Taiwan is covered in hot springs. There are famous ones like Beitou, Jinshan and Wulai, but there are also many “wild” ones. Generally the wild ones are a bit more off the beaten track, and are almost always quite difficult to get to. The biggest problem getting to them isn’t the drive or the hike, it’s finding good directions (in English or Chinese). But then again, I guess if they were easy to get to or had good directions, there would be more people there and they wouldn’t be as interesting.
I recently went on a ride down the Northern Cross Island Highway 北橫 with some friends. The main goal of this particular trip was to find a remote, wild hot spring called the Siling Hot Springs 四稜温泉.
To start the story, I have to say that the Northern Cross Island Highway is really a stunning road. Taiwan has several “Cross Island Highways” that crisscross the Island. They run through some of the most remote and unspoiled places that Taiwan has to offer. I’ve already written a quick blog about a trip I took on the Southern and Central Cross Island Highways and hope to cover them in more depth this summer. I also hope to do a more in-depth blog to the Northern Cross Island Highway, but this is all you’re getting for now!
It’s about a three hour drive from Taipei to Siling. Take route 7 (七號公路) south from Sanshia 三峽. It doesn’t take too long for the road to get nice and the city traffic to feel a long way behind you. My favorite part of the road starts just after the big bridge in Fuxing 復興 and ends about 3 hours later in Yilan 宜蘭!
To find the Siling hot springs, pass Baling 巴稜 and the turn-off for Lala Shan 拉拉山. As soon as you pass Lala Shan, the roads road starts to feel really, really out there. The forest feels closer to the road and you feel farther from civilization than you thought possible in Taiwan. About 15 km later, you’ll come to a very small village called Siling 四稜. I noticed that it has a big green sign in Chinese and Pinyin, so you’ll know when you pass it. A few kilometers after that, look for this turn and park your bike:
Hop the guard rail.
And head down the trail.
There are a few turns going down the hill, but basically stay straight on the main trail and follow the hiking flags in the trees if you’re unsure which way to turn. It takes about 45 min to get to the river and hot springs.
The hot spring is on the far side of the river when you get down to it.
The water is crystal clear and the temperature can even be adjusted by moving some PVC pipes around.
Only about 4 people can fit in the hot water at a time.
As usual, check out Stu’s site “Hiking Taiwan” for a map and some proper practicalities.