The Town of Jiaoxi in Yilan County, Taiwan is known for its hot springs, the main draw to this popular resort town. However, on every block you will find signs for hot springs left, right, and centre, making it hard to decide which to enter.
In recent years, the Yilan government along with local businesses have been making significant investments in order to turn Jiaoxi into a clean, modern, world class resort. One of the most impressive developments is Jiaoxi Hot Springs Park, or Wenquan Gongyuan (礁溪溫泉公園) as it is known in Chinese. The hot spring park is only a short walk from the town centre, however, being hidden in the woods, most first time visitors to Jiaoxi would never even realize it existed.
From the main entrance, the park opens up to reveal an extensive foot bath area, with families and couples casually enjoying the various different pools. Use of the foot baths is free of charge. On top of the hill behind the foot baths is an open-air theatre, where both theatrical and musical performances can be viewed throughout the year. However, the real highlight of the park is even more well hidden!
The full body hot springs are another 5 minute walk from the foot bath area. You will first pass a school with outdoor pool, and then follow a narrow trail that leads to a clearing with beautifully arranged stone paths, small wooden bridges, and a steaming hot spring river. This is when you know you have arrived at the right place, the Forest Baths, or Shenlin Fenglu (森林風呂).
The hot springs are open 24 hours a day, so can be used anytime you please. Before entering, tickets must be purchased from the reception desk, where other items such as bath towels and beverages are also available. The bathing areas are divided into two themed sections, both with 10 or so different baths. Each section’s designation for male or female use changes daily, so if you are staying in Jiaoxi for more than a day, you will have the opportunity to visit both sections.
The quality of hot springs inside can only be matched by some of Japan’s top hot spring resorts. The hot springs are entered while fully in the nude, so a shower and good scrubbing are required before entering the baths. However, Taiwanese bathing practices differ slightly from those of the Japanese, in that use of a little modesty towel which is popular in Japanese hot springs to discretely hide your pride and joy, are not used in Taiwan. In Taiwan, everything is left out in the open!
Ticket prices are a very reasonable at NT$150 for general admission, NT$120 for students or groups of 30 or more, and NT$75 for seniors and children 6-12 years of age. Children under 6 are free when accompanied by an adult. To be eligible for the discount discounts, don’t for get to bring your ID!
Now that you know where to bathe in Yilan, you just need to figure where to eat, sleep, and go for other activities. Don’t worry, that information is coming soon!
Name: Jiaoxi Hot Springs Park, or Wenquan Gongyuan (礁溪溫泉公園)
Address: No. 16, Gōngyuán Rd, Jiaoxi Township, Yilan County, Taiwan 262 (宜蘭縣262礁溪鄉公園路16號)
Phone Number: (03) 9872403
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