Taiwanese Hot Springs: The Ultimate Guide to Taiwan’s Hottest Attraction

Taiwanese Hot Springs: The Ultimate Guide to Taiwan’s Hottest Attraction

This post was last updated on July 30th, 2017 I’m not really a huge fan of hot springs. I mean, I like them enough. They’re relaxing and rejuvenating and don’t require any physical exertion. It’s mostly that I can’t manage to stay in them longer than five minutes because of the sweat that begins to pour down my face. That being said, Dan and I just got back from a hot spring hotel in Central Taiwan, and I loved it. It probably helped that we had a private hot spring bath in our room that overlooked the adjacent valley and mountains. And I must admit, even if I don’t normally get excited about hot springs, I always feel amazing afterwards. In Asia, hot springs are believed to raise energy levels while possibly treating chronic fatigue, eczema and arthritis—a pretty good reason to give the popular Taiwanese pastime a go.     There are two main things to remember before visiting Taiwan’s hot springs:   1)    If hot spring baths are separated by gender, you’re expected to bathe nude. I was bit worried it would be totally awkward sporting by birthday suit with a bunch of old Taiwanese women, but it’s not actually that bad. Plus, these “nude” hot springs are typically a bit nicer, with various showerheads, more variety in water temperature, steam rooms, and no obnoxious children splashing sulfur water in your face. 2)    You must wear a shower cap before entering the hot springs. Sometimes these will be provided, other times you are expected to bring your own. Beyond that, just follow common sense. Don’t bathe if you...

Lantern Festival and the 20-Meter Serpent

This post was last updated on October 14th, 2013Last year, you probably would have considered our experience at Lantern Festival to be a bit less than ideal.     Yeaaa. That’s Dan holding our blazing sky lantern, completely obliterating his dream of finally getting a pony.  He’s still waiting for Santa to write back on that one.     This year we decided to stay away from fire and stick to the main Lantern Festival event hosted by the Taiwan tourism bureau. It just so happened to be held in Jhubei, just over the river from home.   There are numerous stories to the origin of Lantern Festival, most dating from Taiwanese folklore. Some say thousands of years ago, the Chinese would see dancing deities under the first full moon of the month. On one cloudy night, the deities were no longer visible; all the people gathered their torches to try to illuminate the gods. Although the Chinese never could see their gods again, lighting up torches became a tradition. Today’s lantern festival is a way to promote tourism while carrying on Chinese heritage, including the art of lantern making. From master paper craftsmen to elementary school children, everyone is invited to participate in the creative lantern designs. There were many incredible lanterns, but the main attraction was a 20-meter tall serpent.  In honor of the Year of the Snake, the serpent-like dragon symbolized national prosperity, and of Taiwan flying into a flourishing future.     We would have enjoyed lantern festival much, much more if it weren’t for the constant pushing and shoving. It seems we went during prime...

Day 320: Hsinchu Foreigner Assistance Center

This post was last updated on October 22nd, 2013   If you live in Hsinchu or Tainan, take advantage of their Foreigner Assistance Center. Sign up for free Chinese lessons, stock up on brochures and travel guides, or ask any of your most pressing and confusing questions about living in Taiwan. The resource is 100% free and quite helpful. This is us with our Chinese tutor and two student interns. The guy on the left is just lovin’...

Day 303: Statues

This post was last updated on October 22nd, 2013   A few of the statues at the Gu Chi Feng statue park in Hsinchu, Taiwan. It is one of the most off-beat attractions we’ve  visited during our time in Taiwan, with hundreds of seemingly abandoned statues littering the park grounds. You can read more about the park and the statues...

Day 295: Five Finger Mountain

This post was last updated on October 22nd, 2013   Five Finger Mountain is an easy day hike from Hsinchu, named for its unique shape that resembles a hand. You’ll literally traverse across five small peaks, starting at the ‘thumb’ and of course ending at the ‘pinkie’. Can you see the five fingers in the mountains? It might involve a bit of...