Pingtung Travel Guide
Information About Pingtung, South Taiwan
Pingtung is Taiwan's southernmost county, and it takes up that little tail at the bottom of the island. In the county's northwestern area is Pingtung City, where there isn't a lot to do except stroll around the quaint little town of a couple hundred thousand. Of course, following typical Taiwanese tradition, it has its own temples, night markets and pleasant parks that are all worth a visit.
More popularly are other areas in Pingtung County, most famously Kenting. Kenting National Park is at the absolute southernmost point in Taiwan, and is characterized by beaches, beach parties, surfing, music festivals and all of the other stuff you associate with beach culture. Other areas of Pingdong, such as Sandimen Township, highlight the area's indigenous community.
Pingtung is 50km or so south of Kaohsiung, at the 22nd latitudinal, giving it a hot and sticky climate that will leave you begging for water. Very few travelers do anything in Pingtung County except for hitting up the sandy beaches of Kenting, so getting into Pingtung City or exploring other parts of the county is a cool way to get in touch with a Taiwan removed from excessive outside influence.
Chinese opera at a temple on Little Liuqiu Island
Things to do in Pingtung / Attractions
Rui Guang Night Market
Pingtung City has two night markets, one named after the city itself and another called Rui Guang. The first one offers your standard street food fare, suspiciously dirty cuisine and the like. The second one is of a different brand and is a bit harder to find, especially in northern Taiwan. These southern night markets specialize in carnival and arcade games, but food and shops selling little sundries are thrown into the mix as well.
Sandimen Township - Taiwan Indigenous Cultural Park
Yet another of Taiwan's parks is the Indigenous Cultural Park in Sandimen. It is something of a "living museum", 82.5 hectares that showcases the architecture and lifestyle of nine of Taiwan's aboriginal tribes. Each of the nine tribes has its own area, where replicas of their living quarters are authentically reproduced. If you're looking for a way to get familiar with Taiwan's aboriginal culture but aren't thrilled about reading placards in an air-conditioned museum, this is a great alternative.
Little Liuqiu Island
Eight or so miles off the coast of Pingtung County is an island known as "Little Liuqiu". You can get here by ferry from Donggang Harbor in Pingtung County. The island sits atop loads of coral, so it is rich with snorkeling opportunities and lots of laying around on the beach. Baisha (white sand) Bay is the most common spot for diving and snorkeling.
Little Liuqiu Island
Getting Around Pingtung / Local Transport
Any individual city or location in Pingtung County will totally lack decent public transportation. Therefore, in places like Pingtung City or Kenting, which are bigger, you'll want to rent a scooter to get around.
Because Kenting is more tourist-friendly, taxis will also be available. Then, of course, there's the tried-and-true method of using your own two legs and walking, which will be all but necessary if you head to Sandimen or the like.
Beauty Cave, Little Liuqiu Island
Eating in Pingtung / Restaurants
Pingtung City is pretty standard fare in terms of food. Lots of noodle varieties, local Taiwanese cuisine, etc. The city's Pingtung Night Market is probably worth a visit, especially as it's generally open all day. If you're on a long, remote journey of southern Taiwan, you might take comfort in the city's Starbucks.
Kenting on the other hand is chock-full of hip restaurants catering to foreigners. Thai food has been booming lately, and places like Fu Dog Surfing have western favorites and pizza to boot. You definitely won't go hungry here, so we'll let you explore and find your favorites.
Camping in Kenting, in Southern Taiwan
Accommodation in Pingtung / Hotels
If you must sleep in Pingtung City and you want a cheap bed, your best bet will just be to look around near the train station for some of the cookie-cutter Taiwanese hotels. They should be pretty cheap and straightforward.
Like the food, if you want more options you'll have to head to Kenting, where surfer hostels abound and luxury resorts are free for the booking. Surf Shack Hostel is one option on the cheaper, hostel side. Resort-hunters might look into the Cesar Park Hotel.
Find more hotels in Pingtung County, Taiwan on HotelsCombined.com. That website is convenient to check room availibility, make a reservation, and get discounts.
Travel to Pingtung - Getting There and Away
You can get to Kenting much more easily than Pingtung City. The latter is most accessible via TRA trains, which depart from basically anywhere.
If you're leaving from Taipei and are on a tight schedule, you might consider taking the High-Speed Rail (HSR) to Zuoying and transferring to the TRA from there.
Kenting can be accessed via bus from Kaohsiung, or also through 24-hour direct buses from the Zuoying HSR stop.