When one sees the words “hot spring”, the image that springs to mind would be that of a peaceful Japanese onsen, with a backdrop of snow-covered ground, and willowy trees swaying in winter’s wind. However, another island nation far less cold offers the same as well.
Situated near the Pacific ring of fire, Taiwan enjoys a vast number of hot springs. Rich mineral water, heated by the lava at the crust, bubbles into dozens if not hundreds of commercialized spas, baths and natural springs in the wild. When Taiwan was colonised by the Japanese, many Japanese found that they missed the hot springs of the Japanese home islands. Luckily, hot springs are far from scarce on Taiwan as well. Hot springs sprung up across the span of the island, many taking after the Japanese style.
Indeed, Taiwanese hot spring culture is similar to the Japanese. Taiwanese love hot springs as much as the average Japanese. Communal bathing pools on the outskirts of the cities are often the favourite for escaping the hectic urban lifestyle. As in Japan, hygiene is of utmost importance in Taiwanese bath springs. However, wearing a bathing suit is fine in the pools, unlike in Japanese bathhouses, where patrons prefer to go in the nude. Both Taiwanese and Japanese hot spring culture all entail luxuriating in hot, clear mineral water!
A stay at a hot spring resort is of pure indulgence. Perfect getaways from the stressful tedium of everyday life, Taiwanese hot spring resorts offer all sorts of relaxation. Massage parlours can be had at the posher hot spring resorts. Rooms will have a private bath, with public baths usually being in the open. Hot geothermal waters revitalize and rejuvenate you, able to soothe your aches and pains away in a warm soak. Meals are generally available at the resort’s common eating area. It is entirely up to your discretion if you would wish to soak in your own private pool, or visit the communal hot spring. At the communal hot springs, one can usually strike up a conversation with other patrons.
A place of note would be the Zhao Ri Hot Springs. Located off the mainland, this hot spring establishment is in Lyudao. It is one of the few places in the world which has a saltwater hot spring. Situated near the coastline, it allows one to catch the magnificent view of the sunrise, while unwinding in the warm saltwater. At the side of the hot spring, there are also channels of hot spring water, where the visitor can cook in, such as eggs and the like.
The Su’ao cold springs are also of worthy mention. Its waters have a temperature of less
than 22 degrees Celsius, and is a carbonic acid spring. Found by Japanese soldiers, the cold spring is one of the few of its type in the world. The water is not only clear, but is also drinkable, being cool, odourless, and naturally carbonated. Entering into the water will give one a shock at first, but there is no better cure against the hot Taiwanese summer! Most interestingly, the waters from the spring are often used in cooking as well, even being used to produce soda.
If you’re interested in this experience, do give a shout-out to us at Taiwan Free and Easy. Email, phone or even plain old mailing is fine by us!