A rejuvenating soak has long been a vital part of Taiwanese culture. Here are some of the top places to take a dip.
Guanziling Hot Springs
It’s common for people to do a second take when they see Guanziling Hot Springs for the first time. Due to its beautiful location on the side of Zhentou Mountain in south-central Taiwan, the water has a darkish-gray tint due to abundance of subterranean rock strata. This has result in an increase in mineral content that some believe has benefits like softening and glowing of the skin. The area is home to several resorts boasting healing waters, but the most popular attraction is undoubtedly the Water and Fire Cave, a true natural wonder where fire appears to dance atop a natural spring. The phenomenon results from a fissure that releases both spring water and natural gas, which, according to legend, has been continuously burning for centuries, discovered accidentally by a passing monk. Although locals say the flame has decreased in size over the decades, visitors can still witness this anomaly of fire commingling with water.
Because of its location just 20 minutes north of central Taipei, the Beitou District has become the go-to spot for both locals and visitors in need of an accessible, soothing escape that feels miles away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Wedged into the mountains, Beitou is often shrouded in mist or blanketed by stream rising from the area’s numerous hot springs, many of which have been developed into private resorts and spas. This preponderance of thermal choices makes Beitou the Goldilocks of Taiwan, with springs available in a variety of temperatures.
Yangmingshan Hot Spring Area
Located within the Yangmingshan National Park, this area at the northern tip of Taiwan is home to waterfalls, grassy fields and a smattering of volcanoes known as the Tatun Volcano Group. This natural area boasts the highest concentration of hot springs in Taiwan, and each one has its own unique mineral makeup and temperature.
Lisong Hot Spring
It takes a little bit of effort to reach Lisong Hot Spring, but it’s well worth the trek. Guides are available for hire to help travelers navigate the springs, which are located in a valley crisscrossed by creeks and dotted by wild orchids. Once there, you’ll be rewarded by a magical sight: a hot springs waterfall crashing down from the side of a cliff stained green from minerals—perfect for a natural shower. Nearby hikers can soak in pools of various temperatures overhung by old growth trees before plunging into the refreshing cool waters of the Hsinwulu River.
Chaojih Hot Springs, Green Island
Chaojih or Jhaorih Hot Springs on Green Island is one of only a handful of known saltwater hot springs anywhere in the world. Here natural hot water bubbles into circular sets of pools on the beach, offering magnificent views and the opportunity to cool down in the ocean waves. Unlike most of Taiwan's hot springs, these waters are sulfur-odour free and open 24-hours from March through October.