Having enough of the icy and freezing winter? Consider a refreshing cycling trip in Taiwan! While Taiwan already has some of the best cycling routes in the world and supremely good food, cycling Taiwan during the winter has yet another enjoyable aspect not found in many other places: enjoying hot spring before or after the ride.
Hot Spring & Flames Coming From the Same Source (水火同源)
Since hot springs are naturally located in mountainous areas, many cycling routes in Taiwan have hot spring hotels nearby. Here we introduce two unique hot spring area and great cycling route combos:
- Taipei Beitou's Sulfur Hot Spring + Yangmingshan (台北北投硫磺泉 + 陽明山).
- Tainan Guanziling Muddy Hot Spring + Zengwen Dam (台南關子嶺泥漿泉 + 曾文水庫).
1. Taipei Beitou's Sulfur Hot Spring + Yangmingshan
Beitou night view
About Beitou Hotspring
Beitou (北投) is northernmost district of Taipei. Its hot springs are characterized by a milky-white color and light rotten egg sulfur smell. Due to Taipei being an international city, you can find many five-star hot spring hotels at Beitou, where travelers can enjoy high-class hotel services as well as the unique hot springs.
Milk-white sulfur hot springs
Recommended hotel: Beitou Grand View Resort
Nearby Ride: Yangmingshan
Yangmingshan (陽明山) is Taiwan's biggest volcanic structure and Beitou's hot spring source. Besides its unique volcanic geology, it also has an abundance of historical buildings due to its proximity to Taipei. Lastly, take a little detour from the mountain's north and you can get a glimpse of Taiwan's beautiful northeastern shores.
(Notice: Taipei's weather in winter is a constant drizzle. Be cautious when descending steep hills.)
Beautiful fields and furmarole at left (white line streams)
Temple made of shells
Water filled terraces
Northern shore road
(To read the full Yangmingshan cycling report with detailed route information, click here for the post at Modern Black Hand!)
2. Tainan Guanziling's Muddy Hot Spring + Tsengwen Reservoir
Quiet Guanziling morning country view.
About Guanziling Hotspring
Guanziling (關子嶺) is an area east of Tainan, the oldest city in southern Taiwan. Its hot springs are muddy hot springs characterized by little black particulates in the water and smooth skin feel. Unlike modernized Taipei, you can enjoy a traditional Taiwanese style hot spring resorts here at Guanziling, along with authentic Taiwanese food at nearby Tainan areas (like the great seafood from AnPing in this article).
Muddy hot spring
Fish foot therapy pool. The fish nibble at the dead skin on your feet.
Recommended hotel: The King's Garden Villa.
Nearby Ride: Tsengwen Reservoir
The Tsengwen Reservoir is the biggest Taiwan reservoir by volume. The road surrounding the reservoir (State #3) is wide and has light traffic. There is also a tall viewing platform to view the entire reservoir. Finally, the road connecting back to Guanziling (County #175) has a lot of small cafes, hence the nickname "The Coffee Highway".
- During winter air quality at areas closer to Tainan can be bad. It is recommended to get a mask from local stores for those sensitive to air particulates.
- Be sure to bring a night-use headlight to cross Taiwan's dim tunnels.
Poinsettias and betel nut trees along the reservoir road
Upper right of the reservoir
The viewing platform. It has elevators to help people get up to the top.
Central reservoir view
Looking down from the top of the dam
(To read the full TsengWen Reservoir cycling report with detailed route information, click here for the post at Modern Black Hand!)
About the Author
Alan lived and cycled in Washington State for many years and currently lives in Taiwan. His blog Modern Black Hand features Taiwan cycling routes, beers as well as web/IoT projects.