Beitou in northern Taipei City is an area famous for its public hot springs and its hot spring hotels. One of the largest concentrations of hot springs and spas in the world, Beitou is the perfect spot for a relaxing afternoon or weekend away for families, couples and solo travelers alike. However, there’s more to the district than hot water and pampering yourself. Here are five things to do in Beitou that aren’t just the hot springs (we’re definitely still going to mention the hot springs, though). (Read more: Hot Springs, Spas and Spa Hotels Around Taiwan)
Relax in a Hot Spring
We told you we were going to mention the hot springs… Public or private, no visit to Beitou is complete without a relaxing dip in some hot water. Whether it’s soaking your feet in the streams in Beitou Park, a visit to a public bathhouse such as Longnaitang (瀧乃湯), or your own private bath at a hotel – we enjoyed the Royal Seasons Hotel Beitou – the hot springs are the pride and joy of Beitou and you’d be crazy to go there without taking a soak. (Read more: The Hot Springs of Beitou – A Place of Warmth, History, and Mist-ery)
At the foot of Yangmingshan National Park, Beitou’s Thermal Valley, sometimes referred to by locals as Hell Valley, is one of the sources of sulfuric hot spring water in the Beitou area. Basically a lake of hot spring water, on some days, steam fills the air as the waters bubble at close to 100 degrees Celsius. So, obviously, you can’t get in for a dip.
Beitou Hot Spring Museum
Beitou Hot Spring Museum (北投溫泉博物館) is exactly what you’d think it is: a museum about the history of the hot springs in the Beitou area. Constructed during Japanese rule in 1913, it was originally a public bathhouse, before several transformations and incarnations over the years, including being a police station and a KMT headquarters, before opening officially as a museum in 1998. (You might also like: Cool dip: a quick guide to cold springs in Taiwan)
Go and eat in Xinbeitou
Not far from Xinbeitou Station (one stop on the designated train from Beitou’s MRT station) are a couple of great eateries you need to check out. One is FUN’S Vietnam Bistro a small spot on Datong Street that dishes out authentic Vietnamese fare, including pho, curries and bánh mì. However, the star of the show for us was the Vietnamese iced coffee – so good! Next is perhaps the area’s most famous restaurant, a ramen store called Man-Lai (满来温泉拉麵), a stone’s throw away from the Beitou Hot Springs Resort hotel. Expect different varieties of ramen, as well as some traditional sake.
Six hectares of land along the Beitou River, Beitou Park is home to five small waterfalls and hot springs, as well as Beitou Hot Spring Museum and Beitou’s branch of Taipei Public Library. It’s the perfect spot to stretch your legs and walk off your ramen or Vietnamese lunch before taking a relaxing hot spring bath. (Read also: Four Taipei Hot Spring Getaways)