there, and we had to drive really slowly in order not to knock over the people like bowling pins. Turned into a tiny back alley near to 50嵐 and chanced upon a small lot just right for our car. A stone throw away, we found a random shop selling 卤肉饭 braised pork rice (my all-time favourite!). It was delish!

We spent both nights at Kenting Night Market feasting on the local street food. With a cup of 50嵐 bubble tea in our hands, we scoured the night market! The garlic clams and fried mushrooms quickly made it into our top favourite street food in Taiwan. Other than food, they also had game stalls at which we tried and lost, and even stalls selling fireworks!!! We didn't buy any though.

南湾 Nanwan

We headed to Nanwan beach for water sports the next morning. Me and SY's initial plan was to surf, but apparently the waves were not ideal for surfing that day, so we settled for water sports instead. People just come up to you to sell the water activities, so you won't have to worry about not finding things to do. They have 3-in-1, 4-in-1 and even 7-in-1 packages. We were in a group of five, so they gave us a discount on the water sports. We paid 560TWD/pax for 3 water activities (about 10SGD/activity each) and they threw in an umbrella for us too! It was quite a steal compared to many other places I've been. Phuket was a major rip-off with parasailing at 75SGD/pax for a less than 15 minutes ride. Even Bali offered 25SGD/activity and I already thought it was crazily cheap!

We were dragged on floats by a jet-ski, and although we never once fell into the clear blue-green sea, do not be deceived by the innocent-looking floats. It was a hell of a ride - crazy bumpy and fast! Even the 甜甜圈 (donut) was mad exciting, on the contrary to its sweet and demure name. I had a difficult time filming with Goldie and half the time it was just bumping up and down at the side handle as I hung on for dear life!

We spent some time playing in the chilly waves after the tiring rides (our arms ached for the next few days, no kidding!) and basking in the sun. Nanwan is really a beautiful beach, with the sea water clean and clear.

鹅卵鼻 Er Luan Bi

We decided to satisfy our hunger with fresh sashimi in a hidden port as introduced by our driver the day before. "In Er Luan Bi, next to a temple and to the right of a parking lot, there is a one-way street. Drive 15km and you will find this hidden gem." After a futile attempt at finding the place, a kind local directed us to it, so there we were! Good luck in finding it!

A spot totally uncommercialised, void of tourists (and people, at that). We paid 2000TWD for a big fish served in 3 different methods - fresh sashimi (ALWAYS GO FOR THAT), fish soup (it was gross, go for 2 fresh dishes of fresh sashimi, trust me!), and another steamed fish with a delicious sauce, garlic clams and squids! It was delish and greatly satisfying.

It was also a perfect photo spot!!! We went climbing the rocks and setting up the tripod for group photos on the wall. I think we spent a good hour there after lunch. We felt like explorers in National Geographic when we were shooting there. Such a tranquil and beautiful piece of gem!

佳乐水 Jia Le Shui

We were chasing the sunset down the winding ocean road instead of planting ourselves somewhere to watch the sunset this time round. No regrets, because the drive was beautiful. We only reached Jia Le Shui in the evening, so most of the places were closed, including the ticketing booth to cross the iconic bridge. Apparently one could surf in the vicinity. Across the bridge and through the little forestry, you will be rewarded with the East Coast, apparently the only beach with sand? We didn't go there, just explored the bridge before heading to Kenting Night Market to feast again.

龙盘 Longpan Park

This is definitely a spot I would recommend to anyone going to Kenting! We were there a total of 3 times. The first night we drove up to Longpan Park, it was excitingly creepy. The roads were dark and winding and we had to drive with the high-beam on. It was definitely a good thing we rented a car because we would definitely chicken out at having to ride up in the darkness!

Star-hunting was terribly disappointing on the first night - we were unprepared for the unrelentless wind which almost froze us and the pitch darkness of the night kept us from straying too far from the safety of our car. Plus, it was too dark to figure out where we were going, even with the torchlight from our phones, so SY and I gave up after a little exploration. We were just about to leave for home when we saw people lighting fireworks in the near distance!!! We re-parked the car in that direction watched in awe at the fireworks lighting up the night sky. It was so beautiful.

Longpan Park in the day was incredibly beautiful too. It was scary when me and SY walked out in the night, not knowing where the roads led, but in the day, the route we were on just led to an open field with an amazing seascape. The strong wind was as unrelentless as it was in the night though, we literally had to take a few steps back to balance when the huge gust of wind comes at us. Tiny stones flew at us but we still had to admire the beautiful view. I think Longpan Park is my favourite scenic lookout in Kenting. We also saw baby mountain goats leaping (I have it in my Phhhoto!!! @dawntillmidnight) about on the sides of the rocks, without a care for the strong wind at all. Such a touching moment as we stood and stared at the joyful kids.

Refusing to give up, we drove up once again on the second night in bid to see stars. It was all cloudy and dreary at first, but the strong wind managed to clear the skies a little for us to see some stars! It was not the sky full of stars we expected, but it was a lot more than the night before. This time round, we decided it was worthy of setting up the tripod and camera, and we shot some stars!

We held on to the tripod while we waited for the lazy shutter because we were weary of the wind, but when we decided that the tripod was sturdy enough for the wind, a strong gust of wind knocked down my camera and tripod. #battlescars Thus, there is no group picture of us star-gazing. My camera was a little bruised, but it is strong and sturdy!

This sums up our awesome 2 nights in Kenting! We headed back to Zuoying HSR with the same driver who drove us there on day 1 for another 2000TWD, and took the HSR to our next destination, Taichung! We just had to grab the bento sets at the HSR station and eat it on the train ride like the locals even though we were running out of time. #lastwarning

It was an awesome time in Kenting. It is definitely a part of Taiwan I wouldn't mind going back to!

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