: Hot Springs in Taiwan
Crazy About Hot Springs
The beautiful island has more than 150 of them.
Let's locate the good ones...
Chilling out in hot springs is a real Taiwanese favorite. I first figured that one out the first time I taught English here.
I remember asking my students questions like: What's your favorite place in Taiwan? What do you do on weekends? What's your favorite activity... and the majority of the answers I got involved shopping and... hot springs.
You see, Taiwanese people have a very, VERY busy lifestyle - they're up to their necks at home and at work. For many of them, retreating from the city to take a thermal dip in the mountains is simply the best way to relax.
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List of Taiwanese Hot Springs:
Beitou, Taipei City: often crowded, highly sulphuric water, star resorts, cheap public pools, strong Japanese history, a cool museum, fine restaurants...
Guanziling, Tainan County: muddy color spring water, beautiful scenery, cool monasteries, a weird natural wonder, hiking trails, good street food...
Maolin, Kaohsiung County: outdoor springs set in mountainous landscapes, aboriginal cultures, waterfalls, hiking trails...
Green Island: According to many Taiwanese people, the Jhaorih resort on Green Island has the best hot springs in Taiwan! Serious hot spring enthusiasts actually come here from all over the world as saltwater hot springs are very rare.
Jiaosi (Jiaoxi): Not my favorite place in Taiwan, but it's still one of the most popular hot spring resort in Taiwan because it's very close to Taipei City, in Yilan County.
Where can I find hot springs in Taiwan?
The highest concentration is in northern Taiwan, but you'll be able to find them everywhere around the island. Most are located in the mountains. A few of them can be found right by the ocean on the east coast.
What kind of springs does Taiwan have?
In Taiwan, you won't just find hot springs. There's also cold springs, sea-bed hot springs as well as mud springs.
In some places you'll find big, luxurious hotels that have private rooms with en-suite Jacuzzis and world class spa facilities. These places are usually quite expensive (NT$4000 and up). Japanese style wooden resorts with bonsai-filled gardens are especially costly.
Most locations also have cheaper public pools (NT$200 to NT$500) where you can bath for as long as you want. Make sure you have a look inside before you pay. You don't want to end up in a resort where there's only one pool filled with 50 people. I also always make sure the water is hot enough. Many places boast hot springs, but only have mildly warm water.
Are there still wild springs in the mountains?
Yes, there are still a few of those, but they're hard to find. Your best chance is to make friends with locals in aboriginal villages. They always know the best spots. If you have a drink with them, they'll happily bring you to these secret springs if you're not with a Han Chinese person. Don't ask!
What are the most famous hot spring resorts in Taiwan?
Yangmingshan and Beitou are the two names that first pop in my head. Their proximity to Taipei (20-30 minutes from downtown) makes them the two busiest places as well. The resorts in the mountains around Baolai - in southern Taiwan - also get raving reviews.
Hot Spring Etiquette
- Wear a swimming cap if you see that all the other bathers have one on - even if you're bald or have a skinhead haircut.
- If you're in a resort that separates male and female bathers, you're expected to get completely naked.
- Taiwanese don't show physical affection in public, and that custom is especially true in public pools. If you're with your sweetheart, it's better to keep your distance.
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