Kenting and southern Taiwan are popular attractions when traveling to Taiwan with kids because of the aquamarine waters, tide pools, sunshine and sandy beaches. This guide for favorite things to do with kids in southern Taiwan covers the area from Kaohsiung to Kenting with a few favorite attractions along the way.
When I travel with our kids in Taiwan, I am always looking for a combination of new adventures, time near water, hikes and outdoor exploring. Just a 2-hour scenic drive from Kaohsiung, Kenting and the surrounding area has quickly become one of our favorite places to go in Taiwan with kids because there are so many terrific places to experience the island’s natural beauty and relax at the ocean.
Favorite Places to Go with Kids in Kenting, Taiwan
From fish markets to an amazing aquarium, waterfalls, beaches and incredible hiking, this area of Taiwan has the total package to offer families traveling to Taiwan with young kids, tweens, and teens.
Dong Gang Fish Market (Hua Qiao)
Worth a stop as you drive to Kenting, this busy fresh fish and seafood market is an active, working port. Vendors sell seafood directly off the boat and you can pickup seafood snacks.
(image credit: Wikipedia)
National Museum of Marine Biology & Aquarium
This large and well-designed aquarium museum highlights the amazing sea life that lives in the ocean around Taiwan. Exhibits are educational and exploratory, including a massive kelp forest, shark tunnel and beluga whales. On hot days, families can play in the splash fountains with huge whale sculptures at the entrance. Food carts, luggage storage, a Starbucks, and souvenir shops make this a fun place for families with kids visiting southern Taiwan. Free Wi-Fi on site with iTaiwan, and $450 NT (adult) and 250 NT (child over 6), free for children under 115cm or 6 years old.
Kenting Hai World Semi-Submarine
For families wanting to experience the ocean without getting wet, this semi-submarine boat ride is a nice option. It leaves the bay and provides glass panoramic views of the coral reefs near Kenting. Kids will see all kinds of tropical fish. On a windy day some passengers might get seasick from the waves so prepare in advance if that’s you!
Baisha White Sand Bay
This popular vacation beach where they filmed the movie Life of Pi includes umbrella tents and chairs with a couple of nearby beach shops selling food and drink. The chairs (approx. $10 USD) get occupied quickly so plan to arrive by mid-morning if you want a shaded area.
(image credit: Wikipedia)
Tide pools and shallow swimming
A day spent looking for sea creatures and snorkeling in shallow water is always a fun family adventure. Several places along the shores are popular for tide-pooling. Be alert for weather and tidal changes.
Little Bay Beach
Located directly across the main street from Caesar Park Hotel, this sandy beach and swim area is one of our favorite places to spend the day. A nearby bar and restaurant provides access to food and drink and makes a nice place for watching the sunset. Some umbrellas and lounge chairs are reserved for specific hotel guests.
Kenting National Forest Recreation Park
Hiking trails and views at this park are simply stunning! Giant trees and fossilized coral structures create awe-inspiring moments. The 360 views from the observation tower 300m above sea level are absolutely beautiful. Kids are likely to see families of monkeys here too! Open 8 am – 5 pm every day. Admission ranges from free to $150 NT depending on adult, child, and senior or weekend rates.
Southernmost Point of Taiwan Observation Station
There is something magical about being at the tip of an island and knowing the next piece of land is another country. This landmark is a short drive along the coast and makes for a fun and memorable place to take a family photo.
Where to Stay with Kids in Kenting
Caesar Park Hotel
Direct access to the beach, lounge chairs and beach service in a protected bay, large outdoor pool and updated rooms (plus a Starbucks nearby!)
Sprawling hotel with many services and amenities, and one of the only hotels directly on the beach. Play area, outdoor showers and breakfast included. Ocean-facing rooms have access to a deck or balcony.
Huge hotel with massive indoor and outdoor pools, playroom, game rooms, spa, international breakfast and more at a reasonable rate
Nice location, outdoor pool, and family-friendly perks at a moderate price
Where to Eat and Drink with Kids in Kenting
Market Not to Be Missed
The Kenting Night Market is the main attraction in this otherwise small coastal town. Starting around 5 - 6 pm as the sun begins to set, street food vendors and carnival games start setting up along the main road. It's often packed with visitors and is very lively and bright with lights, bars, restaurants, and cafes. If walking with young kids, hold their hands because cars and large tourist buses pass by quickly.
Know Before You Go
- Bring plenty of sunscreen, hat and ideally a swim shirt or cover you can wear at all times because the UV can be intense during the summer months.
- Windy weather and typhoons can hit this area of Taiwan particularly hard, so stay up to date with weather forecasts especially during typhoon season June - October. Many hotels will allow free re-booking or cancellation due to weather changes. Check the weather before you go!
- Bring swim caps for hotel pools, as this is typically required in Taiwan.
- Ocean swimming is typically restricted to marked areas during certain hours and sometimes a life jacket is mandatory according to hotel rules. Signs will be posted if there are dangerous conditions, sea snakes or jellyfish in the area depending on the season.
- Wear sandals or reef shoes when walking across the sand, tide pools or as kids go to and from the pool, because the ground can get very hot during summer months.
Check the tide and sunset schedules for ideal tide pooling and catching the perfect sunset moment as you relax in a beautiful part of Asia!
How to Get to Kenting
Most visitors to Kenting depart Kaohsiung via bus, taxi or private car. Taiwan’s High Speed Rail (HSR) travels as far south as Kaohsiung (Zuoying HSR station). From there, a car or taxi is necessary to access some of the recommended sites and allows you to easily fit more attractions into one day.
Car rentals are available from the HSR station. Rental car counters are located next to Exit 3.
Taxis can be hired privately for the 2-hour drive and usually can be negotiated for 500NT to 1000NT depending on number of passengers and stops.
Kenting Express Bus is our favorite way to go directly Kenting with bus stops at several major points on the journey, including drop-off at Chateau Beach Resort and Caesar Park hotel areas. Kids and parents can relax and enjoy the scenery without having to worry about scooters or directions. The express bus takes 2 ½ hours from Zuoying HSR station. Tickets are 314 NT per person. The bus departs from the 1st floor of the Zuoying HSR station. Turn right as you depart the arrivals hall.
Read my Top 25 Ultimate Guide for What to Do in Kaohsiung, Taiwan for tips on enjoying the major attractions of what Lonely Planet called a top 10 city to visit in 2018!
About the author
Cerise Roth-Vinson is a busy expat working mom and family travel blogger who lives in Kaohsiung, Taiwan. She writes about living in Taiwan as a diverse and multicultural family, travel with school-age kids and tweens, being a foodie, and her love of local markets. She can be contacted @enchanted_vagabond on Instagram or her travel website, www.enchantedvagabond.com.