Kenting, Pingtung is a must-go attraction in Summer. In 2008, a movie called Cape No. 7 hit 700 million dollars box office in Taiwan, which has broken the history of the national film industry. And this movie was filmed in Pingtung, the most southern county of Taiwan. After the movie became a hit, people flocked to Pingtung to enjoy the tropical sun, the beach, and the water activities.
Located in the most southern part of the island, Pingtung faces oceans on three sides and mountains on one side. Because of the location, four seasons here are all warm and cozy. Not only because of the beautiful scenery here but also because of the fun attractions and outstanding delicacy attract people all over places to come and spend their precious vacation here.
The National Museum of Marine Biology and Aquarium
If you are taking your children with you, or you happen to be a lover of marine lives, this is a must-go attraction for you. Hoping to establish an international education and research marine base, the National Museum of Marine Biology and Aquarium(NMMBA) was opened in 2000. And the concept of the museum focuses on presenting the spirit and characteristics of water. The whole area covers 96.81 hectares, and the main exhibition building is divided into four theme halls: Waters of Taiwan, Coral Kingdom Pavilion, Waters of the World and Administration and Teaching Centers, and Whale Explorium.
The very first thing you will see when entering the museum district is the Pacific Ocean Plaza and Whales-Whale water square. Displaying the model of whales with real size, the square is opened to visitors to cool off by playing in the water and hiding under the shadow of the enormous whales. In Waters of Taiwan hall, a story of water circulation brings the visitors to see the lives and environment of water from the high mountain in Taiwan to the vast ocean around the island. Setting up a shipwreck scene in the tank, Coral Kingdom Pavilion shows how coral reefs form in the water and how ships become a paradise of marine lives after they sink.
Another special feature in this area is that there’s tunnel under the water that people can walk through it. Experiencing strolling under the ocean without going to diving, you can see sharks, whales, and all sorts of colorful marine fish swimming freely above you. And in Waters of the World area, the museum uses virtual and audio and visual effect to demonstrate the evolution of lives in the water. Also with virtual reality technology, tourists can “see” the formation of the ocean, prehistoric marine lives, and the deep-sea creatures. There is even more than 60 meters tall tank with huge kelp forest and polar water area with penguins, one of the most popular animals.
The last one is Whale Explorium, with the shape of a lively whale, it is the landmark of the solar energy in Hengchun Peninsula. But it is a pity that this building is now under construction and the reopening time is to be announced. One special thing to mention is that you can go to the website and register to take the tour of the aquarium, the tour includes guidance through different halls and backstage of the tanks, meals, and a night sleeping in the aquarium with the fish and marine creatures.
MyProGuide’s Friendly Reminder: Entrance ticket is required
Business Hours: 9:00 ~ 17:30
Ticket: NTD 450 / person
Address: 2 Houwan Road, Checheng, Pingtung, 94450, Taiwan
Longpan Grassland is situated beside the Jia-Oh highway. Facing the vast Pacific Ocean, the field is up on a cliff, which gives tourists an endless sight of the scene. When you look far away, the sky and the ocean may seem like they are knitted together. Also because of the location is far from the city, there’s no light pollution, it is a very famous place to watch the stars and see the sunrise sunset. This great grassland is formed on the tableland of coral reef limestone. And the rain erodes the terrain into crumbled ridges, subterranean limestone caves, and red soil.
(MyProGuide’s Friendly Reminder: Watch your step and don’t get too close to the edge of the cliff while taking pictures, the cliff is very high and falling from there may take your precious life.)
To really understand a culture of other ethnics, the best way is to get into their daily life. Sandimen is a place where you can truly see the aboriginal culture from the mural on the houses, taste the local cuisine in the streets, and even make your own aboriginal glass beads bracelet.
Shanchuan Glass Bridge
One of the most famous and a must-go attraction in Taiwan is the longest suspension bridge in Taiwan. And hundred-pacers, the snake viewed sacred by the tribe people, are made into decoration on the bridge, and the eyes are embedded with glass beads. Because of the difficulty of the construction, tourists are required to pay the access fee of 50 NTD for maintenance. In aboriginal culture, different patterns of glass beads present different meaning. When one is given the bead of courage, it means that the giver wants the taker to be brave and have courage. Or a newlywed couple may receive beads of love so that they will stay together forever. In the village, you can see workshops that you can make your own glass beads. Staffs there will teach you about the meaning of the patterns and help you create the patterns that represent the meaning that you want. And when you get hungry, aboriginal barbecue’s smell will sure make your stomach growls loudlier. Bamboo steamed rice sided with fried wild vegetables and slate-grilled pork makes the best meal so full of aboriginal flavor.
And the next place is the spot that is also a must-go attraction if you are a beach lover – Kenting. With so many beaches in this area, MyProGuide has picked five that tourists should go when they crave for the sunshine, blue sea, and the clean beach.
Xingshawan(Star Sand Bay)
The first beach to introduce in Kenting is Xingshawan(Star Sand Bay). With lighthouse near the bay, a huge number of people come here to shoot their wedding pictures. Thought as sands, star sands are actually not sands but seashells shaped like stars and some of them are even still alive. There used to be plenty of star sands on the beach, but people collect them in bottles and take them away. So please don’t bring away anything but trash only, if you really want star sands as a souvenir, you can buy imported ones at gift shops near the beach.
Houbihu Harbor is the biggest harbor in Kenting area and a place always packed with seafood lovers. The market near the harbor sells the freshest seafood at a bargain price, so the weekends here are always bustling and hustling. Beside the luscious food you can taste at the shore, there are also yachts that tourists can take to the sea for scuba diving or other kinds of water activities. One of MyProGuide’s tour guide told us that Houbihu is one of the most successful models of marine conservation demonstration area, so the marine life here is mesmerizing and the scuba diving here is a must-do.
Baishawan(White Sands Bay)
Also getting the name from its sands, Baishawan(White Sands Bay) is known for its coral reef coast and the clear white sands. Since the bay is much wider, water activities like jet skiing and surfing are all available here. In the recreation area, you can even camp there and barbecue with your friends and family. To people’s surprise, the scene at the end of the movie Life of Pi is actually shot here not Mexico. So don’t say that you’ve come to Kenting without coming to Baishawan, where the Oscar-winning movie was filmed.
Another coral reef coast beach, Banana Bay, is a secret spot with fewer tourists. Circled with reef, so a natural swimming pool is formed in the intertidal zone. The water is so clear that you can see through it to the bottom and it is also shallow and calm that even kids can safely play here. Plenty of fish may swim beside you and you may find crabs under the stones. If you want to go a little far away from the shore, there are stores nearby that you can rent the equipment to go snorkeling.
(MyProGuide’s Friendly Reminder: The reef can be really sharp, make sure you have good protection before going to the beach.)
Last of all, Jialeshuei would be your best choice no matter what you are, a beginner surfer or an advanced surfer. Here, with the help of professional coaches, even beginner can get the hang of it in no time. The best thing about Jialeshuei is that it is located in the south, thus surfing is available in all seasons even in winter. To promote tourism, the local government holds annual surfing festival and competition to attract surfers around the globe to come to Kenting and hope to boost the economy. Of course, after they come to Taiwan and see all the extraordinary scenery, they will surely come back again.
Next time when you come to Taiwan, come to Pingtung to relieve yourself from the pressure of the urban life, indulge yourself in the atmosphere of the tropical island and just relax all you want.