Taiwan, being situated near a tectonic zone, has many hot springs such as the famous Beitou Hot Springs in the Beitou District of Taipei. These hot springs comprise the Geothermal Valley (also called Hell Valley), Phoenix or Fenghuang Hot Spring, Hushan Village Hot Spring, Longfeng Hot Spring, and Xingyi Road Hot Spring. The pH of these waters ranges from 2.5 to 6.5, and the temperature ranges from 37 to 40 degrees Celsius. Because there are a lot of hot springs concentrated in Beitou, there are more hot springs hotels and spas in this area compared to other parts of Taiwan.
The waters at Beitou Hot Springs have varying shades depending on their components. The white sulfur springs or copperas are known to help relieve arthritis and treat some skin and gynecologic diseases. The springs found in Hushan Village and Xingyi Road are white sulfur springs. The green sulfur springs or sulfate springs provide relief for muscle aches and gout and are good for treating a number of skin diseases. The springs found in Hell Valley area are green sulfur springs. The iron sulfur or carbonate springs, which have a light red to brownish hue, are effective in relieving rheumatism and nerve aches. They are also known to treat skin diseases. Some springs in Hushan Village and those in Fenghuang and Longfeng are iron sulfur springs.
The first commercial spa in Beitou was established by a German businessman who discovered in 1893 that the place had an abundance of hot springs. However, it was the Japanese, to whom the Qing Dynasty surrendered Taiwan in 1895, who developed the area and set up many spas in the region. The Japanese are known to have a fondness for soaking in hot springs. This is probably the reason why Beitou’s first Japanese spa was put up just a year after the start of the Japanese rule. To this day, the place has a lot of Japanese-style spas, giving Beitou its own characteristic look and feel.
What many people love about Beitou Hot Springs is that it is surrounded by thick vegetation, giving it a more relaxed and calmer atmosphere compared to hot springs in other parts of Taipei. Aside from the natural beauty that surrounds the area, another attraction that draws tourists to the place is the Beitou Hot Springs Museum. It is an old public bathhouse built by the Japanese in 1913.
The first floor of the museum displays the public bath and relevant information about hot springs. The second floor displays exhibits showing the history of Beitou, old Beitou films that were taken in the 1950s and 1960s, and a documentary chronicling the beginnings of the Beitou Hot Springs Museum. Entrance to the museum is free.
The Beitou Hot Springs are very accessible. You can take the MRT and alight at Xinbeitou station. From there, it is just a short 15 to 20 minute walk to the spas and hotels. You may book an overnight stay in the hotels or you can just take a day trip to the springs. There are many private spa rooms for rent, but if you’re up for a different experience, you can try the public bath near the museum.