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Recommendation of diving resort in Kending Taiwan

Discussion in 'Taiwan' started by LoveOceanicGears, Apr 19, 2010.

  1. LoveOceanicGears

    LoveOceanicGears Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Physically: New Jersey, USA. Mentally: Cozumel, MX
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    52
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    I am planning to spend some time in Kending, Taiwan in summer and do some dives. Can anyone recommend a diving resort there? It would be best if resort also teaches PADI O/W classes.

    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. Makhno

    Makhno Divemaster

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    Hi LoveOceanicGears,

    Well, there aren't "diving resorts," if you mean a place where you have a beach-front hotel which is dedicated to divers and has a great dive center onsite.

    The places which call themselves "dive resorts" are actually dive shops or dive centers, not on the beach, with dorm accommodations and/or small bungalows to sleep in and vehicles to rent. If you want a great beach-front place, don't expect it to have a decent dive center affiliated with it. If you want a quality dive operation, don't expect it to offer tropical paradise accommodations with a view. Grand Cayman or Fiji, it ain't.

    Here's what I suggest: first, figure out what sort of room you want. Then second, settle upon a location. Third, find a good dive center/instructor nearby.

    In deciding the third issue, it's really important whether you speak and read Chinese. If you do: great; you have many options, but you'd probably be better off doing your research in Chinese. If you don't, you're limited to a very few English-speaking folks who can attend to your diving needs.

    If you don't speak and read Chinese: there are a number of us who teach the occasional open water or advanced or nitrox course to a friend or acquaintance in Kenting, but there are really only 3 native English-speakers who teach diving a lot there. I know and am buddies with two of them. I've met the third but I don't know him well and haven't met a lot of his students. The two I can recommend, in no order of preference, are Andy at www.taiwandive.com - Kenting - Green Island - Orchid Island - XiaoLiuChiu and Greg at Shellback Diver I think either one would be a good choice for you and I respect both of them. Based solely upon location, Andy's a better choice if you're lodging in central Kenting town, and Greg's a better choice if you're lodging to the north or west. If you haven't decided where you're staying -- or don't care -- then flip a coin. They're both good guys and both good scuba instructors.

    If you do read and speak Chinese, you can do some research in that language; there are many good instructors in Kenting. But there are also a lot of bad ones: more often than I'd care to count, I've seen scuba instructors in Kenting (1) standing on living corals, (2) harassing marine life, (3) teaching students to use a necklace regulator as the primary when students have the long-hose reg as the backup, (4) taking open water student divers into the water without checking that everyone's cylinder valves are open, etc. So choose carefully, please.

    If you can speak and read Chinese, I posted email addresses for a few options for dive operations offering cheap dorm room lodging in this thread: http://www.scubaboard.com/forums/greater-china/322436-taiwan-diving.html and you can email them in Chinese. There are also New Taipei, Kaohsiung Diving, Newport (that's in Nan Wan; New World in Kenting Town is near a sign saying "Newport" so they're easy to get confused), and other dive centers. But as GrumpyOldGuy said, "If you don't speak Chinese, you really need to hook up with a guide . . . There simply is not the tourist/diving infrastructure you see at normal resorts and you need to plan for this."

    Feel free to ask further questions if this isn't helpful enough.

    And after you visit Kenting, please write a trip report and post it here so we can all read about it.
     
  3. LoveOceanicGears

    LoveOceanicGears Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Physically: New Jersey, USA. Mentally: Cozumel, MX
    97
    52
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    Hi Makhno:

    With my sincere appreciation, first of all, a BIG thank you for taking time to give me a thorough explanation. I was spoiled in Cozumel last year and really want to go back this year again. But wife and daughter think that doesn't make sense and want to go some place new. At end we settled to go back to Taiwan, which is my native country. So my wife can visit her mother while me and my daughter do some diving. I do speak both Taiwanese and Chinese so communication is not a concern to me.

    I am planning to stay in Kending for 7 days and so far the only Diving Center I can find that has web site is Long Jing Dive Center. Do you have web page for New World and Nan Qing? In your opinion, is 7 days too many for diving in Kending?

    From PADI web site, Long Jing is the only one listed in Kending. I am planning to stay there because my wife is planning to take PADI O/W referral classes there. How are the instructors and safety record there? Do you have any better suggestion? She can also speak and read Chinese, too.

    Thanks again for you time. Maybe we can meet and dive together when I am there.
     
  4. Makhno

    Makhno Divemaster

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    I'm happy to have been of some help. However, I've been in Taiwan for less than 2 years so many others are a lot more knowledgeable than I am about the diving here. But none of them seem to post here very often, so I'll offer what limited info I can.

    Cozumel's not too bad, is it? I've only been there once -- I went when I was a relatively new diver -- and would love to go back again as a more experienced diver.

    I think that your wife and daughter are right. It's a big world with many very different types of diving. I've dived in about a dozen different countries and I haven't regretted any dive, although some have of course been better than others.

    That will make your time in Taiwan much easier.

    All I have is the following, from cards I've picked up in the past, which might or might not still have current information:

    New World: ?????(dive_new_world) - Yahoo!?????
    (email) dive_new_world@yahoo.com.tw


    Nan Qing (South Green): Index
    MSN: dive.life@msa.hinet.net

    Long Jing: www.longjing.com.tw

    Newport: http://newport.com.tw

    Yes, that's too much time in Kenting when there are other places to go in Taiwan with better diving. I suggest you also look into Xiao Liu Chiu (which is easy to get to and from Kaohsiung), and Lu Dao (Green Island) and Lanyu (Orchid Island). I haven't dived Xiao Liu Chiu yet, but both Ludao and Lanyu have better-quality diving than Kenting. I posted some info here http://www.scubaboard.com/forums/general-asia/314792-taiwan-green-island-trip-report.html and here http://www.scubaboard.com/forums/general-asia/330218-taiwan-orchid-island-trip-report.html Of course, you should keep in mind when reading that I've spent limited time at each place, so I'm not the best source of information -- but it's safe to say that everyone agrees that Ludao (Green) and Lanyu (Orchid) Islands definitely have better diving than Kenting or Xiao Liu Chiu. I suggest this: your wife does her O/W course in Kenting, and then you both go to Ludao (Green Island). Lanyu/Orchid is also good but I think it's more suitable for more advanced divers, whereas Green has better/safer sites for beginners.

    No, there are many, many other options for PADI training in Kenting (me, for example, or many other conscientious instructors). A PADI instructor doesn't have to be affiliated with a PADI resort or retail store, and there are many PADI instructors in Kenting. And NAUI and SSI offer training comparable to that of PADI so PADI isn't your only option. (However, I strongly suggest that you and your wife both know how to use the same sets of no-deco-stop dive tables -- which differ by training agency (PADI/SSI/NAUI/CMAS/BSAC/etc.) -- and if you're already familiar with the PADI tables then it's probably easiest for her to do a PADI course, too, rather than NAUI, SSI, etc., if you'll be planning your dives together).

    Just based upon what I've seen, I'd say some instructors are very good and a lot are very bad. Sorry, I don't know enough Chinese- or Taiwanese-speaking instructors to advise you better than that. (Due to the language barrier, I know the expats better than I know the locals. And the locals whom I do know: I haven't seen them teaching courses nor dived with their students often.)

    Mr. Wang of Second Stage Diving Center in Kenting. McGill Cheng or Phil Hsieh in Taipei. (Sorry, I don't know their Chinese names or website addresses -- maybe google them). The guy who runs Kaohsiung Diving (he has a place in Kenting near the harbor at Shan Hai). They're all technical diving guys, though, so I don't know if they bother to teach open water courses nowadays.

    In any event, your wife's language skills will certainly expand her options ... but again, some options are better than others. Do your research and choose carefully, please.

    You're welcome and I'm sorry I can't provide better info, but as I said I've only been here a relatively short time and I have a language barrier to struggle with. If you find some useful information in Chinese, please post it here for the benefit of others.

    Maybe I'll see you there.

    Cheers,
    M
     
  5. shellbackdiver1

    shellbackdiver1 Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: Linwood Township, Mn
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    LoveOceanicGears,

    I suggest if you are looking for instruction in PADI with a local instructor then the best would Mr.Wang, the owner of Second Stage dive shop. He does not have email nor a website cause he does not need it. He is what we call "Turtle Hair" in Chinese. PM me if you want his number. But if you are looking for something quick and easy with minimum standards then there is about 100 instructors in Kenting.

    Cheers,

    Greg
     
  6. kaaralex

    kaaralex Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Shanghai
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    hi, i was diving last weekend in Kending, 3 days/7 dives with South Green and it was good. 3 dives a day, reasonable accommodation, Nitrox, decent food, very nice ppl, especially when u speak chinese and taiwanese, the owner has been diving since 80's... it's more of a family stay than an anonymous 5-star operation, but very enjoyable. We only dove sites within 10min boat ride from the harbour, though. Apart from other stuff, they got stone fish and a pygmy sea horse there, cool, so i did not mind diving the same spot twice. I think if u r a beginner, u will get lot of fun at good price there. After u finish your certification, u can start looking around other sites in Taiwan?
    I also went to Longjing since in one moment it looked like there will not be enough ppl for diving on the next day, but they told me that due to wind, they would not be diving. Come on, guys, there is NO wind under water! :wink: And i always managed to get on the boat. :)
     
  7. LoveOceanicGears

    LoveOceanicGears Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Physically: New Jersey, USA. Mentally: Cozumel, MX
    97
    52
    18
    Hi Makhno:

    Thanks again for all your information. I looked at Long Jing, New World, and South Green's web sites. From their web sites, I cannot find what types of room New World and South Green offer. So I called both New World and Long Jing, New World only has rooms with open beds, which is not suitable for a family trip, so I booked with Long Jing.

    I looked at Google map and tried to match the locations you mentioned in your Kending diving report. I am beginning to get a sense of where the diving sites are.

    Thank you again! Last time I was in Taiwan is about 10 years ago and I can't wait to go to back. I will write up a diving report after I return to US.
     
  8. LoveOceanicGears

    LoveOceanicGears Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Physically: New Jersey, USA. Mentally: Cozumel, MX
    97
    52
    18
    Hi Shellbackdiver:

    Thanks for your info. Both my daughter and I are trained in New Jersey by an excellent PADI instructor and I am starting my Rescue Diver class with him next month. My wife is the only one in the family who doesn't dive and she is planning to take the confined water classes with the same instructor here in US. Then finish up the ocean dives in Taiwan.

    I will PM you if I need Mr. Wang's info.

    Thanks again!
     
  9. LoveOceanicGears

    LoveOceanicGears Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Physically: New Jersey, USA. Mentally: Cozumel, MX
    97
    52
    18
    Hi Kaaralex:

    Thanks for the info. There is a video on YouTube about Long Jing and it shows the pygmy sea horses, which is something I definitely interested in seeing. What is the average depth of diving sites there?

    Can you tell my what kind of wet suit you wear? Do you need to wear gloves? I am planning to go in July-August and is a 3mm full wet suit provides enough thermal protection?

    By the way, did you rent your scuba equipments there or you bringing your own? I am considering bringing my own but it is not really fun to drag them across US.....

    Thank you.
     
  10. Makhno

    Makhno Divemaster

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    I hope Kaaralex will answer these questions for himself or herself, but I'll also chime in with my $0.02:

    The depth of shore diving sites is usually 0 - 18 meters. Only a few get much deeper (e.g., there's the skeleton of a small wreck at Hejie at 32m - 34m depending upon the tide). Boat diving sites get deeper if you want (I usually go down at 26 or 28m to check out the gorgonians etc. for a short while), or you can stay shallower at many of them. Ask your divemaster for a thorough briefing before you dive any site, though, and then plan your dive and stick to your plan.

    In July - August a full 3mm wetsuit should be fine, with water temperatures of 27-28 degrees C (low 80s F). Gloves are a very good idea -- not to touch the corals, of course, but because there are a lot of stinging hydroids, sharp rocks, etc., and you might need to use your hands to keep yourself safe in surge or current on shore dives.

    I would expect Long Jing to provide good, reliable rental kit, but it's always better to have your own equipment if feasible. I always bring my own equipment wherever I dive, even though I have to carry the heavy stuff around and maybe pay the airline an excess-baggage fee. Long Jing is a PADI Instructor Development Center so their rental gear should be safe enough, but with your own kit you have the "muscle memory" of knowing exactly where your dump valves are, how quickly the BC inflates, etc. Up to you, but I'd bring my own kit.

    You mentioned a google map: Long Jing's website has a map of dive sites here: Welcome to LongJing Diving Resort As you can see from the map, most of Kenting's dive sites are shore diving sites. I suggest you do at least one day of shore diving, for 2 reasons: (1) if you've never done shore dives before, then getting some experience doing shore diving will make you a better, more well-rounded diver, and (2) some of Kenting's best dive sites are shore diving sites. Boat diving sites usually offer better visibility, but don't necessarily offer the same interesting marine life.

    For boat diving sites, try Da and Xiao Lao Gu (Big and Small Old something-or-other), Dulijao (Independence Rock), and a couple others (although I'm not that fond of Maobitou (loosely translated as Cat's Whiskers or Cat Rock)).

    One of the better shore diving sites you should ask to see is Hou Hua Yuan (the Flower Garden) -- it has a lot of beautiful soft corals. In New Jersey and Cozumel you've never seen soft corals, and the Flower Garden has the most and best of them in Kenting. The visibility there is never great, and in the summer you must be careful of the jet-skis overhead, but it often has a lot of great marine life: cuttlefish, mantis shrimps, pipefish, razorfish (I mean Aeoliscus strigatus, not Iniistus sp. or the other wrasses), banded sea kraits, etc. For the bigger unicornfish and the bigger parrotfish and schooling yellowtail barracudas, go to Qu Shui Kou (near the electrical power plant's Water Outlet); although the viz is never very good there, the marine life is often good. On the west coast, I like Shan Hai a lot. If you follow the ropes out to the far-away rock, it's very small but it has an amazing array of cleaner shrimps and Durban dancing shrimps, juvenile emperor angelfish, morays, many species of nudibranchs, and lots else. Off in the sand you can often find Kuhl's blue-spotted rays, or maybe garden eels. Lots of crabs and maybe some lobsters on the way back in; maybe a seahorse or a frogfish if you look very carefully. Other good west coast sites are Hejie and Wanlitong (not the little harbor in Wanlitong village, but the site further north). Both Hejie and Wanlitong are difficult getting in and out of the water, though, so if you want easy diving then don't dive them.

    Hope that helps.

    Cheers,
    M
     
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2010

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