Sit back, breathe a sigh of release, and relax into the steamy heated goodness that nature has to offer in Taiwan’s hot springs.
Taiwan’s location atop two of the earth’s major tectonic plates has blessed the island with mountainous terrain and an active volcano that have given rise to more than 130 natural hot springs scattered all over the island. Owing to its high concentration and variety of natural springs, Taiwan is ranked as one of the top hot spring destinations in the world. Hot springs, cold springs, mud springs, saltwater springs; springs that vary in color from milky-white, blue, and green to clear and muddy, and springs that vary in mineral content from sulfur to sodium and iron can all be found on this tiny island. Moreover, hot spring locations throughout Taiwan are acclaimed for their healing and restorative benefits, which may offer relief from a number of ailments that include arthritis, chronic dermatitis, muscle soreness, stress, and chronic fatigue.
It’s no wonder that Taiwan has such an ardent and active hot spring culture, and with such a large number of bathhouses and lavish spa resorts, Taiwan is quickly gaining an international reputation for being an ideal Asian destination for relaxing and recharging both the mind and body.
The History of Taiwan Hot Springs
Taiwan’s hot spring culture didn’t really get underway until the Japanese established colonial rule in Taiwan in 1895. Less than a year later, Taiwan’s first hot spring hotel, Tenguan, popped up just outside of Taipei in Beitou Hot Spring Valley. The hotel was not only an instant hit with Japanese soldiers, but it also blazoned the trail for dozens of other hot spring resorts that were soon to come.
The 70s and 80s saw a brief decline in the popularity of spas and resorts, but a large-scale promotional effort sponsored by the government in 1999 renewed interest in Taiwan’s hot spring culture once again. Over the past ten years, hot spring resorts and spas have been constructed all over the island, thereby becoming firmly ensconced in Taiwanese culture.
Today, no trip to Taipei is complete without visiting at least one of its two major hot spring destinations: Beitou Hot Spring Valley and Yangmingshan. Both areas, which claim roughly ten fountainheads between them, are accessible either by car or public transit and can be reached within 30 minutes.
5 Tips for Hot Springing It in Taiwan
- Room rates are cheaper in Taipei.
- Expect to pay between $5 to $20US for a soak.
- Most locations will have public pools where you can bath by the hour or by the day.
- Ask to see the facilities first.
- It’s all right to check the temperature of the water before you pay.
Rules for bathing in Taiwan’s hot springs
- Take a shower before entering the hot springs.
- Test the temperature of the water before you get in.
- Don’t bath in the hot springs 30 minutes before eating or 1 hour after eating.
- Drink plenty of water before and after soaking in the hot springs.
- Don’t soak for too long. 30 minutes is long enough.
- People with heart problems or women who are pregnant shouldn’t soak in the hot springs.
- Women who are on their menstrual period shouldn’t bath in hot springs.
- Wear a swimming cap if you see other bathers with caps on.
- If you’re in a resort that separates male and female bathers, you’re expected to soak naked.
- Don’t show a lot of physical affection in public pools.