Sat, Aug 02, 2003 - Page 16 News List

Dapeng Bay: a fresh choice for water sports

Long awaited, Dapeng Bay resort gets up and going with a water sports festival

By Yu Sen-lun  /  STAFF REPORTER

Windsurfers take to the waves at the opening of the Dapeng Bay Water Sports Festival.

PHOTO: YU SEN-LUN, TAIPEI TIMES

Going to the seaside? Most people would probably think of Taiwan's three major resorts: Penghu, Kenting or the Northeast Coast. Holidaymakers now have another choice in Dapeng Bay, Pingtong County.

The only natural lagoon in Taiwan and the second largest coastal lagoon, Dapeng Bay has long been veiled in mystery, having served for the last 63 years as a military base, and been off limits to the public. In recent years, the government has gradually opened up areas formally reserved for the military, using some of these to promote tourism -- so the beautiful landscape of Dapeng Bay is finally being more beneficially exploited.

The resort is currently being promoted through the Dapeng Bay Water Sports Festival (大鵬灣海洋運動嘉年華2003), which opened yesterday and will run for one month. The event features a smorgasbord of water sports such as canoeing, water skiing, sailing and rafting.

Dapeng Bay is located near the harbor city of Donggang (東港). Dapeng Bay is a 532.1 hectare natural lagoon, and the resort covers 50 hectares of land. Two rivers, the Donggang River and Linbian River tumble down from the Dawu mountain, and have created a spine of land that reaches out to create the lagoon, which has long been used as a natural fish farm.

To get an understanding of the rich geographic and ecological environment of Dapeng Bay, its best to take a "lagoon ecology boat trip" from Renpeng Sea Water Farm (仁鵬海水牧場).

The boat trip (NT$150 per person) takes about half an hour and takes you around the whole of Dapeng Bay lagoon. On the short cruise, you can view a large area of black mangroves growing in the tidal flats and stop at Oyster Shell Island, which, as its name suggests, is largely made up of piled up oyster shells, cast away by oyster farmers over the last half century. On the island, crabs and shrimps are abundant, especially the famous Sakura shrimp. The trip also teaches you how to catch sea crabs in a traditional manner.

For your information:

About Dapeng Bay National Scenic Area: http://www.tbnsa.gov.tw

About the water sports festival: http://www.ocean-athletics.com.tw

About package tours and discount tickets: www.extravel.com.tw


The administration of Dapeng Bay National Scenic Area (大鵬灣國家風景區) was established in 1997 when the military camp was transferred to Pingtong's inland township of Fangshan. In the previous years, the administration removed the oyster beds used in the past by oyster farmers, returning this location to its pristine condition.

While beautiful nature is being promoted, the people who are behind the current Ocean Athletic Feast are in fact the cabinet-level National Council for Physical Fitness and Sports (體委會, NCPFS).

According to a spokesperson for the Pingtong County Government, the council decided to develop the bay as another center for water sports in Southern Taiwan. "After the huge success of Ilan's International Children's Folklore and Folk Game Festival, many local governments wanted to follow suite to set up a festival to boost local tourism."

Now the bay area has been built into a dock area filled with boats, canoes and watercycles. And beside the dock, there is a giant airplane-shaped building under construction. This is designed to be a restaurant and to symbolize that the area was a former airforce base. Now, available water sports include bumping boats (NT$100 per boat/hour), watercycles (NT$100 per boat/hour), canoeing (NT$150 per canoe/hour), dragon boats (NT$50 per seat/hour), sailing (NT$150 per person/hour) and rafting (NT$150 per boat/hour).

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