Taiwan Hot Spring & Fine-Cuisine Carnival

Explore the Island through its Fine Hot-Spring Resorts

Text:Rick Charette
Photos:Vision

Do a Google search for “the world’s best hot springs” and you will be presented with such luminous Asian hotspot names as Japan’s Beppu, Indonesia’s Banjar Hot Springs in Bali, Australia’s Morningstar Peninsula, and New Zealand’s Waikite Valley Thermal Pools. Time to add Taiwan in its entirety to this list. Don’t just take our word for it – here’s an internationally respected source that also says so: Michelin gives its highest rating, the coveted three stars, to the Beitou hot-spring resort on Taipei’s north side, where scores of resort accommodations from rustic heritage inns to swanky new hotels are found in and above a narrow valley tucked up against the south side of the majestic Yangmingshan massif. Among other locations, it also specially recommends the mountain-backed Jiaoxi resort in the northeast coast’s Yilan County and central Taiwan’s more traditional-style Tai’an resort, surrounded by peaks and reached by a narrow, winding mountain road.

There are more than 100 hot spring areas on this island, and its size means that you can visit several even on the shortest of trips. Immersing yourself in the land, its people, and its culture on a tour with mineral-spring enjoyment at its core has become a hot ticket in recent times, and the annual Taiwan Hot Spring & Fine-Cuisine Carnival makes such adventures even more attractive. The event has been a key factor in the flourishing of this trend. Each resort area highlights local themes in individual discount offers and in packages that take care of accommodation, soaking, dining, special tours, transportation, and more. The Taiwan Tourism Bureau oversees the event, ensuring quality and consistency. You’ll find all the detail you need on the official website (www.taiwanhotspring.net).

This year, a total of 19 hot-spring resort areas are participating in the carnival, which runs from October through January, the coolest and thus happiest time of the year for hot-spring soaking in Taiwan. Something extra special this year is the unveiling of a Hot Spring Pass & Brochure (Chinese, English, Japanese, and Korean editions), which presents you with great deals and much useful information. You can also join in one of the three special monthly raffles, with the big prizes an Apple Watch, an accommodation voucher at a premier resort, and a range of premium limited-edition themed souvenir items.

More Practical Info
For more general information on Taiwan’s hot springs and hot-spring culture, detail on individual resort areas, etc., stop in at the Tourism Bureau’s website (www.taiwan.net.tw). And if you run into any language difficulties while here, note that friendly help is always at hand using the Tourism Bureau’s 24-hour toll-free Travel Information Hotline (0800-011-765).


Taiwan’s Hot Springs – How So Many?
Go online and check out Taiwan on Google Maps, using the satellite view. The mountain-dominated island sits on the Pacific Ring of Fire, and this view dramatically presents the almighty geo-tussle going on between the Eurasian and Philippine Sea tectonic plates. The island is literally, geologically speaking, being thrown up out of the ocean, its young, rugged north-south mountain chains still growing slowly, and the result is scores of hot-spring locations, each almost invariably set in a thrillingly picturesque landscape.

Taiwan’s Hot-Spring Culture – Soothing Traditions
In days of yore, local native peoples would heal aches and wounds by soaking in hand-dug pits in river- and streambeds at hot-spring locations, easing in after the pits filled up with a mix of hot mineral waters and cooler river/stream waters. Later came the Japanese, who ruled Taiwan 1895~1945 and who brought their famed love of soaking and rustic hot-spring inns with them. Legend has it that their soaking tradition long ago took root after observing monkeys descend mountain slopes for warming winter hot-spring baths. The people of Taiwan adopted the mineral-spring soaking tradition with passion, in time creating their own distinctively Taiwanese version. (One key difference is that Taiwan folk for most part do not bathe in the buff.)



 

English and Chinese

Beitou北投
Jiaoxi礁溪
Tai’an泰安
Taiwan Hot Spring & Fine-Cuisine Carnival台灣溫泉美食嘉年華
Yangmingshan陽明山