Beitou is a charming district in Taipei, famous for its hot springs. Only 30 minutes away via MRT from Taipei Main Station, Beitou can be a great destination for a day, or even half day trip. I was able to spend half a day there in January. Here's what I did!
1. Tried Taiwanese Minced Pork Rice
滷肉飯 (Lu Rou fan) is a classic Taiwanese dish of braised pork on rice, and hidden in the Beitou Market is a small hole-in-the-wall style restaurant called 矮仔財滷肉飯 (Ai Zai Cai Lu Rou Fan) famous for its Lu Rou Fan. Some claim that its the best in Taiwan! If you're looking for some truly local Taiwanese food, this is the place to go. I tried both the Lu Rou Fan (25 NTD) and the Pai Gu Tang or Pork Rib Soup (排骨湯, 45 NTD) and they were both delicious! If you go around the lunch hour, you will have to line up for a while and they close at 2:00PM (or earlier if they sell out), so get here earlier if you can!
Address: #30 Xinshi St., Beitou District (the store is on the 2nd floor)
2. Beitou Hot Spring Museum
We got to the Beitou Hot Spring Museum after a walk through the Beitou Market. I always love a walk through a market to see what interesting things are being sold! On the way there we also walked by a popular ramen store with a long line outside so we got a ticket to secure our place in line - more on that next!
The Beitou Hot Spring Museum is housed in what used to be a public bathhouse. It's a Victorian-style building that was built when Japan ruled Taiwan. Inside you'll see the Japanese influences (tatami mats, removing your shoes before you can enter the museum), and the different baths. You'll also learn about the building, and some of the experiences of those who used the bathhouse when it was still a bathhouse!
Beitou Hot Springs Museum
Address: No. 2, Zhongshan Rd, Beitou District
Hours: 9AM-5PM, Tuesdays - Sundays
Estimated time to spend here: 20-30 minutes
3. Ate ramen (second lunch!)
On our way to the museum, we saw a huge line outside the Manlai Hot Spring Ramen restaurant so decided to grab a ticket to save our spot in line. We were told the wait would be ~30 minutes so it was perfect timing to head back after visiting the museum!
While the portion size was good, I'm not sure that the flavour was worth the wait to get into the restaurant. I would recommend trying out the Lu Rou Fan that I mentioned earlier instead. If I were to do this trip again, I would probably skip this stop to explore the Beitou Public Library (pictured above), or the Keetagalan Culture Center instead.
Manlai Hot Spring Ramen
Address: No. 1-8, Zhongshan Rd, Beitou District
4. Thermal Valley
A short 10 minute walk from the Manlai Ramen restaurant/Beitou Hot Springs museum is the Thermal Valley, one of the most popular tourist spots in Beitou! It's a valley filled with sulfuric hot spring water. The water is a really pretty teal colour, and since it is so hot, there is always a layer of rolling steam over it. It's really quite mystical! The water is very hot, so you are not allowed to touch or bathe in the water, but it's a great sight to see.
Hours: 9AM-5PM, Tuesdays - Sundays
Estimated time to spend here: ~20 minutes
5. Fuxing Park Hot Spring Foot Spa
Naturally, there are many hot springs in the Beitou area that you can visit. Most you will have to pay a fee for, and some will require that you wear a swimsuit. If you are looking to get a taste of the hot spring experience for free and/or you don't want to go through the hassle of getting changed, a public foot spa is the way to go! We visited the foot spa at the Fuxing Park, and it ended up being my favourite part of my trip to Beitou.
At this public foot spa, you will first have to rinse your feet, then you can dip your feet at one of the 3 pools that are there. The 3 pools have differing temperatures (there is a sign saying how hot each of the pools are). I loved the experience because not only did I get to give my aching feet a treat, but I also got to watch all the locals that were there using the pool! Truly a very cool experience.
Fuxing Park Hot Spring Foot Spa
Address: No. 200, Zhonghe St., Beitou District
Hours: 8AM-6PM, Tuesdays - Sundays
And that was the end of my half day in Beitou! A logical next stop in your itinerary would be the Shilin Night Market, since that is on the same MRT line as Beitou. A post on that to come soon!
Want to get to Beitou?
Take the Tamsui Line (red line) on the MRT towards Tamsui. Get off at Beitou Station if you want to try the Lu Rou Fan at the Beitou Market. If you want to head directly to the more 'tourist' area where the museum, library, and Thermal Valley are, transfer to the Xinbeitou Branch Line (pink line) at Beitou Station to get to Xinbeitou Station.
Beitou Half Day Trip Map
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