7 things to do at Taipei's Beitou Hot Springs, Xinbeitou, Taiwan
Beitou is a mountainous region at the northern part of Taipei City, Taiwan. It is renowned for its open-air hot springs. During the Japanese occupation in the past, the area around the natural hot springs were very popular amongst Japanese and it was developed into a resort destination that has several luxurious resorts, hotels, tea houses, parks, as well as public baths. A train line and train station was even built so that visitors from various regions can have access to the beautiful area surrounding the natural hot springs.
What is the difference between Beitou and Xinbeitou?
Both regions are famed for their hot springs. For first time visitors, it is recommended to visit Xinbeitou as many of the attractions such as the Plum Garden, Hell Valley, and the public hot springs can be found there. It is a great day trip from Taipei City and can even be combined with your visit to Tamsui.
In comparison, Beitou is the higher-end and quieter district if you wish to escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. That being said, our visit to Xinbeitou was also relatively peaceful. We didn't see huge crowds at the Hot Springs. Perhaps it was because it was Summer, and we also felt that it was too warm for a soak. Nonetheless, since we don't get authentic hot springs in Singapore, it was still very worth the visit!
How to get to Xinbeitou?
To get to xinbeitou, you can take the Beitou-Xiangshan line towards Tamsui to Beitou Station. At Beitou Station, change trains to get to Xinbeitou. It won't be difficult to miss as the train platform is decoratedly beautifully with interesting characters; almost like the Disney trains that you take to disneyland!
Indeed, they have really transformed xinbeitou to a resort destination! Just look at the trains!
What to do at Xinbeitou?
1. Taipei Public Library Beitou Branch
This is one of the most amazing library that we have seen! Set in lush greenery in Beitou park, the library is a two-storey eco-friendly green building. The library has large windows that makes it so serene to study or read some books there. The library is open to visitors but you'll have to be really really quiet so as not to disturb the students and residents who are studying there. Most of the interior were made of wood and you literally have to tiptoe everywhere to avoid disturbances.
Taipei Public Library Beitou Branch
No. 251, Guangming Road, Beitou District, Taipei City, Taiwan 112
2. Beitou Park
This park is huge and houses most of the Xinbeitou attractions. You will find the library and the museum in this park. This park is also the centre of Xinbeitou and all hotels and resorts lie surrounding this park. In the park, you'll also see sulphuric streams. If you would wish to soak your feet without having to pay, you can remove your shoes and soak your feet right here!
Guangming Road, Beitou District, Taipei City, Taiwan 112
3. Beitou Museum
The Beitou Museum is also found in Beitou park and was originally built as one of the best hot spring hotels during the Japanese occupation. During World War II, the Japanese Kamikaze Squadron Pilots stayed in the hotel and the tatami room on the 2nd floor was where they would have their final meal before the last flight of their lives. It is also the only two-storey wooden Japanese style building left in Taiwan and is designated as a historic site by the Taiwanese government.
There is an admission fee of NT$140 per adult, and you'll have to remove your shoes and change into the given slippers to ensure that the timber flooring is kept clean.
Here, you can take a look at the public baths as well as the private baths in the rooms. The furnishing is very old, but very well preserved. If you would like, you can also enjoy an authentic Kaiseki meal at the museum or enjoy some tea at the tea room. Overall, it was an interesting experience and we would definitely recommend a visit!
4. Beitou Public Bath
For those who wish to experience the hot springs like a local, we recommend heading to the Beitou Public Bath. Each hot spring bath has different rules regarding the separation of the two genders and whether or not bathers are allowed to wear any form of clothing, and regulations regarding food and beverages. To enjoy the hot springs here, you'll need to bring your own bathing suits. If you have not brought it along, you can still purchase them at the entrance. The Beitou Public Bath is shared by both genders and hence no nude soaking is allowed.
Entrance to this public bath is also very affordable and costs about NT$40 per adult and NT$20 for senior citizens and children. Unlike the private baths, you will get to enjoy 5 different outdoor baths! Because it is situated within Beitou park, you'll enjoy the lush greenery while soaking your tired bodies.
Beitou Public Bath
No. 1-8, Zhongshan Road, Beitou District, Taipei City, Taiwan 112
5. Plum Garden Beitou
Plum Garden was the summer getaway building for the famous calligrapher, Yu You-ren. Admission to the gardens is free and you can take a look at the Japanese inspired construction of the building.
Plum Garden Beitou
No. 6, Zhongshan Road, Beitou District, Taipei City, Taiwan 112
6. Thermal Valley / Hell Valley
Walk further in and you'll reach the Thermal Valley. Hold your noses as the sulphuric smell could be too overbearing for some. Here, observe the sulphur fumes bubbling up the pool of water, it is an interesting sight! There's also a small souvenir store nearby for you to shop for gifts!
Wenquan Road, Beitou District, Taipei City, Taiwan 112
7. Soak in a hot spring resort of your choice
If you prefer to soak in private, head to one of the resorts and ask for a private room. This was at Broadway Hotspring Hotel. They will have 2-hour (and up) slots for you to soak in the hot springs. Some people also stay overnight at Xinbeitou so that they can fully enjoy the hot spring bath. Unless you absolutely love to relax and soak in the hot springs all day, we do think that a day trip or a half-day trip is more than enough to enjoy this region.
Some of the other hot spring resorts that we initially shortlisted were:
The rates are not that cheap, but it is still an experience that you should try! Showering facilities are available after your soak, allowing you to enjoy the 2 hours to the fullest. One of the cheaper private hot spring experience you could try is the Spring City Resort Hot Spring Spa. There is a shuttle available from Xinbeitou station and an hour of private spa experience only costs you $22.30 SGD per pax if you purchase it online.
Xinbeitou is an quaint little town, specially for those who wish to enjoy a hot spring experience. You can head up here as a day trip, or stay over for a night to truly experience the magical effects of the sulphuric hot spring. It was indeed very relaxing for city-dwellers like many of us!