Over 300 years ago, there existed a place where “trees don’t grow, and the earth boils”. The inhabitants called the place Patauw, meaning “home of the witches”. The pungent smell and thick fumes could mean just one thing – there was strange sorcery going on. With time, the name became Beitou in Chinese, and today, centuries later, this is a beloved tourist spot.
– taken from the tourist brochures of Beitou
Once you exit the station, head straight. You’ll see signs that will help lead you towards the museum and thermal valley.
In 1913, the hot spring museum was called “Beitou Public Baths”, and was East Asia’s largest hot-spring public bath at that time. Today, it showcases hot-springs-related Beitou historical gems, and has the area’s rare hokutolite (“Beitou stone”) on display. The exterior is Roman-styled, while the interior features Japanese settings.
There’s also the library which you can visit if you have time to spare. It’s a good place to find peace and relaxation.
Some background: After opening in 2006, the Beitou Library became Taiwan’s first “green” library by receiving “Green Building” certification. Part of the roof is covered with solar panels capable of generating up to 16KW of power. Rainwater that are collected by the library’s sloping roof is also recycled and used to water the library’s plants and flush its toilets.
Exterior of the library
Inside this cultural centre, you can see various collections of the indigenous people from the past. The contemporary art shows the integration and transition of modernity. Very much like a museum of indigenous artefacts.
The thermal valley was once considered to be one of Taiwan’s eight great natural wonders. The waters reek of green sulphur, and the smell is distinctive and peculiar. By peculiar, we mean it smells like “eggs”. Fumes of smoke and mist constantly rise up, and if you feel cold, just stand nearer to it!
If you have time, do go for a soak in the hot springs.
Zhongshan Road, Beitou district (near Beitou Park)
Opening Hours: (Tuesdays to Sundays) 9am – 5pm
*Closed on Mondays