National Geographic Traveller Assignment South Bound to Kenting.

Pt6.... South Bound to Kenting.

It was a glorious morning, clear blue skies and already warming up as I loaded my big scooter and prepared for our ride to the southern tip of the island. As much as I love Tainan, after all the travelling and shooting I was looking forward to the even more relaxed atmosphere of Pingtung County and Kenting. 

It was decent to come across this little group of SYM Jet enthusiasts, they were hanging out in the petrol (gas) station waiting for more of their mates to join them. Speaking to them as I made some photographs of  their tricked out rides it transpired there was a big meet happening. I was tempted to hang out and go with them, as I mentioned before though we were on a schedule and this was going to be a long, and hot ride.

The first place I wanted to check on our journey this day is a very surreal location, it is known as Moon World Landscape Park. I am not sure what the geology is of this area, Gypsum maybe? Erosion has created a craggy, ridged landscape with fine sand tracks running through it, hence the moonscape comparison. Riding on this fine sand was very tricky, especially with a fully loaded bike and Mrs.L on the back. To say she wasn't fully enthusiastic on my off road adventure would be an understatement. I like to explore though, and just ride up any track to see where it leads me, that is why I believe two wheels is the best way to see Taiwan.

I really had begun to appreciate my MaxSym, it is capable of munching the miles no problem. I also like the styling and little extra details like the red trim and stitching.

Below is an view over the Moon World Landscape, it is quite a strange formation to come across and is worth a visit if you are travelling between Tainan and Kaohsiung.

Fo Guang Shan temple is another place to be sure to visit, I really like it here. It is huge, the giant Buddha overlooking the pagodas that line the central walk way to the temple. You can't really get an  idea of just how big this Buddha is unless you visit the temple for yourself. With a constant soundtrack of chanting playing out through speakers, even when there are many people here, it is a calm and serine experience to enjoy.

Tai Chi being practised in the gardens of the temple.

Riding west and back toward the ocean, we would turn left and follow the coast road all the way south to Kenting. It is an odd thing, but gradually something became more apparent, other road users driving was becoming increasingly erratic. I was just trying to stay calm as car drivers forced their way alongside pushing us to the side of the road. I was riding at the same speed as the car ahead of me, but some people were just forcing their way through on everyone in a very selfish and stupid manner. It would seem that they had reached a point where they felt close enough to their destination to drive like arseholes (excuse me). The absolute pinnacle of this was when I stopped for a red light, I had my foot down for at least 5-10 seconds when a car flew past us, swerving wildly from side to side and missing us by only a couple of feet. The driver obviously had not seen the light and thankfully avoided us, had they hit us it would have been a horrific scene for Mrs.L and I...what a total wanker!

Having survived this and been stuck among a bunch of crazy drivers for too long, I decided to just pull over and make photographs as the sun was beginning to sink a little lower toward the horizon, I needed to calm down too as I was a touch upset by the near miss.

Just as the sun finally set we arrived at our B&B, The Comic Kenting. The B&B is just outside Kenting itself, but has hotspring supplied water. It is a little sulphurous, but sitting in one of the outside baths and watching the the stars appear with a cold beer is a great way to soak away the aches of a long day in the saddle.

Rejuvenated we went to town to find something to eat. Kenting has a main strip and is a tourist town for sure. For me it can seem a little bit tacky, maybe I am just being old and boring haha, it certainly has plenty of entertainment. It also has a few good places to eat, and plenty of places to drink. 

The landscape and ocean is what I like most about Pingtung County, there are white coral sand beaches as well as rocky coves which are great to snorkel and dive, plenty to explore. Be careful if you are off the beaten track though, we saw a pretty large snake, unfortunately for the snake it hadn't made it across the road, but it did serve as a reminder.

Pre-breakfast photographs in the bag, I was happy to return to this. The owner of The Comic makes her own bread fresh everyday, along with home made jams, delicious.

While in Kenting I had been asked by SYM to pick up a new Jet S scooter and make some campaign images for them. It was fun to have a day zipping about on something so light and agile. I even got Mrs.L making photographs of me whizzing through some corners.

The beaches on the west of the island generally have calm seas and soft white sand in Pingtung, but if you pop over to the east side you can find some good surfing and great roads to ride too. As with everywhere in Taiwan, the locals are super friendly, really beautiful people. The sign obviously gives it away that we were on our way back west, on the excellent route 26.

In October there are seasonal winds that are pretty strong blowing across Pingtung, however these can produce some wonderful conditions. What a sky to see, the clouds were like cotton wool but moving so fast.

It was really lovely having Mrs.L with me for a few days and part of the tour, she had to leave though and so I took her to catch the bus. It was too funny not to tell you about it, we waited at the bus stop but the driver did not see us waving. With a nod from a local we leaped onto the scooter and chased the bus down getting him to pull over just for us, what a dude the driver was laughing as much as us. I'm not sure that would have happened in the UK.

And so I was on my own again and now on my way back north on the first section taking me home. It had started to try and rain, but fortunately held off as I now rode away from the beaches but staying close to the ocean hugging the east coast.

In just a few more days I would be back in New Taipei, prior to this I still had Taitung and Yilan to go. The road ahead was still long, I was used to the big scooter now and together we took a breath and headed out for another day in the saddle.

I hope you enjoyed this little view of a beautiful part of the world, as with everywhere in Taiwan it is varied in it's landscape, but for me has the best roads, although the mountain roads are pretty special too.

Until next time...

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