You really don’t get very far from the coast in Taiwan before you’re climbing a mountain. We were surprised to find that our GPS recorded our altitude at 300 meters during our afternoon at Kenting National Park. At a high point in the Park, there is a 5-story tower with a restaurant of sorts and a roof-top observation deck that added a few meters.
The panorama below is looking west toward China. Kenting and Hengchun are down there but maybe behind the hills. (The panorama photo can also be dragged with your mouse.)
The bottom photo is the very southern tip of Taiwan. If you blow it up, you can see the Eluanbi Lighthouse, the first white buildings tracing the coast from the right edge, about 1/4 of the way in.
At the same time, this created an island of landscape that is both geographically extreme, and extremely beautiful. There’s hardly any land between the beach and the mountains. In some places, there only cliffs over the water. Taiwan has fascinating topography, hot springs, beaches and rivers that beg to be photographed. In a future post, we’ll cover Taroko Gorge, a place whose majesty cannot be captured in pictures.
For now, we’re photo-blogging the Kenting National Park. On the top of this 1000-foot mountain, there is coral rock that had been pushed up from the ocean when the island was formed. Coming from mostly sea-level Florida, I was duly impressed. This public park has two caves: the Stalagmite Cave and The Silver Dragon.
We had just entered the Kenting National Park in Taiwan when a group of kids on a field trip was heading back to the bus and taking class pictures. Can you find Waldo.. er, me? It’s easy – they’re Asians and I’m not. Just look for the head that doesn’t have black hair! (Clicking on any picture in the blog usually links to a bigger version.)
Behind us, was a view of the water between Taiwan and China.
Anyone who’s driven to Key West knows that at Mile Marker 0 of the Overseas Highway, there’s a concrete buoy that marks the southern most point of the continental United States. Taiwan has its own marker. We just had to do the tourist thing here and take our picture at the southern most point of Taiwan.
The best part of this experience was the girl who took our picture. She was from China and was bicycling around the entire island of Taiwan. It’s a loop of more than 1000 km (621 miles). She said it’s a popular thing to do among Asian cyclists. We took her picture on her camera and would’ve loved to hear more of her story, but she had miles to go before she slept; “promises to keep; and miles to go before I sleep; and miles to go before I sleep…”