One of the activities that we were told we must do in Taipei was to visit the hot springs. There are plenty of places for hot spring but the famous ones reside in Beitou and Wulai. Since we were at Yangmingshan earlier, we decided to visit Beitou for convenience sake. We did some research online to search for a good hot spring but did the mistake of not making a reservation. We walked up to the resorts recommended and found out that most of them were fully booked! There are mainly two types of hot springs that one could go to – a public bath or a private one. A public bath would have nicer scenery out in the open, but the drawback is that you’d have to share the pool with dozens of others (of the same gender) in the same pool, probably unclothed. Plus, that would mean being separated with your other half, which takes away half the fun, in my opinion.
List of hot spring resorts in Beitou
It was decided then that we would go for private baths which came in the form of rooms. Undoubtedly, the charge for private baths was much more than the public one, and you’d have to rent for a minimum of 2 hours in most places. Since we went on a public holiday (second mistake), most of the private baths were booked and we were left with few choices from the more expensive resorts. After walking up and down and asking about 10 resorts, we finally managed to find one with an empty room for us, but at a cost of almost RM200 for 2 hours! Yes, it was crazily expensive but we were disappointed for not being able to find a room the whole day that we did the impulsive thing of agreeing to the rate and the room. The room we rented was at Whispering Pine Inn, just down the road from the famous Spring City Resort (which was fully booked as well).
Bath tub for the hot spring water
We had to pay before we were given the room, and were eventually led upstairs to a room that looked like it was Japanese-inspired. The living area was of tatami flooring, and the sliding windows were similar to Shoji windows, or windows made from rice paper. Our only concern? The bathroom! I guess we half-expected that the bathroom would be bigger and nicer, given the hefty price that we paid. But what we had was a small bathroom with a bathtub that looked like it could use some scrubbing. Saucer had to fill the tub the first round and scrubbed the bottom clean first before filling it again for the second round. The water was scalding hot but I wouldn’t be able to differentiate it from the normal heated water really. At that point, we were wondering how could we tell that the hot water was really, from the hot springs?
Part of the room
Needless to say, the whole experience was quite a downer, what with us having to wait for 15 minutes for the tub to fill up, at the same time soaking ourselves in the hot water that we weren’t even sure was from the hot spring. Also, you could only soak in hot water for so long, after which your skin started to wrinkle and you’d have a hard time breathing from all the steam formed. That was when we got out and took a nap on the hard bed. Thankfully, the towels looked reasonably clean. We spent the rest of the next hour just resting while sipping hot tea after our long day out, and left just before our 2-hour limit was up.
Tatami living area
If you can’t already tell by now, we definitely felt ripped-off from this experience, which would have cost us maybe 3 or 4 times less in another resort had it been an off-peak period. Perhaps, the only hot spring worth going would be the public ones out in the open in the midst of greens. But I’m still too shy for that!
Whispering Pine Inn Resort (Yin Sung Ge)
No.21, Youya Rd., Beitou District,
Contact No.: 02-2895 1531
*Note: Read the rest of my Taiwan Escapade here!