If you are planning on hiking the Chufengbi Trail between Nanrenlu (南仁路) and Jialeshui (佳樂水), in Kenting National Park, think twice. At first, I thought my biggest problem was going to be hitching a ride back home at the end of the trek.
Turns out you can’t even legally hike the Chufengbi path! It’s a real pity, because it’s one of the most scenic coastal trails in Taiwan. The other super scenic trail is Alangyi Historic Trail, and you CAN do that one legally.
A friend of mine was going to join me and my nephew for a little expedition there. By pure chance, my nephew and I decided to go for a scooter ride in the mountains near my house in Manzhou the day before, and we somehow ended up high on a ridge that overlooked parts of the spectacular Chufengbi Trail.
Map of Chufengbi Hiking Trail
As we were riding, we met a Taiwanese man who was heading down the dirt path towards the sea and the trail, so we decided to follow him. I didn’t even know that such a road existed. I thought the only access to that part of the coast was from Jialeshui.
We reached the beach, where we found an old, abandoned building, we started shooting pictures of the sea, the trail, the tall hills all around, then the Taiwanese man (Mr. Dai) said we shouldn’t be here: “You can’t be here, this is a protected ecological area. Only researchers are allowed here. You can get fined 3000NT$ if you are seen.”
I turned to him with a provocative smile and said: Who’s gonna give me a fine? 這裡根本沒有人啊！There’s nobody around here…” He then opened his jacket and I read “Kenting National Park Ranger” on his shirt.
He then added: “Don’t stay here too long, don’t let me see you too much, don’t steal anything, and just go back to the road, it’s not illegal to be on the road.”
I then said: “People really come here to steal stuff? What can you steal here?”
He replied: “Rocks from the beach, plants, trees, flowers. This is Nanrenshan 南仁山, a protected ecological area. Many species are in danger, you cannot touch anything, better to leave everything as is. Better you go away.”
We said OK and headed back to our scooter. He then offered to lead us to a viewpoint where we could get even better views of the Chufengbi Hiking Trail and the Pacific Ocean.
I asked if it was possible to get permits to hike Chufengbi from either Kenting National Park headquarters, or the police station in Jiupeng, and he only said one word while shaking his head with closed eyes: “Impossible”
We rode back down the mountain road and decided to go directly to the Nanrenshan office to enquire and I basically got the exact same response. “Impossible. It’s closed – no tourists allowed on the trail.”
Let me know if you have walked this trail, or if the permit situation changes, it’s really high on top of my list of walks to do in Taiwan, and it’s just in my backyard! I also know quite a few other folks who’d love to walk this beautiful path.
Cheers! Enjoy Manzhou and Kenting National Park!
- Check the beautiful Alangyi Old Trail, which takes you from Taitung County to Pingtung County, along the Pacific Ocean.
- Spend a night, (or 10!) at the coolest B&B in Kenting national Park – check out Wild East Guesthouse!