My Taiwan 2015 travelouge so far:
1. Taipei Day 1: AirAsia, Star Hostel & Ningxia Road Night Market
2. Jiufen Day 2: Jiufen Old Street
Day 3 in Taipei started off at Star Cafe with our breakfast at 8am.
This is by far my favorite breakfast combination from Star Cafe… waffles, bacon bits, egg and fruits (there’s the liu ding again). Another day, another cup of milk tea.
After breakfast, we went downstairs and walk to the start of Huayin Street (just opposite Q Square). There’s a vegetables and fruit stall there.
And there’s liu ding (柳丁/orange) there (on the right). We also bought banana and persimmons (which are huge and yummy!).
Dropped off our goods at the hostel and we’re off to Beitou by MRT.
The lovely MRT train to Xinbeitou.
Taiwan is fame for its hot spring and Beitou is one such place (nearest to Taipei) offering this beautiful nature’s wonder. There are several options to personally experience Beitou’s hot spring. Such as…
1. Visit Beitou Outdoor Public Hot Spring @ NT$40 entrance fee. Swimsuit is needed.
2. Walk about 20 minutes to Beitou Quanyuan Park Foot Bath Area for foot spa.
3. Book one of the many hotels there to use their hot spring bath privately in the room.
My finalized plan was to walk to Beitou Quanyuan Park Foot Bath Area but when I arrived at Xinbeitou MRT, I saw from the map and signage that there is another hot spring foot spa very near to the MRT station. It’s called Fuxing Park Hot Spring Foot Spa Area and takes about 5 minutes of walking only. Of course I choose Fuxing!
Btw, we sensed faint sulfur smell when we arrived at Beitou but very quickly we all forgot about it because the sulfur smell wasn’t that strong.
Fuxing Park Hot Spring Foot Spa Area consists of 3 pools with 3 different temperatures. The hot spring from these pools come from Beitou Thermal Valley. Admission is free and there’s a park beside this foot spa.
On the wall there you can see the 3 different temperatures, 42.2oC, 40.7oC and 45.2oC. Despite wearing jeans, I was the only one who dip my feet in these. Of course I wash my feet first before dipping. The place is packed with locals and thankfully I found a place to sit and enjoy the experience. I chatted with a lady who’s not local but she comes here often for the hot spring benefits. The water was hot. I couldn’t stand it at first but was told to just dip my legs. Soon I got used to it.
I didn’t hang out there for too long as the others were waiting. Our final destination in Beitou is Beitou Thermal Valley which requires about 15 mins of walking but took us an hour because there are many things to see and enjoy along the way. We started off at Guangming Road and came back to the MRT via Zhongshan Road.
Can you see steam coming out from the drain cover? Cool eh?
The weather was quite warm, so we stopped at 7-11 for some drinks. I bought this Ovaltine drink. Yum! And I found out they have toilet in the 7-11. Cayala.
Then we came to Taipei Public Library (Beitou Branch). It’s a green (eco-friendly) library.
A beautiful fountain-pool outside the library.
The wooden exterior of this Taipei Public Library (Beitou) is so beautiful. We went inside for a short glimpse (before registration area) and I can see lots of Chinese books.
Continuing our journey along Guangming Road. The water from the stream must be from the hot spring but no one plays in the stream. My good guess is it’s not hygienic.
Saw this really cool old building and decided to check out what it is.
I realized it’s a bathhouse. Very old (circa 1896) and absolutely interesting. It’s the kind of bathhouse where you need to be completely naked. At least men and women have separate sections. This place is called 瀧乃湯溫泉浴室 or Long Nice Hot Spring (in English). And nope, I don’t have confidence to be naked and hang out with others women yet. Embarrass la. If I want, I would have done that at a jjimjilbang in South Korea. Perhaps Japan…
This is the back view of Beitou Outdoor Public Hot Spring (as mentioned earlier) where you can enjoy the hot spring with men and women. Don’t worry, you won’t be completely naked. You need a swimsuit to go in and entrance fee is NT$40.
Finally arrived at Beitou Thermal Valley.
Beitou Thermal Valley is a beautiful hot spring with jade-like water. Steam rising from the hot spring and pockets of air bubbling away means the hot spring is really hot. It does get boring pretty quickly. We didn’t stay for long as it was nearly noon and the place is really warm. Entrance is free but they close on Monday. There’s toilet facility here.
I knew there’s a ramen place nearby and choose to have our lunch there since our stomach were calling to be fed. The restaurant is called Man Ke Wu Ramen 滿客屋拉麵 (click at the link to read my review). After lunch, we walked back to MRT via Zhongshan Road.
The front view of Beitou Outdoor Public Hot Spring.
Beitou Hot Spring Museum is quite an interesting place. I’m more interested with this Victorian-style building than the hot spring artifacts in the museum itself.
The museum used to be Beitou Public Bathhouse and this my dear is the 100+ years old Roman bathing pool turned into artwork!
Children fan arts. I’m sure you noticed the tatami? This building was built during the Japanese ruling in Taiwan hence the Japanese inspired style. I would love to see this place back to its original purpose like its heyday… a public bathhouse.
Nearing the MRT, I saw Man Lai Hot Spring Ramen. The name of this ramen shop originally belongs to Man Ke Wu Ramen. You’ll have to click the link (from few paragraphs above) to find out the story (curious?).
After Beitou, we’re suppose to go to Tamsui BUT this princess (me) was so tired. So we cancelled our plan and head back to hostel. On the way back to hostel, we stopped by Taipei City Mall (it’s on the way ma). Lots of affordable shoes, umbrella, clothes, socks and souvenirs there.
Also dropped by 7-11 for some snacks. Sugarcane oolong tea and donut from Mister Donut.
After a good sleep, we headed back out for dinner of braised pork rice aka lu rou fan at Formosa Chang (finally!). The one we went was near Jiantan MRT because after that we’re visiting Shilin Night Market. Click the Formosa Chang link to find out what I think about their lu rou fan.
We arrived at Shilin Night Market around 7.30pm on a Saturday. Bad idea, really. The whole area was so jam-packed. We couldn’t really walk what more to enjoy our experience there. I think we only went through a bit of Jihe Road and a small lane (even more difficult to walk) with stalls and shops selling clothes and souvenirs. By then we gave up. I was not impressed. Perhaps after having a wonderful time at Ningxia Road Night Market, I felt like it’s more or less the same. We also didn’t visit the underground Shilin Market and inner parts (north side) because of the humongous crowds. I gave up for now. I shall tackle you next time!
My sis bought this lemon aiyu jelly which I gave it a taste. Not impressed. Haha Located at one of the small lane which I’ve no idea where. LOL
Cow’s tongue pancake 牛舌餅 that comes with two flavours, maltose (I think) and peanut. Cow’s tongue because the pancake looks like a cow’s tongue. 😛 I only like one of them but totally forgot which one already. It was really mediocre. This stall is located at the intersection of Jihe Road and Wenlin Road. Also bought chestnut before bidding goodbye to Shilin Night Market. We were only there for an hour.
We headed to Q Square (shopping mall) then. More fun here. 🙂
There’s a 50 Lan near our hostel. Got myself a milk tea.
And then tapau-ed KFC egg tarts (also near hostel). The white thingy is cheese. Original egg tart @NT$28 while the cheese one is NT$31. Delish. Enjoyed our little supper at the hostel before calling the night.
That’s it for day 3.
There will be two more posts about Taiwan… mostly food. 🙂