It’s a bright sunny Saturday afternoon in Taipei. The temperature is at a comfortable 28 degree Celsius. Who wouldn’t love this kind of weather? With the sun shining and gentle breeze, the air feels simply… peachy. Autumn has finally arrived.
On this perfect day, I first attended my appointment with the dentist (ouch). After almost an hour of suffering on that chair, I decided to give myself a treat and hopped on the MRT to Xin-Beitou. It takes almost forty minutes from MRT Zhongxiao-Dunhua station to Xin-Beitou, with two transits—one in Taipei Main Station, the other in Beitou. Nevertheless, it’s worth the effort.
Xin-Beitou is famous for its hot springs. Upon getting off the train, you can smell the hot spring sulfur immediately – it distinctly resembles the smell of boiled eggs. I love that scent; it’s a subtle hint that distinguishes itself from the bustling cosmopolitan Taipei. Of course, this little town is full of hot spring hotels. However, even if you’re not interested in those, there’re still plenty of things you could do.
Strolling around Xin-Beitou is a very pleasant experience, to say the least. The air is fresh and the atmosphere relaxed. You can visit Beitou Park, where you can sit by the beautiful fountain featured in the film “Turn Left, Turn Right” (向左走、向右走, starring by Takeshi Kaneshiro and Gigi Leung) and perhaps indulge in a little fantasy while imagining yourself as one of the characters from the film. You can visit the Ketagalan Culture Center and get to know more about the aboriginal culture. A visit to the Hot Spring Museum is also a must. You can see how the place has changed from a Japanese colonial time public bathhouse to what it is today. Last but not the least, don’t forget the renovated Beitou Public Library, which has become a famous spot for its ecological building. The library looks just like a tree house! It’s small wonder that lots of people take the MRT from all ends of Taipei just to catch a glimpse of this interesting building.
As for me, I took a stroll with my friend’s dog in the afternoon. I love strolling down the trail of the park and walking up towards the Hot Spring Museum. Savoring a good cup of coffee by the park side coffee house would make your experience all the better. If you ever get a chance to visit Taipei, make a trip down to Xin-Beitou and you’ll definitely discover a new side of Taipei that you’ll enjoy just as much!
- Sharon Tsui