Hengchun Travel Guide

Gateway to beautiful Kenting National Park, and a tropical paradise!

hengchun beach, taiwanHengchun is a mere 10 minutes away from some of the most beautiful beaches in Taiwan!

Hengchun use to only be an ugly, uninspiring transit point between Kenting National Park and the rest of Taiwan. Driving through this township once was seen as an annoyance and a waste of time. Not so anymore. The city has now a vibrant tourist industry thanks to hordes of Taiwanese and international visitors, and a local population who's openly welcoming the change.

Kenting National ParkKenting National Park is just a few kilometers south...

Over the past few years, Hengchun has gone through a transformation where traditional noodle shops are turned into Italian cafes, worn out hotels morph into boutique guesthouses, and young Taiwanese from all over the island are eagerly replacing the older generation of shopkeepers and waiters in the hope of a more relaxed lifestyle away from the big cities.

That trend can also be felt all over the southern tip of the island, around Kenting, Nanwan, and Jialeshui where hordes of kids in their early-twenties move here to "practice" before going abroad on working holidays.

pizza swell, kitchen swell, hengchun, restaurantKitchen Swell (波波廚房) is one of the new restaurants in town which offer high-quality European dishes in a comfortable & modern setting.

That being said, I would not recommend that you plan your whole vacation in Hengchun, or to spend most of your time there, but you shouldn't avoid it completely either. Hengchun is a great place to find accommodation when everything else is fully booked in Kenting or Jialeshui, and its the closest town where you can find supply such as grocery, camping / BBQ stuff, as well as services like hospitals, clinics, hair dressers, post office, and mechanics. 

hengchun taiwanShops on the main road, near South Gate (南門)

Facts about Hengchun Township

  • Hengchun is located in Pingtung County
  • Chinese: 恆春鎮
  • Written in Pinyin: Héngchūn Zhèn
  • Population: +/- 30,000 people
  • Entryway to Kenting National Park

Hengchun's Main Attraction:
The South Gate 

Hengchun South Gate (also called Ancient City Gate) is the main attraction in town. It's really easy to find because it's quite big and it's in the middle of a big traffic roundabout Hengnan Road, the township's main drag where most shops are located. 

hengchun south gateSouth Gate

This historical building is one of Taiwan's most photographed structures, and it has become a symbolic image for tourism in Southern Taiwan and Kenting. There's no doubt that it's a really beautiful subject for photographers who want to shoot pictures of anything different than beaches and palm trees.

hengchun ancient gate and wallHengchun Ancient Gate and Wall

Other Attractions in Hengchun

guangning temple hengchun, taiwanGuang Ning Temple near the West Gate

I filmed the following video of a Taiwanese man singing Karaoke in front of Guang Ning Temple. After he finished singing his song, the lady who owned the karaoke truck yelled: "Ok, OK, that's enough now... I have to leave, no more songs!" I wish I had filmed that part too.

West Gate and the Old Wall

Old hengchun wallYoung local girls run on top of the old wall, near West Gate
West Gate sign in HengchunA sign at the West Gate
shipai park hengchunRuby walks on top of ancient coral at Shipai Park

Old Town / Old Street

If you happen to be in Hengchun and have some free time, you could take a walk around the little streets between South Gate and West Gate. This old part of town has ancient buildings that have been turned into cafes, gift / art shops, restaurants and some of them are still selling traditional stuff like Chinese medicine, Taiwanese tea, and temple offerings like ghost money and incense. 

Hengchun old townOld part of town near the West Gate
Hengchun old building, TaiwanOld buildings in the old part of town
Hengchun traditional Taiwanese snacks and drinksOne of the many places in Hengchun which sells traditional Taiwanese snacks and drinks

Map of Hengchun and Kenting

The following map shows you my favorite attractions, sights, restaurants, cafes, and hotels in Hengchun and Kenting.

Places to Eat in Hengchun

Super-high store front rental prices in Kenting town mean that more and more people decide to open their business in Hengchun. That’s partly why there are more and more good options to eat and drink in Hengchun.

You can still find lots of traditional Taiwanese / Chinese food, tea, snacks, sweets everywhere around Hengchun, and there’s also quite a few good European / American restaurants and cafes in town.

kitchen swell hengchunKitchen Swell is located on a small street off the South Gate.

My personal favorite is Kitchen Swell! This restaurant is located on a quiet street off the South Gate. On Kitchen Swell’s menu, you’ll find pizza, pasta, seafood, salads, real bread, desserts, pastries, beer, wine, and great coffee. They even have gelato! The atmosphere is warm, service is friendly, and parking (if you have a car) is a breeze. Highly recommended restaurant!

kitchen swellMe, working on this website on the second floor of Kitchen Swell restaurant.

Transportation - Getting to Hengchun

The reality is that the main reason why people end up in Hengchun is not to eat or sleep, or visit the sights. Most people only pass here very briefly on their way to Kenting, because the main bus station is here. Tourist and regular buses from Kaohsiung HSR, Airport, and Train Station, as well as buses from Pingtung and other cities around Taiwan stop here. Check schedules and fares at the bottom of this page.

Travel to Hengchun from other cities around Taiwan

The fastest way to get to Hengchun from Taipei, Taoyuan, Hsinchu, Miaoli, Taichung, Changhua, Tainan is to take the high-speed rail train (HSR) all the way to Kaohsiung Zuoying Station. From there, you can catch a bus, taxi, or private car to Hengchun or all the way down south to Kenting.

hengchun bus stationThe bus station at night