Steamy valley views, hot spring hotels, and kaiseki-style meals–you can get all these things and more in Beitou!
Beitou, a district in the northern part of Taipei, Taiwan, is known for its rich history and cultural attractions, as well as its abundance of natural hot springs.
It’s a very popular place to visit due to it being the closest hot spring resort destination to the metropolitan area of Taipei.
Despite the fact that Beitou is a part of Taipei City, going there really feels like you’ve taken a day trip to the onsen towns of Japan! You’ll feel worlds away from the bustle of the city center and will just be at ease here.
Whether you’re a visitor looking for a unique and relaxing addition to your vacation or a local seeking a day trip destination, spending a few moments in Beitou won’t disappoint.
In this guide to the Beitou, we’ll cover things like the best things to do, things to do nearby the district, where to stay, and even transportation. Let’s dive into it!
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What Is Beitou Known For?
Beitou District is located in the northern part of Taipei, the capital city of Taiwan. It is known for its rich history and cultural attractions, as well as its abundance of natural hot springs.
Beitou was once a small village known for its sulfur mines, but in the early 20th century it became a popular tourist destination due to the development of hot spring resorts.
The sulfur-rich water of this area has been known to be beneficial for skin problems such as acne, eczema and psoriasis; it also helps improve circulation and reduce stress levels.
Today, Beitou is a popular day trip destination for tourists and locals alike, who come to relax in the hot springs, visit cultural attractions, and enjoy the natural beauty of the area.
Essential Tips For Visiting Beitou
- If you plan on using the internet for Google Maps, and even random internet searches when there’s no WiFi around, I’d highly recommend picking up a Taiwan prepaid SIM card. I did Taipei without a SIM card (just used T-Mobile’s free international roaming) and while Google Maps worked fine, even basic Google searches would take ages to load. SIM card = fast internet!
- You should get a contactless IC card (EasyCard) OR a pass that provides unlimited transportation (like the Fun Pass for tourists). These will save you the hassle of needing to purchase individual bus/subway tickets and with the EasyCard, it’ll even save you money as the fare is discounted when you use an EasyCard.
- Beitou Hot Springs are located at Xinbeitou MRT station. You’ll have to get to Beitou station first on the red MRT line, then transfer to reach Xinbeitou.
- If you don’t want to deal with the logistics of getting to Beitou yourself, consider taking this full-day combo tour of Beitou and Yangmingshan (it comes highly rated and is pretty inexpensive too!).
- There are many types of hot spring experiences in Beitou, from free footbaths to day-use hot springs packages, to luxurious overnight stays in hot springs hotels. If you’re looking for some great discounted packages on hot spring baths at a resort, check out what’s currently offered on Klook. You’ll find all sorts of other discounts for tours, day trip excursions, restaurants, transportation, and services in Asia! It’s my go-to whenever I’m traveling around Asia!
- You can see all the best attractions in Beitou on a day trip. However, if you have the budget for it, I recommend staying overnight at one of these Beitou hotels so you can enjoy the full experience of a traditional hot springs hotel.
- Plan your trip in advance to ensure that you have a place to stay. If you’re planning to visit during peak season (spring or fall), make sure to book your accommodations ahead of time.
- Wear comfortable shoes – Beitou is a hilly area, so be sure to wear comfortable shoes. You’ll also want to bring a light jacket or sweater, as the weather can be cooler up there.
- Follow the rules at the hot springs: Most of the hot springs in Beitou have strict rules regarding attire and behavior. Make sure to follow these rules to ensure that you have a safe and enjoyable experience.
- Try the local cuisine: Beitou is known for its local specialties, including hot springs tofu, hot spring eggs, and rice noodles. Be sure to try some of these local dishes while you’re in town!
- You may want to consider combining your visit with a quick trip to Yangmingshan National Park OR Tamsui Old Street and Fisherman’s Wharf in Tamsui (the terminal stop on the red line). Both are pretty close to the Beitou area.
Best Things To Do In Beitou
Explore the Beitou Hot Spring Museum
For those interested in the history and culture of hot springs in Taiwan, the Beitou Hot Spring Museum is a must-see attraction.
The museum, housed in a former Japanese-style public bathhouse, used to be a public hot spring but was abandoned after World War II.
The museum features exhibits on the history and development of hot springs in Taiwan, as well as the traditional methods used for bathing and soaking in hot springs.
Admission is free, so be sure to stop by if you’re looking to learn a bit more about the history of this area!
See Thermal Valley
Located just a short walk from the Beitou Hot Spring Museum, Thermal Valley (also called Beitou Geothermal Valley or Hell Valley) is a unique and otherworldly geothermal area featuring steam vents and hot spring pools.
This is where you’ll find the steamiest waters you’ll ever see!
This super peaceful area features classic Japanese-style wooden structures such as small bridges crossing over crystal clear water flowing through rock formations which make for great photo opportunities.
The area is surrounded by towering cliffs and lush vegetation, creating a peaceful and serene atmosphere. Visitors can take a serene leisurely stroll through the valley, taking in the sights and smells of the steam vents.
Stay overnight at a hot springs hotel
If you’re looking to fully immerse yourself in the hot springs experience, consider staying overnight at one of the many hot spring hotels in Beitou.
One highly recommended resort (and the one that I personally stayed in) is the Grand View Resort Beitou, located atop a hill in Beitou.
The resort features a variety of hot spring pools, ranging from indoor to outdoor, as well as a sauna, a steam room, and a range of spa treatments.
In addition to the hot springs amenities, the resort also has public baths, restaurants, a bar, and comfortable guest rooms, making it the perfect place to relax and unwind after a day of exploring Beitou.
What you’ll immediately notice when enjoying your soak at this hotel is that the water will come out a milky white color!
The main source of the “white sulfur” hot spring water that is used in most Beitou hot spring establishments today is Liuhuanggu and Longfenggu thermal valleys located further uphill in Yangmingshan National Park.
Don’t be alarmed by the water, it’s good for you!
Soak in the outdoor facilities at Spring City Resort Beitou
Spring City Resort Beitou is located at the highest point of Dasuzui, the source of Beitou hot springs. The water in the hot spring baths here is going to be the white sulfur hot springs known as “Emperor Springs” in Japan.
It’s one of the more affordable resorts to enjoy a hot spring bath in Taipei without having to book a hotel room! If you have a few hours of free time to spare at Spring City Resort, this is going to be time well spent.
With this awesome Klook hot spring package, you get to enjoy the outdoor spa with 9 different types of hot springs, including a family pool, a waterfall pool, floating pool, even a cold water pool. A wide variety of relaxing recreational activities such as a steam room and marble pool are offered as well. The best part is, you get to use the spa for an unlimited amount of time!
If you don’t want to use the public areas, you can book an individual room for 60-minutes to soak in if privacy is what you’re after. They even have set meals you can tack onto your package. A free shuttle service from Beitou and Xinbeitou MRT station is included as well.
If you’re looking for higher end resorts that offer day-use packages (can be paired with afternoon tea or elaborate set meals), check out the ones offered by Radium Kagaya International Hotel and Gaia Hotel.
Visit the Plum Garden Historic Home
One of the most popular attractions in this beautiful city is the Plum Garden Building, an iconic landmark that has become a symbol for the area.
The Plum Garden historic building was once the summer home of famed politician and calligrapher Yu Youren. Today, it serves as a mini museum that displays the calligraphy works of Yu Youren.
The museum is small and a visit should not last more than 30 minutes or so. All in all, it’s a nice little stop in Beitou if you’re interested in calligraphy.
Entrance to Plum Garden is free, but do note that it is closed on Mondays.
Soak in a public hot spring
In addition to the overnight resort stays and the various day-use packages offered by the resorts, Beitou also has a number of public hot springs where visitors can soak and relax.
One option is to visit the outdoor Beitou Public Hot Spring, the cheapest and most popular hot spring in Beitou. Longnice Hot Spring is another great option if you’re looking for a more traditional atmoshere, as it’s a longstanding Japanese bathhouse with separate men’s & women’s areas, private pools, and even a small garden to relax in.
If you’d like to soak your feet in a hot spring pond for free, head to Fuxing Hot Foot Bath at Fuxing Park, about five minute’s walk north of Xinbeitou MRT station and Beitou Hot Spring Park.
If you opt for a public hot springs soak, bring the following:
- bathing suit – if you want to use one of the public outdoor mixed-gender hot spring pools
- towel – most public springs and foot baths do not provide towels
- soap and shampoo for after your soak
Take a stroll through Beitou Park
Located just a short walk from the Beitou Hot Spring Museum and Thermal Valley is Beitou Park, a beautiful and peaceful spot to relax and take in the sights and sounds of nature.
The park features a small pond stocked with koi fish, a traditional Taiwanese-style pavilion, and a number of walking paths and trails. It’s a great place to take a leisurely stroll, have a picnic, or simply sit and relax.
You can buy snacks from the shops nearby and picnic here as there are many spots to sit and enjoy nature.
Visit the Beitou Museum
The Beitou Museum is another must-see for history buffs looking to learn more about Japanese culture in Taiwan, aboriginal culture, and more.
This museum is dedicated to preserving folk relics and aboriginal art from years past and you can easily find nearly 5,000 pieces of traditional artifacts from Taiwanese Han and Taiwanese indigenous native people in this museum.
While there is a small admission fee of NT $120, the museum offers free guided tours throughout the day and audioguides as well.
After exploring the various rooms and courtyards of this preserved building, be sure to enjoy a multi-course kaiseki-style meal in the museum’s restaurant. If you’ve never had kaiseki before, now is a good time to get a mini introduction!
Pro Tip: Ask for the free audio guide (available in Mandarin, English, and Japanese). This will give you so much more context to what you’re looking at as opposed to wandering around aimlessly.
Stop by Puji Temple
Built by Japanese settlers in 1905, this century-old Japanese Colonial Era temple is one of the few left remaining in Taiwan. Located near the Beitou Hot Spring Park, it serves as an oasis of calm and peace for visitors.
As you enter Puji Temple, you’ll be immediately taken by its serene atmosphere and magnificent architecture. Its grand red pillars, elaborate stone carvings and lush gardens add to its beauty and elegance.
Inside the temple grounds, you’ll find several statues depicting various deities from Buddhism – such as Guan Yin – adding to its spiritual atmosphere. Visitors who practice can also take part in traditional rituals such as offering incense or burning paper money for their ancestors or other loved ones who have passed away.
Visit the Beitou Library
Beitou Library is located in one of Taiwan’s most historic and beautiful areas, surrounded by lush greenery and natural hot springs. It is a great spot to explore the history of Taiwan or just relax with a book.
While it’s a pretty sight to see (it’s worth popping in for a quick look at the interior), do keep in mind that this is a real library, so you should pop in and pop out quietly.
Those who wish to learn more about Taiwanese culture can take advantage of the many special exhibits highlighting local literature and art.
Learn about indigenous culture at the Ketagalan Culture Center
The Ketagalan Culture Center is home to a variety of educational activities, performances and exhibitions related to Taiwan’s original inhabitants—the Ketagalan people. The center offers visitors a unique opportunity to learn about indigenous culture through interactive experiences and engaging programs.
At the Ketagalan Culture Center, visitors can explore various educational exhibits that focus on the traditional lifestyles and customs of the Ketagalan people. There are also displays featuring artifacts from archaeological digs conducted in Beitou Park as well as reconstructions of ancient villages found throughout Taiwan.
Additionally, there are several workshops offered at the center including traditional dance classes or lessons on how to make aboriginal Taiwanese handicrafts such as bamboo weaving or pottery making.
Eat Hot Pot
At this point, it’s hard to ignore the fact that Beitou is widely known for its hot springs and spas. But there’s also another activity that is as famous as the hot springs: hot pot! There are so many hot pot restaurants in all of Taipei, and if you’re short on things to do in Beitou, why not have a hot pot meal here?
Hot pot is a traditional Taiwanese dish consisting of boiling soup with various ingredients such as fish balls, seafood, mushrooms, vegetables, meat, and noodles. Eating hot pot in Taiwan has become increasingly popular among tourists who visit the area looking to enjoy some local culture.
The best way to experience eating hot pot in Beitou is to go to one of the iconic restaurants in the area and order their specialty dishes. Many restaurants offer different kinds of soups such as spicy Sichuan-style broth or fragrant herbal soup that comes with plenty of topping options for you to choose from.
In the Beitou area, we like HiHiPot and 12HotPot.
Dine at Man Lai Hot Spring Ramen
If you want to taste Taiwanese-style ramen, hot spring eggs, hot spring tofu, and other local dishes, head to Man Lai Hot Spring Ramen (满来温泉拉麵) near Xinbeitou MRT!
They’re known for their comforting seafood ramen, onsen eggs, and fried tofu.
If you do choose to come here, don’t expect authentic Japanese cuisine–it’s more of a Taiwanese take on Japanese food. Still super good!
Other Things To Do Near Beitou District
If you’ve exhausted all there is to see in Beitou, then you’ll be happy to know that the Beitou District is surrounded by a number of nearby attractions that are also worth a visit. Here are a few highlights:
Yangmingshan National Park
Located in northern Taipei not too far from Beitou, this nature reserve is home to lush forests, rolling hills and stunning geological formations.
The park’s diverse flora and fauna make it an ideal spot for hiking enthusiasts who can trek across its many trails while admiring the surrounding landscape. From the park’s highest peak (Mount Qixing, aka Taiwan’s tallest dormant volcano) at 1120 meters above sea level, visitors can enjoy spectacular views of the nearby river valleys and distant Yilan County.
You can start at the Lengshuikeng Visitor Center and ask for hike recommendations depending on how much time you want to spend there.
For more casual and leisurely experiences, I recommend the Xiaoyoukeng Recreation Area or the Qingtiangang Grassland area!
Pro Tip: Taipei can be really hot and humid even in the winter season, and if you’re not used to this weather, hiking may be more difficult than you’d expect. So do consider these weather conditions before opting for an aggressively hard hike!
Located along the coast to the northwest of Taipei, Tamsui is a charming and historic town known for its beautiful sunsets and seafood.
Head to Tamsui Old Street and Fisherman’s Wharf for a unique glimpse into the city’s culture.
Start your journey at the iconic Tamsui Old Street where you can experience one of Taiwan’s oldest streets. Explore its rows of traditional shops, colorful street stalls, and tasty eateries while discovering centuries-old buildings that line the area.
Learn more about Taiwanese history by visiting two or three temples in town: Tian Yuen Temple, Wuji Tianyuan Temple, and Tamshui Yuandao Guanyin Temple, all of which offer stunning views over the district.
Visitors can spend a few hours taking a stroll along the scenic waterfront, visiting the Tamsui Old Street, walking the Erziping Trail, and trying some of the local seafood specialties.
National Palace Museum
Located in the nearby Shilin District (about a 23-minute drive from Beitou) is the National Palace Museum.
Founded in 1925, the National Palace Museum houses one of the largest collections of ancient Chinese artifacts and artwork in the world. The museum consists of over 700,000 items in its collection–that’s an impressive amount of artifacts to see!
The National Palace Museum is most famous for its extensive collection of Chinese art and artifacts. Some of the most popular exhibits at the museum include the jade collection, calligraphy gallery, painting gallery, and of course the pork belly and jade cabbage!
There’s a lot to learn at the National Palace Museum, so you could expect to spend 2 to 6 hours here, depending on how into the exhibits you are. You can buy tickets in advance here.
Shilin Night Market
Located in the Shilin District, the Shilin Night Market is one of Taipei’s most popular night markets and a must-visit for anyone looking to experience Taiwanese street food and culture.
The market features a wide range of food stalls, souvenir shops, and entertainment options, and is a great place to try local specialties such as stinky tofu, grilled squid, meat skewers, and taro ball desserts.
Due to its popularity over the years, this spot has become more touristy and food prices here have definitely increased. Having said that, the Shilin Night Market is still worth visiting for your first night market experience, but keep in mind you’ll find better prices elsewhere!
Where To Stay In Beitou
If you want a ryokan-like experience, consider an overnight stay in a hot springs hotel!
Grand View Resort Beitou
We opted to stay at Grand View Resort Beitou for two nights so we could enjoy bathing in some private hot springs tubs, but because these hotels typically cost more than your average hotel, I’d say one night is enough for the experience.
The best part (aside from the unlimited soaking you can do in the hot springs) is the fact that kaiseki-style breakfast is included with your stay!
We especially loved our stay at Grand View Resort Beitou because everything in the minibar was completely complimentary. Yup, that’s totally unheard of in the US!
Other Hot Springs Hotels In Beitou
For a more affordable stay, you can consider Asia Pacific Hotel Beitou, which was our second choice!
For the ultimate luxury, Villa 32 is unbeatable! It’s the most expensive option in Beitou.
You may also like: 6 Best Hotels In Beitou With Private Hot Spring Baths
How To Get To Beitou
There are several ways to get to Beitou pretty easily from wherever you are in Taipei.
For the sake of this illustration, I’ll assume you’re coming from Taipei Main Station as your starting point.
Take the MRT: The easiest and most convenient way to get to Beitou from Taipei Main Station is to take the Taipei MRT subway system. From Taipei Main Station, take the MRT Red Line (Tamsui-Xinyi Line) in the direction of Tamsui. The closest station to most of the attractions in this post will be the Xinbeitou Station.
NOTE: While there is both a Beitou Station and a Xinbeitou Station, Beitou Hot Springs and Thermal Valley are located at Xinbeitou Station.
Google Maps may also tell you to hop off the MRT at Beitou Station and transfer to a bus. This is a fine option too.
Once you arrive at Xinbeitou MRT Station, you’ll find that there are lots of signs to help you navigate around Beitou. The signs are written in both Chinese and English and also specify approximate distances which is nice.
It is easy to get around Beitou on foot, and you can walk to the majority of the destinations mentioned in this post.
Depending on your starting location, you can also take a bus all the way if the MRT looks inconvenient to get to (follow what Google Maps tells you), or call a taxi or Uber.
Uber or Taxi
If you’re towing luggage with you, I’d recommend opting for the taxi or Uber option, despite the fact that it costs more than public transportation.
My parents and I took an Uber with our luggage to Grand View Resort Beitou and it only cost us NT$445 ($14 to $15 USD) to get there from the Zhongshan District. Not bad for the duration (26-minute ride) and distance covered!
One final note–like I mentioned earlier, if you don’t want to deal with ANY of this, you could opt for a full-day tour of Beitou District and Yangmingshan National Park, all transportation included!
Looking for more Taipei travel tips? You may also like:
6 Best Hotels In Beitou With Private Hot Spring Baths
Transportation in Taipei: EasyCard or Taipei Fun Pass?
The Perfect 5 Days In Taipei: What To See, Eat, and Do
An Epic Day Trip To Jiufen And Shifen
20 Fun Things To Do In Taipei On A Rainy Day
1 thought on “17 Best Things To Do In Beitou For The Perfect Day Trip”
Hi, thanks for the lovely sharing on Beitou.
I’m heading there in a few months’ time for a short day trip, would like to ask if you happened to see any luggage storage lockers at the train stations (Beitou or XinBeitou)? Thanks.