Friday, February 2, 2018

Cycling Taiwan 2017 Day 12: Exploring Kenting By Motorbikes

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Cycling Taiwan 2017 Day 12: Exploring Kenting By Motorbikes
Taiwan Day 12: Wednesday, 25th October - Around Kenting
This is part of cycling tour around Taiwan, Around Kenting (墾丁):
Kenting (墾丁)>Southernmost Tip of Taiwan (臺灣最南點碑)> Fongchueisha (風吹砂)>Manzhou (滿州)>Hengchun (恆春)>Maobitou Park (貓鼻頭公園)>Taipower Southern Exhibition Centre (核能展示館)>Kenting (墾丁).
Distance - 69.29 km.     Level: Hard (Due to slopes and strong headwind on the eastern coast).
Time : 8:00am to 5:00pm
Time Taken : 9 hrs. (including stops for breakfast, lunch, stops at beaches & parks and many photo opps).

This is page 11 of a 19-page blog, Click Here To Go To Title Page.
Go to D11 Kenting              |           Go to Other Days        |        Go to D13 Taitung >

Route Recommendations :
1. Traffic Directions!
     The Taiwan (台湾) is left-hand drive, so cycle on the right. Same thing applies when crossing the road, take note of the direction in which traffic is approaching from!

2. Route & Traffic Conditions  
    The route is quite hilly at the south-eastern coast and the difficulty was aggravated by the strong winds. Click here to download a PDF guide on Cycling Around Taiwan.

3. Weather
    At Pingtung County (屏東縣), the daytime weather was fairly warm, averaging at 28°C during the day with a high of 32°C (the overcast skies did help shade us) and 26°C at night. Wind speed was strong, averaging 43kph with gusts up to 67kph, espeically near the south-eastern coast.
    It is always prudent to check the weather for the next day so as to know what to expect and be prepared for it. Useful weather forecast sites for the Taiwan are the Taiwan Central Weather Bureau and AccuWeather. For more detailed weather, including cloud cover and wind speed, use Weatherspark and Ventusky.

4. Places of Interest
Little Bay Beach (小灣沙灘) (GPS: 21.94146, 120.80465).
Sail Rock (Chuanfanshih, 船帆石) King Kong Rock (GPS: 21.9312, 120.82399).
Eluanbi Lighthouse (鵝鑾鼻燈塔) (GPS: 21.90224, 120.85262).
Southernmost Tip of Taiwan (臺灣最南點碑) (GPS: 21.89762, 120.85789).
Longpan Park (龍磐公園) (GPS: 21.93156, 120.84986).
Fongchueisha (風吹砂) (GPS:21.95027, 120.8402 ).
Manzhou Beach (滿州海灘) (GPS: 21.95835, 120.84046).
Gangkou Suspension Bridge (屏東滿州港口吊橋) (GPS: 21.98823, 120.84183).
Hengchun Town (恆春鎮) (GPS: 22.00306, 120.74151).
Longluantan Nature Center (龍鑾潭自然中心) (GPS: 21.97512, 120.7399).
White Sand Bay (Baisha Bay, 白沙灣海灘) (GPS: 21.93444, 120.71784).
Maobitou Park (貓鼻頭公園) (GPS: 21.92207, 120.73794).
Houbihu Fishing Harbour (後壁湖) (GPS: 21.94535, 120.74389).
Taipower Southern Exhibition Centre (核能展示館) (GPS: 21.94812, 120.74431).
Kenting Street Night Market (墾丁大街) (GPS: 21.94531, 120.79801).

5. Food
- Breakfast: Burgers & Sandwiches at Yuangi (垦丁活力早午餐) (GPS: 21.94541, 120.79787) outlet in Kenting Street (墾丁大街) (GPS: 21.94531, 120.79801).
- Lunch: Chinese rice & noodles set at Chashan Beef Noodle Restaurant (陈妈妈肉圆) (GPS: 21.98949, 120.84224) in Manzhou (滿州).
- Dinner: Three-cup Chicken and other street food at Kenting Street Night Market (墾丁大街) (GPS: 21.94531, 120.79801).

6. Accommodations
Two nights in Kenting (墾丁) at Sea Cloudless Day Homestay (海晴天旅店) (GPS: 21.94602, 120.79525) three 2-pax rooms at 300NTD pax per night.
Address: 1946, Taiwan, Pingtung County, Hengchun Township, 屏東縣恆春鎮墾丁路310號.
Tel: +886-88863830 
Note: There are Minsu ladies plying Kenting Street.

7. Renting Motorbikes on Xiaoliu Qiu
   We rented our motorbikes from our home-stay at NTD600 each per day inclusive of petrol.

8. Communicating with Each Other
   When travelling in a group it's important to be able to communicate with each other, especially if one got lost from the rest.
    At Taipei Taoyuan Airport Terminal One, just after exiting the into the arrival hall, there are several booths on the left selling pre-paid phone SIM cards. We got pre-paid 4G prepaid SIM cards from Chung Hwa as they had good coverage even in remote areas. These cost NTD1,000 for a 30-day plan that includes unlimited data and NTD$430 credit for texts or calls. These can also be booked on line.
    Those without sim card could try using free Wifi that are sometimes available at the airport, some bigger train stations or hotels; do note that these free wifi may not be stable and registration could be required.

9. Communicating with Locals
    Most Taiwanese (台湾人) speaks Mandarin (官话) and Hokkien (福建話), and very few speak English. So it would be good to have a person in the team who can converse in Mandarin or Hokkien.
    When communicating with locals is a problem, this could be partly overcome by using translation apps like Google Translate. Do install this app into your phone and before you leave on your tour do some basic translation as it will be saved onto a list of recent translations.
    Look out for the tourist information booths at airports, railway stations or bus stations, the guides manning the booths speak good English and do give good tips on where to visit, directions, train and bus schedules.

10. Service Your Bicycles & Carry Tools and Spares
    Before leaving on your tour, it will be good to service your bike and bring along some spares like tubes, puncture patches, brake pads and the relevant tools.
_________________________________________________________________________
PRELUDE

A day before we left Little Crystal Pearl Island (that's the cute unofficial name of Xiaoliuqiu (小琉球)) and headed for Kenting. As we neared the narrow southern tip of the island-country, we got a sample of how strong the wind can be in Taiwan.
Today we are giving our bikes another rest day, and hopped onto motorcycles to cover a larger area around the Kenting National Park!

THE RIDE


RouteKenting (墾丁)>Southernmost Tip of Taiwan (臺灣最南點碑)> Fongchueisha (風吹砂)>Manzhou (滿州)>Hengchun (恆春)>Maobitou Park (貓鼻頭公園)>Taipower Southern Exhibition Centre (核能展示館)>Kenting (墾丁).
Distance - 69.29 km.     Level: Hard (due slopes combined with strong headwind on the eastern coast).
The route includes is a loop around the narrow southern tip of Taiwan from Kenting to the south-eastern tip then upwards into the hinterland before proceeding to the south-western tip and returning back to Kenting.


We will be renting motorcycles today, but first a short cycle ride into Kenting Streett to take care of our tummies! There are no shortfall of food shops here and one would be spoilt for choices by the varieties available; we had ours at Yuangi. It's a cozy fast-food place, clean and with set meals on their menu. We went for the sandwich set - long toasted buns filled with thick slices of pork or bacon. Suffice to say our tummies were most happy with the meal.


Siah with Ms. Tan, buddies after staying at her place.
Back at our home-stay, we were asking the Ms. Tan the operator where we could rent motorcycles. There was a shop next door which rented at NTD700 per day, more than double the rentals at Xiaoliuqiu! Ms. Tan had a few motor-bikes that she also rents out, and as we were her guests, she rented it to us at NTD600 each. I must take my hats off (or should I say my helmet off) to her. She is one hardworking lady; plying the streets day and night to look for guests, working late into the night to get her books in order, acting as a tourist information source, and was already up first thing in the morning to manage her place!


Ann and Bert decided explore the locality on their Bromptons. I must take my hat off again, this time to them as we had heard that at the coastal areas the strong head winds are a deterrent.


Just out of town the winds came billowing in strongly, whooshing through the palm fronds and fluttering the flags proudly; and we were not even at the coast yet! In my heart I said to myself, " Dear God, please keep my cycling buddies safe... and make sure their legs don't fail them!"


Our first destination, Little Bay Beach. Although it was a weekday, the beach was rather crowded but then it was a lovely day with a hot sun painting the sky blue and the sea an even brighter blue.


Next was ?Rock. It's suppose to look like the sail of a Chinese junk. Try as I may I could not see a sail; to me it looked more like King Kong's head sticking out from the sea... perhaps I really need to have my eyes checked or perhaps my imagination was running too wild.


The sea-scape scenery here were just so beautiful, drawing us to stop often. At some were sandy beaches, at others it's rocky crags. What remains consistent was the blue, blue sea with it's water so clear that the sea bed is visible.


Our first major destination (meaning where we will spend more time) was the Southernmost Tip of Taiwan. Just next to the entrance road is Eluanbi Lighthouse, pay a fee and from there are platforms for good views.
We did not go to the lighthouse,  as we were more keen to reach the tip. A road leads in halfway and from there it's a paved pathway where no vehicles are allowed. All the better as it's a shady five hundred meters walk to the tip.


Along the way in was this sphere, it looked like a giant green football. Don't be mistaken though, this place here is not a football club, it's the Kenting Meteorological Radar Observatory. Taiwan annually faces strong typhoons during typhoon season, and there are many of these weather stations dotting the east coast of the island nation to warn of these oncoming threats.


Here's the view at the Southernmost Tip of Taiwan. On the left is the viewing platform with a obelisk monument to landmark the place; the wide beach here is filled with mossy rocks and the waves were roaring in. The wind here gets pretty strong, so hold on tight to your hats.
This point divides the the Bashi Channel from the Pacific Ocean; in fact the Batanes, the northernmost Philippines islands are just across the Bashi Channel and are closer to to this point than to the rest of the Philippines.
(... click here for a interactive Google street view from this platform)


The roads are getting slightly more steep, but we are on motor-bikes so no problems there.
We stopped at this little lighthouse, I am not sure what the blue Chinese characters say (see, I am a banana), but it's a cute little lighthouse.



A Yahoo! moment for Sin as he stood on some craggy rocks at Longpan Park. Why was he so euphoric?


... it's these scene from the rock that got him overjoyed!
I won't add further to this photo, let it tell it's story in a thousand words.



Caught sight of these two touring cyclists, if the wind at this stretch is bad then worse was to come slightly ahead at a place called Fongchueisha which translate to "Wind Blowing Sand" and it literally means that! There the strong North-east Monsoon blow sand from the beaches to the tops of the cliffs, forming unique landscapes such as sand cascades, sand rivers, and sand dunes. It also blows sand onto all who passed by, we felt the sand rub abrasively on our skin and had to squint our eyes to prevent the sand from getting in.
Later we were to learn that our pals Ann and Bert cycled all the way to Fongchueisha, I do hope that they have their shades and face masks on. Nature has a funny way of saying, "Don't mess around with me or I will spit sand onto your faces" 😎


At Manzhou (滿州鄉) we turned away from the coast, this place must be a scuba divers haven as there were several dives shop around. Scuba diving was not on our minds, food was! We had our lunch at Chashan Beef Noodle Restaurant. It's a simple cozy that also servesd rice set lunches, and there's a small corner where souvenirs and other trinkets are sold.
We were enjoying the chicken chop rice set when Heong suddenly perked up and stopped eating, here eyes bulging out. "This food smell of cockroach", stirring through her rice to look for those nasty cockroach eggs! Damn! I had almost finished mine.... I do hope we won't get one of those "Alien movie bug crawling out from the tummy moments" later.


Nearby is the red Gangkou Suspension Bridge. The thrill is not just walking on this swaying suspension bridge, there are also nice views of the river estuary from mid-span. Note: there is an entry fee of NTD20.


At Hengchun Town the girls got "locked-up", with all those big red Chinese characters on the wall, it looked like they had not paid their dues to those nasty loan sharks.


Longluantan Nature Center was a bit disappointing. It's suppose to be a haven for migatory birds, and we were hoping to see birds swooping around like in Thale Noi that we visited during our South Thailand tour. It must have been the wrong season as there were hardly any birds around. We did catch eye of some interesting things like this weird orange Jessamine fruit looking like some creatures with bloody mouths agape (another Alien moment?).


At Baisha Bay (White Sand Bay), the name was self explanatory, the wide beaches here have white sand. And what is this tiger doing on a boat parked at the entrance? This is the tiger from the Life of Pi movie. The sequence of the tiger with Pi on a white beach was shot here.


Our next stop Maobitou Park, the south-western tip of Taiwan. Unlike the southernmost tip which I think is a nature reserve and was quieter; this place was like a park, thronged with tourists and there's also a food/souvenir section.
Note: the entry fee to this park was 30NTD and motorcycle parking charges were 10NTD.



Here I am, sitting arms and legs akimbo looking like one of those feudal warlords.


The coastline here is different, no sandy beaches but a fringing reef coastline with pimply rocks sticking out into the sea like fingers.



The main attractions of this place is Mobitou, which translate as "Cat Nose Head" a rock that looks like cat's head with a prominent nose.
It looked like a dragon head to me, liked the Yongduam Rock (Dragon Head Rock) (용두암) we saw in Jeju Island during out biking tour there .... ouch my poor eyes again! I better get glasses. 
Actually I did not get the right view angle, click here to see the cat's head.



On the way out there are rows of shops lining the exit corridor. They sell souvenirs, food, fruits and also these colorful drinks. These are concoctions of different fruit juices carefully put into a bottle so that they are colored layers, just shake them to mix the juices and it becomes a fruit cocktail.


Available here are also the renown Taiwan custard apple. But what caught my eyes were the attractive bright orange fruit on the left. The last time I saw these were at the Batanes during our Philippines cycling tour. This is the fruit of the Screw Pine (Pandanus Odorife), it's one of the staple food for coconut crabs, other than coconuts that is.


The last two destinations were Houbihu Fishing Harbour sitting on the left foreground in the photo above and the Taipower Southern Exhibition Centre (that's theone with tall wind turbines on the left and the brownish egg-shaped nuclear power plants on the right.


Evening time it was a stroll along the Kenting Street Night Market with dinner at one of the roadside stalls. We had Three Cup Chicken which are cooked with a cup each of soy sauce, sesame oil and rice wine, hence the name. The ones here were also served in these three paper cups.


Other then the chicken we had these weird looking things - these are duck tongues, tasty but quite tough to bite into.
With their forked look, they look like snake tongues or something from out of this world (... more Alien moments.. Hahah!)

The south-eastern coast of Taiwan can get quite windy, here's a YouTube video showing us getting blown!


晚安
(That's Wǎn'ān, Good night in Mandarin)

(For more photos of the Day 12, Click Here)
This is page 11 of a 19-page blog, Click Here To Go To Title Page.
Go to D11 Kenting              |           Go to Other Days        |        Go to D13 Taitung >

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