I decided to extend my stay in Taiwan to explore Taipei together with my friend. And the first destination we visited was Beitou. Beitou is famous for hot springs and is only half an hour away from Taipei by train. It is the perfect destination to spend you day, especially if you intend to soak yourself in the hot spring.
We could feel the hot spring calling even in the train! The train is specially designed to suit the hot spring theme. Look how adorable the bathtub table is!
Once we reached Xin Beitou train station, we went straight to our accommodation – Long Stay Taipei, which is only 5 mins away by foot. The hostel was very cosy, new and clean. The degree of comfort was way above my expectation!
The hostel keeper Ben was very friendly and helpful too. I had such a great time talking to him! Come and check out their website if you are keen to stay: http://longstaytaipei.com/
After getting all the necessary information from Ben, we set off to the first attraction — Geothermal Valley (地熱谷), which is also called Hell Valley. It is a natural sulfur hot spring where water temperatures can reach 100°C (212°F) all year round. The water appears crystal blue due to the presence of sulfur. It looks so pretty and mysterious!
But one thing to note, the whole place is filled with a pungent smell – tons of hard-boiled eggs! XD But the view and experience is definitely worth it!
After admiring the nature’s creation, we went to the Beitou Hot Spring Museum (北投溫泉博物館). The Beitou Hot Spring Museum was originally constructed by the Japanese in 1913 and was the largest hot springs public bath in East Asia at the time.
In order to keep the place keen and neat, we were asked to remove our shoes and change into slippers. At the main hall, there was a big tatami area where people could rest. The tatami is really comfortable! It made me feel like I could sit or lie there for a whole day!
The original bath area lies in basement. This historic building magnificently combines Roman style arches and columns with Japanese interior design. Every arch follows the same symmetrical ratio to bring out the beauty of order and symmetry.
We couldn’t wait to experience the hot spring by ourselves! So we set off to one of the most famous and most affordable hot springs in the area — Millenium Hot Spring（千禧湯）. Millenium Hot Spring is an outdoor hot spring where people need to enter with swimming wear. It is perfect for people who are not comfortable with going naked in front of people which most hot springs venues require unless you don’t mind paying extra for private bath.
As it only costs 40 TWD per person, the hot spring is constantly crowded. In the hot spring, you will see a lot of local elderly who spend a lot of time chatting with each other while enjoying the hot spring. It’s a bonus if you know how to speak mandarin as they are very friendly. I had such a great time and body felt really light after the bath!
Our stomachs started growling so badly after the bath, so we decided to try out this Japanese looking Ramen store, which was only a few minutes away by foot. The store was very well decorated to bring out the Japanese aura.
Both of us ordered Fried Pork Rib Ramen with Hot Spring Eggs. To be honest, the noodle wasn’t fantastic judging by the price we were paying, but the Hot Spring Egg is a must try if you ever visit the store!
Right beside the store, there was a small souvenir store where you could buy local delights such as Hot Spring Eggs and Mochi, a type of Japanese dessert. The lady gave us some samples to try and the Hot Spring Eggs tasted surprising good, so both of us got a few packets as souvenirs. That’s our first stay in Beitou. Stay tuned for more!