Beitou, Taipei, Taiwan, Travel Tips, Xinbeitou
Between Beitou, Xin Beitou and the Hot Springs Experience (Taiwan)
It might get confusing at times when Beitou and Xin Beitou are interchangeably used at times. For the benefit of those who are just as confused as I was and to the best of my understanding, Beitou is one of the areas in Taiwan known for its hot springs and contains both the old and the new.
Old Beitou, more commonly known as Beitou, is where the Beitou MRT Station, Beitou Museum and Beitou Market are located. Beitou contains hotels/spas which are slightly more up-scale than those located in Xin Beitou. According to Wikitravel, (old) Beitou is characterized by it high quality spas, good hotels/resorts (e.g. Grand View Resort Beitou/Villa 32), excellent living accommodation and green and lush environment.
|Beitou MRT Station|
|A shop across the Beitou MRT Station with the scooters and bicycles neatly parked|
On the other hand, Xin Beitou (or new Beitou) is near the Xin Beitou MRT Station, the next stop from Beitou MRT Station, and where many (if not most) of the attractions such as the Ketagalan Cultural Center, Thermal Valley (地狱谷), and Beitou Hot Spring Museum (北投溫泉博物館) reside. The public hot springs, Millennium Hot Spring (千禧汤), is also located here, along with many hotels which offer you the hot springs experience at an affordable price ranging from the low (e.g. public bath at 40NT) to mid-range. For the more popular hot springs baths, you might have to trek all the way up to get to your destination, or check to see if there are complimentary shuttle services provided.
|XinBeitou MRT Station|
The attractions in Xin Beitou are accessible via walking (albeit a slightly steep hill, but it makes for good exercise). The moment you step out from the Xin Beitou MRT Station there are signs to guide you.
The Thermal Valley (地狱谷) is right at the end (top) of the (long) walk which takes about 30 minutes to an hour, depending on your walking speed. Along the way, you can stop by to visit the attractions such as the Ketagalan Cultural Center, Taipei Public Library Beitou Branch, Beitou Hot Spring Museum (北投溫泉博物館), Millennium Hot Spring (千禧汤) (Public Bath) and Plum Garden (梅庭).
In comparison to Xin Beitou, Beitou is not as crowded or bustling with activity. There is ample of space between buildings in Beitou, whereas the buildings are more closely built next to each other.
For the hot springs experience (which you can find both in Beitou and Xin Beitou, it just depends on your preference and budget), besides the public community hot springs Millennium Hot Spring (千禧汤), some hotels/resorts also have their own public hot springs within their premises (with hot and cold springs pools, saunas and showers). The only catch is that you (might) have to enjoy your hot springs in the buff.
If you are not comfortable being in the buff and/or having to and be gawked at by others, there are hotels and resorts that offer private rooms for you enjoy, while others simply rent out their normal rooms (with ensuite hot springs baths, beds and all) at an hourly rate. There might be ongoing promotions and discounts so it never hurts to ask.