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Archive for the ‘Baisha (near Kenting)’ Category

Nixon’s Head*

Posted by Heliocentrism on September 8, 2009

August 31 – September 1, 2009

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The sign for the turn to Baisha Beach

A Day at the Beach

The beach was a 5 minute scooter ride from the Ipanema Surf House. There is very little traffic along the road to the beach, actually there isn’t much of anything. There is a sign by the turn for the beach. It cost 10TWD to park a scooter there and 30TWD for a car. To rent a big umbrella, it is 300TWD, but I didn’t think it was worth it.


It was unforgivably hot in Taiwan. Around noon it was even too hot to go swimming. So, I would wake up early in the morning and go swimming. I had the beach all to myself. Even the people selling stuff wouldn’t be up yet. I would go back again in the evening. At that time there would be a huge crowd of about 6 people.

The beach gets a bit more crowded on the weekends, but during the week people don’t show up until about 9:00am. I would leave around 9:30am. That gave me enough time to shower and head out for the town of Hengchun for lunch before the temperature got too high.


I’ll pass on seconds…

I have to say that the food I tried in Taiwan wasn’t all that great. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t as life-changingly delicious as Thai or Vietnamese food. Maybe when I go back to Taiwan to see Taipei I will get to taste better food.

There was one restaurant called Bossa Nova. The food and service were okay. I was a little freaked out when an employee’s five-year-old daughter showed up.

She came skipping in and a waiter sat her on a table. She took off her shoes and started walking on the table with her bare feet. No one told her to stop. When she finally hopped off the table no one bothered to clean the table top. I eyed my own table suspiciously looking for footprints.

Another beach in Kenting

Let’s see a few sights

Swimming all day isn’t much fun when you have to leave every time you get hungry and feel like passing out around noon because of the heat. So, one day after my morning swim, I did a little sightseeing; just one day. This was after all, a week of relaxation.

Frog Rock Marine Park

I passed by other beaches along the Kenting road. None of them was as good as Baisha, but they all had restaurants across the street. The beaches in this part of Taiwan aren’t very long and have rocks in and around them.

My first stop was the Frog Rock Marine Park. The entrance fee was 20TWD and 30TWD to park a scooter. There is a hotel in this park that is used for groups of students and families. The hotel is made up of traditional looking Taiwanese buildings. The namesake Frog Rock sits at the edge of the park. There is also a beach, but I was told that it is now closed because of the storm that hit the area in early August.

Is this a warning for me or the crabs?

Stop 2. was Nixon’s Head. I didn’t think it looked like Nixon at first, but after I being out in the sun on the scooter for a couple hours I was able to see it.

Stop 3. was the lighthouse. This cost 40TWD to enter and 10TWD for scooter parking. This park had some nice views of the neighboring beach, but it was really hot. Once I walked up the little hill and had a look around I was dripping in sweat.

I did walk down to the sea though. It was a beautiful view of the southernmost part of Taiwan.

꽃보다 남자 with Mandarin subtitles!

Boys of Flowers in the A/C

After this day I vowed not to go sightseeing again. I would spend the rest of my noons indoors with the a/c on high watching “Boys over Flowers” in Mandarin. The venture on the one tour day did make my afternoon swim much more enjoyable.

* My friend Michelle dared me to name my next blog entry after a republican. She thought I couldn’t do it. I showed her!

All Pictures


The Republic of China
(Zhōnghuá Mínguó)

How to get there:

Taiwan in an island so you can enter this country by plane or boat.

Americans get a 30-day visa at the port of entry. Check with you local Taiwanese embassy or consulate for exact details on getting a visa.


  • Emergency Numbers:
    • Police 110
    • Ambulance and Fire 119




  • If you ever visit Taiwan, write some address and phone number on your landing card, even if it’s for a Starbucks. Never leave the section for hotel’s address blank.

Frog Rock Marine park

Kenting Youth Activity Center

How to get there:

  • 21°56’20.9″N 120°48’04.1″E Frog Rock
  • 21°56’28.5″N 120°47’57.0″E Youth Center
  • Website


No.17, Kenting Rd., Hengchun Town, Pingtung County 946, Taiwan (R.O.C.)





  • 20TWD to enter
  • 30TWD to park a scooter
  • Free for people staying at the hotel.


  • This place is also a hostel, but I think there is an age limit for guests.
  • You have to go to the youth center to get to the rock.

Nixon’s Head
Sail rock

How to get there:

  • 21°55’52.4″N 120°49’26.3″E

It’s along road 26 between the Kenting Youth Activity Center and the light house.


  • This is really not a very amazing thing. I don’t recommended traveling just to see this rock, but if you are passing by, you might as well…
  • … and it’s hard to see Nixon’s head in the rock. It looks more like a gorilla.

Eluanbi Park

How to get there:

  • 21°54’07.2″N 120°51’02.2″E

Head south down road 26. When the road ends, stop.




  • Walk around and find the path that leads to the sea. This is the southernmost part of Taiwan.
  • There are lots of souvenir shops at the entrance, near the parking lot.
  • You can buy food and drinks near the front gate.


Posted in Baisha (near Kenting), Kenting, Taiwan | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

The Ipanema Surf House

Posted by Heliocentrism on September 8, 2009

August 30, 2009

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A Gong Hotel Resort

Just to sit on a beach

In the morning I checked out of my hotel. It was a nice hotel, but it wasn’t near the beach that I had come all the way to Taiwan for. This was a relaxing vacation, not a sightseeing one. I wanted to just lie around on a beach and not do anything for a week.

Most buses are group tour buses

I asked the ladies at the counter for the best way to get to Baisha. They acted like this was a very near to impossible thing to do. “You have to take a bus into town, and then take another bus to Baisha. It could take a long time. Buses don’t come by very often.”

As we were talking, the owner of the hotel overheard our conversation. “I’ll take you for 300TWD.” I don’t know if this was way too much to pay or if it was a deal, but I was willing to pay it. I would rather be sitting on a beach instead of standing at a bus stop.

He took me to the Ipanema Surf House, which is run by a surfer named Max. He used to live in Brazil and is still quiet in love with everything Brazilian. It cost me 400TWD per night for a room.

my private room with TV and a/c

The rooms can be rearranged to fit many people. There were four beds in my room before I got there, but most were moved out to make it a one person room.

The amenities were: free wireless internet, free internet when Max isn’t using his computer, free usage of a huge washing machine, and I think Max gives surfing lessons, though I don’t know how much it costs.

The hotel I slept in the previous night cost 1300TWD a night. That hotel came with a pool. Most of the hotels along the Kenting road cost about 800TWD for the low-end hotels to way more money than I care to think about for the high-end ones. The closer you are to the populated beaches the more the hotels will cost.

my scooter

Scoot on Over

I was able to rent one of the two scooters that Max owned for 400TWD a day. This was great for me because I had budgeted 800TWD per night for a hotel and 500TWD per day for a scooter. The scooter cost about 80TWD to fill up with gas which I did 1.5 times while I was there and gave it back to max with roughly the same amount of gas it had when I got it.

Why don’t more people ride scooters? Funny you should ask that…

Just like Erik Estrada!

Max just handed me the keys for the scooter. He only asked if I had a driver’s license. He never asked to see it or whether or not I could drive a scooter. He gave me a 10 minute lesson only after I nearly rammed his scooter into the side of the guest house.


All by Myself…

Baisha beach was not what I was expecting. I wanted an isolated beach and that is exactly what I got. But it was a bit too isolated. There were no nearby restaurants or convenience stores. Every time I got hungry I had to scoot into town.

At the start of my mini-vacation I wished I had gone to Paradise Beach Resort in Vietnam. There I never left the beach. It cost 20USD per night and included 3 meals a day. But I purposely chose not to go to Vietnam because I had already seen Vietnam and I had never been to Taiwan.

Doc Let beach in Paradise Resort in Vietnam

All Pictures


The Republic of China
(Zhōnghuá Mínguó)

How to get there:

Taiwan in an island so you can enter this country by plane or boat.

Americans get a 30-day visa at the port of entry. Check with you local Taiwanese embassy or consulate for exact details on getting a visa.


  • Emergency Numbers:
    • Police 110
    • Ambulance and Fire 119




  • If you ever visit Taiwan, write some address and phone number on your landing card, even if it’s for a Starbucks. Never leave the section for hotel’s address blank.


How to get there:

  • 21°56’02.9″N 120°43’04.4″E

You can take

  • a taxi.
  • a bus from Kenting to Hengchun and then a bus from Hengchun to Baisha.
  • a scooter.

Driving directions:

Go north on the Kenting road. Once you pass Nanwan beach look out for a 7/11 on the corner of a big intersection. Turn left there. The road will end at a T-intersection. Turn left onto that road. Stay on that road until you see signs that say Baisha.


  • There is more than one beach in Taiwan with the name Baisha. This is the one near Kenting.

ISH card

The Ipanema Surf House

How to get there:

  • 21°55’53.2″N 120°43’56.1″E
  • Go north on the Kenting road.
  • Once you pass Nanwan beach look out for a 7/11 on the corner of a big intersection. Turn left there.
  • The road will end at a T-intersection. Turn left onto that road.
  • Stay on that road until you see a temple. There are several little shrines, but you are looking out for a temple.
  • There will be a traffic light a few meters from the temple and a road between the light and the temple. Turn left on that road. The Ipanema Surf House is at the end of that road.


  • 400TWD/night for a room
  • 400TWD/day for a scooter (He only has 2 scooters though)
  • The name of the owner is Max.
    • He used to live in Brazil.
    • He loves surfing.
  • This place is popular among surfers.
  • Max offers surfing lessons for a fee.
  • You can use the kitchen and store stuff in the fridge.
  • You can do laundry here for free.
  • Laundry detergent is free too.
  • The rooms have air conditioning.
  • The showers come with free shampoo and body wash.
  • There is free wi-fi.
  • There aren’t any restaurants nearby (within walking distance on a hot Taiwanese summer day).
  • There is a corner shop that’s about a 10 minute walk away from the house. It’s really just an old guy sell snacks from his garage.


Posted in Baisha (near Kenting), Kenting, Taiwan | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Where are you Staying?

Posted by Heliocentrism on September 7, 2009

August 29, 2009

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the airport limo In Korea

Incheon Airport: If heaven were an airport

I have to say that Incheon Airport is the nicest airport I’ve ever seen! It’s ranked the second highest of all the airports in the world from sleepinginairports.com. The wonders of this ever expanding airport are best seen after the security check.

First off, there are many ways to get to the airport. The most expensive being a taxi. Then there are buses. Korean Air runs an airport bus which goes to and from the airport and expensive hotels. Then there are airport limousines, which are buses that just go to and from the airports and different parts of town. These cost about 8,000KRW or 7,500KRW, if you use your T-money card.

You could take the subway, which will cost you the regular price of your journey and an extra 4,500KRW to ride the special airport line. It goes between Gimpo Airport and Incheon Airport with a few stops in between.

Fun things to do at Incheon Airport

There are many restaurants at Incheon Airport, the options are better after the security screening. The ones on the departure level and above are over priced, but the ones on the arrival level are regularly priced, like the Kraze Burgers.

Once passed the security check there are more restaurant options, free internet, free cultural learning activities (for foreigners only), free showers, a movie theater, a hotel, and more.

Checking in at Incheon with my backpack as a carry-on

Taoyuan Airport: Taiwan

I took my backpack as carry-on luggage to be able to skip everyone, once I got off the plane in Taiwan, as they stood by looking out for their baggage to come around on the carousel of immeasurable waiting. I got in line at passport control and felt good because I was first in line and knew I didn’t need to wait for anyone to unload the plane.

I handed the lady at the desk my passport and landing card with an extra “I’m on vacation”-friendly, “Good evening.” She smiled back with a, “good evening to you too” and took my documents. Her smile disappeared as she asked, “Where do you live in Taiwan?”

Me: “I don’t live in Taiwan. I’m just visiting.”

Lady: “What is your phone number in Taiwan?”

Me: “I don’t have a phone in Taiwan. I don’t live here.”

Lady: “Where will you be staying?”

Me: “…a hotel. I think I wrote ‘hotel’ on my card to indicate that.”

Lady: “Where?”

Me: “Kenting.”*

Lady: “Where?”

Me: “Kenting?”

Lady: “What is that?”

Me: “A town in Taiwan.”

Lady: “Please go to the Immigration office!”

I’ve been to hundreds of countries and I usually write “hotel” as my address. I’ve never had a problem until I got to Taiwan.

I stood off to the side and a higher ranking official came over to me. He walked over with a deputy Fife swagger and a look on his face that said, “All I want is to go home to my wife and kids, but YOU are going to keep me here an extra hour or two, aren’t you? If I don’t like what you say, I’ll throw you in jail.” Yes, his face said all that.

He explained what a HUGE problem I was causing by not having a phone number or address. “How are we going to call you? Don’t you have a friend in Taipei?”

Me: “I’m not going to Taipei. I’m going to Kenting.”

Official: “What is a Kenting?”

I started pulling out all my documents to show this guy that I was a responsible person who just happens not to like to make hotel reservations. “Here, this is my ticket on the high-speed train down south. Look, I even have tickets leaving Taiwan in 7 days. See, I have travel insurance. Would a menace to society bother to take out travel insurance?”

Ipanema Surf House

Then something in my folder caught his eye. It was my travel itinerary. He looked at the items column and saw the word “hotel”. “Oh, you do have a hotel,” he said joyfully. He was relieved. His finger then moved across the line to the name of the hotel and he began to read aloud. “Ipanema Surf House maybe” He dragged out the maaaayyyybe. “You wrote ‘maybe’! You’re not sure?!”

Me: “I couldn’t find an exact address online. I just know it’s somewhere near Kenting.”

Official: “You don’t know where in Taipei you’re going!?”

Me: “I’m not going to Taipei. I’m going to Kenting. KENTING. Down south.”

I pointed to all my other documents, going over each of them and explaining to him why each one vouched for my character. “I have travel insurance, so I can take care of myself if I get sick. I have a ticket for a train leaving Taoyuan tonight. See, I planned ahead. I have a ticket leaving Taiwan in 7 days. I’m not staying long.”

He looked at me suspiciously, “You’re leaving in one week?” He wanted reassurance.

“Yes. I swear! So help me God!”

He stamped my passport, giving me a 30 day visa. Then he handed me a map of Taipei. “Enjoy your stay in Taipei.”

My map of Taipei

* The town’s name is spelled K-E-N-T-I-N-G. I would pronounce it “Ken-ting” rhyming with “renting”. When I heard the Taiwanese people say it, they say something that sounds like “Cunt-ting” with a ring on the “ting”. It was a while into my trip before I realized this minor discrepancy.

Falling asleep in The Kenting Express

The Kenting Express

I usually get a Lonely Planet travel guide, but I heard that the latest edition (2009) for Taiwan wasn’t any good. I couldn’t find an earlier edition so I bought a Rough Guide. I hate this book! Apart from one time when I used it to keep some napkins from blowing away, it was entirely useless.

It’s not to say that the Lonely Planet is perfect. There are plenty of ways it can be improved. But the information is very well laid out with lots of useful information, maps, occasional side stories, great photos, and travel warnings. All in all, on my trips I’m always glad I brought a Lonely Planet instead of not bringing one.

The Rough Guide gave me no information on how to get from the THSR station in Zuoying to the #88 bus stop. The map it had of the area around the station had no street names and very few labels. Since I couldn’t find any information online either, my plan was to get a hotel and find the bus stop in the morning when it was light out. I generally don’t like wandering the street of a new country at night by myself.

As I left the station, I wanted to check my guide-book one more time for a nearby hotel. The area outside the station was not very well lit so I had to look around for some light. I found a street light over where some buses were parked and walked towards them. I sat down on the bench and looked through my book.

It had no information about hotels in the neighborhood. I was getting annoyed. I looked up to yell at the travel-guide-book gods when I saw the number 88 bus park right in front of me. If the bus stop was right outside the train station, why the hell didn’t the “guide-book” mention it!?

I asked the driver the cost of a ticket to Kenting. He whipped out his cell phone and we talked to each other through a guy somewhere in Taiwan who could speak both Chinese and English. He then asked me the question of the day, “Where are you staying?”

AGH card

A Gong Resort

I told his translator that I didn’t have a hotel, but that he could drop me off at any nice, inexpensive hotel in Kenting. I took my seat and watched parts of Taiwan go by. I fell asleep without even realizing I had fallen asleep. When another a passenger shook me awake I was startled; it felt like I was on the bus for a few minutes. “The bus driver says this is a good hotel. You should get off now.”

I de-boarded the bus and sleepily staggered into A Gong Resort Hotel.

All Pictures


The Republic of China
(Zhōnghuá Mínguó)

How to get there:

Taiwan is an island so you can enter this country by plane or boat.

I got my ticket paid for by S.M.O.E. Most ESL jobs will pay for your ticket home if you finish your contract. Some, like SMOE will pay for both your ticket there and your ticket back.


  • Emergency Numbers:
    • Police 110
    • Ambulance and Fire 119




  • It is a known fact that cheaper flights are to be found on websites that are written in the local language. You might be better off getting a Korean co-worker or friend to help than searching sites in English.
  • If you ever visit Taiwan, write some address and phone number on your landing card, even if it’s for a Starbucks. Never leave the section for hotel’s address blank.

Taiwan High Speed Railway Taoyuan Station

How to get there:

  • 25°00’47.0″N 121°12’54.8″E

From Taoyuan Airport:

The Taoyuan Airport is in Taoyuan county not in Taipei. Airports are noisy, so most airports are not located in the city for which they service.

From the Airport take the uBus (number 705) to the THSR in Taoyuan. The place to buy tickets is on your left once you exit the passport check.


uBus to the railway station – 30 TWD


  • 20 minute ride
  • THSR to the Airport       7:00 – 23:24 every 10 minutes
  • The Airport to THSR      6:30 – 22:30 every 10 minutes


The last stop for the uBus is the high speed train station.

Taiwan High Speed Railway Zuoying Station

How to get there:

  • 22°41’15.0″N 120°18’24.9″E

From the THSR in Taoyuan, take a train to Zuoying.

You can buy tickets there on the day you travel, but I recommend buying them online before hand.



It depends on when you buy tickets and for what time. Buying a ticket scheduled to run during the off peak hours will save you 35% on the fare, if you buy it in advanced. If you pay for your ticket online and pick them up at the station you will save an additional 15%. You can only buy tickets a maximum of 14 days in advanced though.

I managed to get the 35% and 15% discount so I only paid 50% of what I would have if I bought my ticket on that day. I paid 815TWD.

There are non-reserved seats, but they are only available Mondays through Thursdays and only in certain cars. I don’t know how much they cost.


  • 1h30m~1h40m ride     Check the web-site for the times.


Don’t lose your ticket. You need it to go through the exit at your destination.

Kenting National Park

How to get there:

  • 21°56’54.1″N 120°46’47.3″E
  • There are three exits out of the THSR station at Zuoying that do not lead to a parking lot or taxi stand. Take any one of them.
  • Go down the escalator and make a u-turn like you’re looking for the up-escalators. At the bottom of the up-escalator you should see the area where the buses stop. That’s where you’ll find #88, the Kenting Express.

The #88 bus also stops at the other train station in Zuoying. Remember this on your return trip.


From Zuoying THSR station – 368TWD


  • ride = 2h30m ~ 3h
  • This bus runs 24 hours a day.
  • I think it comes by once every half hour, but I’m not completely sure.


  • If your hotel is along his route the bus driver will drop you off in front of it. If you don’t have one, you can ask him to drop you off at a nice hotel. If he doesn’t speak English he will call a translator on his cell phone so you  can communicate with him.
    • This might depend on how busy he is at the moment.
  • Keep your ticket. If you lose it you will have to buy another to get off the bus.


Posted in Baisha (near Kenting), Kaohsiung, Kenting, Taiwan, Taoyuan, Zuoying | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

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