Thermal Valley conjured up images of bubbling pools with the smell of sulphur wafting along the valley. Once I left Xinbentou Station, I followed a well-maintained pathway by a stream searching for my imagined Thermal Valley.
I found one hotel after another with the occasional odour of sulphur, and a stream that displayed a vague sense of being a hot spring. A sign warned not to put your foot in the water. I’d read the water temperature reached 70 degrees.
Disappointed, I searched for Beitou Green Sulfur Springs but discovered what I think was a power station above the location that sucked up its energy. In fact, perhaps that’s what all the hotels had done, leaving little for the public to witness. Or was I spoilt having been to Rotorua where every volcanic sight was astounding?
Finally, I thought I’d peek into the Xinbeitou’s original train station but all display signs were only written in Taiwanese Cantonese. I was beginning to realize that the Singaporean I’d met the day before had been right. She hadn’t been impressed with anything she saw in Taipei and I was starting to feel the same.
If you’re hoping to cure an ailment and don’t mind a swimming pool hot spring this might be an ideal place, otherwise don’t waste your time. Whatever beauty once existed, has been trampled by buildings.