Enjoying Kenting in the Fall
By Josie Wu, translated by Ann Lee
Following another year's scorching summer, Spring Scream and the peak tourist season, the usually-packed streets and beaches of Kenting seem bare and quiet. Along with cooler weather, the autumn brings open beds in the hotels and immediate seating in the most popular restaurants. What does all of this mean to Johnny Q. Beachlover? Well, isn't it obvious? The best time to come to Kenting is in the fall. No waiting for your turn on the banana boat, no fisticuffs for open tables, and a lot fewer people to maneuver around while trying to catch a wave or two--it's a nice life. So let this article help motivate you to appreciate a place that is awesome all year long.
These days, Kenting has a lot to offer besides water sports. The area has everything from dune buggies to shooting ranges (though not at the same time). Perhaps you can visit the National Museum of Marine Biology & Aquarium and the newly-finished Waters of the World. If you want to get into nature, there is a national park to wander aimlessly through. Or, if none of those things sound appealing, try some paintball, paragliding, mountain biking, or stay at a luxurious spa-type resort and take a yachting adventure on the sea.
One of these luxurious resorts is Shihchunghsi York Horse Riding (YoHo); apart from being a leisure resort and village, it is also the only place on the island to experience horse riding in a truly open area. Unlike other stables in Taiwan, where you can only enjoy "a little bit of riding", York Horse Riding is an independent, professional and safe establishment that provides specialized trek itineraries which take riders into mountainous areas. After riding a the mountain top, a plateau provides a panoramic view of Hengchun Township, Mudan village, Baoli mountain range, and the Sihcong River. Out of the riding options, most beginners choose the 30-minute or the one-hour ride itineraries (NT$2,400/person). Other options include a two-hour "wild course" itinerary (NT$4,800/person), that takes riders to more scenic areas. As a bonus, all guests staying at the resort will get a complimentary half-hour ride! (Confirm package details with the hotel before trip.)
Not only does Yoho provide opportunities for horseback riding, but it also provides a variety of room styles that can accommodate all kinds of guests. Yoho also has: exciting water slides, a lazy river, beach volleyball, as well as a hot spring/spa pool that has spring water from Syuhai. These activities will keep you busy all day long. Try authentic and exotic restaurants located right at the resort or check out the sports bar for a drink or two. For the second day, arrange a visit to the National Museum of Marine Biology & Aquarium, Baisha Bay, or Longluan Lake. There are also three bike trails to explore and, of course, there is always the beach.
Lots of water activities are available in Kenting: take a relaxing stroll on the beach, scuba dive, paraglide, or try a hobie cat, which is sailboat without a motor. In the fall and winter, surfers find that the waves come more frequently. Also, since it is past typhoon season, the water tends to be cleaner and less cloudy. Because of southern Taiwan's climate, surfers can do what they do best all year long. Except for Southern Bay and Jialeshui, which are most popular spots, there are a few other surfing spots in the area. We suggest beginners go to Southern Bay to practice first. Jialeshui has a relatively and slow and flat geographical layout. This layout makes the waves wider, and more challenging for those who are up to it.
Casual Accommodation for Surf Vacations
(speaks both Mandarin & English)
IPANEMA SURF HOUSE
Caribbean Tropical Latin Country Style
Surfing lessons: NT$1,500; guests NT$1,200
31, SiaCyuan Rd, ShuiCyuan Li , Hengchun Town , Pingtung County
Max：08-886-6807 or 0961-016-063 http://groups.msn.com/IpanemaSurfHouse
Family style with a personal touch
Surfing lessons: NT$1,860/ person,
Accommodation: Weekdays NT$300;
244, ChaShan Rd, Manjhou Township, Pingtung County (100 meters before the Jialeshui ticket booth)
Later in the evening is the time we search for fine food to keep us sated. Kenting's famous main street is full of tempting stalls for visitors to choose from--some places are practically open all night and morning! One restaurant, the Golden Beach Mexican Restaurant, serves mainly Mexican and Thai-style cuisine. Dishes like Chicken Quesadillas with Cheese and Sour Cream (NT$200), Mexican Spicy Burritos, and Enchiladas (NT$250) are just a few of the many choices you get here. The Curry Shrimp with Toast (for dipping/ NT$320), and the String Beans (NT$220) are also quite nice. After your meal, Golden Beach is a place where you can get funky with a tropical beverage. The second floor outdoor area has live music performances and the first floor has dance shows featuring both men and women. There are plenty of other disco pubs which are easy to find in Kenting.
Another accommodation recommendation is the Chuanfan Stone Golden Hotel, which gives an admission discount for the restaurant. This "hotel" is not too close to the main street, but has excellent views of the mountains and some rooms even face the ocean. Take a right after the main entrance to see the Chuanfan Rock Beach Resort. A 10-minute walk from the left side of the hotel leads guests to a tropical forest with a sea view, another great place to look around.
No matter what time of year it is, tourists traveling to Kenting should not miss the "Kuan Mountain Sunset". What a great capper to a fabulous day in Kenting－the red sun reflects off of the water and eventually slinks into the ocean, seemingly taking its multi-colored pieces of sky right down with it.
www.leofooresort.com.tw; (08) 882-5765
6-5, HaiKou Rd, Haikou Village, Checheng Township, Pingtung County
Shihchunghsi York Horse Riding
www.ktplay.com.tw/horse/; (08) 882-1122
23-1, TongPu Rd, Tongpu Village, Checheng Township, Pingtung County
Yoho Spa & Resorts
www.yoho.com.tw; (08) 886-9999
27-8, WanLi Rd, Hengchun Town, Pingtung County
Golden Beach Mexican Restaurant
223, KenDing Rd, Hengchun Town, Pingtung County; (08) 886-2666
Chuanfan Stone Golden Hotel
www.golden-beach.com.tw/; (08) 885-1586
612, ChuanFan Rd, Hengchun Town, Pingtung Count;