Kenting National Park
Earth : Asia : East Asia : Taiwan : Southern Taiwan : Pingtung County : Kenting National Park
Kenting National Park (墾丁國家公園; kěndīng gúojiā gōngyuán) is in at the extreme southern tip of Taiwan. It is famous for its beautiful beaches and lush vegetation, and plenty of differents corals.
Although Kenting National Park is located in Kenting, these two places should not be confused as the same destination. Kenting is the wider area that includes small townships as well as the national park. The main town is called Hengchun (恆春古城) which is a bit North of Kenting. Many hotels and hostels are located in this town. You will find an old Qing-era city gate and some remains of the old city wall here. The KenTing National Forest Recreation Area can be reached by bike or scooter from Hengchun.
KenTing National Forest Recreation Area is between 150 and 300 meters above sea level and the total area is 466.8 hectares. Since the landform of Hengchun Peninsula is complicated and the weather is highly changeable, it breeds abundant and special rare plant resources. The forest landscape is roughly divided into three layers. The first layer is arbores. Moraceae and lauraceae are dominant. The second layer is bushes, primarily small palmae. The third layer is chamaephyte. Low grasses and liana are dominant. It is a rich and adequate forest with more than 1,200 kinds of both ornamental and conserved plants. Rising high coral limestone is everywhere in KenTing National Forest Recreation Area. The limestone is primarily composed of sedimentation of corals, foraminifers and nullipores. According to research, this area is supposed to be under sea level ten millions years ago. After weathering and sea water erosion, the coral limestone has gradually become stalagmites, stalactite caves, columns, notches and stalactites. Especially stalagmites and stalactites, they are formed by deposition of calcium carbonate which is precipitated from mineralized water solutions. An average growth rate is 1cm every 30 years. They are rare and precious stone resources. Entering from the memorial archway in KenTing National Forest Recreation Area, along the forest trail, there are old trees on both sides of the road. Among them, there is a 300-years-old giant Chinese pistache. Heading inside the recreation area, everywhere, there are spots worth a visit. Aquatic plants area, stalagmites cave, Silver Leaves and Roots, Fairy Cave, Labyrinth Forest, Sky in a Line, Falling Banyan Valley, Silver Dragon Cave, No.1 Gorge, Umbrella Pavilion and Ape Cliff are geographic landscape that you can’t miss. 
Flora and fauna
KenTing National Forest Recreation Area is the only one tropical botanical garden in Taiwan and also one of the top 10 tropical botanical gardens in the world. Currently, there are thousands of tropical plants and adequate resources of butterflies, birds, insects and reptiles. Sometimes, you can see groups of Formosan macaques playing. Every autumn and winter, plenty of migratory birds including Chinese goshawks, oriental honey-buzzards, cattle egrets, falco subbuteos, brown shrikes and gray-faced buzzards roost at this place. It brings the original forest a more vivid ambience.
During typhoon season, the waves can get quite rough causing all beaches to be closed.
From Kaohsiung There is both a regular (9188) and express (9189) bus that travels between Kaohsiung (THSR Zuoying Station) and Kenting Street. The express bus runs 08:30 ~ 19:00, every 30 minutes. The ride takes about 2 hours and costs 407NT. 600NT roundtrip, the ticket kiosk is on the second floor of the station, both Easycard and iPass can also be used as payment.
Buses travel frequently from Kaohsiung to Kenting. Take the line 88 from the Kaohsiung bus terminal (don't get confused with city buses). The price for a ticket is roughly 350NT$ (as of June 28, 2011, the price is 230NT$). The transit time from Kaohsiung to Kenting is approximately 2.5 hours, depending upon the general traffic situation.
A shared taxi from Kaohsiung is usually cheaper than the bus. You can arrange a shared cab in one of the many hostels in Kaohsiung. It's a door-to-door service so it's more convenient as well.
Kenting is accessible via the HSR, or High Speed Rail which connects Taipei with Zuoying, Kaohsiung. The total travel time from Taipei to Zuoying (Kaohsiung) via HSR is approximately 90 mins. After arrival in Zuoying, exit the station and head outside where there is a bus stop. Line 88 bus to Kenting operates 24 hours/day, so getting back to the HSR on time is no problem. Ask your place of accommodation about shuttle buses, or you can take a taxi, which usually picks up passengers until it's full and then quotes a price per person for the trip.
It is advisable to reserve your HSR tickets by telephone or online if travelling on the weekend. Weekend trains are often sold out. 
Renting a car is not optimal, but nice if you wish to travel around/within the Kenting area. Having an automobile or renting a scooter in Kenting enables you to travel up and down the entire southern seaboard and visit both public beaches easily.
By tour vehicle
Transportation to / from Kaohsiung and throughout the broader Kenting area can be optimized by the use of a tour vehicle. Sun Go Travels offers a range of services and a tour vehicle can beat the price and schedule of regional private buses. Contact +886-(0)982-669783 for details.
A motorbike can be rented for 400-600 TWD/day in Kenting from many different storefronts. Users must show a Taiwan motorbike drivers license and sign a rental contract before being given keys. Apparently it used to be easy to rent a motorbike without showing a license, but this is no longer the case since the police cracked down on the shops. As Taiwan has a motorbike helmet law, be aware that wearing a helmet is a requirement when operating or riding as a passenger on a motorbike. Note: Even a full EU Motorcycle licence will not permit you to rent any motorcycle other than one that is battery powered. You can also rent a battery powered (electric bike) without an international driver's license with 2 batteries for NT$600-1000. You can use 1 battery to go east to Eluanbi or further, come back, switch batteries, then head west to Houbihu port for seafood. One or two of the dealers in the area will provide a heavy duty battery if you ask for one. Unsurprisingly, these can last a little longer, but you will still need a spare which should be stowed under the seat.
There is a shuttle bus that connects several places, there will be bus stops for it and most of them do NOT have a timetable. You will only be able to pick up a pocket-sized timetable at the office in Hengchun. Hengchut is the major tourist hub in the Kenting area, the bus lines are connected here. The bus will take you to places like the marine museum, sail rock, nanwan, baisha bay, the bottom of the hill where the forest recreation ares is, and so on... It is easy enough to take the bus and you can get a day pass at a reasonable price, a day pass costs NT150. Two-day pass costs NT$250 - but you will need to pick up the timetable and plan in advance. There are around 1-2 buses per hour, they are usually on time. You can find the lines, bus stops and timetable online in chinese only, the english version will be available at the office. http://www.ptbus.com.tw/03/0302a.htm
There is only one or two places in Kenting city where you can rent a bicycle for 300TWD a day. Unlike eletrical scooter, you can ride a bike to do a loop around Kenting by going east, then road 200 from Manzhou to Hengchun and finally go back to Kenting. It is a 50 km ride, very windy on the east side, but very beautiful. You can also ride to the National Museum of Marine Biology. Back and forth is around 45 km and can be done in one day.
As in any tourist area, it is advisable to double-check prices. Kenting closes surprisingly early for Taiwan - most shops and stalls seem to shut down at 10pm.
Thai food is currently in Vogue in Kenting, and virtually every restaurant now offers it. At night the main road in Kenting becomes a night market, with all kinds of food sold from stalls. There are plenty of restaurants too - lots of Chinese (of course), Thai, and a little western. There is also a lot of fresh fruit available and plenty of seafood.
CHEZ PAPA unique foreigner restaurent/pub in street have good drink with selection of wines , belgium beers and cooktails.you can seat in small"terrase" or inside with morocco atmosphere.Place to eat very late .
Resorts and Hotels
Since Kenting's popularity as a destination is rising, it seems like every plot of land that isn't already a hotel or restaurant is being turned into one, and many shops and restaurants have rooms upstairs too, so it shouldn't be too hard to find a place to sleep. The newer hotels are generally nicer but pricier, and you'll want to check there's no ongoing construction that might interfere with your sleep.
The main resort hotel in Kenting is "Château Beach Resort", made famous by the movie "Cape No.7" - it is also the only hotel in the area with direct beach access from terraced rooms.
Camping is allowed in the National Park. It is advisable to contact the park directly to setup permits. Several bed and breakfast or small proprietor operations will rent tents and space for camping on their property. []
Like all of Taiwan, the Kenting area is very safe from violent crime. Use common sense when protecting your valuables, and don't leave anything valuable in your car.
Stray dogs, while not violent or aggressive, are everywhere and likely harbor disease and/or parasites. Don't pet them!
During weekends, tourists park all over the sidewalks and entryways, making it very difficult for pedestrians to walk safely and out of street traffic.