One Day Around Kenting – Bicycling

Cycling around Pingtung county (or Kenting) can provide a lot of historical information both about the area and Taiwain in general. Combined with partial flats and hilly areas make this a great area to challenge cyclists from all backgrounds. Easier rides tends to follow the coastline while going inland usually provide a change of scenery and the obligatory hill climb at the national park. I found the most enjoyable views and landscapes of Pingtung county were outside of Hengchun city proper.

Nanmen (南門) at Kenting

Bicycle Rentals

Bicycles rentals are ubiquitous all around Taiwan. Though I just kept my bike from a previous Giant rental, the hostel I stayed at (BlueHi Hostel) also offered daily rentals for $200NT. I had seen others around town (along with scooter rentals) and finding one shouldn’t be difficult.

Bicycle Route

Hengchun, 恆春 》Nanwan, 南灣 》Kenting Old Street, 墾丁 》Kenting Forest Recreation Area, 墾丁森林 》Sail Rock, 船帆石 》Eluanbi, 鵝乱鼻 》Southern Most Point 》 LongPan Park, 龍磐公園 》return to Hengchun

Route from HengChun to End Point on SE coast. I took a small road that cut West and connected to the route shown, however the road could not be shown on this map.

Elevation map (in meters). Peak is located at the Kenting National Park.

Once outside of HengChun and the main tourist locations, there are many small roads that are awesome for bicycling. These side roads have the type of terrain that is suitable for ATV tours , making it a rather fun bicycle ride. These types of roads are commonly seen the further away you are from HengChun near the Southeastern tip.

The main road of highway 26 is the main artery through Pingtung, often supplying a side road specifically for scooters and bicycle riders. The route stops near  LongPan Park, 龍磐公園 , but I actually took a small side road that connected back to the downhill portion of the national park road (loop). The road is likely too small for BikeMaps.net to recognize it.

Nanwan, 南灣, offers an unusual site with Taiwan’s third nuclear power plant silhouetted with wind turbines in the background. All the while vacationers are enjoying the warm water beaches in the foreground.

NanWan beach

Views of Dajianshan, 大尖山, is an easy view from many different areas of Kenting.

Dajianshan 大尖山, view from the road up to the national park entrance gate

Road to the national park entrance

The climb up to Kenting National Park is not a walk in the park, and the majority of the day’s elevation gain occurs here. But with almost every climb, there is an awesome descent, and this one was worth it. I’m not familiar with the bus schedule but the main busses do not enter into the park area. In fact, the only people I saw there were those who had their own transportation vehicle (car/scooter). A fellow backpacker had hitchhiked to the top and said it much easier than what she expected.

Once inside the park, I met a few fellow Americans and went to the well known stalagmite cave. Expect to spend at least 2-3 hours here. Unfortunately, it was already 2pm and I had route to return to Hengchun and ride an additional 15km to the return location. Definitely have to come back here.

Stalagmite Cave at the national park. Half a day outside and the tan is already setting in.

Sail Rock, 船帆石

Wandered and went through a small turnoff near Eluanbi to catch this shot of small fishing harbor.

Harbor near Eluanbi

My legs are starting to feel the wear and tear over the past few days and the continual stream of Chinese tour buses don’t help – they are unforgiving on the main roads.

I find a small turnoff where there is a small path leading to the southern most tip of Taiwan. Where tourists are required to walk over 1,800m I narrowly squeeze my bike through the cattle stops and ride my way making it there in a few minutes. Ha! Take that tour buses!

Turnoff to the southern most tip. It turns into a small cobblestone type path for about 1,000 meters. Vehicles not allowed, but seems to be a great road for bikes.

Stopped by and got a coconut, and talked with this family for a bit. The coconut wasn’t great to drink, and I think I was more satisfied when I asked him to chop it open.

I continue on 26 and the road becomes more desolate, but way more enjoyable without the traffic. Near Longpan park, there are many small roads for which I take the opportunity to explore.

Taken near Longpan Park(龍磐公園). Very many neat side, and off roads areas. Careful of the steep dropoff! GPS: 21.933926, 120.845150

Started to get dark and began to head back to Hengchun, but taking a short side road back.

Small side road to get back onto 26

There are so many small roads in this area, someday I will have to come back and explore a bit more. But for now, I’m just happy to have found this place for a trip next time!

Being welcomed by fireworks. Asked a nearby resident what holiday it was and he mumbled something I didn’t understand. But likely to worship some god in some far away place

Fireworks in downtown Hengchun

Accommodation

I stayed at BlueHi Hostel located in the downtown of HengChun. I chose this hostel none other than the fact that it was the cheapest for a mixed bed dorm. There are also single rooms with detached bathroom on the lower level. You can’t go wrong with either type depending on how you like to travel. The hostel owner, Joey, is a great guy to talk to and very open to offer help and suggestions for touring around. Not only that, he makes a pretty mean breakfast making the stay at this hostel all the more worthwhile. The hostel is connected to an extended stay living area (previously a hotel).

Awesome breakfasts at BlueHi

There are other beach front hostels that are a bit pricier. Some of them do include rentals of the surf board. I had not had much luck finding a couchsurfing host here.

Things I would do if I had another go in Kenting

Snorkel/Scuba Dive – While returning my bike at the Yoho Hotel. I spoke with Tammy at Kenting Beach Aquatics (08-8869355) located here. It was night time when I stopped by so and they were closing up shop. They have very affordable snorkel rentals for $50NT/day. A fellow backpacker raved that the coral in this area is nearly untouched since the boats do not access this area. They also have scuba lessons. If taking public transportation, be careful of the departure and return buses to Hengchun. The day I went, there was only one departure in the morning and return in the afternoon.

Hike – This trip was mainly a solo cycling trip, so hiking was put on the back-burner. Hiking is better done with good company for a better experience and also for safety. Will need to return and check out the places listed in the references!

References

  1. Great suggestions for those looking to get off the beaten path, and what I find the most beautiful areas ofKendinghttp://taiwandiscovery.wordpress.com/2013/05/29/kenting-so-much-more-than-beaches-booze-and-banana-boats/

 Pictures

Flickr Album can be found here.

Post-published from March 17, 2014

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s