Nanwan Beach (南灣) is a first beach you will meet even before formally arriving to Kenting village, which is located near Maanshan Nuclear Power plant and is the first “real” sandy beach, in the area where all activities are safe and allowed, such as swimming, snorkeling, water motorsports, and surfing.
Introduction and History of Nanwan Beach
South Bay (Nanwan) was known as Da Ban Lie (大板埒) in ancient times and is also known as Blue Bay because of its blue water.
The beach is about 600 meters long, with beautiful curved lines and soft, clean sand, making it an excellent place for picnics, swimming, boating, and sailing.
Whale fishing in Dabanqi in the 1920s during the Japanese occupation
Main Reasons to stay at Nanwan Beach while in Kenting
Nanwan beach in the past (at least this is what I remember, in many years living here in Taiwan), has had a not-so-good reputation, being overcrowded, and dirty and the nuclear plant in the background was not the best backdrop for your Instagram shots.
The beach has white sand and a length of around 600 meters (2,000 ft)
While there is some truth to the fact, that sewage drainage can cause some dirty stains, (we discussed this here), Nanwan beach now, especially in recent years is still carrying this reputation, which I believe is a little bit unfair. It is not that dirty, and the crowds are less (at least the time I am writing this, fall of 2022).
Nanwan beach is the first beach you will encounter when you arrive to Kenting area, and here are some benefits that it offers for your consideration:
- Nanwan Beach has the indoor area with showers, and lockers;
- Nanwan Beach is together with the so-called SouthBay Recreation Area, which has several benefits, such as several bars and restaurants, right on the beach.
- Hotels & B&Bs are extremely close, just crossing the road you will have plenty of choice with different price levels.
- Beach is really large, the corner near Nuclear Plant, is more of a “wild” feel and usually all surfers are surfing there, while another side is a regular public area, with rented beach umbrellas and plastic chairs.
- Motorsports, such as banana boats and the like, are ready for you as well.
- Beach chairs and umbrellas can be rented from locals at any time
- If the beachfront restaurants are not offering the best choice of food, you can select the road side higher level places, such as Pizza Rock, Piccolo Polpo, or Bossa Nova Cafe.
- Easy Access & Transportation to and from Nanwan Beach
Full 360° Virtual Tour on Nanwan Beach
Location of Nanwan Beach
One of the reasons, why Nanwan beach is not that “dirty” and crowdy any more, is also a big drop of tourists from Mainland China, and the recent years travel was not a buzzword at all as well, as we all know.
Before 2016 I recall, dramatically much more beach umbrellas, hordes of tourist buses from mainland China, who dropped in and out all the time, and even those specific to Taiwan “Heineken Beer Girls”, who were lurking between umbrellas and selling beer. These times folks, are gone!
Believe it or no, but this is Nanwan beach as well – the most remote corner near nuclear station, where surfers are usually surfing.
Now, compare the feel and look at the “eastern” side of the beach, or “public” side, where all the banana boat stuff is getting, parked:
… and this the another corner, with surfers surfing in rainy summer afternoon:
Now, if you are not lazy to walk to this side of the beach, it has an almost surreally different feel from the busy “public” side, and you will be surrounded by surfers. I suspect that on this side it is not possible to rent beach chairs and umbrellas.
The middle of the beach is almost all occupied with rentable beach umbrellas and chairs, and swimmable almost all along the long coastline:
Restaurants and bars in Nanwan beach
Nanwan beach, unlike for example Chuanfan rock beach, do have an area which is called the South Bay Recreation Area, which basically consists of a beachfront bars and snack restaurants, locker and shower areas, and a big parking lot.
You can walk there in our VR 360° tour:
This is really impressive, and something similar in Kenting we only have in Baishawan Beach.
Not all bars were open at the day I recorded this, and it was pretty rainy day as well.
There are several bars and cafes on Nanwan beach, most famous seem to be Cowboys Beach Bar and grill, and it was the only one open at the day I reordered videos.
Interesting facts about Nanwan beach
There are strong undercurrents at the bottom of the sea directly opposite the local police station, so please stay away from the area to play in the water. The area is rich in fish production, and fishermen can sometimes be seen working using ground trawl nets (commonly known as trawls).
Every year, during the milkfish fry season, from April to July, you can see the use of hand nets and plastic rafts to catch fry. And from October to March, when the northeast monsoon arrives, you can witness the unique “floating plastic bags” used in Taiwan for catching needlefish, which is a spectacular sight.
Due to the construction of the nuclear power plant in this area, part of the beach that could have been used as a seawater bathing area has been designated as part of the power plant site.
The rest of the beach was built as a recreation area in December 1980, equipped with men’s and women’s changing rooms, restrooms, swimming equipment rental and sales, fast food restaurants, cafes, bars parking lot, etc., providing high-quality recreational activities.