Taiwan Fun Magazine, January 2004


Jiaosi Hot Springs Festival

Compiled by Selena Huang Translated by Sheng Chen

     There's no need to go abroad this Chinese New Year. The First Jiaosi Hot Springs Festival, held by Ilan County Government, will warm you up from December 25, 2003, to February 1, 2004--from Christmas to Chinese New Year.

     Ilan's distinctive geological make-up means that an abundance of heated groundwater gushes out from faults at various places, including Jiaosi, which is one of the few places in Taiwan where hot springs can be found on level ground. During the Qing Dynasty, the springs--then known as Tangwei Hot Springs--were considered one of the Eight Sights of Lanyang. Jiaosi's springs originate from the foot of a mountain behind Fuchong Temple in Deyang Village. Two public baths remain from the era when local residents would bathe in the steamy stream. The springs are clear and alkaline, with traces of potassium chloride, sodium sulfate, potassium bicarbonate, boric acid, sulfur, and organic matter. Crowds of people are lured here by the smooth, non-sticky nature of the water, and its curative powers for those with skin or gastric diseases.

     During the festival, there will be three outdoor theme areas: The Dynamic Spa Area, the Visual Arts Spa Area, and the Spiritual Spa Area. If one is looking for a lavender (comfortable) spa, a rosemary (vital) spa, a rose (delightful) spa, a green tea (long life) spa, or a vegetable (countryside) spa, the Dynamic Spa Area is the place to be. The forest (natural) spa, golden jujube (Ilan) spa, and bamboo (noble) spa are in the Visual Arts Spa Area, while the ginger (slimming) spa, milk (skin care) spa and good health spa are found in the Spiritual Spa Area.

     After soaking, visitors can take a look at Jiaosi's cultural attractions. The Jiaosi Service Center will be remodeled into the Hot Springs Museum, and the Taiwan Bank Service Center will become the Hot Springs Assembly Hall, displaying literature and historical materials about springs from the Little Beitou era to the Nakaxi Culture, and finally to the hydropathical spas today.

     For those who like to be more active, there will be different theme events each day. Along with the Street Arts Show and Puppet Carnival, there will be Old Songs-Nakaxi Request on Monday, a Chinese zither performance on Tuesday, outdoor movies on Wednesday, classical music on Thursday, a creative music performance on Friday, a pop music night on Saturday, plus romantic jazz on Sunday. Individuals or groups interested in costume parades can join the Carnival Parade, and display their creative costumes every Saturday.

     Can't resist the temptation of local products? Put on hot springs togs, sold by sponsors, or clogs made by the Baimi (White Rice) Community, and get ready to go shopping.

     Ilan County Government is working with local hotels, restaurants, and local product stores to promote the Tourist Passport, which gives discounts and bargains to passport holders.

     - Getting There:

1. By Car: From Taipei, take Provincial Road No. 2 (Binhai Rd.) to Toucheng, then Provincial Road No. 9 to Jiaosi.
2. By Car: From Taipei, take Beiyi Rd., then switch to Provincial Road No. 9 to Jiaosi.
3. By Bus: From Taipei Station, take the Kuo-Kuang Bus Company's Binhai (Coast) Line or Beiyi Line toward Luodong or Suao, and get off at Jiaosi.
4. By Train: To Chiao-hsi (Jiaosi) station on the North-Link Line, then walk five minutes to the festival site.