The countryside town of Beitou, situated in the north of Taipei City is well known for authentic Beitou hot springs and the Geothermal Hell Valley. Entering into the town you are surrounded with various hotels, all with their own hot springs and ladies at the door dressed in kimonos to greet you. This is to acknowledge the Japanese presence in the town.
As you walk through the quiet park in the middle of the town towards the Hot Spring Museum, you will come across a modern architecture that blends the building into the park using wood, greenery and large windows to reflect surrounding flora. Beitou Library, also located within the park is also hard to miss and is à perfect spot to do some reading – the library holds over 20,000 English and Chinese literatures.
Hot Springs have been a part of the history of the town of Beitou for centuries and a can be read about in The Hot Spring Museum located in the park. Similarly, this is another building you won’t miss as the striking red bricks and Victorian style architecture stands out. Walking through the museum you learn the history through black and white images and also get to see the various sizes of baths they had in the past in separate female and male rooms. The building is designed for relaxation with the open tatami resting room upstairs overlooking the park to the old school in-theatre room.
Next door you will find the first public outdoor hot spring in the area with 5 different pools available for you to enjoy. There are 4 hot pools starting at 25 degrees Celsius up to 45 degrees Celsius. If you go in summer, surprisingly it is still quite relaxing to take a soak in the heated pools but otherwise you can opt for the cold pool.
Be aware that there are some rules to follow whilst at the hot spring, including no photography and making sure that your feet are rinsed before entering. Another rule to note is to never only soak your feet in the pools, otherwise the Taiwanese grandpa will be yelling at you! Oh, and those with long hair, tie it up.
A short walk from the park and hot springs is the Geothermal Hell Valley where you will be greeted with the strong sulfur smell. The valley got it’s name due the extreme temperature, 80 to 100 degrees Celsius, and also due to several incidents involving people falling in. (It is supervised now and a fence around so you cannot fall in). Back in the day, locals and visitors were able to boil eggs but this has now been banned to preserve the springs.
A trip to the Geothermal Hell Valley is something you must experience during your trip to Taiwan. The water is a beautiful blue with mist rising above it; truly a surreal feeling.
How to get there
The great thing about Beitou is that it is within the city limits of Taipei. It’s a very easy place to get to and by using the efficient MRT system, you can be there in around 30 minutes. Firstly take the Red Line to Beitou Station and then transfer to the Pink Line for one stop to Xinbeitou. From there, the attractions are around a 5-10 minute walk.
Where to stay
Mandarin Oriental Taipei
The Mandarin Oriental Taipei is a 5 stay luxury property in the heart of the city that has the largest hotel spa in Taiwan. The rooms and suites at the hotel are among the largest in the city and combine a contemporary luxury mixed with a classic oriental style.
When you stay at a W hotel, you are always in for something a bit over the top. They are artistic, funky, luxurious and fun. The W Taipei is no different with this property in the heart of the nightlife district of Xinyi.