SPA TOWN IN TAIWAN
Beitou District is the northernmost of the twelve districts of Taipei City, Taiwan. The historical spelling of the district is Peitou. The name originates from the Ketagalan word Kipatauw, meaning witch. Beitou is the most mountainous and highest of Taipei's districts, encompassing a meadow with rivers running through the valley which have abundant steam rising from them; the result of geothermal warming. The valley is often surrounded by mist shrouding the trees and grass. Beitou is famous for its hot springs. In March 2012, it was named one of the Top 10 Small Tourist Towns by the Tourism Bureau of Taiwan.
Beitou is one of the largest concentrations of hot springs and spas in the world. Once a small park where locals used to relax in the hot springs, the Beitou Valley has evolved today to include over thirty resorts; A 20-minute train ride north of Taipei takes you to Beitou. The resorts and spas are regarded by many locals and international tourists as among the most relaxing and rejuvenating places in the country. The spas consist of different degree pools (from cool to very hot) and minerals. However, residents of this district note that sulfuric fumes from the hot springs do ruin their electric appliances in the long term.
Traditional public hot spring etiquette requires that bathers thoroughly wash and rinse off their bodies before entering the bath, do not wear clothing (including swim wear) in the bath and tie up their hair so that it does not touch the water. Finally, people with high blood pressure, heart disease or open wounds should not enter the baths.
Most of the public outdoor hot springs In the Beitou area are modeled more after European spa centers and require swimsuits since you will be bathing in mixed company. Finding a real traditional Japanese style public bath is increasingly rare. Take a peek and check before peeling off all your clothes.
Places to bathe
There are many hotels and traditional baths located around Qinshui Park (previously called Xin Beitou Park). This park is located directly across from Xin Beitou MRT station (Danshui line). Xingyi Road, the main road from Tianmu to Yangming Mountains in Beitou, also has many hot-springs-cum-restaurants, plus a couple of free public baths (at the top end where the bus turns back). For Xingyi Road, take bus 508 from Wenlin Road, Shilin (from Shilin MRT station exit 1, follow the overhead tracks and turn left at Zhongzheng Road and right at next crossroads [with pedestrian overpass], the 508 stop is on the right). On its way to Xingyi Road, the bus makes a stop opposite the Veterans Hospital in Shipai. Note: The spring water in Beitou is acidic, so don't wear anything that could be damaged by acid, such as pearls.
- Spring City only has private rooms or an outdoor swimming pool-type pool for non-guests.
- Beauty Age Hotel (美代) offers private of family size baths. The family baths are as low as ~NT$600 for 2 without accommodation or NT$1,000 (NT$1,200 at weekends) per room (irrespective of the number of people) - this is a well maintained hotel offering a very relaxing environment.
- Sweetme Hot Spring Resort (Shuimei)
- Millennium Hot Spring is an outdoor public hot spring. At NT$40 (plus an additional NT$20 if you store your stuff in a locker), it's a great choice for the budget minded. After exiting the Xin Beitou MRT station, you'll see a park across the street. Walk up Zhongshan Road, along the left side of the park. On the way you'll pass the Hot Spring Museum. After the Museum, you'll come to a fork in the road. The entrance to the hot spring is on the right. As with most outdoor hot springs in Taiwan swimwear is required. Do bring your own swimwear, purchase it on-the-spot is available however limited choices and it can be quite expensive. They have a number of rules, available on English signs; it would behoove you to follow them lest the guy in the red shirt blow his whistle at you.