September 7, 2009

Explore New Beitou, Taipei

If you are interested in hot springs, you definitely want to visit Beitou in Taiwan. Beitou is located in north end of Taipei city. We popped in the Metro, got off at the Beitou station, and changed to New Beitou lane which took us straight to New Beitou.

It was a hot sunny gorgeous day. As soon as we got off the metro, I could smell and also feel the hot springs around us. New Beitou is famous with “Beitou Hot Srping Museum” where you can learn the history and knowledge of different aspects of hot spring culture. There are also a park and a beautiful public library within walking distance from the museum.

The Beitou Hot Spring Museum was built by Taiwan’s Japanese Colonial Governor in 1913, and was formerly known as the “Beitou Hot Spring Public Bath”. It was the largest public bath in the East Asia at that time. As the time went by, the public bath was forgotten and abandoned. Local students of Beitou Elementary School petitioned to have it designated as a Class III historical site by the Ministry of the Interior in 1997. The public bath was transformed into “Beitou Hot Spring Museum” in 1998

At the entrance of the museum, we were asked to change into a pair of slippers. Cool! Visitors are free to browse around the second and first floor.

The first floor was an old style public bath, similar to the Roman style public bath. The sunlight came through the beautiful colorful stained glass window; gave the charm, bright, and comfortable atmosphere to the bath. The larger bath was for men only. The smaller bath could be for family use.

The second floor was used for the gathering place to relax, chat, and enjoy after the bath. A large hall was built with the traditional Japanese flooring “Tatami” to meet this purpose.

The doors located on a several walls around the hall were actually the room dividers once they were opened.

The architecture of the building was the combination of the European countryside villa and the traditional Japanese style.

The windows, walls, and stairs reflect lots of old time of Taiwan.

The multimedia room plays a short film to introduce the history and scenery of the museum. The Taiwan’s old time “long wooden bench” was provided to the audience instead of soft chairs to allow them to feel the past.

“Taiwan’s Hollywood” was built to remember the time when popular movies were filmed in Beitou in the 50’s and 60’s and also made with local dialect. The natural hot spring scenery of Beitou attracted lots of film makers at that time.

Across the street from the museum, Ketagalan Culture Center was built by the city of Taipei to preserve Taiwan’s aboriginal culture and art. The Ketagalan aborigine was located in Beitou, so the culture center was built and named after it. Besides the regular exhibitions of aboriginal art and craft in different themes, the center also provides the educational training classes for the indigenous people. The aboriginal dance and music are also performed in there.

As the admirers of the indigenous culture, of course we did not miss the opportunity to spend time in the library on the 6th floor where there are plenty of indigenous resources books, media DVD, audio & video equipment for rent as well.

New Beitou is a great place to explore a rich culture of hot springs and absorb some aboriginal culture of Taiwan’s as well. Read More


Anonymous said...

It looks sentimental and a bit depressing to me, and where is the H2O? - Teresa

Micki said...

Ha! I think it is easier for them to clean the bathtubs without H2O in there. Indeed, it does look a bit sad without H2O.

scott davidson said...

Some pretty designs alright. Doing the painting yourselves is more fun but a good place for ideas for more design is this site of, that I use to help with my wall decorations.
You can browse for a painting like this The tree, by 20th century Czech artist, Frantisek Kupka, for example, , that can be ordered on line and delivered to you.

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