Taiwan Trip – Kenting National Park and more

From the dizzy heights of Kaohsiung’s Grand Hi Lai Hotel we were soon heading south well spread out in our coach. Our first stop was at Fangshan Township at a roadhouse where we had the chance to grab morning tea and take a quick stroll on their pebble beach. At the back of the roadhouse there was a kitch fenceline of blue fish but a set of steps led us onto the beach.From there our journey continued south as we were only about halfway to Kenting National Park. ‘Cat Rock’ at Maobitou Park was the first of a number of interesting rock formations that we would see that day.As we walked around we came to this viewpoint of the rocky coastline to the north.Back in the bus we drove further north and east reasonably close to the coastline. We came to Henchun around midday just in time for an early lunch. There were a few restaurant options if you wanted a larger meal or convenience stores with faster options. We picked up a few pork and vegie buns in the 7/11 and they kindly zapped them in the microwave. Seats along the window provided the perfect place to enjoy them. After that we headed along the road a short distance before gaining beach access.Several others in our group did likewise so we sat down, taking in the ocean views and chatted for a while.A further short drive and we arrived at the next featured rock formation called ‘Sail Rock’ according to our guide but it’s nickname of ‘Richard Nixon Rock’ was far more appropriate we thought. What do you think?Within twenty minutes we came to our next stop, Eluanbi Lighthouse, which is at Taiwan’s southernmost point.Not much of a view here so we were soon on our way north, stopping at Longpan Park about thirty minutes later. On brighter days I’m sure the views would be better so this is what we had to settle for as we strolled around.The remainder of the afternoon we continued travelling north for nearly three more hours, passing through some very tropical looking little towns, before reaching the very flash Hotel Royal Chihpen in Beinan township. Like every hotel we had stayed in our temperatures were taken as a precaution regarding Covid 19 before we could check in. After settling in to our spacious room we ate in the Lobby Lounge Restaurant. After dinner we returned to our rooms to put on a warmer top so we could attend an outdoor concert in a specially built amphitheatre. The show was about 45 minutes long and the performance was presented by local high school students from the Amis indigenous colony. For the last 27 years senior students have been doing this. For us it was an absolute highlight. The costumes were bright and colourful, the singing was beautiful, the dancing energetic and the students were totally engaging. Photos don’t do justice but here are a few to give you the idea. Background signage was in both Chinese and English.The concluding item was the Bamboo Dance showing the skill of the dancers and the trust they have in the guys clacking the bamboo sticks rhythmically – just amazing. (I recently posted a short video on my Instagram feed if you want to see and hear more.)As we, the audience, headed back to our rooms there was a real buzz of chatter, so impressive had the whole show been – really memorable. A great way to finish a long and wonderful day.

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