Pingtung has boundless ocean and a vast expanse of blue sky speckled with beautiful white clouds. It makes an ideal romantic vacation destination for couples. Visit Star Sand Bay in Kenting to see the unusual star-shaped sands, or go to Wanlitong Village to explore the colorful underwater world. If you're a fan of exciting water sports, Nanwan Wharf Recreation Neighborhood is well worth a visit. At Saijia Aviation Sports Park you can experience the fun of flying, or you can head to Jiupeng Desert to admire the magnificent sand dunes. Visit the lookout point of Gaoshi Shrine to remember those who have lost their lives through conflict. Cross the Old Railroad Bridge over Lower Danshuei River to appreciate its architectural beauty up close. Don't miss sunrise in Xuhai and sunset in Guanshan, two of the most romantic scenic views in Pingtung. Guanshan has been listed by CNN as one of the 12 most beautiful sunset spots in the world. Also worth a visit is Youth Entrepreneurship Community, which was established in 2016 and is a base for young people to realize their dreams and creative ideas.

    1

    Wanlitong

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    Wanlitong is a small coastal village on the west side of Hengchun Township in Pingtung County. With a coastline of around 0.62 miles (1 km), it's one of the most popular diving spots in Kenting. It's also a favorite haunt of celebrity worshippers since being used as a filming location for the movie "Cape No. 7". The area stretching from Xiashuiku to Wanlitong has been designated as a marine ecological reserve. This area is blessed with abundant marine ecosystems and habitats, including stony corals, soft corals and sponges in shallow water, and sea fans in deep water. Despite the rich marine ecosystems, there are only a few scuba dive shops, guesthouses and cafes on the shore, making it less crowded than bustling Kenting. Wanlitong is thus able to keep its dazzling blue crystal water pristine. You can see the varying colors from dark blue in the distance to blue-green, light blue, and finally transparent at your feet. So, what are you waiting for? Come and experience the unspoilt scenery and simple lifestyle.

    Location: Shanhai Rd., Hengchun Township, Pingtung County, Taiwan 946

    Open: Open 24 hours

    photo by Caitriana Nicholson (CC BY-SA 2.0) modified

    2

    Xing Sha Wan

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    Xing Sha Wan, also known as Star Sand Bay, is located outside Houbihu Fishing Port & Marina. It's a small beach with a small lighthouse on one side. Given its location next to the conservation area, the seawater here is clean. Looking around, you notice the color of the sea gradually changing from blue to green, like a dazzling blue-green gem glistening under the sun. The constantly changing colors are simply beautiful, making it one of Kenting's best-kept secrets. Take a close look at the beach, and you'll see that it's actually made of seashells and coral fragments rather than sand. If you're lucky, you might even find star sand. In the early days, star sand could be seen everywhere on the beach. However, these days it's rare because too many people have taken it away as souvenirs. If you're lucky enough to see it, please don’t take it home. You'll find fewer tourists here compared with other places. Xing Sha Wan is a great place to visit when you want to escape the crowds. You can stroll along the water's edge, feel the sea breeze and enjoy the calm sea.

    Location: No. 123, Daguang Rd., Hengchun Township, Pingtung County, Taiwan 946

    Open: Open 24 hours

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    photo by CHO YEN CHIA (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified

    3

    Jiupeng Desert

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    Jiupeng Desert, also known as Gangzai Desert, is located at the estuary of Jiupeng River. Due to the northeast monsoon and topography of the coastal sand dunes, there are dune faults as high as five-storey buildings. It's the largest desert in Taiwan, covering an area of more than 494 acres (200 hectares). Desert terrain is very rare in Taiwan due to the typical island climate and abundant rainfall brought by typhoons, so such a vast desert is a pretty amazing sight. As you walk through it, you can feel its wilderness. The most popular activity here is desert safari. To give visitors a chance to experience the unique terrain of Jiupeng Desert, local providers have organized a series of routes for riding across the desert on specially modified quad bikes. Keep your safety in mind while having fun. Next time you're going diving in Kenting, don't forget to stop by Jiupeng Desert. When the weather's fine, there's nothing more romantic than lying on the sand dunes, gazing up at the stars and the moon overhead.

    Location: No. 16, Daxi Rd., Manzhou Township, Pingtung County, Taiwan 947

    Open: Open 24 hours

    Map

    photo by lienyuan lee (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified

    4

    Gaoshi Shrine

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    Gaoshi Shrine is located in Mudan Township, Pingtung County. It was built in 1939, during the Japanese rule of Taiwan, to worship Amaterasu Ō(mi)kami, a god in Japanese mythology. It was the place where the "Mudan Incident" took place. During World War II, many indigenous people were recruited into the Japanese army. Before they went to the front, they made a deal with their family: "If I can't come back alive, come to see me at the shrine." After the war, the shrine was destroyed and abandoned. It was not until 2015 that Ken'ichi Satō (佐藤建一) raised funds for reconstruction. In the following year, a torii (shrine gate) was erected. The new shrine now serves as a memorial for the soldiers of the Gaoshi tribe who were killed in the war. In addition to the shrine and the torii, there's an elevated watchtower on one side. Standing on the tower, you can look down over the entire park, the shrine and the torii. When the sky is clear, you can see the famous Mudan Bay as you look out across the Pacific Ocean. The image of the white torii standing against the backdrop of blue sky and clouds is solemn and at the same time romantic. Few tourists visit here, so it's worth taking the opportunity to enjoy a rare moment of peace.

    Location: No. 29, Gaoshifo, Mudan Township, Pingtung County, Taiwan 945

    Open: Open 24 hours

    Map

    photo by Bunkichi Chang (CC BY 2.0) modified

    5

    Syuhai Grassland Recreation Neighborhood

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    Syuhai Grassland Recreation Neighborhood is located in Xuhai Village, Mudan Township, Pingtung County. It's famous for the beauty of the sun rising above the sea in the east. Its position close to the Pacific Ocean means that you get expansive views, making it one of the best places to watch the sunrise on the Hengchun Peninsula. You'll be impressed by the magnificent views of Pingtung's two well-known scenic spots, "Sunrise over Syuhai" and "Sunset at Guanshan". The park is well equipped, with facilities including tourist information stations, grassland trail, Mudanbi Mountain trail, natural trail and viewing pavilions. The trails have varying levels of difficulty. You can hike the entire trail or take a stroll around the grassland, which takes about 40 minutes, or choose another route that best suits your schedule. You can have a relaxing time walking along the trail, enjoying the vast prairie and coastal scenery, and feeling the gentle sea breeze. When the weather is clear, you can even see as far as Orchid Island and Green Island. If you have the time, a trip to Syuhai to enjoy the green sea, blue sky, sunrise and green landscape is well worth the effort.

    Location: Mudan Township, Pingtung County, Taiwan 945

    Open: Daily from 8 am to 5 pm

    Phone: 旭海草原遊樂區

    Map
    6

    South Bay Recreation Neighborhood

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    South Bay Recreation Neighborhood is built at a bay located in the south of Kenting National Park. It is also named Blue Bay after its blue water. The fine white sand beach is about 656 yards (600 meters) long, the largest beach in Kenting National Park. It was once listed as one of the top eight scenic spots in Hengchun, known for its golden sands and white waves. Today, it is still one of the most popular destinations for water activities. In summer, there are sunshades and crowds everywhere. You can choose from a wide range of exciting and fun water activities, including surfing, sailing, banana boat, jet skiing and snorkeling. If you just want to relax and enjoy the vacation atmosphere, you'll find bars and small restaurants across from the beach, where you can sit and eat while taking in the ocean view. On weekends, there are live music performances. There's plenty to enjoy at the beach by day and by night. Whatever the season, South Bay is a lively resort with lots to see and do.

    Location: Nanwan Rd., Hengchun Township, Pingtung County, Taiwan 946

    Open: Beach: open 24 hours; carpark: 8 am to 6 pm; other businesses: varies depending on the provider

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    photo by momo (CC BY 2.0) modified

    7

    Saijia Aviation Park

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    Saijia Aviation Sports Park covers an area of 5,342 acres (2,162 hectares). Its accessible flight height is as high as 3,280 feet (1,000 meters), which is known as the highest take-off point in Taiwan. It's also a multi-functional flight park. There are stable rising air currents thanks to the barrier of the Central Mountain Range. The broad visibility and open terrain make it an excellent place for hot air balloons, hang gliding, paragliding, light aircraft and other activities. It's also the first aviation park in China. Even in winter, Taiwan still has great flying conditions. It's a mecca for flying enthusiasts, attracting large numbers of visitors from Japan and South Korea every year. There's an observation deck in the park. You can climb up to the deck to view the surrounding natural landscape and beautiful scenery of Pingtung as you enjoy the spectacle of flight. Next time you visit Pingtung, don't miss the chance to experience the excitement of flying high in the sky at Saijia Aviation Sports Park. It's a day out that's well worth the price.

    Location: Saijia Ln., Sandimen Township, Pingtung County, Taiwan 901

    Open: Daily from 9 am to 5 pm

    Map
    8

    Old Railroad Bridge over the Lower Tamsui River

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    The Old Railroad Bridge over the Lower Tamsui River, also known as the Gaoping Old Railroad Bridge, is located between Jiuqutang Station and Liukuaicuo Station of Taiwan Railroads. In 1911, in order to smoothly deliver supplies such as sugar in Pingtung Plain, the Japanese decided to build a bridge across the Lower Tamsui River. The project was planned and designed by Iida Toyoji, the then engineer of Taiwan Government House. With a total length of 5,007 feet (1,526 meters), it took three years to complete, being the longest bridge in Taiwan at that time. It is now listed as a Class 2 National Monument. If you want to learn more about the history and ecology of the Old Railroad Bridge over the Lower Tamsui River, you can go to the five old train carriages set up around it. There, you can fully appreciate the history of the old bridge and the ecology of the surrounding wetland. The Old Railroad Bridge over the Lower Tamsui River connects the sky bridge of the Dashu Old Railroad Bridge at Kaohsiung and the pristine fields of Pingtung. From the sky bridge, you can admire the natural vista of the Gaoping River Wetland and appreciate the beauty of the architecture of the Old Railroad Bridge up close.

    Location: Difang Rd., Pingtung City, Pingtung County, Taiwan 900

    Open: Old Railroad Sky Bridge: April to September: daily from 9 am to 5.30 pm; October to March: daily from 9 am to 5 pm

    Map
    9

    Observation Deck on Guanshan Mountain

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    The observation deck on Guanshan Mountain is located in the southwest of the Hengchun Peninsula. It has a broad horizon at the top of the mountain, where you get a bird's-eye view of the Hengchun Valley Plain to the east, face the Taiwan Strait to the west, enjoy a panoramic view of the coastline stretching from Maobitou to Eluanbi to the south and overlook Dapingding and Wanlitong to the north. When the sun sets, the golden glow breaks through clouds and sparkles on the sea, as if putting a golden overcoat on the coral reef. This stunning view was listed in the "World's Top 12 Most Superb Sunset Spots" by CNN America. The entire mountain area consists of coral reefs. Research shows that Guanshan Mountain was below sea level 30,000 years ago, but is now a huge mountain, which gives us a sense of the vicissitudes of life. At the top of the mountain you'll also see flying stones and divine turtle rocks, which are natural wonders formed by coral reefs. Many visitors come here to ask the divine turtle rocks for good fortune in their marriage, career and exams. Why not give it a try yourself?

    Location: Guanshan Mountain, Hengchun Township, Pingtung County, Taiwan 946

    Open: Open 24 hours

    10

    Youth Entrepreneur Settlement

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    The Youth Entrepreneur Settlement was officially opened on 5 November, 2016. It's a base for young entrepreneurs, composed of 53 colorful container houses. It's also the first base for young entrepreneurs to be established by the Pingtung Government. The use of decommissioned containers shows creativity and the design is tailored to local conditions. This innovative idea won the Youth Entrepreneur Settlement in Pingtung County the 2017 Yuan Ye Award. The location has been transformed from an ordinary carpark into a fashionable and trendy area, attracting many young people to come here to take pictures. This is not a cultural and creative center, but an area for entrepreneurship and living. The people here are committed to the concept of co-working and to implementing ideas such as connecting photography to coffee, or building a Latin restaurant using an abandoned bus. The most eye-catching features of the development are the spiral slide as tall as a two-storey building and a colorful tunnel lined by containers. Exhibitions and vacation markets are held here from time to time. If you get the chance, pay a visit here to support the young people of Pingtung in realizing their dream.

    Location: No. 77, Shengli Rd., Pingtung City, Pingtung County, Taiwan 900

    Open: From 2 pm to 9 pm (closed on Mondays); other business spaces: varies depending on the provider

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