Houwan in Kenting in my opinion is one of the underrated and beautiful beaches in Kenting, where you actually can swim, and even snorkel. It is very less visited, almost always not crowded, and even owns one of the most interesting algae made phenomenon’s in Taiwan beaches called “green carpet”. However some scholars, call it a “beautiful mistake”.
Houwan beach view from a abandonded Houwan Jetty Pier with a National Museum of Marine Biology & Aquarium of Pingtung on the back.
Small fishing village of Houwan of Checheng Township, located next to the National Museum of Marine Biology & Aquarium of Pingtung and sits on the beautiful moon-shaped bay, has become a popular attraction in recent years because Kenting National Park Headquarters or the management office of Kenting National Park has combined unpowered water activities in development of eco-tourism.
However recently found appearance of a large range of green carpets formed by Enteromorpha prolifera at the beach of Houwan is becoming new attraction for a Houwan beach. In addition, for internet celebrity, it has become a place specifically for taking photo.
Sunset in Houwan Beach with Enteromorpha prolifera in front.
However, Qiu Yu-wen (邱郁文), a researcher of marine biology feels worried while pointing out that the beautiful green carpet is caused by the flow of sewage into the bay area, and this further causes varying degrees of harm to the local marine ecological and biological systems. It is a “beautiful mistake”.
Rock covered by Enteromorpha prolifera in Houwan.
“Laomei Green Reef” in Shimen District of the north coast is a limited edition of spring wonder in Taiwan. The “Enteromorpha prolifera” green carpet that appears on the shore of Houwan of Checheng Township in Hengchun Peninsula also presents a green seaside scenery, and many tourists rush in to take photos.
Houwan villager Wu (吳) said that the “Enteromorpha prolifera” sometimes appear to be plenty while there was also time when the “Enteromorpha prolifera” appearsto be few, and he has no idea why is that.
The weather this year was hot, and hence the growth range was particularly large, the villager said, adding that the residents in the early years collected them for consumption or for feed, and they can either be dried under sun exposure before storage, or cooked.
Blooming of the “Enteromorpha prolifera” green carpet during spring at the beach of Houwan in Checheng, through sharing on the internet, become the hotspot for internet celebrity to take photo.
Qiu Yu-wen (邱郁文), associate professor of the Department of Biological Resources of National Chiayi University, who has long been investigating marine biological species at Kenting National Park, said that “Enteromorpha prolifera” green carpet was distributed on reefs or mudflats in the temperate, subtropical, middle tide, and low tide zones.
When the sea water contains a large amount of nitrogen and phosphorus material, “Enteromorpha prolifera” green carpet would grow in a large area, causing harm to the original marine ecological and biological systems, Qiu said, adding that the foreign countries had called the massive blooming of macro green algae such as “Enteromorpha prolifera” as green tide and they regarded it as a marine disaster.
He said that the seawater of the Houwan contained plenty of nitrogen and phosphorus substances, and the reason was that there was no local sewage treatment facility.
In addition, the rising trend of homestays in recent years caused the civil sewage generated by the community directly flowed into the underground or bay area, Qiu said, adding that when the environment became out of control and “Enteromorpha prolifera” became a dominant species, it would cover the sunlight, consume the oxygen content in the water, compress the evacuation space of juvenile fish, etc.
This even affected the Sesarmidae or land crabs of Kenting in the process of descending to the sea to release young during summer, Qiu said. This is just one more ecological disaster with land grabs, in addition to one, we discussed in this article.
Due to the small population in village of Houwan, it was not cost-effective for the government to build a sewage treatment plant, and it was recommended that the simple sewage treatment system in the vicinity of the National Museum of Marine Biology & Aquarium be managed so that the “beautiful mistake” would not happen again.
Well, it seems that the Houwan area has fewer chances to be treated first, considering a recent scandal of black stinky sewage accumulated in the Nanwan area, which we wrote about in this article.
Houwan Bridge over the waste water going direct to the Houwan Bay.
Take a virtual walk in Houwan Beach with our virtual tour
This virtual tour was shot in the winter, so no algae are present at that time, but still you can take a walk to have a feel of this place.
More 360 degree photos and videos of Houwan are on our interactive map.