Relaxing at the Beitou Hot Springs in Taipei
The Beitou Hot Springs in Taipei is the best time you’ll ever have surrounded by old men in Speedos. Retirees flock to the four tiers of pools on the outskirts of the city during the daytime due to purported health benefits of the springs and also the low, low prices. I can’t blame the old timers at all. If I lived in Taipei I’d be here all the time. The subway takes you right there and it”s an incredibly relaxing way to spend an hour or two. I felt unwound for days both times I visited and it cost me less than $3 per visit, including subway fare.
The pools range from a difficult 44 degrees Celsius (111 degrees Fahrenheit) to a pleasantly cool 20 degrees Celsius (68 degrees Fahrenheit). I went with one of my friends from the U.S. the first time, and she could only last a couple seconds in the hottest pool. I stayed in the hottest pool for only a few minutes and spent the most time in the coldest.Â My brother, who I went with the second time, did the same. That top pool was hot.
The locals there is incredibly friendly. The aforementioned old timers in Speedos liked striking up conversations, and some spoke
excellent English. Just make sure to dump a bucket of water on your feet before getting in each pool for hygienic reasons. Also, note that the spa closes for 30 minutes every two hours for cleaning. I’ve read (and seen some photos) of big crowds, but both times I went it was midday during the week, so there was always enough for space.
Entry costs just $1.25 USD, with lockers at 65 cents. If you don’t want to take a cold shower, hot ones are available for 33 cents. Just up the road, past the entry to the hot springs, is the source of the hot springs. It’s the bluest water I’ve ever seen and reeks of sulfur. Hot steam rises above the water, which is just below boiling. It’s quite a sight. There’s a free museum dedicated to the history of the springs. It used to be the public bathhouse built during the Japanese occupation in the last century.
I'm an American freelance writer who spent a couple years living in Cambodia. Now I'm on the move again and traveling all over the place. I'm willing to try any bizarre liquor that's presented to me. Any recommendations?