Jiaoxi Hot Spring: A Guide to My Favorite Spa Village in Taiwan

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Jiaoxi Hot Spring (礁溪溫泉, also spelled Jiaosi Hot Spring) is my favorite Taiwan’s many amazing hot springs. Jiaoxi is a rural township at the north end of Yilan County in Northeastern Taiwan, making it one of the best day trips from Taipei.

My friends/family and I have been to Jiaoxi as day and overnight trips well over a dozen times. We find it offers the perfect balance of convenience, unique hot springs, quirky eating & drinking options, and outdoor activities. Obviously it’s best to visit when it’s winter in Taiwan (December, January, February, and March), but there are enough things to do in Jiaoxi to justify coming anytime of the year.

In this article I’m going to cover getting from Taipei to Jiaoxi, Jiaoxi hot spring park, the best hot spring spas in Jiaoxi, where to stay in Jiaoxi, best Jiaoxi restaurants, and hiking in Jiaoxi.

For more things to do in the surrounding area, see my article on 40 fun things to do in Yilan.

If you’re planning a trip around Taiwan, you can save money by taking advantage of the many travel deals on Klook. Sign up with this link to save TWD100 on your first activity.

Why I Love Jiaoxi So Much

My son at a guesthouse (minzu) in Jiaoxi, Yilan
My son outside a house that we rented in the rice fields around Jiaoxi

To begin with, I’ll tell you what Jiaoxi Hot Spring is not. It is not one of those serene hot springs looking over a stunning valley in a remote natural setting (for that maybe you can try Wulai Hot Spring in New Taipei City, or Tai’an Hot Spring in remote Miaoli County).

Jiaoxi is a small tourist town filled with hot spring resorts and spas near the coast in Yilan. Besides the convenience of being able to get there in an hour or less from Taipei, the town has the largest collection of hot spring facilities within easy reach of Taipei, perfect for anyone living in the Taiwanese capital.

If you’re traveling around Taiwan with kids or live in Taipei with kids like we do, Jiaoxi is the perfect place for a fun staycation. Last but not least, it has cheaper prices for what you get than at Beitou Hot Springs in Taipei City.

Among Jiaoxi’s many spas, you’ll find two of my favorite in Taiwan (I’ll get to that below), not to mention Jiaoxi Hot Spring Park, where you can soak your feet in hot spring water while enjoying locally produced craft beer. Add to that a few awesome and quirky local food options and some excellent waterfalls and hiking trails just out of town, and you having the makings for an all-around awesome day trip from Taipei.

For something truly unique, trying bathing in mud at Guanziling Hot Spring in Tainan.

Getting from Taipei to Jiaoxi

Us at Wufengqi Waterfall, one of the most famous Jiaoxi attractions
My parents, wife & son at Wufengqi Waterfall in Jiaoxi (see what camera I shoot all my photos with here!)

Jiaoxi is the first village that drivers encounter when exiting the 13-kilometer Xueshan Tunnel, one of the longest tunnels in Asia, which cuts through the mountains between Taipei and Yilan County.

This means that taking the bus is the fastest and best way of getting to Jiaoxi. Buses depart from Taipei Bus Station (north of Taipei Main Train Station) or Taipei City Hall MRT (from the MRT, head up the escalators on the west side and enter the bus station on the ground floor). The bus costs around TWD150 and takes just under an hour (may be longer during rush hour). Seats on the bus are guaranteed, and buses leave regularly.

A slower option, and you may or may not get a seat, is the local train. Trains from Taipei Main Station to Jiaoxi Station take 1.5-2 hours and cost TWD100-200, depending on which one you get. You may want to consider the train when traveling at peak traffic hours, though, for example at the start of long weekend when everyone is driving out of Taipei, as the Xueshan Tunnel can get clogged. The same thing applies when returning to Taipei, for example, on a Sunday late afternoon. You can swipe your EasyCard (see my EasyCard guide) to get on the train, but the Taipei Unlimited Fun Pass won’t cover this journey.

The Jiaoxi Train Station is right at the center of town, while buses will drop you just north of the town center on the main road coming into town (labeled “Jiaoxi Transfer Station” on GoogleMaps).

You can also hire a private driver to take you from Taipei to Jiaoxi.

If you plan to visit the waterfall outside of town of other places in Yilan county, consider renting a scooter in Jiaoxi or renting a car for your Yilan explorations.

Read about other places I love in Taiwan and and Taipei, or follow my recommended Taiwan itinerary.

Jiaoxi Hot Spring Park

One of the best parts of visiting Jiaoxi is hanging out in the free outdoor Jiaoxi Hot Spring Park. In fact, there are two hot spring parks in Jiaoxi:

Tangweigou Hot Spring Park

Fish nibbling on people's skin in a foot soaking hot spring tub in Tangweigou hot spring park, one of the quirkiest things to do in Yilan
Passing the time, Jiaoxi-style

The main hot spring park in Jiaoxi is called Tangweigou Hot Spring Park (湯圍溝溫泉公園). The park stretches between Jiaoxi Street (礁溪路五段) and Deyang Road (德陽路). You can find the entrance on Jiaoxi Street just a few blocks from the train station, or click here to find it.

A hot spring creek flows through Tangweigou Hot Spring Park, and there are numerous spots where you can soak your feet. There are also several ponds filled with fish that will nibble the dead skin off your feet (it seriously tickles!) for a small fee.

Our friends drinking green beer at Tangweigou hot spring park in Jiaoxi
Cheers to green Jiaoxi beers!

The hot spring park has numerous food stalls, including Yilan’s most famous specialty: green onion cakes (see eating in Jiaoxi section below).

There used to be some beer vendors in the park, mainly serving draft beer from local Yilan brewery Mai Tian Fresh Brewed Beer (麥田現釀啤酒). The beers include wheat (小麥), barley (大麥), rye (黑麥), and spirulina (green algae or 螺旋藻).

My friends and I used to get a pitcher of “Jiaoxi green beer” every time we visited Jiaoxi. Unfortunately, these vendors seemed to have all closed, but you can still find the green beer at the two hot spring ramen places in town (see below).

Jiaoxi Hot Spring Park

A park with boardwalk and creek and covered hot spring foot soaking tubs on the left
Foot soaking tubs (covered area on left) in Jiaoxi Hot Spring Park

There is a second hot spring park in Jiaoxi that is called Jiaoxi Hot Springs Park, found here on GoogleMaps. You can find it northeast of the town center, across from the Jiaoxi Bus Station. It is a quieter version of the other hot spring park, with wooden paths and foot soaking tubs in a more natural setting, with no food or drink stalls.

There is also a public warm swimming pool and public hot spring facility (礁溪鄉公所溫泉游泳池 on GoogleMaps) in the park. It’s not the nicest in town, but entrance is only TWD100 for adults. It is mixed sex, bathing suits required. Check the times on GoogleMaps before going.

The Best Jiaoxi Hot Spring Resorts

There are a few hot spring spas in Jiaoxi that stand out above the rest (we’ve tried quite a few, but not all, or course). These are the ones that we keep going to again and again, every time we go to Jiaoxi.

Jiaoxi Chuan Tang Spring Spa Hotel

Chuan Tang Hot Spring Spa Jiaoxi, one of the best hot springs in Yilan
My wife and kids at Chuan Tang, our favorite spa in Jiaoxi

Our number one favorite hot spring resort in Jiaoxi is called Chuan Tang Spring Spa Hotel Deyang (川湯春天溫泉飯店, spelled “Chuang” Tang on their website). We usually just enter for a soak, but you can also spend the night (see on Booking / Agoda / Klook / TripAdvisor).

It is located two blocks in front of the train station at #43 Deyang Road (礁溪德陽路43號), with a second, newly renovated second location right beside the train station called (Chuan Tang Spring Spa Hotel or 川湯春天旗艦館 (see on Booking). We haven’t been to this one yet, but in the pictures, it looks very similar to the old one, but newer and nicer, so definitely worth checking out!

The main reason we love this hot spring is because of the sheer variety of hot spring baths inside. There are around a dozen pools with scented and colored hot spring water, from vibrant yellow sulfur springs and pink rose to purple lavender and brown oolong tea.

Waterpark for kids at Chuan Tang Hot Spring, a family friendly hot spring in Jiaoxi, Yilan
Children’s section at Chuan Tang Hot Spring

They’ve also got a foot-nibbling fish pond, water park for kids, huge massage jet room, hot spring with mahjong table in the center, and scented steam rooms – the Chinese herbs steam room is my personal fave. You will not find facilities like this or scented/colored waters at any of the hot spring resorts in Beitou.

Entrance to Chuan Tang for non-guests of the hotel is TWD320 (230 on weekdays), less than half what you’d pay for most hot spring resorts in Taipei. A locker key is included, but you’ll want to bring your own towel and swimming hat, otherwise you’ll have to rent them.

Fish eating dead skin off my feet at Chuang Tang Hot Spring, Jiaoxi
How ticklish are your feet?
Yellow-colored sulfur hot spring at Chuan Tang Spring Spa hotel in Jiaoxi
Sage and I in the sulfur spring at Chuan Tang

Jiaoxi Art Spa Hotel

Jiaoxi Art Spa Hotel, one of the best hot springs in Jiaoxi
Colored hot spring tubs at Art Spa Hotel

Our second favorite hot spring resort in Jiaoxi is Art Spa Hotel 中冠礁溪大飯店 (see on Booking / Agoda / Klook / TripAdvisor), which is also on Deyang Road and even closer to Jiaoxi Train Station. Art Spa Hotel’s outdoor spa is most famous for having a super tall hot spring water slide. It also has a young children’s water play area, but kids need to be above a certain height to ride on the tall waterslide.

The reason I rank this one as second is that it doesn’t have as many scented/colored hot spring tubs as Chuan Tang, nor does it have the scented steam room or foot-nibbling fish pond. It’s still a great choice, though.

A hot water slide at Jiaoxi Art Spa Hotel, the best hot spring for kids in Yilan
Hot water slide at Art Spa Hotel
Woman getting water massage at Art Spa Hotel in Yilan
My sister under the massage jets at Art Spa Hotel

Private Hot Spring Room Deals

Most hotels in Jiaoxi have private hot spring rooms that you can rent for 6o to 120 minutes. If you just show up, you can walk around and see the prices and pictures of the rooms displayed in most hotel lobbies. You can also pre-pay for your soak with the below deals. If you notice that some listings mention “soup” a lot, this is just a poor translation of the Chinese word 湯, which can mean soup or hot spring.

For a private hot spring room in a modern hotel with views from the room, I recommend this hot spring deal at Mu Jiaoxi Hotel and this hot spring deal at Valletta Hotel.

For a cheaper soak, but in more basic facilities, try this one, this one, or this one.

Hot Spring Hotels for Overnight Stay

While Chuan Tang and Art Spa are our two tried-and-tested favorite hot spring spas in Jiaoxi, they aren’t necessarily the best places to stay in Jiaoxi. Both the older Chuan Tang and Art Spa Hotel are dated hotels and seem overpriced for the rooms you get.

Virtually all hot hotels in Jiaoxi come with private hot spring tubs in the rooms and/or a communal hot spring facility (often nude and sex segregated).

Best Budget Hotel in Jiaoxi

One Fukun Hot Spring Hotel in Jiaoxi
This is one fukun good hotel.

One Fukun Hotel (also called “Fukuoka No. 1 Hot Spring Hotel”) (see on Booking / Agoda / Klook / TripAdvisor).

Besides winning the award for best hotel name in Jiaoxi, we digged the love hotel vibes (cheesy more so than creepy) at One Fukun, with purple lights galore, private hot spring tub in the room, and mixed sex hot spring facility in the basement (bathing suits required).

This hotel is ideal for couples on a budget, but we also found it perfectly fine with our two young kids. In fact, Fukun is a chain, so there are 7 Fukun hotels that I know of!

Best Family-Friendly Hotel in Jiaoxi

Chuang-tang Spring Spa Hotel (川湯春天旗艦館) (see on Booking / Agoda / TripAdvisor), which I described above as the newer location of our favorite spa in Jiaoxi, is also an awesome place to stay with kids.

They’ve got a whole range of themed rooms for kids, not to mention you get access to one of the best and most kid-friendly hot springs in Jiaoxi, complete with kids water play area and water blasters.

Best House Rental

Several times our group of friends in Taipei has gone to Jiaoxi and rented an entire large house on the outskirts of Jiaoxi, called a minsu (民宿 or “guesthouse/B&B”).

These large houses are surrounded by rice parties, and the perfect place to have a barbecue or overnight party with a group of people. The houses tend to be beautiful and modern, with large yards (a rarity for us Taipei folk), and the price per person if you fill all the rooms is extremely reasonable.

The photo of my son at the top of this article with Jiaoxi in the background was shot in the backyard of this amazing house that we rented. Other similar ones in the area inclide this one, this one, and this one. You can find even more if you click on the map function on Booking and search around the same area.

Luxury Jiaoxi Hot Spring Resorts

Yamagata Kaku Hotel & Spa (礁溪山形閣) (see on Booking / Agoda / TripAdvisor) is the top-rated Jiaoxi hot spring hotel on both Tripadvisor and booking.com. Zen-inspired rooms come with large hot spring tubs and great views.

Hotel Royal Chiao Hsi (礁溪老爺酒店) (see on Booking / Agoda / Klook / TripAdvisor) is the most exclusive (and expensive) property in town, with a private golf course and rooms overlooking the rural landscape just out of town. You’ll see it on the way to Wufengqi Waterfall (see below).

What to Eat in Jiaoxi

Besides the usual array of local eateries like quick fries and street food stalls, there are a few special food items that stand out in Jiaoxi. All the major hot spring hotels and resorts in Jiaoxi have their own restaurants as well. I won’t cover them below, but their menus lean predictably toward upscale Japanese and Chinese/Taiwanese fare.

Hot Spring Ramen

Soaking my feet in hot spring water while I eat Japanese hot spring food in Jiaoxi, one of the best places to eat in Jiaoxi
Soak your feet while you eat!

An entire cuisine has developed around hot springs in Taiwan, and (no surprises here), it’s mainly focused on Japanese food. In Jiaoxi, there’s a popular two-store chain called Leshan Hot Spring Ramen where you can soak your feet in hot spring water while dining.

We were impressed with the quality of the food on the menu. Besides ramen, don’t miss the excellent sushi, hot spring eggs and hot springs tofu. And FYI, they don’t actually use hot spring water to make any of the food…

Leshan Hot Spring Ramen (樂山溫泉拉麵) is the more popular of the two locations, as it is right by the Jiaoxi Train Station. Expect long lines for a spot, if you can even get in, especially on weekends.

For better luck, try their second, quieter location Rakuzan Ramen (樂山溫泉拉麵二店) near Jiaoxi Hot Spring Park and the Jiaoxi bus station, but even there can get packed if you come at noon.

Both locations stock bottles of locally made Yilan beer, including the famous green (spirulina) one I mentioned above.

Soaking our feet while enjoying hot spring ramen, one of the best Jiaoxi restaurants
A true Jiaoxi experience.

Green Onion Cakes

Green onion cakes in Jiaoxi, Taiwan
So, so, so good.

Green onions grow all over Yilan, and Yilan-style green onion cakes (蔥油餅) are popular all over Taiwan. The green onion cakes you’ll find at food stalls in town are usually deep fried, so they are super greasy (read: super delicious). When ordering, you’ll have to answer two vital questions: do you want egg, and do you want it spicy?

There are at least half a dozen green onion cake stalls in town, especially around the train station and entrance to Tangweigou Hot Spring Park. Just type “礁溪蔥餅” into GoogleMaps to find them.

For the most famous green onion cakes in Yilan county, though, you’ll need to drive to the tiny hamlet of Sanxing (三星). See more information in my guide to Yilan County.

Chili Hunter Spicy Ice Cream

Chili Hunter spicy ice cream in Jiaoxi
Can’t miss this guy…

Have you ever had spicy ice cream? The ice cream at Chili Hunter (葉家香礁溪辣椒文創館) ranges from zero (not spicy) to level 7 (it literally burns your tongue).

The ice cream shop can be found right at the entrance to Tangweigou Hot Spring Park. You can’t miss the freaky mascot (a chili pepper monster?) out front.

Spicy ice cream at "Chili Hunter" ice cream shop in Jiaoxi, Yilan
The sign doesn’t lie.
Two cups of Chili Hunter spicy ice cream in Jiaoxo, Yilan
I double dare you to try it.

Green Algae Beer in Tangweigou Hot Spring Park

Jug of green beer at Jiaoxi Hot Springs Park
You haven’t been to Jiaoxi until you’ve tried the green beer…

As I mentioned above, no visit to Jiaoxi is complete without having a pint of green beer in Tangweigou Hot Spring Park. See all the details about the other beers available in the “Tangweigou Hot Spring Park” section above if you didn’t already.

Hiking and Other Things to Do in Jiaoxi

Even if you aren’t into hot springs, Jiaoxi is worth visiting for the following outdoor activities in any season of the year.

Wufengqi Waterfall

Man standing with arms open in front of Wufengqi Waterfall in Jiaoxi, Yilan
My friend Dan REALLY enjoyed Wufengqi Waterfall.

Wufengqi Waterfall (五峰旗瀑布) is the most famous natural attraction in Jiaoxi. An easy walking trail leads to a series of beautiful waterfalls in a lush natural setting. There are usually a handful of vendors at the entrance selling local Yilan specialties such as peanut brittle ice cream rolls (花生卷冰淇淋) and preserved kumquats (金棗蜜餞).

Wufengqi Waterfall is three kilometers west of town, past Hotel Royal Chiao Hsi. You can walk there in about 45 minutes, take the infrequent Jiaoxi shuttle bus, rent a scooter, or hop in a taxi from Jiaoxi Train Station and get the driver’s number or set a time to pick you up later.

Chinese pavilion at Wufengqi Waterfall, one of the best things to do in Jiaoxi
Pavilion below Wufengqi Waterfall

Yuemeikeng Waterfall Hike

Yuemeikeng Waterfall, one of the best hikes in Jiaoxi, Yilan
My friends get excited when they see waterfalls…

Starting from nearly the same spot as Wufengqi, a more difficult and much lesser known hike leads to gorgeous Yuemeikeng Waterfall (月眉坑瀑布). Swimming is possible at the bottom of the 3-tiered curtain waterfall.

The hike to Yuemeikeng takes around two hours return, and involves a few river crossings (very shallow) and climbing down rocks with a rope. To find the trail from Wufengqi waterfall entrance, follow the trail downhill through the forest to Dezikou River Check Dam (得子口溪攔沙壩). Cross the dam over the river to find the trail entrance on the other side.

We walked past a troupe of macaques the last time we did the hike!

Climbing a rope on the hike to Yuemeikeng
Hiking trail to Yuemeikeng Waterfall

Marian Hiking Trail/Shenmu Trail

The Dezikou Riverside is also the start of the Shenmu Trail (聖母登山步道). To begin, a gravel road leads to the beautiful Catholic Sanctuary of Our Lady of Wufengqi (五峰旗聖母朝聖地), which has a beautiful view of the surrounding area.

From there, a walking trail leads through the forest and then steeply up stairs to St. Marian Hut (聖母山莊 or Sacred Mother Hut) at 884 meters, where a statue of the crucifixion of Jesus commands a sweeping view. From the top, there are also trails to surrounding peaks. You should budget a full day for doing this hike.

Find more info and photos of the hike here.

Paoma Historic Trail

Me and my son on Paoma Historic Trail in Jiaoxi
This hike is so easy, my son did it when he was a baby…

Yet another hike in the area is Paoma Historic Trail (跑馬古道), which is near the others but closer to Jiaoxi village, making it even easier to walk to from town. This two hour-return hike is an easier option but has no major waterfalls or other features. If you’re looking for a quiet, easy forest hike with nice views over Jiaoxi Village, this one will do.

See more info here.

Cycling around Jiaoxi

Me and my two kids riding bikes in Jiaoxi
Me & the kids on bikes in the rice paddies southeast of Jiaoxi hot spring village

The rice paddies of the Lanyang Plain surrounding Jiaoxi are quite picturesque, and the best way to explore them is on two wheels. We like the area of rice paddies south and southeast of the town center, between Jiaoxi and the sea.

Unfortunately, I’m not aware of any bicycle rental shop in Jiaoxi (please let me know if you find one), but some hotels have bicycles available for guests only. These include Just Sleep Jiaoxi, Peace Area Hot Spring Hotel, and Fountain B&B.

Well, I hope you’ve found all the info you need here for visiting Jiaoxi, my personal favorite hot spring village in Taiwan. Please let me know in the comments if you have any questions or if you feel I’ve missed anything!

6 thoughts on “Jiaoxi Hot Spring: A Guide to My Favorite Spa Village in Taiwan”

  1. thanks for your writeup! I’m in loudong with my wife and almost 4 year old son, looking to spend a couple days in jaoxi. Hard to figure out which hotels have a nice pool like hotspring for kids. Or I guess we could do a day trip since it’s only about 30 minutes by bus from here, but I was thinking a few nights would be more fun!

    • With young kids, we found it easiest to book a room with a private hot spring tub in the room. Then we can enjoy it as we wish without other people. Most hotels in Jiaoxi have rooms like this. At the front desk, they usually have pictures of the rooms. If you want a public hot spring, then Chuan Tang Hotel has the best one for kids (see pics in this article). It has a kids water play area, but also great facilities for adults.

    • The hot springs I recommend in this article are family friendly, but June is quite hot and humid in Taiwan, so your desire to soak in the hot water might be lower. You can consider to do the hot springs in the evening after the sun goes down.


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