I wondered about this myself. I had heard a lot about the hot springs in Taiwan so I decided to research them. This is what I found out.
Should I visit a hot spring in Taiwan? The answer is an emphatic yes! They are not only relaxing places but they are also good for your body and soul.
The answer is not quite as simple as that let’s go into hot springs in more detail.
How many hot springs are there in Taiwan?
There are more than one hundred hot springs in Taiwan. With the highest concentration being in the north of the island. Surprisingly, not all hot springs are in the mountains, some are on the plains or even along the coast. The good news is that no matter where you are in Taiwan, you should not be too far from a hot spring!
What exactly is a hot spring?
Strangely enough, there is not a single definition of what a hot spring is. So don’t think that all hot springs are the same. To describe precisely the characteristics of every hot spring in Taiwan is beyond the scope of this article. Here are some of the definitions that I discovered.
- A geothermal spring -so it is heated from the earth
- A natural spring that has water with a temperature higher than body temperature. In other words warmer than 37ºC
- A spring with water above ambient ground temperature
So, from the list above, you can see that not all hot springs are created equally.
Geothermally heated water
The basic idea here is that water enters through fissures or cracks in the rock. The deeper the water goes toward the earth’s mantle, the hotter it can get.
Are there different types of hot springs?
Yes, there are different types. Some are outdoors while others are indoors. hot springs also have water with differing mineral and chemical compositions.
- Sodium carbonate springs
- Sulfur springs
- Ferrous springs
- Sodium hydrogen carbonate springs
- Mud springs. These are rare!
- Salt or hydrogen sulfide springs
Why are hot springs good for me?
There are always new remedies for this ailment and that ailment. You should eat and drink this and that. But who really knows? I think the adage of, “If it feels good then do it!” works well here. Most of us have stressful, busy lives, so just the act of slowing down and relaxing can be just the ticket.
Scientists in several countries have been studying what is known as Balneotherapy. The study of using bathing as a natural medicine.
My research has uncovered the following claims.
Benefits associated with hot springs
- Increased blood flow
- Increased circulation
- Increased metabolism
- The absorption of essential minerals
- The relief of other chronic illnesses such as constipation, gout and liver disease.
What about the minerals in the water?
Many hot springs contain sulphur, the provider of the bad egg smell, yuck! There can be other minerals too; calcium, sulphate, magnesium, iron, chloride, potassium, zinc and others. How effectively can these be absorbed into our bodies during bathing? Our skin is great at keeping things out but the heat of the hot spring is going to open up the pores so it must be feasible that we can absorb some of
Are they expensive?
There is a wide range of prices. All the way from free up to 6,000 TWD or more. Many hot springs are part of a resort or hotel complex so often you can spend the night there. Fine dining and hot springs, now that seems a great way to relax. You could also take some time to go hiking in the mountains!
Are hot springs clean?
How can we be sure that hot springs are clean? The Taiwanese government go around testing the hot spring resorts which is a good thing. But according to an article published by Taiwan News in 2017, 75% of hot springs fail inspections for one reason or another. A total of 18 hot spring resorts failed at least one test. It doesn’t sound terrific, does it?
Thankfully, almost all of the resorts had rectified the issues in subsequent rechecks. Based on this you should choose resorts that have the “Certified Hot Spring” logo. I will place links at the end of the article.
ot spring etiquette
Taiwan was under Japanese rule between 1895 and 1945 and they left a social and cultural imprint on the island. With this in mind, it is important to learn and follow the “rules”.
- Ladies and Gentlemen. Many hot springs are segregated by gender. If this is the case, you will be expected to bathe naked with the exception of
a swimmingcap. Don’t worry, go for it!
- Wash First. You are required to shower first. This not only gets you clean but will also help to warm up your body as going straight into a hot spring can cause your blood vessels to expand rapidly which lowers blood pressure.
- Use the Buckets. There may be buckets filled with hot spring water and ladles, use these to rinse off. Be sure the ladle goes back into the same bucket you took it from.
- Don’t splash around! You may be expected to remain still and not move.
- Don’t stay in too long! The length of time that you should stay in depends chiefly on the temperature of the water. Always consult with the staff at the pool and follow their advice.
- Up to 10 minutes if the water is over 42 ºC
Up to 20 minutes if the water is tepid (between 37 and 39ºC
- Up to 10 minutes if the water is over 42 ºC
Where are the Best Hot Springs?
As I mentioned earlier, it is wise to choose a certified hot spring so check for that before booking or going. Choose your area from the links below. They take you the tourism board website.
Other things to do in the mountains
As most of the hot spring resorts tend to be in the mountains or near rivers, you can do many other activities such as hiking, canoeing, rafting or even archery.
A top tip! Try to get a massage straight after the hot spring. Your mind and body will love you for it!
Places to stay
Many hot spring resorts have hotel accommodation. There is often camping nearby if you like the outdoor life.
Enjoy great food
Resorts will often have some great restaurants nearby so take the time to see what is available. Barbeque areas are also common if you want to cook your own food!
Q: I don’t have a car, can I get to the hot springs easily? There is are usually bus services that can take you from the city out to the resorts.
Q: Is there a best time to go to a hot spring? I think the best time is in the cooler months of the year, from November to March. Weekends are obviously going to be busier, especially Sundays. Midweek would be best!