Monday, April 27, 2015

Taipei Throwback: It Drizzled All Day at Beitou

It really was no fun to be caught in a rainy season in Taipei when most of the attractions we wanted to visit were all outdoor attractions. We woke up on Day 4 to the forecast of a rainy day again and decided we should do a Beitou Hot Spring (新北投溫泉) that day -- an indoor resort should it rain heavily and an outdoor one if the weather was clear. We also considered Yangmingshan National Park depending on the weather.




Beitou(北投)is the northernmost district of Taipei City. Recognized for its hot springs, historical sites, and lush greenery, it is the ideal getaway from the hustle and bustle of Taipei’s crowded business districts. The name Beitou originates from the Ketagalan aborigine word for the area, Kipatauw (“home of witches”), as many of the local rivers and ponds emit an eerie steam due to geothermal warming of the hot springs.

During the Japanese colonial era (1895-1945), the area was developed into a hot springs resort. In the early days, Beitou was a renowned red light district where men would go there for the hot springs, a good feast and the beautiful young female performers. The Taiwanese government began to clean up the area in the late 1980s, and today it is one Taiwan’s major tourist attractions with numerous well-preserved architectural treasures dating back over 100 years as well as one of the highest concentrations of hot springs in the world.
[Edited and condensed from Escape2Taiwan]




~*Lu Rou Fan (滷肉飯) for Lunch Again*~

We did not eat from the same stall near to our hotel as we walked the other direction. I didn't quite like the porky taste of the braised pork rice from this stall.





~*The Ride from Beitou Station to Xinbeitou Station*~

While waiting for the MRT to take us to Xinbeitou (新北投) Station, the hubz made a mental note on where we should go later since his only contribution of research on Beitou was from this post.




We had to take the Red Line to Beitou Station and change MRT to the Pink Line to get to Xin Beitou Station just a stop away. While waiting, these cute little big nose naked people would entertain you.




What a happy little MRT! Watch my Instagram video of the train.




The MRT to Xin Beitou is decked in cheery colours and its interior is just as adorable. You could see large screens that resemble paintings introducing the area, as well as computerized tables in the shape of wooden bath tubs that provide information on Beitou.




The hubz had that come-punch-me act cute Korean idol pout. You know how I dislike those effeminate fair skin, red lips Korean boys? He insisted that's the 木村拓哉 aka Kimura Takuya pout and not those Korean idol pout I dislike.




At Xin Beitou Station, the cute little big nose naked people welcomed us again with their exhibitionist poses.




The Ketagalan Culture Center (凱達格蘭文化館) is Taiwan’s first cultural center dedicated to the island’s aboriginal people.  The center is named after the extinct aboriginal people who originally inhabited Beitou.  It is said that 200 Ketagalan people populated Beitou at the beginning of Japanese colonial rule, however none survived.  The museum gives a broad overview of the history of 14 different Taiwanese aboriginal groups, with displays of the tools and dress used at the time.
[Edited and condensed from Escape2Taiwan]





~*Exploring Beitou Park*~

Beitou Park would have been really beautiful if the skies weren't dreary and grey. The light drizzle added on to the dreariness.




Beitou Public Library (北投圖書館) is a green library which received the "Green Building" certification. Read more about Taipei's leading green library here.




That little sign in the lotus pond states that the water contains sulphuric contents and hence is not suitable for fang sheng (放生)  aka animal release.




I love how rustic and natural Beitou looks!




The Beitou Hot Spring Museum was closed as it was a Monday. You know when you are on a holiday, you somehow forgot the weekdays and the weekends.




What luck it was to see the close sign.




Where should we head to next? Ah, the Thermal Valley!




Along the way, we saw a few public hot springs but only the Beitou Garden Outdoor Hot Spring (北投公园露天温泉) was cluttered with people due to the cheap rates at only NT$40 per person.




As we were walking, we saw this group of structures that looked out of place in the rustic and lush environment. It is the Spirit of the Forest artwork.




The artist's statement sounds so lyrical but I do think that the artwork resembles some cheesy playground structure in Singapore from the 70s.




We saw lots and lots of old uncles and aunties soaking their feet in the outdoor hot spring so it was a refreshing sight to see pretty gals doing the same.




We finally reached the Thermal Valley but all we saw were the padlocked gates. Monday! *groans*




Quaint little places.




We reached a fork road and it was time to decide which resort to choose. Have I already mentioned that we did not do any prior research on resorts as there were simply an overwhelming number of reviews online and an overload of information? There I was standing in the rain and googling some of these names to make sure that they were at least 3.5 stars and above.





~*Hotel Double One*~

We settled for Hotel Double One (倆人旅店) which boasts a 4-star rating on Trip Advisor, Agoda, Expedia etc. We got an upgrade from the normal room (Suite Love) to the most expensive room (Suite Only) at no extra cost as they ran outta rooms. Great service too. What a blessing of an impromptu decision!




It was just a 2-hour soak and it was a pity that we couldn't enjoy the full amenities like the sauna at such a short duration. View my Instagram video of the room.




The room is semi-modern and the tiles look a little old fashion but overall, I like the rustic feel of an onsen resort rather than a super luxurious and modern feel of a hotel. View my Instagram video of the bathroom.




Time for a soak!




The hubz lamented that I spent so much time taking photos and videos that the 2 hours would soon be up before I knew it.




The package came with complimentary tea.




I thought that the complimentary tea was just some tea and cookies. I simply wasn't expecting my favourite xiao long bao and double boiled chicken soup. The appetizers were also very delicious that we lapped up everything. Yummy!




Left: Xiao Long Bao. Double boiled chicken soup.
Right: Appetizers. Roselle Flower in a tangy sauce. Various vegetables as appetizers.




We had green bean soup for desserts. Coffee wasn't on the menu but when the hubz asked for it, the affable waiter readily served us a cup each. We spoke quite a bit to the waiter who shared some interesting stories with us. He also pointed to the lolling grey clouds amongst the misty mountains and agreed that we were right in not going to Yangmingshan that day. If it were drizzling or rainy at Beitou, it would be raining even more heavily at Yangmingshan.




We had a good time at Hotel Double One! Everyone from the counter staff to the one who showed us to our room to the waiter all made us feel like we were special guests. Thumbs up for the great service!




It was evening by the time we left the hotel. The twinkling blue lights were on and the place looked so magical. Erm... apparently you can't see if from the photo.





~*Exploring Beitou Again*~

We continued exploring Beitou district and were intrigued by how these accommodation looked like only the rich stayed there.




However, we wondered about the splash of bold red paint on the gate. Somebody owed loan sharks money?




I do think that after numerous attempts, I managed to get some good jump shots of kh which proved that my photo taking skill is good. He insisted that it was because he knew how to jump.






On the other hand after numerous jumping attempts from me, I still do not have a good shot. Kh maintained that it was because I'm a lousy jumper.




He has a nice non-blurry jump shot while I have nothing!
He shouted, "You have to remain in the air at the highest point!"
I didn't know how to defy gravity. Still don't.



We didn't understand this sign at all. No entry during holidays?




A church stood out from the usual scenes.




The hubby loved to do lame stuff.




So I followed suit too.




I believe this is Beitou Quanyuan Park.




The water here flowed like rapids. In fact the part where the water rushed down the strongest, we saw a half naked man who was just lying there amongst the rocks like he owned the world.




The sign says "Beware. You would vaporize if you fall into the water." You didn't believe that right?




We had walked almost the whole of the Xinbeitou Hot Spring Zone judging from the map.




Doesn't this old crumbled concrete bridge beside the new wooden bridge look strange?




The old bridge is called Ji Ta Qiao. I snapped a picture of the Chinese description and thought I could easily google some information about this old bridge in English but I couldn't.




It was growing darker and colder by 6pm, signalling an end to our trip at Beitou.




We took one last wefie shot at the rustic Beitou before making our way back to the urbanization.




Spot the cat and spot the half naked people at the public bath.




What a posh looking contemporary hot spring hotel!




There's even a hot spring hotel in what looked like residential apartments.




Down the "mountain" and into urbanization.




This structure at Xinbeitou Station was our last sight of Beitou. Our next Taipei adventure would see us at Shilin Night Market (士林夜市). It was the night I enjoyed the most as I met up with my gal pal and her sister. Kh was the happiest coz that meant MORE people to share MORE VARIETY of food at the night market. Stay tuned for the next Taipei Throwback!




I would end this post with a funny English translation. Yes yes, I surrender. I shall yield my seat.




Past Taipei Throwback posts:
Taipei Throwback: First Night in Taipei
Taipei Throwback: The Curiosities in Modern Toilet Restaurant and Ximen Red House
Taipei Throwback: Bopiliao Old Street, Longshan Temple and Taipei Botanical Garden
Taipei Throwback: Liberty Square, Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall and Shida Night Market
Taipei Throwback: Taipei 101 and Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall
Taipei Throwback: Zui Ma La Hot Pot, Wufenpu and Raohe Night Market
Taipei Throwback: A Laidback Day at Tamsui Fisherman's Wharf and Tamsui Old Street


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Answers and views to my previous post "What Do You See In This Picture?" has been revealed and comments published and replied. I know some of you are burning with curiosity so do check back on the pink portions and the comments section.

36 comments:

  1. Beautiful post, really interesting...thx for sharing!

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  2. It's always sad when aboriginal peoples disappear. :(
    Spirit of the a Forest? I don't get that either. The hotel people knew you two didn't need Suite Love because you still have sweet love--such stood couple! I saw the cat, but refused to look for the people. :)

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    1. "--such a good couple!" I need to stop using my iPod to post comments. :(

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    2. Always so sweet, Rick. =) I've to read more about the aboriginal people of Beitou. After some of you mentioned in the comments, it got me inspired to find some info on them. I could never do any blog stuff on my iPhone. It has to be the laptop. I tried. Lots of typo and autocorrect. I suppose that's what happened to you!

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  3. Jo... it looks like you had a pretty great time minus the rain... your hubby is funny... I love the pics of you both in the air.. not sure how either of you got them... I don't have the right camera... lolo ( we'll go with that)

    I'n happy to hear you are back to exercising, it's not easy but with time it will be worth it... I need to add some strength training, that is my weakness... I really need to strengthen my knees ♡

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    1. That's a good one, Launna. I shall also go with "I don't have the right camera". People could take such nice jump shots and I don't think I'm a lousy photographer or a lousy jumper.

      I'm also happy to see all your walk progress on FB. Is it some app which shows the map and route? I should check out one of these apps too. Hope you managed to find an exercise routine that strengthens your knees.

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  4. I've read about hot springs before (I think for their healing/medical benefits). There are so many of them! That, I wasn't aware of! HaHaHa So sorry the weather wasn't the best and some things weren't open, but you two really covered a lot! Loving the big nose naked people! HaHaHa The food looked delicious. I bet it's really important to pay attention to hotel ratings. Glad they upgraded your room.
    http://www.averysweetblog.com/

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    1. I would love to try those hot springs in Japan. I read that they are better than the ones at Beitou. I didn't really feel any healing or medical benefits though I reckon that the soaking should be done on a more regular basis for any results to be seen. Certainly true, I would always check a few websites for hotel ratings and even read the reviews from real people before booking any hotel. Hence, I simply had to do that albeit last minute for the one at Beitou.

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  5. Yes, often in New York City big nose naked people can be found as well, but they are actual PEOPLE there so count yourself lucky :) You guys always find the most lovely food! Boo for those odd places closed on Monday. Our art museum here in town operates that way as well as one of my favorite eateries. I do so enjoy your travel posts. I get to see places I never would otherwise and also get a good feel for them.

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    1. Ooh, tell me more about NYC's big nose naked people! I'm wondering if you're joking or is it really true. I guess many places close on Monday to remain open on weekends when they would be more crowd. I think even if we knew that many places in Beitou would be closed, we would still proceed, Due to the rain that day, we thought Beitou would be better as we wouldn't wanna go the remaining places on our list in the rain. But Booo... you would see soon as I update the next few days how it rained even harder.

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    2. I was joking about NYC and yet I cannot promise you that this is a site you would not encounter there :) Did you 2 sing "Rain Rain Go Away, Come again another day"? That always works!

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    3. No that rain song doesn't work. Only a mum would say that to lie to the kids. =D

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  6. so nice that the rain didn't ruin your time because if the photos are any indication you had a lovely time! The jump photos are adorable...I love taking jump shots too despite the fact they hardly ever look right...but the ones that are a bit clumsy are really the most adorable ones.

    I like your black swimsuit...I have a similar one, I think...I will have to raid my closet, sometimes I just lose stuff.

    Beautiful, beautiful photos...the nature looks wonderful...and the food...why, you worked up my appetite!

    p.s. I remember commenting on the last post, but I guess because of my poor internet connection the comment didn't make it...shame:) It was an interesting reading the other comments and how most of the people noticed blood...however, I think it because you suggested that there is something to notice. One sees things like that only upon closer view!

    xoxo

    http://modaodaradosti.blogspot.com/

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    1. Yes, the photos look otherwise eh? I love how they turned out despite the drizzle. It rained even harder the next few days when we visited those places which would be lovely if it didn't rain. You would see in the next few posts when I update about them. Those look really dreary.

      I love that black bikini too. I got them so cheaply in Tenzenis Italy. They don't even have such good ones in Singapore for double that price.

      So sad that your comment did not go through my previous post. I agree with you that if I hadn't mentioned anything amiss in the picture, many would not purposely look out for it and notice the bloody thumb tack.

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    2. the black bikini I have I bought in a china shop for next to nothing...I was never in habit of spending much on bikinis because I used to swim a lot, so they never lasted long. I did spend a lot on bras for a while but I gave up on that...I'm not going to hand wash them no matter the price, so they won't last long either. However, speaking of Italy I was really surprised how much cheaper the sunglasses are there than here...and regular glasses (that is frames) as well.

      ...and speaking of rain, it is always rains when it shouldn't, right? For the last few days, the weather was nothing short of heavenly...and naturally I had to spend them locked in the house because I have a project I need to finish. That's just life...

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  7. What a marvellous place, really enjoyed all these pictures. I would definitely like to ride this train, why can't all trains be decorated like this one, it would be much more fun to ride on. All the trees and such are wonderful to see as well, looks really peaceful and of course as usual, I loved all the food, haha!! Always time to eat with me ;) Happy Monday to you my dear, I hope you have a fun and happy week :) xx

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    1. The train reminded me of the Disney line train to Hong Kong Disney World too. I guess it would be really expensive to have such cute train carriages for all trains though it would really make commuting a joy. You seemed to be open to many kinds of cuisine. We would definitely enjoy a meal together!

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  8. I feel quite curious about Ketagalan people now...I might google that!

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    1. After some of you mentioned in the comments, it got me inspired to find some info on the aboriginal people too!

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  9. Omg Jo I'm soooo blind. I haven't noticed the bloody thumb tack and it's so huge haha. Yes you need a new wallpaper soon. Seriously we live in stone age over here. I have never seen a cute train like that. Boy everything is so boring over here. I don't think that you're a bad jumper. Hubby isn't a good photographer hahaha. My sister and I always argue about our photographer skills. She tells me I'm not good at it. I say but your pics always look great. She: That's because I know how to pose. I say you can't take good pics of me. She: You can't pose haha! A never ending story.
    You might be right. Maybe I got tagged before but I didn't know what it was. I'm really looking forward to make the tag post. Hopefully it won't take forever. Wish you a happy Monday Jo :D

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    1. It's ok. Imagine me noticing the bloody thumb tack only after so long and I kept having the thoughts that it is such a beautiful picture. I still haven't found a new wallpaper that has an empty left side for my desktop icons to be visible enough. I could use the kitty one I use on my home laptop but I want work and home to be separate. OMG, I literally lol at your sharing about your sis and you arguing about photographer skills. Really funny and cute, all these squabbles!

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  10. You obviously did have lots of fun. Beautiful place. Have more travels and enjoy more! :)

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  11. Oh dear Jo! The more I see of Taiwan through other friends travels the more I want to go! My only slight issue is that my mandarin is not totally fluent! However it looks like taiwan is still totally friendly to english speaking tourists! Omg, I could never get tired of Lu rou fan but my mother too is sensitive to the 'porky' smell that sometimes can be strong. I wish I could have been there to see all those gorgeous and creative painting! The sign about vaporizing into the water is hilarious! I just got back from Bali yesterday night with my boyfriend! We've been away for more than a week so I have lots to catch up on! Love these travel posts from you, their so colorful and who doesn't like seeing vacation photos? :))

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    1. My Mandarin isn't exactly fluent too but I could still survive. Hehe... Well, they often just mistake us for Japanese until my hubby opened his mouth. Then they would be shocked and asked where we were from though some could pick out our Singlish/ Singapore accent and guess it right. You know, you can look like a mix so they might probably just think you're a mixed and hence not fluent in Mandarin. I think I would be going Bali this May or June. Where did you stay? Is it just 1 resort or did you all move around? How exciting if I could see your Bali post before I go.

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  12. *shudders at the images of pork*, seriously Jo you've grossed me out hahaha! I've probably mentioned I don't like pork (or that I'm a fussy eater) and that taste you describe, blah I know too well which is why I don't like it. At least i hope we're talking about the same taste. Probably not though. ;o) You redeemed yourself with dumplings! Hahaha! Also that train is taking me back to my trip (long ago) to HK and catching a train to Disneyland. The interior of that train was INSANE Jo! Ahhhh me and my friend went nuts at all the Disney stuff crammed into that small space. From those iconic Mickey Mouse hand-holding things that hand from the ceiling so you don't fall about when the train takes off and stops and to the mini statues protected away from my prying hands that lined the walls. I love these travel throwback posts. I want you to show me Taipei and Singapore one day. Oh we'd have so much fun - just don't be annoyed with me if I refuse to try something haaaaahaaaaahaaaa! ;o)

    Sxx
    www.daringcoco.com

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    1. Wahaha... You seriously don't eat many things. For Chinese, pork is the staple meat. We have pork in lots of our cooking. You mentioned fussy eater but pork, I can't remember. I think we are talking about the same porky taste. Dumplings are filled with pork too but those are nice. Hehehe...Oh yes, I went HK Disneyland like 7 years ago and I remember that magical carriage. So cute right? Make every adult feel like a child. I will make you eat 1 bite of every dish and then I would annoy you instead of you annoying me with your refusal. Lol.

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  13. ahh I miss Taiwan, and it looks like you had a lot of fun there! even with the rain!

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    1. Yup, we did despite the rain. It rained even more the next few days.

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  14. It's that the rain didn't really dampen the fun time you guys had in Beitou. I love that you always show us what your accommodations look like as I'm fascinated by hotel rooms especially those in Asia. And the other part I enjoy is the yummy food. Xiao long bao is one of my favorites too! What a wonderful treat that it was included in your tea service.

    Rowena @ rolala loves

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    1. The rain didn't dampen anything at Beitou though it did for the next 2 days. It rained heavier when we were at destinations that required the good old sun. Hehe... It's a habit to take photo or video tour of all my accommodation. I like to remember it that way. Glad people like you enjoy it too! Xiao long bao is the best!

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  15. Hi,
    very informative post about Beitou. I am planning a trip to Taiwan coming Oct and would like to check with you if your stay at the Double One hotel is just 2hrs? How do you reserve it or its just walk-in? As i was not given the option to reserve just for the private hot spring at the hotel website. Thanks!

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  16. Hi CG,
    As stated in the post, we did not make any reservation and it was a last minute walk in. Are you planning to stay for a night or just a 2-hour transit? There are many hotels and resorts there that offer the 2-hour stay. We didn't reserve beforehand because of the rainy weather and decided to just try our luck walking into whichever resort that had at least a 3.5 star rating. I would recommend making reservation if you're staying for the night and walking in if its just a 2-hour stay. If one resort isn't available, there are still many to choose from. =) Hope you find one that you like!

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  17. Hi. Is this the end of your Taipei update? I have been referring to some blogs for my planning and yours is one of them. It seems like this isn't your last day in Taipei but I notice no more new updates for quite a long time. If so, will you be continuing your travels?

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    1. Hi Anon,

      This is my last Taipei post on the blog:
      http://iamjolene.blogspot.sg/2015/05/taipei-throwback-good-food-great.html

      You're right about this not being my last day. My next Taipei post has been on draft since last November. I couldn't find the time to do travel blog posts as these usually take time. But you know what? A few other people have been asking me the same question on email and I would try my very best to continue the Taipei throwback posts before they have the same fate as my Europe ones. ;)

      Delete

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