When traveling to a country that is renowned for their hot springs, it is imperative that you go. Taiwan may be a small island, but it has more than 100 hot springs and the greatest variety with hot springs, cold springs, mud springs and so on. I was fortunate to visit Xin Beitou (New Beitou), the geothermal valley with sulfur springs.
Located in the northern part of the country, Beitou is easily accessible by the subway via the red line. Make sure to get off on the Xin Beitou stop, the hot spring resort, as opposed to Beitou, which refers to Old Beitou, the town.
While wandering through the Beitout Hot Springs Park right off the station, you will notice that the resort is a mountainous region that encompasses a small meadow. All of the mineral water you see throughout the park is the sulfur springs from the geothermal vents.
As you walk further up the hill, there is an entrance to the left for the must-see thermal valley, the main source of the sulfur springs. Steam rises from the hot water, clouding the trees and surrounding areas in mist.
Get closer to the water and you can feel the heat from the steam or as I like to call it, a free facial. The natural temperature of the water is at 194 degrees Fahrenheit so don’t be tempted to jump in and take a bath – it will be extremely painful! Apparently, people used to have access to the waters in the ’90s and would boil their eggs in the water. Thankfully, for contamination and safety reasons, this is no longer allowed.
While exploring the park, make sure to check out the library, hot springs museum, and public outdoor hot springs.
If you’re not so fond of having a bath with a group of other people, enjoy the hot springs by visiting any of the surrounding hotels. Many have their own public and private bath for you to enjoy at reasonable prices.
If you have the time, go check out the well known Yangmingshan National Park behind Beitou. It also has hot springs, as well as many hiking trails, breathtaking views and a cultivated area famous for its flowers.
Next up, Central Taipei.
Check out the rest of “The Flavors of Taiwan” series
Part 1: Jioufen
Part 4: Good Eats in Central Taipei
Part 5: The Borders of Taipei