Things to do in Taipei
Hot springs (溫泉) come in various brands in Taipei, ranging from basic natural pools, to plush spas at five star hotels. The three main places to have a soak in the Greater Taipei area are: Beitou (北投), Wulai (烏來) and Yangmingshan National Park (陽明山). The basic free 'rub and scrub' type public baths are run by the city. Most hotels offer the option of a large sex-segregated bathing area that generally consists of several large baths of various temperatures, jacuzzi, sauna and steam bath and also private and family rooms. Some hotels also have outdoor baths (露天溫泉), which offer restful views over the surrounding countryside. Prices range from around NT$300 to NT$800.
The law in Taiwan states that for safety reasons, individuals are not allowed to bathe in the private rooms, and there must be at least two people. Etiquette requires that bathers thoroughly wash and rinse off their bodies before entering public baths, do not wear clothing (which includes swimwear, though this is not the case for mixed-sex public areas) 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.
The mountains around Taipei make hiking is a popular exercise in the city. The main hiking spot closest to the city is the Four Beasts Mountain which border Xinyi and Nangang. One of the most rewarding walks is on Elephant Mountain, where steep steps lead up to several different viewpoints that give a striking contrast between Taipei 101 and its neighboring low-rise buildings, especially against the orange hues of sunset. Continuing on separate trails will head towards the remaining 'beasts' of Leopard, Lion and Tiger, and Nangang mountain and Jiuwufeng beyond them.
Yangmingshan National Park (陽明山國家公園), just north of Beitou is also a favorite destination, particularly during spring when thousands of calla lilies, peonies and cherry blossoms bloom in the valleys. There are dozens of hiking trails in the park, most marked out on maps from the visitors center. Qixingshan is the highest peak in Yangmingshan, and looks out over the Taipei Basin and the north coast.
There are a few amusement parks around Taipei. One is the Children's Recreation Center in Zhongshan, great for younger kids, though a little old-fashioned. The Taipei Water Park is also a good place to spend time during summer, with its water slides and swimming areas.