What to do and see in Beitou
Beitou hot springs:
Beitou is super famous for its hot springs. It was the Japanese who realized the enormous potential of these waters, and began to build spas to enjoy them. In the past it was possible to go to the river that runs through the Beitou Park and bathe directly in the hot springs. But today it is prohibited for hygiene reasons. So you will have to go either to the public hot springs that are in the same park (they are outdoors, they tend to be super crowded and they are not very kid-friendly) or to the hot springs of one of the hotels in the mountain.
The hotels have 3 types of hotsprings:
- The outdoor baths: they are generally mixed outdoor pools (men and women can enter), where you can bathe in a swimsuit. It is our favorite experience in Beitou. Below we indicate our favorite hotels to enjoy them.
- Indoor baths: these are indoor pools that are generally segregated by gender and where you bathe naked.
- Private bathrooms: they are a kind of room with large bathtubs that fill with hot springs. Some have views, others are exterior but covered... this is an experience to enjoy more as a couple, although it can also be fun with children.
These are our recommended hotels to bathe in the Beitou hot springs:
- Spring City Resort: we love its outdoor pools, available for the whole family and located in a green lushy environment. They have several pools, ideal for relaxing, and a pool with a waterfall, ideal for children to play. The price is 800 NTD per adult and 550 NTD for children (up to 140cm). Children under 110cm are free. The ticket is valid for the whole day. It is not necessary to reserve, you can go directly. Don't forget to bring a swimming suit and hat.
- Grand View Resort: we love their private rooms with bathrooms outdoor hot springs. The cheapest one costs 2300 NTD and is very nice (price for two adults 90 min, 2 more children can enter who will pay 600 NTD if they are taller than 115cm). It is necessary to reserve by sending an email in English or Chinese.
- Asia Pacific Hotel: we love their private rooms with outdoor thermal baths, especially Forest 3, which has mountain views. The price is 3500 NTD for 90min. It is necessary to book by contacting the hotel by email.
- Marshal Zen Garden: perhaps the ones with the best views. They have private bathrooms with the bathtubs located in front of a large window that overlooks the valley. But the truth is that they are not very well maintained (when we went the windows were quite dirty) so we do not recommend them.
Very close to the Beitou park is this protected area where you can see small waterfalls and hot springs at 100º of temperature. The smell and the smoke that comes out will make you feel in the heart of a volcano. But don't worry, it's absolutely safe.
You can get here walking, and from here continue to the park.
Beitou Hot Spring Museum:
After Thermal Valley, keep walking down through the park. After passing through the Plum Garden and the public baths, you will arrive at the Beitou Hot Springs Museum, a true wonder that you cannot miss.
These baths were built by the Japanese in 1913, becoming the largest thermal baths in East Asia. But after World War II they were abandoned, until in 1994, a group of students and their teachers found it on a school field trip. Realizing its architectural value, they petitioned the local government for restoration and conservation work to be done. 4 years later they were opened to the public and today they are a symbol of the city.
At the entrance they will make you take off your shoes, and then you can follow a circuit that takes you through the bathrooms, the tatami rooms, the terraces... a marvel.
Open from 09.00-17.00 (closed on Mondays).
Beitou Public Library:
Very close to the museum you will find this imposing library of wonderful architecture. The shape of the building simulates a ship stranded in the forest. It is a real wonder. You can see it and take photos of it from outside. But if you go with children, we recommend you enter because on the ground floor they have a children's section with many books in English. You can spend some time there entertaining.
Xinbeitou Historic Station:
Keep going down the park and exit through the entrance that has the large fountain (this enchants the children). Across the street and south of the Xinbeitou subway station you will find the old train station. It is not that it has anything special, but the children love to cross its tracks, get on the train, put their hands in one of the fountains there... They will have a good time.
What we do not recommend visiting in Beitou:
- Sulfur Valley: is really far, so unless you are going by car or motorcycle, we do not recommend getting there. It is true that it is wilder than the Thermal Valley and that sometimes the water shoots out like a geyser, but the other one still seems more beautiful and spectacular to us.
- Puji Temple: a cute temple, but not worth the walk.
- Beitou Museum : not very interesting and a little out of hand. Much better the Hot Spring Museum in Beitou Park.
Beitou can be reached by the same metro. To do this you have to take the red line towards Tamsui and get off at Beitou station. Here, you will have to change to the shortest metro line in the world (one stop) and get off at Xinbeitou. This metro will drop you off right in front of the Beitou Park entrance, which is super nice to walk around.
How to get around Beitou:
Once in Beitou, you can:
The whole part of the Beitou Park and the Thermal Valley can be done quietly on foot. But keep in mind, that from the end of Beitou Park to the hotels it is all uphill, so although it seems short distance, it can be tiring to walk or cycle, especially with children. If you have booked a thermal bath in a hotel, ask them if they have a shuttle bus, because many offer them for free from Beitou or Xinbeitou stations.
- walk (it's about 10-15min to Thermal Valley),
- take the bus (buses S25 and 230 are the ones that go to most hotels),
- take a taxi (a journey through the village will cost around 100 NTD),
- or use shared bikes or motorcycles if you are registered (youbike, GoShare or WeMO).