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Winter marks the best season to visit Taiwan’s Kenting

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Kenting's beaches offer a view of Orion and Sirius in winter. (P.K. Chen photo)

Kenting's beaches offer a view of Orion and Sirius in winter. (P.K. Chen photo)

The weather and temperatures during winter on the island of Taiwan differ vastly from north to south. Due to northwestern monsoons, north and east Taiwan often experience rain and cold.

As for central and south Taiwan, due to being on the lee-side of the Central Mountain Range, there is a much better chance of having clear weather!

This is especially true when strong continental air masses approach. While central and south Taiwan still see cool temperatures in the morning and at night due to radiative cooling, at noon, sunlight heats these regions up nice and warm, making them very pleasant.

This is a guide to where to go for a sunbath whenever Taipei and Yilan become cold and humid and depressing — Kenting! The southernmost part of Taiwan.

Winter marks the best season to visit Taiwan’s Kenting
Winter marks the best season to visit Taiwan’s Kenting
Seawater remains warm at Kenting's beaches during winter. (P.K. Chen photo)

Kenting and Hengchun are famous for what is known as “downhill winds,” which are winter’s northeasterly winds that rush down along mountains to blast the west coast of the Hengchun Peninsula. While the winds are notoriously strong — those familiar with regional climates know that the strongest gusts that knock over motorcycles — they usually only last a day or two, rarely for up to a week.

When the downhill winds cease, the warmth of the sun prevails.

A day or two after weather reports forecast strong continental air masses approaching Taiwan, I often take off at 4 a.m. in the cold rain and drive all the way to Kenting via National Highway 3. There is no traffic at all on the way, and without the need to rush, I arrive at Kenting within five and a half hours.

Taiwanese don’t come to Kenting during winter, because they don’t like the cold or the sun.

Winter marks the best season to visit Taiwan’s Kenting
Taiwan's Kenting is often compared to Hawaii. (P.K. Chen photo)

What they don’t know is that the temperature of seawater here falls to around 22-24 degrees Celsius, best suited for water activities and swimming between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Then, as you watch the sun set by coconut trees, you’ll think you’re in Hawaii!

After night falls, lie on the beach and watch Orion and Sirius in the sky and sleep beneath the Winter Triangle. What a life!

A unique trip begins with reverse thinking!

(Translation by Stephanie Chiang)

Chen Pei-kung (陳培堃), known among amateur astronomers as P.K. and among children as "Star Peter Pan," is a renowned photojournalist and astrophotographer. His writing and photography have been frequently featured in the American Sky & Telescope Magazine, the Japanese Tenmon Guide, as well as major Taiwanese newspapers and magazines. In 1985 atop Jade Mountain, he became the first person in Taiwan to photograph Halley’s Comet.

Updated : 2022-05-24 01:05 GMT+08:00