Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Taiwan Day 17: Beitou and Hot Springs

Day Seventeen

We've been intending to visit the hot springs at New Beitou for a few days and finally went today! To get there, we took the Tamsui MRT line (red) to Beitou then switched trains to go to New Beitou.

New Beitou has the most informative signs I've seen in Taiwan so far. Out of the MRT station there was a sign with clear directions on how to get to the tourist attractions in both Chinese and English. Along the route were additional maps and signs to guide you along the way.

On the way to the Hot Spring museum we passed by the cultural museum so we went to check it out. It had information about the different aboriginal groups in Taiwan including their clothing and ways of life.

At the aboriginal cultural museum
Aboriginal cultural museum
A short walk down the road was the hot spring museum. Upon entrance you had to take off your shoes and change into slippers just like at real hot springs in Japan. There was information on what the beitou mineral is and origin of this hot spring area in Taiwan.

Hot spring museum
Finally we arrived at the public hot spring which only cost NT40 and an additional NT20 for locker rental. The street it is on is called Hot Spring Road and is home to many hot spring hotels. You can only use those hot springs if you stay the night at those hotels so the public one is popular for both locals and tourists.

Inside were four hot spring pools of varying temperatures and two cold water pools. The hottest water temperature was 45 degrees Celsius and I lasted less than a minute in that one! I quite enjoyed the second and third hottest ones with soaks in the cold pool in between. In total we were there for an hour which felt plenty enough and left us feeling toasty warm and relaxed.

Millenium Hot Spring

Since it was very hot out and the hot spring session made us feel even warmer, we went to the local library to enjoy the air conditioning. The library was quite new and we read children's English books for fun :)

Beitou library
Below is a photo of a cool dessert we saw at a bakery in Taipei Main Station. Inside the egg shells is pudding that tastes like creme brulee filling. There was taste-test so I tried it and it was so delicious! Too bad that it has to be refrigerated and it was quite pricey or else I would have definitely bought some.

On a side note, finally went to apply for the Taiwan Youth Travel Card (YTC) today. I actually didn't find out such thing existed until yesterday but it is not too late since I still have a little over a month in Taiwan. This YTC gives youth aged 15-30 discounts on transportation and admissions around Taiwan. For example, I could have paid for the concession price of NT80 at the National Palace Museum instead of NT160 with the card. Application was extremely fast and took less than five minutes at the Taipei Main Station desk. The lady just told me to fill a form, took a look at my passport and gave me the card.

Take care,
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