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Pingdong offers water fun and the freshest of seafood
photos courtesy of Steven Hsu

imageKending has long made a name for itself as a popular beach resort, but does Pingdong offer more than this to those who want to play? The answer is yes, in Dapeng Bay in Donggang and the Ryukyu Islands.

Donggang has three products that set it apart: Bluefin tuna, Sakura shrimp and Oilfish roe.

Prices for each catch are posted right at the port, but this is really a wholesale port for distributors and fishmongers. Tourists can peruse the Huaciao Market on Chaolong Road.

Dapeng Bay: for something different

If you are in Pingdong and would like to see the ocean and have a swim, then Dapeng Bay is a less developed, but also less crowded alternative to Kending. And, the one and only decent place in Southwest Taiwan to see salt flats is here. It is the location of a historic military base used during the Japanese occupation where soldiers underwent training.

This expansive 1438-hectare plot of land was declared a national scenic area in 2003 and points of interests are not very close together, so it's best to take a bicycle along. Sailing and "banana boat" rides are quite popular here, but because of the wave patterns, motorboats are prohibited. There is a sailing school for a crash course and boats can be rented as well. A sailboat rents for NT$750 and may be used all day. Banana boats rent out for only NT$200. When out to sea, you'll have a perfect view of the lagoon ecology, including a variety of seaweeds.

On land, events at Dapeng Bay are few and far between, but remains of the military base are available for exploration and a section has been reserved for barbequing. There is also a tuna exhibition hall, a playground, dune buggies for rent, mini race cars, an archery range, paint ball area and horseback riding. Army barracks have been renovated into an inn at NT$400-NT$600 per person.

There is a Green Knoll Rest Area on Nanping Beach with a beefwood pine windbreak and old coconut trees-a scenic place to dip your feet into the water.

Ryukyu islands, a pearl in the sea

Make the time to take a trip to Ryukyu Islands. This group of islands is the only one made of coral in the Taiwan Strait. Limestone cavities and coral reef formations are everywhere. Well-known limestone formations are the Niaoguei Cave, Meiren Cave, and Shanjhu Ditch. There is a coastal road encircling the island upon which runs a tour bus that stops at scenic places.