The articles about Kenting in the Taipei Times (Aug. 21, page 11) reminded me how completely awful the town is becoming. Development has ruined the town, and incredibly short-sighted planning has created such a mess it makes inner Kaohsiung look serene.
Kenting is the only beach resort town I have been to that has no beach access. High fences and stationed guards have shut off the main beach in front of the town for years.
It is not even easy to find the beach in Kenting. Only one of the many bars and restaurants in town has a view of the beach. You could live in Kenting and never know you were near water.
Unfortunately, even if the beach opened tomorrow, who would want to go to it?
From the one disco with a view of the beach you can see rivers of sewage and piles of trash in the sand. Vacationing there would be like spending the day in a landfill.
Kenting must be the only national park where a casual stroll means competing with speeding buses, night market vendors and thousands of people.
I am not against growth, even McDonalds and thumping discos, but why isn't some of the revenue used to improve the town?
Why not put in big broad sidewalks for pedestrians (not vendors and parking scooters)? Why not make each of the main streets one-way thoroughfares to allow space for the sidewalks? Why not put out garbage cans and empty them daily? Why not move all the vendors to one central area and get them off the already congested streets?
Here's a novel idea: Why not stop effluent from running on to the beach? These simple solutions might begin to make Kenting worthy of being an international attraction, as one hotel administrator in the article suggested.
After a visit to Kenting, all I am left with is questions.
Where are all the revenues going? Why has the Forestry Bureau leased public beaches in a national park to elite hotels? Why is the area becoming accessible only through expensive resorts? Why do people come all the way from Taipei to buy night market junk?
But the biggest question is, "Do I really want to go back there?"