When the bus rolled through Hengchun on the way to Kenting (pronounced Ken-ting), it appeared like the dingiest route, but I still wanted to explore its narrow streets. On my return, I headed to its most photographed site, Hengchun’s South Gate.
Situated in the centre of a roundabout, this gate had been built during the Ching Dynasty in the late 1800s. It served as the main thoroughfare from Hengchun Ancient Town to Nan-Wan and Kenting. During the Japanese colonial era there was even a railroad running through the arch. At the end of 2006 a severe earthquake damaged the ancient town including the South Gate. However, the gate was restored by mid 2010.
I followed remnants of the wall that once surrounded the ancient town, and climbed steps where I walked along the upper passage for about a kilometre to the East Gate. This gate was completely in tact. With granite at its base and coral reef rocks at its ends, it served as the main road to Man-Chou Township.
Further on I came to the North Gate where cars still drove through the arched passageway. This gate had lost its tower and pavilion that once graced the top. I decided to forego the last gate even though I’d enjoyed the roof top walk and the experience of exploring a walled town.