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Taiwan - Kenting National Park
Kenting National Park © Tom Wang, Shutterstock
Taiwan’s first national park boasts superb beaches and excellent birdwatching.
Taiwan’s first national park, established in 1982, has been more of a tourist-industry triumph than a conservation success, its record having been marred by squabbles over beach access. However, the park authorities have made some progress in recent years, closing down undesirable businesses (such as noisy go-kart circuits) and trying to balance environmentalist ideals with the rights of human residents, some of whom have lived in the area for generations and resent being told how they can or can’t use their land.
Millions of visitors pass through the park each year, occasionally jamming the coast road. If you’re disappointed by the congestion and development along Kending Road – the resort’s epicentre – remember that it would probably be much worse if it weren’t a national park. Also, there’s plenty to do without dipping your toes in the ocean. If you can, escape to the hinterland. There you’ll enjoy scenes of bucolic beauty, excellent birdwatching (the region has 31 of Taiwan’s 33 diurnal raptor species) and some truly pleasurable motoring. Alternatively, head out to sea and under the waves with one of Kenting’s English-speaking scuba instructors.