Taiwan and the hot springs
It bubbles and boils in every corner… And I am not talking about politics. Taiwan sits right on the ring of fire, where volcanoes erupt and earthquakes shakes the land on a nearly daily basis. It is the same ring of fire that stretches down and through Indonesia – but don't worry, most of the earthquakes are not even felt, even if they are registered. But what the earthquakes do do is moving the land around and bringing minerals to the surface, and through that; also a lot of spring water – water rich in minerals, water that is hot from the source, water that is considered to be good both for your skin and mood.
The Taiwanese spring water is a special natural resource that you don't find everywhere; There may be springs in various places, also in such unexpected places like Ramlösa in Sweden and Spa in Belgium, but in Taiwan the water is so plentiful that there in some areas even are normal flats that have hot-spring water straight from the tap in their bathrooms; Yilan, on the wilder East coast being one of those cities.
The Taiwanese hot springs and the tradition to bathe is an old tradition, but it is not originally Taiwanese. The years between 1895 and 1945 is in Taiwanese history often referred to as the Japanese Colonial Era. During this time Taiwan was under Japanese rule, and it was during this era, the baths started to get built; The Japanese have a strong tradition to bathe in what in Japanese is called "Onsen". This is a tradition that they brought with them to Taiwan, and the Taiwanese hot springs started to pop up in every corner of the country where there was access to hot spring water, and even though Japan had to pull back when they were on the losing side of WWII 1945, the Japanese tradition to bathe in the hot springs, the Onsen, had become a Taiwanese tradition, a tradition that it still going strong.
If you travel to Taiwan, at least one visit to a hot spring should be mandatory; They are readily available, from the north to the south – the Beitou/Xinbeitou area in Taipei being the closest area if you like most tourists and business people start your visit in Taipei – you can even take the Metro there. Towards Yilan and down all the way to Kenting, on the east coast, they are very common, but you also find hot springs on the more densely populated and more flat, less earthquake prone west coast – the centre of the seismographic activities in Taiwan are in Hualien, on the east coast, a town where there are often little shakes; Most of them too feeble to be felt, but they are still happening, which means the hot spring water is indeed also more common. Never the less you find hot springs on the west coast too, it just takes a bit more detective work to find them…
Do make sure you fit a visit to the hotsprings in – but make sure you drink plenty of water while in there, follow the recommendations from the locals – and one more thing: Don't go before an important meeting, the hotsprings will make you relaxed and you will sleep very well afterwards.
Which may be one of the reasons why bathing in the hotsprings is said to be so healthy and make you younger.