Beitou is right on the border between the city limit and the suburban area of Tamsui for those who’ve already had experiences traveling in Taipei. With various hot spring hotels and a convenient access through Taipei Metro, Beitou has quickly becomes the new go-to place for those looking to explore the nature without the hassle of driving or taking long distance shuttle bus. But, did you ever know that Beitou has its own history of being occupied by many different groups of people? 

We’re going to tour you some spots of Beitou with important traces of history marks left on them, and things to do other than your regular itinerary of hot spring and food.

Sunny day in Beitou Hot Springs #taiwan #latergram #travelphotography

Beitou Hot Spring Museum: The Memory of Japanese Colonialism

Taiwan was under the control of Japanese government for a long period of time, and during that period the Japanese government make good use of Taiwan’s rich natural resources whether it’s exporting cypress and juniper or mining the sulfur in Beitou. The lack of natural resources in Japan has lured them to explore every inch of Taiwan in search of another new natural resources to send back home. However, this exploitation also has its positive effect on bringing Taiwan some of the most modern and hygiene elements in Asia at the time.

P1020414 The Beitou Hot Spring Museum, where tatami meets stained glass. Image by 陶澤中. CC:BY-SA

Beitou Hot Spring Museum was built as the largest public bath house in Asia in 1913, when the Japanese found out about Hokutolite, a special minerals produced by green sulfur spring water passing through the Beitou Creek. The potential of this mineral combined with the cultural differences on daily hygiene, this bath house was built as part of the cultural assimilation process. If you’ve been to Japan’s bath houses, you’ll find great similarities here as you enter the tatami lobby. Downstairs are the baths and some information about the minerals and the culture of Beitou at the time. It’s an interesting building to see the past and experience the fusion of strained glass along the side of old Taiwanese cinema posters.

Price: Free of Charge
Hours: Tues-Sun 9:00-17:00
      Closed on Mondays and National Holidays
Tel: (02)2893-9981
Address: Zhongshan Rd. No.2, Beitou DIstrict, Taipei City

DSCF9428image by CC:BY-SA

The Ketagalan Cultural Center: Taiwanese Natives

With the Chinese cultural and language so populated and mainstream, it’s hard to imagine that there were different cultural groups and people splattered throughout the island. The Taiwanese natives are a segment of the society tourists rarely see when they visit, this museum offers thorough information and various artifacts for different groups of natives on this island and how they are preserving their culture right now.

Price: Free of Charge
Hours: Tues-Sun 9:00-17:00
Closed on Mondays and National Holidays
Tel: (02)2898-6500
Address: Zhongshan Rd. No. 3-1, Beitou District, Taipei City
北投,凱達格蘭文化館 Explore the history of Beitou(Patam). Image by Patrick. CC:BY-SA

An interesting note, many of the road or district names in Taiwan today are actually derived from the natives’ languages or legends. Beitou for example name after the native’s phrase of Pataum, which meant witches in their languages, given the look of Beitou Creek with steaming sulfur hot spring water.

Hell Valley: Where It All Started

For those up for a short hike or feels like you want to get away into more of the nature side of Beitou, Hell Valley can give you the thrill as the origin of the Beitou hot spring. With the smell of sulfur, steams all over the air, and burning thighs, you know you’ve reached Hell Valley. In the old days, many tourists would come here to boil an egg and eat it as a souveneir, but to protect the water source it’s now forbidden, so be aware and be a responsible tourist.

Price: Free of Charge
Hours: Tues-Sun 9:00-17:00
Closed on Mondays
Address: Zhonshan Rd., Beitou District, Taipei City

The Beitou Garden Spa: Iconic Ice Popsicles

So this is not technically an official sight, but the millennial hot spring is not known for the cheap prices and outdoor hot spring, but instead by the traditional flavors of ice popsicles, many people will pick one up on the walk to Hell Valley.

Tel: (02)2893-7014
Address: Zhongshan Rd. No.6, Beitou District, Taipei City

The Taipei City Library: Beitou Branch

This is the library that went on the list of the Top 25 most beautiful libraries in the world. It was built with eco-friendly materials and blend in perfectly with the surroundings of Beitou Park. It’s a perfect spot to relax after hot spring or sit for a slow afternoon.

Price: Free of Charge
Hours: Tues-Sat 8:30-21:00
   Sun-Mon 9:00-17:00
Will be closed on government approved holidays; The first Thursday of the month will be closed for cleaning and maintenance.
Tel: (02)2897-7682
Address: Guangming Rd. No. 251, Beitou District, Taipei City

Beitou LibraryThis eco-friendly library is a perfect spot for your quiet afternoon.[/caption]

Next time when you’re planning a trip to Beitou, don’t just hop in the hotel of hot spring and leave, spend some time to explore this area with layers of history!

[starbox id=5]hellowings