Taitung (台東) - Zhiben Hot Spring (知本溫泉) [Travel in Taiwan 170707: A Midsummer Night's Dream Part 6] | luomujie blogspot

Taitung (台東) - Zhiben Hot Spring (知本溫泉) [Travel in Taiwan 170707: A Midsummer Night's Dream Part 6]

Eggs, corn and a root crop. If these foods were in front of you, which one would you choose to boil in hot spring water? I've been to the towns of Beitou in Taipei and Jiaoxi in Yilan but it was only here in Zhiben Township in Taitung that I have experienced this kind of activity. At almost 100 °C, an egg can be easily boiled within fifteen minutes. No special equipment is needed, no gas stove, only hot spring water coming from beneath the Earth.

The iconic bridge near Zhiben Hot Springs

For the safety of passersby, a natural hot spring had been marked with a rubber tire.

hot spring hotels in Zhiben
Zhiben had been blessed with this natural resource. As a result, hotels had sprouted. They were constructed as tall as the mountains surrounding the town. In winter, the place is flourishing with tourists. But during summer, Zhiben turns into a ghost town. Thus the so-called blessing is also a curse for the people who live here.

It was sunny to cloudy during our visit in the town.

I must admit that going here during summer was a weird decision. The weather was tricky though in Taitung City. It was raining there that morning so I guessed that the weather in Zhiben must also be the same. 

schedule of Bus 8129

Bus 8129

An expensive-looking hot spring hotel

Bus 8129 was the only public transportation option going to Zhiben. From Taitung Bus Station, my girlfriend and I boarded this bus and after 42 minutes we finally reached this quiet town. Getting off the vehicle from Zhiben Hot Springs stop was even weirder. There were hotels all around and they looked so expensive. We asked ourselves on where to find the famous “Zhiben Hot Springs” but it was nowhere to be found.

Since the town was like a ghost town, we were able to enter an "abandoned" hot spring hotel.  At the grounds of the resort, we found this rectangular hot spring container (or whatever you can call it!).

Visitors will have to place their belongings/clothes on these trays.

A public bath! That's actually what we’re looking for. Imagine an open-air Japanese style onsen with pools of hot spring water in varying temperatures. We would dip our feet there starting from the lowest possible temperature and then transferring to a higher one.

Zhiben Hot Springs

Zhiben Hot Springs. It turns that it was just a series of tiny rooms with its own bathtub. The facility looks clean so we gave it a try. It wasn't different at all with the private hot spring resort hotels. There were two faucets for each bathtub. One is for the hot spring water and the other for cold water. I remember my trip in Wulai in Taiwan Day 519 as I dipped my entire body into the water. According to one of my Travel Buddies who joined that trip, soaking one’s body in hot springs is good for blood circulation.

The hot spring cauldron of a local convenience store near Zhiben Hot Springs 

a tiny bag of quail eggs worth NTD 100

Visitors can also boil other kinds of foold like this rootcrop.


corn and the quail eggs

Since the small bag of quail eggs was expensive, we bought four ordinary eggs worth NTD 10 each.

We placed our eggs in the cauldron for it to get cooked.

After 20 minutes, the boiled eggs were transferred to a basin containing cold water.

Our snacks!

I felt very lucky to have a girlfriend who can speak Chinese. “Chin chan su ...”. She talked to the lady who owns a local convenient store and we were offered to have a tiny bag of quail eggs boiled in hot spring water for NTD 100. The eggs looked so tasty but a bit expensive so we just bought four ordinary ones which cost NTD 10 each. It took a total time of 20 minutes for it to get cooked. A little amount of salt and the boiled eggs became our snacks before we return to Taipei.

Taitung Station

inside the Puyuma express train

Visiting Taitung was the highlight of this east coast trip. But wait there's more! New Taipei City's Gongliao District had been waiting for our arrival since the start of the sand sculpture festival at Fulong Beach. The festival is on its 10th year and I have high expectations for this year's event. (To be continued...)


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