5. Beitou Hot Springs
Image by David Veskler
Beitou Hot Springs is easily accessible via train to Xin Beitou station. We walked around and along the way you could just dip your feet into the water to experience the warmth. For free.
Also, since we were hot spring noobs and didn’t dare to go get naked with a bunch of strangers, we decided to visit the public hot springs known as the Millennium Hot Springs. This is because men and women can soak in the hot springs together in bathing suits, for only NT$40 (US$1.30).
It was definitely a new experience for it was the first time I went to such a place. Before putting your whole body in the water, you’re supposed to use the pails, scoop out some water, and pour it on your body. Then, when you’re ready, enter slowly. The temperature was insanely hot but after a while you get used to it. There were three different levels of heat for each spring, and the hottest temperature went up to 49 degrees.
While at Beitou, there are other things to do. Check out the Beitou Hot Springs Museum for some history, the Ketagalan Cultural Center for Aboriginal culture, and the Beitou Thermal Valley.
While not exactly in Taipei (okay, I cheated a little), Danshui, or Tamshui Fisherman’s wharf is an a port city with amazing food. We saw that there was also a Ripley’s Believe it or Not! Museum to visit as well, but we didn’t enter.
We walked along Lover’s Bridge and took some photos,
exploring the old streets of Danshui and bought their famous “iron eggs” (铁蛋)! A packet of these eggs only cost NT$100 (US$3.80), and this specialty is a must-try. Many of our friends told us to buy some back for them as well.
3. Houtong Cat Village
This is a must see village for all cat lovers. Houtong Cat Village is located at a train station before Shifen, and everything there has to do with cats.
As soon as you alight from the train, all you see are cats – cat souvenirs, cat toilets, cat paintings on the walls, information about cats, and actual cats sleeping at the station.
You can buy dry cat food and feed cats along the way. They are generally friendly since they know that visitors are there to feed them.
More food, please!
2. Shilin Night Market
Image by LW Yang
We went to many other night markets such as Huaxi night market and Shidanight market, but Shilin Night Market was probably the best. This night market was huge and they sold everything, from food to clothes to toys.
I did a lot of shopping here since they were selling summer clothes at very cheap prices. For more shopping you could go to Wufenpu as well, as it is known for its wholesale garment market.Yet Shilin is more appealing to me since everything can be found in one place.
1. Shifen Waterfall in Pingxi District
This was the highlight of the trip. After leaving the cat village, we took a train down to Shifen-Pingxi Railway Line and walked along the rows of shops next to the train tracks. From there, we walked towards the waterfall.There were many signs along the way to guide us there.
I think there was an entrance fee of about NT$100 (US$3.18) to see the waterfall.
The train tracks are very close to the pathway and every time a train comes, everyone naturally makes way for the train, especially the vendors selling sky lanterns. It would have been better if I were in Taipei in February during the Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival, but buying one in the evening really made the trip memorable.Image by Jirka Matousek
It was definitely an eye-opening experience to be in Taipei in the summer – the natural landscapes, the cat village, and its hot springs are probably the way to spend your dog days, especially if you’re not a big fan of the beach.