Kenting (墾丁) - National Museum of Marine Biology & Aquarium (國立海洋生物博物館) [Travel in Taiwan 170529-31: Let's go to Kenting! Part 4 “Fish be with you”] | Travel in Asia

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Kenting (墾丁) - National Museum of Marine Biology & Aquarium (國立海洋生物博物館) [Travel in Taiwan 170529-31: Let's go to Kenting! Part 4 “Fish be with you”]

#5yearsinTaiwan


Kenting's National Museum of Marine Biology and Aquarium (NMMBA).  One of Asia's best.  A trip to Taiwan's Hengchun Peninsula is not complete without a visit to this tourist attraction.  It boasts a range of aquatic life to see.  Not only serving the increasing number of Taiwanderers on the island, it also serves as a research facility in preserving the natural wonders of the sea and the oceans.  A national aquarium that educates people about the importance of the waters that surrounds Taiwan, it deserves to be featured in the luomujie blog.








NMMBA transforms itself as a personal submarine for anyone who wishes to have an undersea adventure without the need to wear a SCUBA suit.   For an adult ticket price of NTD 450, you can enter its premises and wander around the Coral Kingdom Pavillion, Waters of Taiwan and Waters of the World.    Students, elderly and children need only to pay NTD 250.  I was very lucky to get the discounted ticket price after presenting my student ID in Taiwan.  Bwahaha!  Tickets are also available only via klook (https://affiliate.klook.com/jump/activity/1677-national-museum-of-marine-biology-aquarium-kenting/?adid=33595&af_wid=324).  If you are qualified to get the half-price tickets, then you should get them in person at the ticketing booths.



To get to NMMBA, board first the Taiwan Tour Bus from HSR Zuoying Station.  Get off the bus at the Museum of Marine Transfer Station aka NMMBA Transfer bus stop.


Get off the Taiwan Tour Bus at the NMMBA Transfer bus stop.  Change bus for the Kenting Express Orange Line.  Alight at NMMBA

How to get here?  If you are coming from Taipei, the fastest way is to ride the High Speed Rail train going to Kaohsiung.  Get also your 1-Day or 2-Day Pass for the Kenting Shuttle Bus (https://affiliate.klook.com/jump/activity/554-kenting-bus-transfers-kenting/?adid=5089&af_wid=324) before your trip and exchange it with a bus ticket at HSR Zuoying Station.   Board the Taiwan Tour Bus going to Kenting and then get off at the NMMBA Transfer bus stop.  Change to the orange line of the Kenting Shuttle Bus to reach Taiwan's national aquarium.





I recommend a whole day to see all of its collections.  The museum is too big to be explored in less than four hours and you will easily get tired walking along it big halls.  Its giant aquariums are its main attractions but outside the building are outdoor parks that are also interesting.  They are a nice way to get your feet wet without going to the beach.   Do you want to take pictures with the dolphins?  How about the swordfish?  The Ocean Park Plaza invites kids and parents to have some fun time together at the open pool.





Another place that is worth to see in the NMMBA is the Cetacean Plaza   It's funny to see locals enjoy their time here like it's some kind of water park.  Aside from the splash and excitement that you will experience if you ever decide to play here, tourists can also learn new things about whales.  A water park and a marine museum as one!  I was really impressed by these aesthetics of NMMBA.  








Being ranked as the 5th best aquarium in Asia, I had high expectations on this first visit.   Like the other ocean parks located in Japan and Hong Kong, I had anticipated going into a water tunnel.  You enter the tube, walk along the aisle and get mesmerized by the various kinds of marine life that you can see.  Stingrays that are gliding freely,  sharks with sharp jaws and look what I saw inside the aquarium of NMMBA.  There was a man wearing a SCUBA!

Touring NMMBA is not an ordinary walk in the park because there are fun experiences and shows that one can enjoy.   The most common are the feeding times of the animals.  When I went to the water tunnel, I was surprised to see a school of fish surrounding a man on a SCUBA.   He interacted with the visitors reaching his hand to the glass mirror as if he can touch the person on the other side. 











Another popular attraction in Taiwan's national aquarium is the feeding time of the penguins.   Taipei Zoo's Antarctic Region will have no match in Kenting's larger version.  A grander one with lots and lots of penguins.  Watching them was like enjoying a live theater show.  They marched forward and suddenly got wild upon smelling the flesh of a fish.   When they were already full, they jumped into the water.  Smiles and cheers were heard as young Taiwanese kids became overjoyed by what they were seeing.  Penguins swimming freely in the cold waters of an Antarctic-inspired aquarium.  Haha!







There was a touch pool but I didn't like it.   On this place, visitors have a chance to touch marine organisms.  However, the Taiwanese instructors were too strict.  You can touch the starfish and sea cucumbers but you must not lift them out of the water.   There was more liberty in Yehliu Ocean World compared here to NMMBA.   I think activities like these should be the done on the beach. Seeing these species in their natural environment will always be the best.   


I remember my trip to Penghu in 2016.  I went on a night tour with a group of new found friends.  We were on Niǎodǎo Island and we searched for tiny crabs along the beach.  We found the crustaceans but I was also able to find sea urchins (with dangerous-looking spikes), sea cucumbers and some kind of starfish.   Fresh and alive!








Thanks to the coral section of the NMMBA, it helped save the day.  They were so colorful in their glass cages.  Looking at the fishes that swam inside their crevices was like going down the ocean and watching them via an invisible shield.  But the greatest surprise on my visit was the three-floor high aquarium.  It was so huge that I was expecting to see a giant octopus inside.  Haha!











What was inside?  It was a kelp.  A kind of seaweed that is found in subtropical waters.  Taiwan is an island located in the Tropic Cancer had been blessed with this kind of aquatic plant.   The aquarium was built to show how high the “plant” can be.  Its white “root” holds on the rocks below keeping it on its position.  Its “leaves” are air bladders which function like floatation devices.  Let's just say that they are small balloons that keeps the “trunk” perpendicular to the ground.  The glass cage was so tall that I have to wark further away from the aquarium just to get a good selfie.



Before I left NMMBA, I made sure that I have a glance at the Whale Explorium building.  Shaped-like the giant marine mammal, it is one of the iconic man-made structures in Hengchun Peninsula.  I wanted to go inside but I wasn't able to do so.   I guessed the building is only used during special occasions and is not open to visitors.  Nevertheless,  I was able to get some photos of it.   


My next post about Kenting would be very exciting.  I will get wet and wild in South Beach with various water sports activities.  Haha!  So for now, enjoy the good life in Taiwan wherever you are on the island. “Fish be with you”. 



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