Saturday, July 19, 2014

Beitou (北投) - The Convenient Place for Hot Springs (溫泉) @ Xinbeitou, Taipei [Taiwan]

One can never forget the pink subway line that connects Beitou to Xinbeitou (新北投); the gigantic welcome sign seemed to suggest that i am going to enter a theme park!

Even the train was unique with its bold display of colours and inclusion of characters that were more likely to attract the target group for most theme parks; the children.

Step into the train and you would once again be captivated by the thematic carriages; the one above had screens housed in tubs reflective of Beitou's natural heritage; the hot springs. I didn't manage to try them out as we were the last to get into the train. :(

It was chicken feet to get your directions right in Beitou! Right ahead of you when you exit the subway station was a split road (fork); to your left is Zhongshan road (中山路) and to your right is Guangming road (光明路).

Breakfast was badly needed and we spotted the shophouses along Guangming road. Would you want to guess which shop had attracted our attention? Hint: Alex was the decision maker. 

For those who know Alex well would be aware he is a great fan of MacDonald's and remains a loyal customer despite the uprise of many other fast food establishments. So yes, i had MacDonald's hotcakes!

An unleashed dog waiting patiently for his guardian to finish his coffee. 

Frankly, as we began our relaxing walk up Guangming road, we could not help thinking if we were at the wrong location. The place appeared to be more of a residential area rather than a tourist attraction! 

Only the section separating Zhongshan road and Guangming road with a stream running on the side implied we were on the right track. 

Like you, the one question running in my mind was "is this the hot spring?" Not wanting to appear stupid to the locals, i didn't attempt to jump into the water. Much as i would love to. 

This should be the hot spring museum with reviews that often labelled it as insightful yet boring. Furthermore, even though it was at one time "the largest public bathhouse in East Asia", its glory days were over with its conversion to a museum. 

My objective was simple; soak in the hot spring water for a couple of hours before returning to downtown Taipei where i had planned quite a number of must-do activities! 

Walking in search of a hotel i read from a Chinese travel guidebook. According to my map, it was somewhere towards a juncture where Guangshan road meets Zhongshan road again.

To keep Alex occupied before he started complaining about the long walk, i had to request for a picture of him at certain intervals. Deep in his heart, he is a model wannabe! Don't play play, he was recently approached by a model agency leh. 

水都溫泉會館 - Spa Spring Resort

The room rate for short term use, common for visitors who are there to soak in the hot spring water, was about NT$1280 for two hours. Not cheap but we don't really have the luxury of doing this activity back in Singapore! 

To be truthful, i wasn't expecting a hotel room. Hahaha, i thought it would be more of an open concept with flowing spring water, massive pools, Zen-themed gardens that are limited to only hotel guests. 

Oh well, Alex's eyes lit up at the sight of a bed. This poor man was dragged out of bed by me earlier this morning as we had, once again, overslept. 

Indoor bath tub with natural spring water that flowed with just a turn of the crank. This was similar to what i had experienced in Beijing although that one was much classier. 

I had almost exclusive use of the hot spring bath as Alex tried once, hated it and proceeded to take a nap on the bed. Yooohooo! By the way, you are not supposed to soak in hot spring for too long and i alternated every fifteen minutes. Very shiok although it got a bit boring after around an hour. 

I think it's hard for me to relax unless i am on an island with limited amenities. After close to a hundred minutes, we decided to cut short our stay at the resort as time can be better spent somewhere else! 

Visited the thermal valley which surprisingly turned out to be a very beautiful place! For my specific post on the valley that doesn't look like a valley, click here


It's time to check out Zhongshan road as we made our way back to Xinbeitou MRT station! Notice all the apartments in the background? I should consider getting a apartment in Beitou for retirement. 


Darn! I should have patronised this hot spring instead; there was an option for forty minutes and the best part was the pricing; a cheap NT$250! 

As i mentioned before, the mineral rich hot spring water from the thermal valley would have to flow somewhere and you can find it in this stream where it would no longer be as scalding hot. 

Hence, take off your shoes and soak your legs for free! A word of advice who those who arrange for a hot spring trip; do consider wearing slippers instead of shoes! 

Tsk tsk tsk... Must be peeping toms....

Actually no. They were just taking photographs of the stream with cascading drops that would likely appear impressive on photographs with control of shutter speed. 

北投梅庭 - i didn't know what it was but after a search on google, i am aware that it is a historical building built in 1930 and was the summer abode of Yu You Ren, a calligraphy master. 

I didn't see any crowd elsewhere in Beitou except at this place. 

Why? Because it is the Beitou Garden Outdoor Hot Spring (北投公园露天温泉)! Boasting six hot spring pools, the wearing of swimwear is required and the admission ticket is only NT$40 per person!

A glimpse of the interior. As it was almost 1.30pm, the question to ask now is why was it empty? Those people crowding at the entrance must be waiting for it to open! The answer is that for cleanliness reasons, operators would usually restrict the access for 30 minutes every few hours! 

When you are in a place said to be a concentrated area for hot springs, it's normal to feel that every stream of water would be "hot spring" quality. Not really true by the way.

Apparently, many visitors felt that same way and the situation should be bad enough for the local authority to install the above sign informing the public that it is a drain and absolutely not suitable for you to soak your feet in! 

The hot spring museum which we walked past after our breakfast. 

I was intending to pay it a short visit but Alex was pissed off with the lady who barked loudly at us to remove our shoes and socks before entering. Honestly, i didn't think too much about it since she was just doing her job and i didn't find her tone that offensive.

Nonetheless, we concluded our Beitou trip by having lunch at KFC! Guess Alex was hungry; as the saying goes, a hungry man is an angry man.

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Location
Straight out from Xinbeitou MRT Station.

Map
As above. I counted over twenty spas and resorts where you can soak in natural hot spring! If you wish to have a clearer view, click the picture and save it to your desktop.


For an overview of my 9 Days, 8 Nights Taiwan Trip [Cingjing (清境) - Sun Moon Lake (日月潭) - Taichung (臺中) - Taipei (臺 北)], click HERE.

3 comments:

  1. Hey Cavin, I'm wondering if you would know of any accommodation with private hot spring for couple? Looking for budget below NT5000

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hallo! I am afraid i am not really into hot spring and would not be able to make any sound suggestion. The one i went to was just a bath tub with spring water; not exactly the definition of private hot spring for me...

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