Day 2 – Return to the Onsen, Jiaosi

On April 8, 2012 by admin

Today started off right, with a sleep in. We both slept like logs last night after yesterday’s tough ride. Last night we talked about revamping the bike trip a little, focusing more on what we want to see rather than getting the entire island lap completed. We knew beforehand that we’d need to take the odd bus or train if needed. For today’s ride we decided to ride out to Cape Bitou from Keelung, then head to the train station so we could get down to Jiaosi where we were due to meet Opheia’s family there for a visit.

The ride started off better, much better. We got to the ever awesome Family Mart and had a 2nd breakfast (hotel breakfasts aren’t filling us up, usually congee). Family Marts or other convenience stores are a great place to sit and recharge, with seating out on a patio often. A far cry from Canada’s convenience stores where usually someone’s begging for change at the entry and the floor is sticky with old spilled slurpee.

We carried on towards cape Bitou, which was at about the 25k point. Along the way we passed some scenic old towns like Jinguashi. Along the way the coast has some great naturally eroded rocks that have taken on some pretty odd shapes. I stopped for photos at pretty well every pullout. The cape itself was nice, we had a quick stop for a picture then headed for Fulong Station.

Arriving at the train station at 255, we found the train had departed at 250! The next train didn’t allow bikes, so we had to wait for the 421 train. Not really a big deal as Fulong is a pretty nice little beach town, and cycling fever has taken it over. It seems like THE thing to do here is rent a bike and cruise the boardwalk and bike pathways with your family or tour group, good to see. We pedaled around then caught some late lunch at 711 for the train. The train ride was about 45 minutes and was a bargain, only $45TWD ($1.50 USD) each, and $23TWD ($0.80 USD) for each bicycle (in Taiwan you must purchase a ticket for your bike to take the train).

From Jiaosi Station we biked up to the hotel that the family had pre booked, at the Champagne Hotel. My brother and sister in-law had some food already in our room, what a nice treat! We feasted then quickly took off to go to what was rumored to be an amazing “almost Japanese” onsen (hot spring).

As you enter there is a nice foot bath, where tourists and locals soak there feet. This is another thing I missed about Japanese onsen towns, the public foot baths! The hot spring was separated, and I can honestly say its as close to a Japanese hot spring as you will ever find, out of Japan. You first sit on the mini stool and shower, before entering any of the ten or so baths of varying temperatures. They range from freezing to scalding. It’s all set in a very natural surrounding with high walls, open air, tall trees, and rocks lining each pool. It made this entire trip worthwhile being able to soak in a natural hot spring like this again. After laying nude on the rocks (everyone does it) and soaking in almost each pool, I managed to try them all before the facility closed. Outside I met Ophelia and we both had never been so relaxed, so recharged. Our hotel has a hot spring in the lower floor as well so we went there right after to make use of it. It was only open until 1030pm after all. The hotels hot spring wasn’t bad, with a huge variety of showers, jackhammer style massaging jets for feet, legs, head, you name it.

Finished the night off with a nice stroll through Jiaosi’s night market, even trying out one of those Fish Hot Springs, where you dip your feet in the water and they are promptly attacked by nibbling fish who are supposed to clean your feet of dead skin. I almost felt bad for them. Returned to the hotel then one final hot spring soak just as it closed. Can’t get enough.

Bike stats
Distance 44k
Riding time 2.5hrs
Keelung to Bitou Cape then Fulong. Train Fulong to Jiaosi.

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