Last Updated on June 29, 2020 by queenie mak
Beitou (北投) is a popular day trip destination in Taipei, Taiwan. And why is it so popular? The area is full of hot springs!
And there are many ways to experience the hot spring culture. Between seeing hot springs in nature, to soaking your tired feet in the hot spring foot bath and to be fully immersed in one of the hot springs in Beitou, you will find something you want to do in Beitou.
In this guide, I will show you all the options for enjoy hot springs in Beitou including hot spring etiquette and the general rules for using a hot spring.
Beitou day trip: What to Bring
For a fun day trip (or overnight trip) to Beitou, make sure you bring the following items:
- conservative bathing suit if you want to use one of the public outdoor mixed-gender hot spring
- towel as most public springs and foot baths do not provide towel
- soap and shampoo if you use the public hot spring
- comfortable footwear since exploring Beitou is best done on foot (plus if you want to visit Sulphur Valley Recreation Area, it’s a bit of a walk)
- hat or visor (something to shield you from the sun)
- water for your hike to Sulphur Valley Recreation Area and after your hot spring bath
- overnight bag if you decide to stay at one of the hot spring hotels
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How to get to Beitou
Beitou is part of the Beitou District (北投區) where it is the northernmost district of Taipei City in Taiwan. The easiest way to get to Beitou is by taking the Taipei Metro (MRT).
Even though there is a Beitou MRT Station on the Tamsui-Xinyi Line (red line), don’t get off there. Transfer at Beitou Station and hop on another subway on Xinbeitou Line and take 1 stop to Xinbeitou MRT Station.
From Taipei to Beitou
- MRT: Taipei Main Station to Xinbeitou MRT Station
- Time: 30 minutes
- Cost: NT$50
Want to learn more about Taiwan? Check out all my Taiwan travel tips!
How to get around Beitou
Once you arrive at Xinbeitou MRT Station, there are many signages to help you navigate around Beitou. The signposts have the sites in both English and Chinese and also included approximate distances.
It is really easy to get around Beitou and you can walk to all of the destinations mentioned in this post.
Hot Spring Etiquette
There are very specific rules or etiquette when it comes to using a hot spring. And the same rules are applicable for hot springs throughout Taiwan and Japan.
But first, here is a quick summary of how to use a hot spring:
- Wash – sit at on a low stool in the shower and wash your hair and body
- Rinse – use the bucket or showerhead to rinse off
- Bathe – enjoy your hot spring experience
- Shower – take another shower before getting dressed
- Drink – drink water afterwards to replenish the water back into your body
Since many people uses the hot spring, it is important that you follow these rules to keep yourself clean and also the pools clean.
And by now you must be thinking, am I going to be naked in the hot spring with other people? The answer is yes.
Public hot springs are divided into men and women areas. Unless the hot spring specified, you always go into the hot spring without your clothes.
It might feel weird walking around naked or being in the pool naked with strangers and you might feel you need to cover yourself. But honestly, nobody really cares and everyone does the same thing. Don’t let this small detail deter you from experiencing something wonderful.
General rules for using Hot Springs
There is a long list of rules just at the entrance of Millenium Hot Spring. But in general, most hot spring facilities follow these guidelines:
- Always take a shower before going into the water
- The recommended duration in hot spring is 15 minutes at a time. You can go back into hot spring water but 3 times is the maximum
- Do not use hot spring if you have heart problems, high blood pressure, or have an infectious disease
- For women, do not use hot spring during the menstrual period or while pregnant
- Don’t eat too much or consume any alcohol before using hot spring
- Respect other people’s privacy. Photography is not allowed.
There may be other rules as each hot spring is different. But generally speaking, if you follow these guidelines, you will be okay.
Things to do in Beitou, Taiwan
Wondering what to do in Beitou? Of course your adventure in Beitou includes hot springs!
But did you know you can experience Beitou hot springs in many ways? Besides the obvious hot spring experiences where you can soak your feet in the foot spa and have a traditional hot spring experience, you can eat food that is made with hot spring water, and see geothermal hot spring activities in nature.
I put together a map to show you all the places you can visit while exploring Beitou. Follow the numbers on the map and the corresponding descriptions.
1. Learn about hot spring culture and etiquette at Beitou Hot Spring Museum
The hot spring culture is definitely an interesting one. Learn about the history of Beitou, hot spring culture and etiquette at Beitou Hot Spring Museum.
The museum used to be a public hot spring but was abandoned after World War II. As the area became popular, the historic Japanese building was converted to a museum where the two-storey building displays comprehensive information about Beitou and everything that has to do with hot springs.
After all, hot spring culture is very popular especially when it comes to healing and therapy. From increased blood circulation to reducing stress and promoting better sleep, there are so many benefits from using hot springs!
How to get to Beitou Hot Spring Museum
The Hot Spring Museum is located on the east end of Beitou Park, which is only about 5 minutes from Xinbeitou MRT Station.
2. See sulphuric hot spring at Beitou Thermal Valley (地熱谷)
The Thermal Valley, or known as “Hell Valley” is one of the top attractions in Beitou.
The hot spring water at the Thermal Valley is the primary source of hot spring water for the area. And it is here you will find “Beitou Rocks” also known as Hokutolite or Anglesobarite which is rare rocks that contain radioactive radium.
But this is not the type of hot spring that you can dip in. The water is between 80 to 100°C! It will burn your skin if you touch it! You can only walk along the path and see the deep emerald green hot spring water and sulphuric steam hovering over the water. The entire scene is quite eerie but cool. Just take a look at the main photo of this post!
How to get to Thermal Valley
From Xinbeitou MRT Station, Beitou Thermal Valley is only a 10 minutes away. It is absolutely free to visit the Thermal Valley.
3. Hike the trails at Sulphur Valley Recreation Area (硫磺谷遊憩區)
The Sulphur Valley Recreation Area is just east of the city centre. The area has a hiking trail where you can see different areas of the recreation area including a few sulphur pools.
The current landscape is a result of sulphur mining which started around 1349. But mining activities have been stopped to minimize environmental impact. Today, you can see sulphur pools and hydrothermal activities.
If you walk further, you can see Xinyi Falls (情人瀑布) and Yangmingshan National Park (陽明山國家公園).
The Longfenggu Visitor Centre is on the east end of the park if you want to learn more about the recreation area.
How to get to Sulphur Valley Recreation Area
From Xinbeitou MRT Station, the walk to the hiking trails takes about 30 minutes. Part of the journey is on a big road so please be careful as you walk on the side of the road.
4. Soak your feet at a free foot bath in Beitou Quan Yuan No. 48 Park (泉源公園溫泉泡腳池園區)
Hours of operation: 8 am – 6 pm (everyday except Monday)
If you have been exploring Beitou on foot, then your feet must be tired. There are a few foot baths in Beitou where you can soak your feet for free.
The foot bath at Beitou Quan Yuan No.48 Park is long and narrow. But it is wide enough for people sitting across from each other. And the long foot bath is very popular with locals.
Remember to rinse your feet before soaking your feet in the hot spring pool.
How to get to Beitou Quan Yuan No.48 Park
The free foot bath is a 15-minute walk from Xinbeitou MRT Station. And you have to walk uphill a bit before reaching the quiet park.
5. Soak your feet for free at Fuxing Hot Foot Spa
Hours of operation: 8 am – 6 pm (everyday except Monday)
Fuxing Hot Foot Spa is a free foot spa is at the south end of the park. You won’t miss it because the hot spring foot bath always draws a crowd. Locals love coming here!
Similar to the other free foot bath, make sure you wash your feet before you enjoy the foot spa. You can leave your shoes in the open cubbies.
How to get to Fuxing Hot Foot Spa
The free hot spring foot spa is just a minute away from Xinbeitou MRT Station. When you exit the station, walk north until you reach the park.
6. Enjoy an outdoor public bath at Beitou public hot spring, Millenium Hot spring
Hours of operation: 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
Cost: NT$40 (cash, EasyCard or iPass)
Millenium Hot Spring is a public outdoor hot spring and it is one of the original public hot spring in Beitou. It is a very affordable and popular with the locals.
Typically, women and men use separate hot spring facilities. But at Millenium Hot Spring, it is a mixed-gender hot spring.
And since men and women both use the outdoor hot spring together, it means you have to wear a swimsuit. And at Millenium, they are really strict about wearing a conservative one-piece bathing suit. So leave your skimpy bikinis at home because you cannot wear them here.
If you want to try one of the original hot spring in Beitou and have the ability to look at the starry sky while soaking in a hot spring, then you visit Millenium Hot Spring.
How to get to Millennium Hot Spring
Millenium Hot Spring is just east of Beitou Park, on Zhongshan Road. Look for an entrance with a kiosk.
7. Soak in a public hot spring at Long Nai Tang Hot Spring (瀧乃湯浴室)
Hours of operation: 6:30 am – 9:00 pm (closed Wednesday)
Since opening its doors in 1907, Long Nai Tang or “Long Nice” Hot Springs is Taiwan’s oldest hot spring and a favourite for locals. It is a “traditional hot spring” (aka you go in naked).
Men and women have separate areas. Each area has two pools: one pool has a temperature of 45-46°C while the cooler pool is 42-43°C.
The hot spring is set in a beautiful Japanese-inspired setting. It is a small and cozy hot spring.
But if you are not used to the “traditional” type of hot spring especially if you are in a small pool with other strangers, then you might want to try a private hot spring, which is also available at Long Nai Tang. These private hot spring is ideal for couples and families.
How to get to Long Nai Tang Hot Spring
From Xinbeitou MRT Station, walk east along the south side of Beitou Park. After about 8 minutes, you will see a tiny low profile house on the south side of the road. The signage is in Chinese so look for a house like the photo above.
8. Enjoy a luxurious hot spring at Waterhouse Hotel
Hours of operation: 7:00 am – 11:00 pm
Cost: NT$780 (weekday), NT$1,080 (weekends), or free if you are a hotel guest
For the best hot spring experience in Taiwan, try one of the hot springs at a luxury hotel in Beitou.
Waterhouse is a newly renovated hot spring hotel with Japanese inspired guest rooms. The Economy Room has a comfortable bed on a Japanese tatami mats, modern bathroom and a deep soaker tub where you can have your own private onsen hot spring experience.
And as a hotel guest, you can use the hotel’s spa facilities for free.
Even if you are not staying at the hotel, you can pay a fee (see above) and use the hotel’s hot spring. And you should give it a try because the spa area is newly renovated and everything looks new and clean.
Before you go to the hot spring, get a locker key bracelet from the reception. You will need the locker key to open the door to the spa and also to open your locker.
Men and women have separate hot spring areas.
The women’s public hot spring area includes a nook for lockers and an area for sinks and hot spring style showers (i.e. low showers with a stool).
There are several hot spring pools with white sulphur hot spring water. The water is naturally hot from the geothermal activity in Beitou area.
The onsen hot spring area is private but it also has a semi-open area where you can enjoy the warm water while taking in a cool breeze.
Overall, I love public hot spring at Waterhouse Hotel because of the minimalist and modern touches of an old tradition. And also because I was the only guest that day using the public hot spring! Check prices and review on Agoda if you are considering staying overnight there.
How to get to Waterhouse Hotel
Waterhouse Hotel is a 10-minute walk from Xinbeitou MRT Station. Similar to the directions for Long Nai Tang, walk east on the south side of Beitou Park, pass Long Nai Tang and it’s another 2 minutes up the road.
Where to eat in Beitou
Besides all the usual Taiwanese restaurants you find in Taipei, there are several restaurants in Beitou that make hot spring related food.
Man-Lai Ramen Noodles (满来温泉拉麵) is a ramen restaurant serving ramen made with hot spring water. Prices are reasonable. The seafood ramen is to die for!
Mankewu Taiwanese Style Ramen (滿客屋台式拉麵) also serves ramen noodles. A perfect spot for solo travellers.
Tea Colors Cafe near Thermal Valley makes hot spring hotpot including hot spring beef pot (NT$290), hot spring pork pot (NT$280), hot spring chicken pot (NT$280) and a vegetarian option, hot spring mushroom pot (NT$280).
If you want to see Taiwan with a tour, check out some of these tour ideas:
Which hot spring experience in Beitou are you going to choose?
If you are travelling solo in Taipei, take a day off from the city and experience hot springs in Beitou.
Besides all the healing properties, soaking in a hot spring is a relaxing activity that anyone can enjoy. Which hot spring are you going to try? Let me know in the comments below!