Taipei/Beitou

The roiling hot waters of Geothermal Valley

Beitou 北投區 (Peitou in Wade-Giles) is a northern district of Taipei famous for its hot springs.

Understand

Beitou has two faces. Old Beitou is the area where the local people have lived and worked for over a century and is located around Beitou MRT Station and Beitou Market, while Xin Beitou (New Beitou) is the area around Xin Beitou MRT Station and Qinshui Park that was developed as a hot spring resort during the Japanese era (1895-1945). In addition to the waters, Xin Beitou's other attraction was the girls, and the area had the dubious distinction of being one of Taiwan's largest illegal red light districts.

During the 60s, many characterless concrete hotels were built around the park area, and these structures remained the dominant feature of Beitou's landscape for over twenty years.

The late 80's and 90s, however, ushered in a new era. The government made a concerted effort to clean up the area, and the MRT line reached Beitou. As a result, the concrete hotels were either demolished and rebuilt or totally refurbished as luxury spas. In addition, many new apartments were constructed to accommodate young professionals with families who were drawn to the Beitou area because of its good environment and convenient transportation links to downtown Taipei.

Like a phoenix rising from the steam of the scalding waters, the Beitou of today is characterized by its high quality spas, good hotels, excellent living accommodation and green and lush environment.

Due to the smell of sulphur and the constant rising of steam, the Beitou valley had the appearance of a witch's cauldron, and so the Aboriginal inhabitants of the area named it paktaaw, meaning 'witch'. Beitou is the Sinicized form of this name.

Get in

MRT: The MRT red (Xindian-Danshui/Nanshijiao-Beitou) lines both stop at Beitou MRT station. From Beitou station a one-station branch line runs to Xin Beitou station, which is near the hot springs area.

See

Beitou Hot Springs Museum

Museums

Parks

Puji Temple

Temples

Do

Hot springs

Traditional public hot spring etiquette requires that bathers thoroughly wash and rinse off their bodies before entering the bath, do not wear clothing (including swim wear) in the bath and tie up their hair so that it does not touch the water. Finally, people with high blood pressure, heart disease or open wounds should not enter the baths.

Most of the public outdoor hot springs In the Beitou area are modeled more after European spa centers and require swimsuits since you will be bathing in mixed company. Finding a real traditional Japanese style public bath is increasingly rare. Take a peek and check before peeling off all your clothes.

Places to bathe

There are many hotels and traditional baths located around Qinshui Park (previously called Xin Beitou Park). This park is located directly across from Xin Beitou MRT station (Danshui line). Xingyi Road, the main road from Tianmu to Yangming Mountains in Beitou, also has many hot-springs-cum-restaurants, plus a couple of free public baths (at the top end where the bus turns back). For Xingyi Road, take bus 508 from Wenlin Road, Shilin (from Shilin MRT station exit 1, follow the overhead tracks and turn left at Zhongzheng Road and right at next crossroads [with pedestrian overpass], the 508 stop is on the right). On its way to Xingyi Road, the bus makes a stop opposite the Veterans Hospital in Shipai. Note: The spring water in Beitou is acidic, so don't wear anything that could be damaged by acid, such as pearls.

Learn

Buy

Eat

Sleep

Mid range

Splurge

Connect

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Thursday, February 18, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.