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Kending: the place of white sand beaches, blue skies and azure sea
photos courtesy of Steven Hsu

imageOne way to get away from the oppressive summer heat is to visit Kending. Here you'll find white sands, sunny delights, azure ocean scenery, and interestingly enough, tropical forest.

Step onto white sand beach

Kending has three developed beach areas: Nanwan (South Bay), Dawan (Big Bay) and Siaowan (Little Bay). All three bays have white sand beaches dotted with colorful umbrellas. Expect to see some scantily clad beauties creating a touch of the Mediterranean. Big Bay is located near the busy main street of Kending, and is managed by the Chateau Beach Resort. It is not open to the general public, except for Kending locals, and is therefore well maintained. Little Bay beach is under the management of the Caesar Park Hotel, and there are a lot of jet skis rushing back and forth, but don't worry because there are buoys clearly marking off the swimming area. For refreshments, Little Bay offers a bar for a relaxing cocktail, or two, or three... Every April there is a triathlon held here with hundreds of contestants and many more onlookers.

Jump off a rock

One of the most scenic spots in the Kending area is Sail Rock on the road to Eluanbi, the southernmost point of Taiwan. It's a great place to go scuba diving, as all kinds of fish weave their way underneath this stone. For a special thrill, try jumping off this three-story rock into the water below. But, please do not try this if you are not an experienced diver or do not have someone capable of basic lifesaving along.

Kenting shimmers in silver during the Flying Fish Festival

Yearly, in the month of June, flying fish follow the Japan (Kuroshio) Current and work their way from the southern coast up the eastern coast.

When startled, their fins whip outward and they leap out of the water. There are twelve varieties of flying fish commonly found off Taiwan coasts: black-finned flying fish, white-finned flying fish, and red-spotted flying fish are among the most common.

Flying fish do not fetch a high price in seafood markets, and very few restaurants serve this dish. You may find some at Bihu Fishing Port, which sells all kinds of dried fish products. But, for something truly unforgettable, there is the Kending indigenous smoked flying fish, a dried commodity that can be bought in markets in Taidong.

There are a number of companies in Houbihu offering boat rides out to where you can actually see the flying fish leaping out of the sea on their way north. When trolling for flying fish, there are usually three fishing vessels working together. The boat that moves ahead is called the "mother ship" with most of the fishermen and equipment. The rear two ships release a net in a circling pattern. Then the fishermen allow the net, attached to rubber rafts, to sink. They head out to sea and troll for about two hours. Tickets are NT$300 per person for those who want to tag along.

Heed the call of the tropics

Cikong Waterfall is located to the north of Yongcing Village, Manjhou Township, Pingtung County, in a gorge that drops from Laofo Mountain (Old Buddha Mountain). Imagine if you will a wave formation cascading down along the mountain forming seven pools and you will have an idea of what the scenery here looks like.

The source of the waterfall, Laofo Mountain is some 674 meters high, and there are a number of places to explore: Kending Vacation Village, Nanren Lake, Jiupeng, and Jialeshuifengchuisha. To the west is an active volcano, and Hengchun Dongmen Old City.

It will take you about an hour or two to hike from level one to level seven of this waterfall, as Laofo Mountain is not very high, but is very, very steep. This has contributed significantly to the waterfall formations along its slopes of varying sizes and shapes. The hike is no easy task to be sure. So, if you want to make the climb, you'll need to use proper safety equipment to keep from falling to a treacherous low.

Kenting National Park, with its entrance off of the town's main street, boasts spectacular tropical forest scenery, coral tablelands and cliffs and rambling foothills. All of this can be explored by car or scooter along its road system, or on foot along marked trails.