Taiwanese Hot Spring Culture Experience on A Budget (Beitou) 2016-11-08
Writer: Mauricio Monzón

Whether you are a tourist or an expat here, a relaxing afternoon at Beitou's hot springs is always a good plan, especially for those cold rainy winter days when you feel like you have lost all your hopes in humanity.

Although Beitou is pretty up north from central districts of Taipei City, it is still very easy to reach by public transportation and it doesn't take more than thirty minutes to get there by MRT from Taipei Main Station, making it the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of Taipei's busy lifestyle.
 

During the Japanese colonial era (1895-1945), this area was settled as a hot springs resort area. Back in the day, Beitou was one of the well-known red light districts where men would go to bathe in the hot springs and enjoy exquisite Taiwanese-Japanese cuisine while being delighted by gorgeous young female performers.
 

Those days are gone, and nowadays it is one of Taipei's major tourist spots with several well-preserved antique building dating back over 100 years, restaurants, luxurious hotels, exuberant nature and, of course, a wide range of hot springs related activities.
 


 
How to get there? It is pretty simple, take MRT Danshui Line(捷運淡水線) to Beitou Station(北投站), walk down the stairs and back up to get to the platform, then transfer MRT to Xinbeitou Station(新北投捷運站). Once you get to XinBeitou, it is pretty easy to go to all the touristic attractions and bathing places, there is only one exit and you will find all the signs indicating where to go right out of the station. Most of the places you would want to go are along two roads, both of them surrounding the beautiful park located in front of the station, the one to the left-hand side (ZhongShan Rd.) takes you to Beitou Hot Spring Museum, Beitou Thermal Valley, Millennium Hot Spring bathhouse. The one to the right-hand side (GuangMing Rd.) will lead you to plentiful hotel options offering public pool areas and private rooms with hot spring water Jacuzzis (ideal to go with your significant other), and the two options we recommend for first timers; Long Nai Tang and Bai-Le-Hui.
 

 



After visiting the museum, if you are eager to have a first-hand experience of the Taiwanese hot spring bathing culture on a budget, besides this establishment you will find the Millennium Hot Spring bathhouse, also known as Beitou Garden Spa. For the modest sum of NT$40 (NT $20 with a Taiwanese Student ID), you will enjoy its many hot spring pools with different temperatures (depending on what you are looking for, or if you are with friends, how long you can resist) of this government run public hot spring area. May I remind you that pools are mixed, therefore it is required to wear bathing suits. Another thing to take into consideration is its opening hours, to keep the place clean, it closes for a little while every two hours. Here's the schedule.
 
 
Beitou Garden Spa Scheule
5:30 -7:30 AM
8:00 -10:00 AM
10:30 AM - 1:00 PM
1:30 - 4:00 PM
4:30 - 7:00 PM
7:30 - 10:00 PM
 
 

Long Nai Tang (瀧乃湯) is the cheapest option if you are looking for Japanese Style (Nude Bathing) Hot Spring pools and it is also one of the most traditional places, since it has been open since 1896; for just NT$100 you will have the experience if you don't mind to bathe fully naked in a sketchy looking place, they do allow you to take a look at the pool area before getting in and pay the fee, if you are an adventurous traveler, you must give it a shot.
 
 

Further up the road, you will come across with Bai-Le-Hui (百樂匯), a nice looking hotel with public pools, steam rooms; its nice installations will please our picky readers for the reasonable amount of NT$ 350. Not matter the option you go for, do not forget to take your own towel with you.
On your way to Beitou Museum, if you are not down for a full body bathe experience, but still want to relax for a few minutes, my recommendation will be BeitouQuanyuan Park Foot Bath Area  台北市泉源公園溫泉泡腳池園區. Even though it is a bit out of the way, it is completely worth to take a walk in this beautiful peaceful park. The main attraction is its free public foot bath, equipped with hand-operated cold water pumps to wash off your feet and a shoe change area. Since the place is mainly frequented by local residents, it will be a very traditional experience and a great opportunity to practice Chinese and have a nice chitchat about your country and the reasons why you are in Taiwan *giggle*.