I do admit that one life may not be enough to know the wonders of the world. I do admit that if given a choice on my last day, I would like to restart exploring the world; reaching for part of those places I missed out on before I left the earth. And as and when I come across interesting stories from around the world, this thought only gets reinforced. I only knew of the hot springs in India, until, Richel shared her version of the hot springs from Taiwan. Over to guest blogger Richel, telling the rest of the story in her own words.
Every country has a checklist of prime attractions for tourists to tick off when they visit. If you’re in New York City, you need to visit the iconic Empire State Building. If you’re in the beautiful and scenic island nation of Taiwan, you need to do at least three things: visit Taipei 101, experience one of its night markets, and go for an invigorating soak at one of its hot springs.
Taiwan is gifted with geothermic hot springs peppered throughout its geography. Unwinding at a hot spring is a popular Taiwanese pastime. In 2015, when I visited Taiwan to attend a wedding dinner with my family, my mom caught up with her Taiwanese friend. This lady was well into her sixties, but for all appearances, looked to be in her late thirties. Her secret? According to her, it was because she visited hot springs regularly and reaped the benefits of the rejuvenating and therapeutic properties of its waters.
Have you ever been to a hot spring before? For the uninitiated, it can seem like a daunting experience, especially for those of us hailing from conservative countries. Take note that you should be mindful of hot spring etiquette when you visit. Wear a shower or swimming cap if you see other hot spring attendees wearing one as well. If you visit hot springs separated by gender, you are expected to wear nothing when you attend the hot spring. Fret not though; there are a bevy of hot spring experiences you can choose in Taiwan that will suit the needs of every traveler.
Green Island’s Saltwater Hot Springs
The saltwater hot springs found at Green Island are widely regarded as the best hot spring experience by locales. This picturesque locale of Green Island is situated east of Taitung City. It is home to a population of roughly 3000 locals and the Zhaori Hot Springs —one of just three saltwater hot springs in the world. An interesting means of getting around here is via a rented scooter. You can happily zip around the island as you check out the bucolic, coastal scenery and even visit Lyudao Lighthouse! The water in the hot spring here is clear, and bereft of the pungent smell of sulfur. The waters here are of a temperature between 53-80 degrees and are heated by the geothermal activity of lava beneath the earth’s crust. Some locals swear by these waters’ therapeutic properties. They can supposedly help alleviate arthritis and body aches. So you’re in for a treat here if you’re rearing for a nice hot soak!
Yilan’s Muddy Water Hot Springs
Another popular hot spring is found at Jiaoxi, in Yilan County. It’s in a much more easily accessible location if you’re sightseeing around Taipei City. You might recall me mentioning the extremely youthful-looking friend of my mother. She regularly frequents the hot springs here. These hot springs are situated near a deposit of clay which are rich in minerals. This makes the water in the hot springs muddy, but it supposedly makes for a great form of hydrotherapy! Soothe your skin while you’re here. The waters here are supposedly great at soothing skin allergies, and rheumatism. Afterwards, you can also do some sightseeing. Check out a local monastery called the Biyun Temple. You might even witness some culturally intriguing rituals while you’re there.
Beitou’s Public Hot Spring
Due to time constraints, you might have to settle for visiting a hot spring at Beitou in Taipei, the capital of Taiwan. That was what me and my family did during our short trip to attend a wedding in Taiwan. Millennium Hot Spring is very accessible via Xinbeitou MRT, and as a public hot spring, wasn’t very costly. Soaking our tired bones here truly felt revitalizing. Maybe because the water from these hot springs are rich with natural minerals and sulfur. It felt like a form of hydrotherapy. After a good soak, you can visit the nearby Beitou Hot Spring Museum to learn the history behind Taiwan’s love affair with hot springs and how it was influenced during Taiwan’s occupation by the Japanese. As a mixed-gender, public hot spring, you needn’t feel awkward about having to go commando when you attend. Just treat it as another interesting family outing! Consider staying near the Beitou Hot Spring Resort for added convenience.
I’d like to thank Rajat for giving me this opportunity to share my travel experiences on his blog! Rajat, you’ve been to many interesting places, but I noticed that you haven’t visited Taiwan yet. Consider paying it a visit next time and do let me know if you attend one of its hot springs.
About Richel:Richel is an avid travel lover from Taiwan who loves to travel and pour in her vivid experiences about her explorations to beaches, nature, and theme parks. Food is her biggest enticement and places with great food experiences are her favorite. To check out more stories from her about Taiwan, you can check out her Travel Guides on Taiwan.