14 December 2018
We planned to start our day for a half day trip to Beitou (北投) in Taipei. Surrounded by mountain ranges and beautiful natural landscape, Beitou is famous for its hot springs and a paradise for joyous living with steaming hot baths.
There are 4 things you must do at Beitou - Scenic Viewing, Enjoy the Good Food, Visit Historic Sites and go on a Hot Spring.
Traveling to Beitou is an ease as it is connected via the city's metro line. Take the MRT Red (Tamsui-Xiangshan) line towards Tamsui and alight at Beitou MRT station (R22). From Beitou station, transfer the pink line to Xinbeitou Station (R22a) which is only one station away where the hot springs area lies.
From Xinbeitou Station, we took a 5 minutes walk towards Beitou Fuxing Park (复兴公园) primarily to see if we can get a spot in the hot spring footbath (复兴公园泡脚池) which is a popular spot among the locals.
Though it was a Friday morning, the foot bath area is packed! There is not even an empty space for us to squeeze in. We decided to give it a miss and head for our breakfast.
If you are planning to dine at Beitou, then you may want to give Manlai Hot Spring Ramen (北投满来拉面) a try which is diagonally across Xinbeitou MRT Station, near Beitou Park. We were lucky that we were the next in line to enter as it was full house when we arrived.
The restaurant is not very big and hence there are limited seating. Its interior decoration resembles the traditional Japanese Raman shop and menu with pricing can be visibly seen on one side of the wall. Noticed the basket underneath the tables? It is for guests to place their bags within.
Since we are in Beitou, trying out their hot spring egg is a must!
Fried tofu is delicious! Crispy on the ouside and tender on the inside.
Cold tofu is also equally as good and it is probably my personal favourite.
We ordered 2 ramen to share and it was pretty nice - flavourful soup and chewy noodle.
Price of Ramen is about NT150 - NT220 (~SGD7 to SGD10). Side dishes are about SGD2, Generally it is a decent ramen shop near the MRT station for an affordable family meal.
We continued our walk after a hearty lunch. If you have time, do drop by another interesting landmark - Taipei Public Library (Beitou Branch) 臺北市立圖書館北投分館. Located within Beitou Hot Spring Park (between the museum and public pools), the library is an award-winning green building - the first in Taiwan to receive the certification. Magnificent wood structures with French windows, it has solar panels on the roof to generate electricity in the building. Rainwater is collected by the sloping roof's drainage system to water the plants and flush the toilets. Just looking at its exterior is captivating.
Further ahead of the library is Beitou Hot Spring Museum where visitors can learn more about the history. We decided to continue our walk ahead.
There are many hot springs in Beitou and you can choose to go for private or public baths. Millennium Hot Spring (千禧汤) is an open-air green sulphuric spring with six pools (4 hot and 2 cold) that is open to public for an entrance fee. Visitors need to wear swmsuit to enter. This is the best value for money hot spring bath in Beitou and many elderly like to go for a hot spring bath here.
If you prefer more privacy and a comfortable personal space for your hot spring bath experience, there are many hot spring hotels in the area offering competitive pricing.
It is about 10 minutes leisure walk to the Thermal Valley (地热谷). Another few meters ahead and we are at the entrance.
Beitou Thermal Valley (地热谷) also known as Hell Valley is 3,500 square meters, a depression form before the volcano eruption. The hot spring here may reach over 90°C in some areas. The hot spring comes from deep inside the volcano and it is acidified with volcanic gas. The hot spring water rises to the earth surface and mixes with the surface water to form hot spring. It is called green sulfur as the water is light green, like jade. It is said the green sulfur spring has healing and rehabilitation effects.
I guess the best time to visit is during the winter season as it is really hot standing by the hot lake! Can imagine how it feels if we were to visit during summer! There is also a pungent smell but we were mesmerized by the emerald green waters and the sulphuric steam rising above in various patterns.
As pretty as it may looks, do note that the temperature in the lake is about 90°C which is almost at boiling point! In the past, locals will bring their eggs to the valley to make hot spring eggs, but due to safety concerns, this has been prohibited and the area has been fenced up. Hence, keep safe and admire at a safe distance.
Since we did not get to go for hot spring, we thought we should at least try to go for a hot spring foot bath in Beitou. Hence, we decided to be a bit more adventurous and look for another foot bath location - 泉源公园温泉泡脚池园区 which is about 30 minutes walk away from Thermal Valley. This is at a more remote site and I am hoping we will get a spot.
We tried to follow the Google Map but the road does not seem as direct as it looks. Along the way, we got to admire the streets of Beitou, interesting plants with a mountainous backdrop in view.
After 40 minutes walk, we finally reached Quanyuan Park Foot Bath (泉源公园温泉泡脚池园区)!
Thankfully, it was not as crowded and there are still ample seating around for us to soak our tired feet! Entry is FREE!
First, we must clean our feet! I love the old style water pump to jet out the water. So fun!
Finding our spot among the locals. I think we are the only weird tourists among the group. Denver & Gladys are also the youngest participants too!
Temperature is the hottest near the source. Initially we picked a spot furthest away, letting the kids got used to the heat before moving to the hotter spot in the center. After a long walk, it is indeed relaxing to let our feet rejuvenate.
I think this is a better spot than Fuxing Park as it is not over crowded and the waters look clean too.
Man Lai Hot Spring Ramen (北投满来拉面)
No. 1-8, Zhongshan Road, Beitou District, Taipei City, Taiwan 112
Beitou Thermal Valley (地热谷)
Address: No. 30-1, Zhongshan Rd, Beitou District, Taipei City, Taiwan 112
Address: No. 155, Zhuhai Road, Beitou District, Taipei City, Taiwan 112
Check out our 2 Weeks Taiwan Itinerary Family Trip here