Taipei, the vibrant capital city of Taiwan, is a typical modern city filled with tall skyscrapers and urbanites always on the move. While many are attracted and used to such modern yet busy city life, there are moments in life that you would want to escape from it all and just find a place to unwind from the stress. Do not overstress yourself fretting over where is the perfect place to unwind when you have little time to spare from your hectic schedule in Taipei. Just head to Xinbeitou, barely 30 minutes away from the city centre via the convenient Taipei MRT. Over at this Japanese-influenced little town famous for its therapeutic hot springs, you will be able to relax and unwind from the hectic city lifestyle.
Gain insights about the history of Beitou hot springs
As you exit the Xinbeitou MRT station, you will be able to see a long narrow park located directly across the road from the station known as Beitou Hot Springs Park. Within the park lies Beitou Hot Springs Museum, an Euro-Japanese style architecture as seen in above picture erected in 1913 during the Japanese Occupation. It used to be the largest public bathhouse in East Asia, and eventually became the hot springs museum after several transformations over time.
Visitors are to remove their shoes & put on the in-house slippers provided to enter the 2-storey museum compounds. Once you step in, you will be greeted warmly by friendly female volunteers who are all Beitou residents, reminiscent of the treatment in a Japanese hot spring hotel. They are passionate about sharing the local life with visitors and put in lots of efforts to preserving this old bathhouse. Feel free to ask them any questions you may have about the town and they will be glad to assist. Admission is free at the museum, so make a visit there to understand more about this popular hot spring town and its evolution over the years.
A relaxing hot spring bath does not have to cost you a bomb
After gaining insights to the history of Beitou Hot Springs Museum, I’m sure you are itching for some real hot spring experience? Located just up the road within the park is the Beitou Park Outdoor Hot Spring. This public outdoor bath is very popular with both locals and tourists, as it is very affordable, at only 40 TWD (1.23 USD) per adult, while senior citizens and students pay only half the price! Who says indulging in a hot spring bath have to be expensive?
It has six different pools of varying temperatures with scenic views of the neighbouring mountains and river. Besides, you can come here to relax as early as 5.30am and it closes at 7.45pm every day. Don’t forget to bring along your swimsuit to soak in the pools and enjoy the therapeutic effects of the green sulfuric spring waters.
Visit the source of your "happiness" where you can also experience “hell”
After a relaxing bath in the public outdoor bath, continue your way up the slopes of Zhongshan Road for about 10 minutes till you see a fork in the road to the left. You will arrive at Thermal Valley, the source of your happiness earlier on at Beitou Park Outdoor Hot Spring. It is a volcanic crater filled with steaming natural green sulfuric hot spring water where water temperatures can reach up to 100°C (212°F)!
You will feel hotter and the sulfuric smell gets more unbearable as you venture deeper into the 3,500-feet valley, as if you have entered “hell”. In the past, visitors used to boil eggs in the hot waters, but this practice has since been prohibited to protect the water quality, and also to prevent visitors from falling and boiling themselves. At such high water temperature, I bet you won’t want to be in “hell” for too long, will you?
Indulge in a hot spring experience with a view
If you can’t seem to get enough from the pleasant public outdoor bath experience, go ahead to indulge in one of the many hot springs hotels in the town. Located near Thermal Valley at the roundabout where you can head back to Xinbeitou MRT Station is the Spa Spring Resort. The hotel’s ambience makes you feel at ease and relaxed as you enter its lobby. Its outdoor hot spring package looks reasonably priced too, from 320 TWD (about 10 USD) to 460 TWD (about 14 USD) depending on the season you visit.
Located on the highest floor of the hotel, there are 3 public hot spring pools – 2 hot and 1 cold for you to dip in. If you visit during the off peak season, you may be able to enjoy a private spa experience as it will likely not be crowded. Furthermore, to add pleasure to the relaxing experience, you can take in splendid unobstructed views of the surrounding mountains while enjoying the health benefits of the natural green sulfuric hot spring water. Just like the public outdoor bath, remember to bring along your swimsuit for the soak. The hot spring facility here is modelled more like a European spa centre unlike the traditional Japanese baths where you go naked.
Time to relax and enjoy life at a slower pace in Beitou
Although Xinbeitou is not a large town, it does boast the highest concentration of hot springs and spas in the world, a great place to relax and rejuvenate for a day or two. Thus, it is little wonder why it was named one of the Top 10 Small Tourist Towns by the Taiwan Tourism Bureau in March 2012. If you have yet to try the lovely hot springs and spas here, don’t ponder anymore. Pop by to enjoy the health benefits its natural mineral waters streaming from the numerous geothermal vents soon!
Get Trip101 in your inbox
You can buy and claim online, even after you've left home. Travel insurance from WorldNomads.com is available to people from 140 countries. It’s designed for adventurous travellers with cover for overseas medical, evacuation, baggage and a range of adventure sports and activities.
*5% off when you book with our promo code: TRIP101
*For our Canadian and US travellers, unfortunately due to financial services laws, we cannot provide a discount. This promotional code cannot be used with any other discount offer, including World Nomads Members’ discount for travel insurance policy holders.