Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Thermal Valley (地热谷) - Also Known As Hell Valley (地獄谷) / Ghost Lake (鬼湖) @ Beitou [Taipei, Taiwan]

A trip to the hot spring district in Taipei known as Beitou was said to be incomplete if you miss out this tiny little place known as Thermal Valley. That saying aside, i was in fact more attracted by its other aliases; Hell Valley and Ghost Lake!

Directions to Thermal Valley were pretty straightforward from Xinbeitou MRT station with ample directional signs to show you the way. You know you are reaching the valley when you see the above boulder. Darn, another alias?! This time, it is hot spring valley. 

Now, i don't quite understand the need for eerie sounding names for the valley as my first impression was how mystical and beautiful it was! 

The mist from the surface of the lake was a result of the temperature of the water, which hovered from 80 to 100 degrees celcius; definitely not the type of hot spring you can jump right into. 

A man actually did that (correction: it was said he accidentally fell in) and was literally boiled to death. It must have been a terrifying sight for the bystanders but his death wasn't in vain; his death compelled the local authority to erect fences around the lake and prevent anyone from stepping into the lake. 

It did create some inconveniences to nearby residents who had until then enjoyed boiling eggs using the natural, high-temperature hot spring water.

Known as green sulfur spring (one of only two in the world), the water is highly acidic with a pH level of between 1.2 and 1.6! Even though I was totally expecting an obnoxious smell when i stepped in, my years of loving stinky tofu must have marred my scent; it was honestly not THAT bad.

Having said that, Alex was not affected by the smell as well. Visitors to the valley also seemed to be perfectly comfortable walking around. Maybe my nose is working after all. 

As you can see, nature works in such amazing ways; in just mere seconds, the entire landscape has changed and in this case, it almost appeared as if we were on top of a mountain! 

So, this begs a question; why is the valley also known as hell valley and ghost lake? I have no bloody idea except that no living thing can ever survive in that almost boiling sulfuric water which also contains traces of Radium; a radioactive matter.

Whatever the reason, i am not too concerned, especially when it was daytime when i visited. As far as i can see, it was just too pretty a sight and the houses lining the hill surrounding the lake did give one the illusion that it could be heaven on earth. 


Beitou (Walk along Zhongshan Road).
Nearest MRT station is Xinbeitou

As above.

Admission Charge

Opening Hours
9am to 5pm. 
[Closed on Mondays]

Additional Information
There is a retail outlet where you can buy some local souvenirs, including hot-spring related items like soaps. 

The sulfuric water from the hell valley has to go somewhere right? That's when you follow the trail of water from the valley; at one point, you would be able to soak your feet in hot spring water. For free! 

An explanation on a type of rock unique only to Beitou. For your reading pleasure. A rock is a rock, unless it is diamond. 

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