Kenting National Park

The beach resorts at Taiwan’s southern tip have a reputation for hedonism which sometimes obscures Kenting National Park’s remarkable natural assets. In addition to stretches of striking coastline, notably the erosion-carved rocks at Jialeshui and the crumbling cliffs of Longpan, this park in Pingtung County in the far south offers superb scuba diving (there are at least 48 dive sites) and birdwatching, plus opportunities to see wild animals such as macaques and sika deer.

Kenting National Park Taiwan

Just inland from the main resort, the 150 ha (371 acres) Kenting National Forest Recreation Area is one of the few places in Taiwan where monsoon rainforest exists. Much of the recreation area is now between 200 m (656 ft) and 300 m (984 ft) above sea level, yet this land was originally submerged coral reef, and huge chunks of dead coral can be seen amid fig and laurel trees. To visit the protected ecological zones at Longkeng or Nanrenshan, permits must be arranged in advance, but eco-tourists are handsomely rewarded for their trouble. Longkeng has tidal platforms full of sea creatures, while Nanrenshan — where there’s primeval forest and a small lake — is exceptionally rich in both fauna and flora.

Kenting’s superb combination of hills, rivers, cliffs, and scenic roads make it perfect not only for cycling and watersports, but also adventure races and triathlons.