Having lived in Taichung City since 2000, Taian has always been the obvious choice for me for a quick hot spring. I know it’s not that close, but it’s not that far either. From Taichung, it only takes me about one hour to get to Taian by car, outside rush-hour period.
I’ve been going to the same two hot spring resorts for as long as I can remember and I’m satisfied with both, although they are very different from one another. One is luxurious and resort-like, the other one is an old classic local, and much cheaper.
Onsen Papawaqa Hot Spring Resort
The nice expensive one is called Onsen Papawaqa, and cost 800NT$ for access to the public hot springs and pools. It’s actually one of my favorite hot spring resorts in all of Taiwan. The place is well decorated, in some Japanese, zen ways. It’s super clean and well organized. During the week, it’s very quiet, on weekends, it can get intense. You can enjoy a nice hot spring bath outside, overlooking a river, small waterfalls, and gorgeous mountains. 800NT$ is not cheap, but it’s kind of like a 5 star experience for hot spring. If you can afford it, just go for it – it’s the best place in Taian. You won’t regret it!
Address: 365, Miaoli County, Tai’an Township
Address in Chinese: 365苗栗縣泰安鄉圓墩58號
The cheaper, local hot spring…
The Chinese name for this place is: 苗栗騰龍溫泉山莊
This is the hot spring place I go to regularly to just do that: soak in water! The resort is nothing compared to Onsen Papawaqa, it is much more rustic. And it’s cheaper, at 150NT$ per person. It’s not fancy, it’s very much of a local hot spring. It’s indoor, and not mixed, meaning you’re only with male or female. So you’re naked in the pool, which I love. The water is high quality stuff that comes straight out of the earth, full of minerals, and thick with eggs smell! Your skin gets sticky as soon as you get in the water. It’s the real deal.
I should have done my research more seriously. I don’t even know the English name for that place, sorry. I’ll put a link to the map, so you can find it, but for now, you can copy and paste the Chinese name in Google Maps: 苗栗騰龍溫泉山莊
Address: 365, Miaoli County, Tai’an Township, 橫龍山5號
Address in Chinese: 365苗栗縣泰安鄉橫龍山5號
Taian – More than hot springs
I hesitated before writing the title for this page. Should I call it “Taian Hot Spring“, or simply “Taian Travel Guide“? It probably doesn’t matter for you, but for me, it would restrict the content I should be including here.
I decided to go with a focus on the “hot spring” part, because I believe 95% of people who visit Taian, are mostly here just for that. BUT, and that’s a huge but, I want you to know that there are so many more things to do around here. This part of Miaoli County is packed with hiking trails, waterfalls, country roads for scooter rides, jungles, rivers, campground, and little villages to explore.
Hiking in Taian
As you probably already know, Taian is in Miaoli County, and so obviously, it is surrounded by mountains. There is quite a lot of hiking to do in the area, mostly short day-hikes, but also longer treks. There are so many trails and farmers paths, and my advice is to check the maps.me app to see all of the options available.
*** The headquarter for Shei-Pa National Park is right at the valley entrance. If you’re looking for information about hiking permits, trails, overnight trips in the park, this is the place to go. Check map below for headquarter location.
A nice little hike you can do not too far from here is Manaban Mountain.
If you’re into waterfalls, make sure to check out the following ones:
- Dashiman Falls 大石門瀑布
- Shuiyun Waterfall 水雲瀑布
Eating / Restaurants in Taian
Most hot spring resorts offer some kind of snacks. Some of them have restaurants, and the local specialities are Hakka. The only place with some food options outside of hotels and resorts is what is called Tofu Street, at the entrance to the Taian valley, on road 苗62. Don’t have big expectations apart from cold Taiwan beer and some quick snacks.
Camping in Taian
Just open your Google Map and look at all the green icon of tents. Yes, those are all campgrounds! There’s a LOT of campgrounds in Miaoli County, and Taian probably has the highest concentration. It is without a doubt one of the best areas for camping in Taiwan, because the weather is stable, the scenery is amazing, and the terrain is suitable for that.