There are moments in Taiwan—when you’re joyously lost in a crowded market and the thick tropical heat beams into your entire body, causing your damp clothes to stick to your skin—where you can’t possibly imagine getting any hotter. But you can. And you should. Because Taiwan is one of the world’s greatest destinations for hot springs.
Taiwan’s hot springs are chock-full of magical minerals said to have all kinds of healing properties from improving your complexion to arthritis to helping you successfully. Taiwan is a volcanic area, perched between two tectonic plates. As a result, wherever you find yourself on the island, chances are you’re not far from a good soak spot. Some springs segregate the genders, while others offer a communal experience. Some are heavily built up, thanks to resorts and hotels taking advantage of this highly coveted experience, while others remain very close to their wild and untamed state.
Up north near Taipei, Beitou historic village is a popular site, with a resort and hot spring museum to boot. A little further south, Taian Hot Springs is nestled in the mountains and is notable for the purity of its waters. And if you want to get really far-flung, check out a map of Taiwan: that tiny little dot in the middle of the ocean just east of the mainland is Green Island. It’s got beautiful beaches, mountains stretching into forever, coral reef, and seawater hot springs—one of just three known seawater springs on the entire planet.
Text by Sophie Kohn, Photo by David Spadavecchia