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【Tai'an Hot Springs】
The Tai-an Hot Springs are reached by a narrow winding mountain road lined by steep cliffs on one side and the murmuring Wenshui (Wunshui) River on the other. The springs are nestled among three peaks Henglong, Niaozuei and Huzi mountains, creating a peaceful retreat off the beaten track.
The hot springs at Tai-an are fed by water from the northwest foothills of Niaozuei Mountain. The Atayal people first discovered the springs in 1909 during a hunting expedition. During the Japanese colonial era, the Japanese built a police sanatorium and guest house here, dubbing the site as the "Ueshima Hot Springs." The area was renamed several times before President Chiang Ching-kuo re-christened it as the "Tai-an Hot Springs."
Tucked away deep in a secluded mountain area, the Tai'an Hot Springs have preserved their original natural beauty over the years. In addition to the natural allures of the valleys, waterfalls, cliffs, and warm springs, this area is a melting pot of Hakka and Atayal culture—a combination that has produced distinctive mountain cuisine to complement your soak in Tai'an's natural embrace.
The Tai-an area is populated mainly by residents of Atayal and Hakka origin. The two cultures have contributed to the distinctive local cuisines. Sweet and crisp wild-grown vegetables, pickled mustard greens, boar, river fish, turtledoves, flying squirrels, and Ficus formosana and just some of the tasty natural ingredients used.
Hakka food is traditionally oily and heavily salted and spiced. However, in keeping with the health-conscious age, the Hakka cuisines in Tai-an are lighter and cooked with hot spring water to create exquisite dishes that fuse the best of Hakka and Atayal cooking traditions.
【Guguan Hot Spring Area】
The hot spring hotels and restaurants in Guguan are clustered along Dongguan Road, following the Dajia River. The most of the hotels provide bathing facilities and specialize in trout cuisines. In recent years, many long-established spas here have been renovated in elegant Japanese style.
The Japanese ambiance of Guguan is related to the history of this area. The springs were first developed during the early part of the Japanese occupation period. It is said that when the Japanese Meiji Emperor and his wife came to Guguan they were impressed by the natural beauty and excellent spring water quality. When the empress returned home, she soon gave birth to son. The hot springs here were subsequently known as the "Meiji Onsen" and "Spring of Sons.
"Cool mountain breeze, steaming hot spring water, and natural beauty come together at Guguan to create one of Taiwan's premier hot spring areas. Even the habitat-fussy trout are perfectly happy and content in pristine waters and nature of Guguan.
Trout is a freshwater fish that is known to be fastidious about its living arrangements, requiring exceptionally clean water at a temperature ranging from 6 to 13 degrees centigrade. The river water in Guguan amply meets these conditions, and the area has therefore come to be known for its fresh and tender trout cuisines.
【Dongpu Hot Spring】
The Dongpu Hot Springs are situated in the scenic mountains by Yu Mountain (Yushan) National Park. During the Japanese occupation period, this area was the site of a police sanatorium and later a number of hot spring hotels sprouted up here.
There are several well-known scenic sites close to the springs, including the Batongguan Historic Trail and Rainbow Waterfall, offering plenty of options for a healthy walk in the woods before a soothing and restorative hot spring soak.
The Dongpu Hot Spring Area is located in Xinyi (Sinyi) Township of Nantou County. Xinyi (Sinyi) is Taiwan's largest plum producing area, so winter bathers can also enjoy the snow-like plum blossoms in Fonggueidou and Wusonglun.
Every year during the plum blossom season, the hillsides of Xinyi Township turn into a sea of blooms that blanket the ground and trails like a snow.
Rouge plum is the dominant variety of plum grown in Xinyi Township. The harvest is used in distinctive cuisines and a variety of products, including plum juice, plum vinegar, gummy dried plums, and plum brittle.
【Lu Mountain (Lushan) Hot Springs】(has been abolished)
The Lu Mountain (Lushan) Hot Springs are situated just past Longyun Bridge along Provincial Highway 14. An emerald green land nestled among the Nenggao, Hehuan and Zhuoshe mountains, this is one of central Taiwan's best-known scenic destinations.
The hot springs at Lu Mountain (Lushan) were discovered in 1940, during the Japanese colonial era, at which time they were known as the "Little Fuji Springs." The springs here are fed by two sources. At the "old springs," reached by a narrow path left of the Lu Mountain (Lushan) Suspension Bridge, there are several hot spring inns and a cherry blossom park.
Apart from the springs, this area is known for its scenic mountain surroundings, cherry blossoms, and Atayal indigenous cuisines.
What the Lu Mountain (Lushan) Hot Spring Area lacks in size, it makes up for in the array of Atayal cuisines and mountain grown and raised delicacies. The tasty specialties here include stone grilled meat, roasted mushrooms, cabbages and trouts, all of which are well worth a try. There are several restaurants and hot spring hotels by the Lu Mountain (Lushan) Suspension Bridge to choose from. The crispy-fried crystal red shrimp served is a visitor favorite. A 30-plus-year-old shop by the suspension bridge specializes in millet cakes made with cherry blossoms and cherry blossom juice. President Chiang Ching-kuo heartily praised the cakes when he visited Lu Mountain (Lushan) years ago, and since then they have become a signature specialty in this area.