Amongst the myriad delights that the island of Taiwan offers, is a well-developed 'visit a hot spring culture.' The island is littered with pools of geothermal activity and Taiwanese hot spring expeditions cater to all kinds of travel budgets, as well as myriad tastes and preferences. In fact, the island of Taiwan is quite strategically located at the junction of two major tectonic zones. Hence every time the earth moves so as to speak, earthquakes occur and new hot springs emerge.
The hot spring region of Xin Beitou is the most popular hot spring destination within easy reach of Taipei. Accessible via a half-hour journey on the MTR or then via 30 or 40-minute taxi ride, Xin Beitou is the favored haunt of hot spring soakers from Taipei. Once you get off the train, you are transported to another world as car exhausts and other city sights and smells give way to lush mountain scenery and the omnipresent odors of sulfuric vapors.
Located right opposite the train station is the area’s Hot Spring Museum, a building that dates back to the Japanese rule in Taiwan (1845-1945), which offers much information about hot springs culture in Beitou. Other cultural attractions in Beitou include the Ketagalan Culture Centre and the Beitou Public Library, a peaceful oasis surrounded by lush gardens.
Beitou hosts both a variety of private spa resorts in addition its Beitou Spa Park, a public-access hot spring bath facility that is extremely affordable. However, you are expected to sport swimwear at this hot spring resort, and you can either bring your own or buy one at the stores located at the entrance of the complex.
Aside, from this public mineral spa bath facility Beitou also hosts various upscale private mineral spa facilities such as Villa 32 and Grand View Resort amongst others.
Yangmingshan National Park Area
The Yangmingshan National Park spans a lush, green mountain littered with several hot spring areas. The park is easily accessible from downtown Taipei via a forty-minute drive or bus ride. In and around the park are the area’s most popular and much frequented hot spring facilities like Lengshuikeng, Macao and Huogengziping. Each spring has its inimitable characteristics and mineral composition. For instance, the hot springs located within the Yangmishan national park are known for their mild, alkaline sulfuric waters, which have a milky color and constant year-round temperature of about 70F. Aside from indulging in the therapeutic and relaxing mineral spring waters, the visitors to the resorts also relish sampling the delicacies prepared with the bountiful produce of the region. This produce is, in fact, harvested with the mineral rich waters of the region and is thus, especially flavorful.
Jinshan Hot Spring Region
Further, up the mountain, lies the perennially cloud-encircled Jinshan hot spring region. The area is renowned for its panoramic views of the mountain and the lush surroundings. In fact, on a clear day, you can take in views of the blue ocean, situated on the northernmost tip of Taiwan’s craggy coast. Located within the Jinshan hot spring area is Tien Lai, one of Taiwan’s most luxurious hot springs resorts. Tien Lai renowned for its many facilities such as scenic mountain-clad open-air bathing pools, top notch fitness center, hot and cool saunas and well-demarcated areas for boiling eggs in the waters of the hot springs.
The Wulai hot springs region
The Wulai region situated approximately 20 km to the southeast of Taipei is considered to be one of the best hot spring regions of Taipei. The settlement of Wulai is easily accessible by bus and taxi from Taipei and in addition to hot springs; the area offers various other interesting attractions such as the Wulai Atayal Museum, the picturesque Wulai waterfall, the Yun Hsien Forest Recreation Area and so forth. In fact, Wulai offers a wide range of recreational pursuits in addition to hot spring soaking excursions, like camping, fishing, hiking, sightseeing and bird watching.
So if you are not a fan of soaking in mineral waters or if you have had enough of hot spring water bathing on your trip to Taiwan, then a visit to the town of Wulai makes for an entertaining diversion.