Taiwan, it seems, really loves museums. An aquarium is not just an aquarium but the National Museum of Marine Biology and Aquarium (國立海洋生物博物館). Naturally, touring the museum is like a crash course in Marine Ecology 101; starting from the Waters of Taiwan, you make your way through to Coral Kingdom Pavilion, then go global in Waters of the World.
The Waters of Taiwan exhibition walks you through Taiwan’s rivers and streams, which are teeming with freshwater fish, abundant riverine plants and land animals that have made the riverbank their home.
These brightly colored fishes prove that there’s more to coral reefs than Nemo!
Prepare for an overdose of cuteness as you watch these penguins patter about in their tiny feet. They may look awkward waddling around on land but put them in water and watch as they slice through the water in long, graceful arcs.
I’d have to admit that I wasn’t the most conscientious museum goer this time round. After viewing consecutive tanks of what can only be described as fishes, my attention flagged and I found myself wishing for the sun and surf of Kenting’s beaches.
However, if marine ecology is your thing, then you’ll love this place. The museum takes up more than 60 hectares, so you can imagine the wealth of marine species it contains. In fact, it triumphs other aquariums I’ve seen in Southeast Asia in terms of the size and diversity of exhibits. There are also English translations of the exhibit captions, something not all museums in Taiwan have.
While ticket prices are pretty steep at 450 NTD for adults, students enjoy half priced tickets. Produce some form of student identification card and cackle in glee as you save yourself 225 NTD. Overall, it’s worth a visit if you’re looking to beat the midday heat and squeal at cuddly penguins.
2 Houwan Road, Checheng, Pingtung, 944, Taiwan
It’s best to rent a car or grab a cab from Kenting. Cab fares typically range from 300 NTD to 400 NTD and most cabs do not go by the meter.