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【Ruisui Hot Springs】
The Ruisui and Hongye Hot Springs are located in Hongye Village in Wanrong Township, Hualien County, about three kilometers away from each other. The Hongye River winds through a valley and passes by the Hongye Hot Springs upstream. The springs here are therefore known locally as the "Inner Hot Spring." Ruisui, located at the further downstream, is called the "Outer Hot Spring."
The Japanese built the first public bathhouse in Ruisui in 1919. Some of the Japanese-style inns from that period are still in business and offer outdoor bathing pools with views of the scenic forest. The Hongye Hot Springs date back even further to pre-Qing times, when they were discovered by Atayal hunters. By the Japanese colonial era, the Hongye springs were already well known. Several Japanese-style hot spring hotels remain from that period. They have undergone several renovations but still preserve a yesteryear bathing ambiance.
Several years ago, the residents of Ruisui discovered nearby hot springs similar to those of the Ruisui Hot Springs. This became the site of the townships first hot springs hotel, and since then the area has become a popular hot spring destination. Today, visitors to the Ruisui and Hongye hot spring areas can choose from a wide selection of hot spring B&Bs and hotels, each offering a unique environment for enjoying a spring bath.
For many gourmands, the free-range chicken and other game served by Hongye Hot Spring Restaurant are far more enticing than the springs themselves. The owner, "A-shu," has been in the restaurant business for over a decade. The chicken used in the dishes is raised on corn and gets plenty of exercise. The tender and chewy chicken meat has won over diners far and wide. Try the boiled chicken chopped and unflavored to fully enjoy the original taste.
【Antong Hot Spring Area】
The Antong Hot Spring Area was discovered in 1904 by the Japanese camphor loggers. A guesthouse was later built in the area for Japanese government officials, and it is said that the Japanese crown prince spent the night here when he came to Taiwan. Antong is located deep in a secluded mountain area with plenty of scenic charm. Once known as "Antong Zhuonuan," literally "complete peace and rinsing warmth," this area never attained the same fame as the Zhiben Hot Springs in Taitung, but its long history and excellent water quality have made this a favorite spot for hot spring connoisseurs.
The Antong Hot Springs are believed to contain radon gas, which can be used to predict earthquakes. The exceptionally pure spring water has made this area a popular destination for spring lovers over the past century. At sundown, visitors can also look forward to a healthy dinner of melt-in-your-mouth Yuli pork, an espresso under the moonlight, and the sound of the flowing spring water to wrap up the day.
Over the past few years, a number of hot spring B&Bs have sprouted up in the Antong Hot Spring Area offering visitors plenty of choices for a soothing bath, embraced by the beauty of the mountains and sea.
About 10 years ago, a young Yuli farmer named Kung Wen-chun began raising pigs in sealed pens maintained at a year-round temperature of 20 to 25 degrees centigrade. This technique keeps out flies, mosquitoes and other pests so the pigs don't need to be vaccinated, meaning there are no residual drugs in the meat. The resulting "healthy pork" soon became a well-known product of Yuli Township. In addition to their antiseptic pens, the pigs grow up on Yuli's clean water and fresh air. This contributes to the taste and safety of the meat, from boiled pigs' feet and sausages to cured meat and meat floss.
【Zhiben Hot Springs】
Legend has it that the source of the Zhiben hot springs was discovered in 1917 by the Puyama people, but it was not until later in the Japanese colonial period that major development began. The Japanese laid pipelines to channel the hot spring water to sanatoriums and public baths, fueling the rise of the local hot spring industry. After Taiwan's retrocession, the hot spring industry in Zhiben continued to grow with an influx of hotels. In recent years, many of the hotels here have added hydrotherapy and spa facilities, massage pools and herbal baths for sports, water recreation and bathing enjoyment.
The hotels and restaurants at the Zhiben Hot Spring Area are known for their delicious cuisines, much of it made with the abundant farm and fishery products of Taitung County. The annual Sugar Apple Festival and Sailfish Festival have heightened Taitung's profile on the visitor map and added to the culinary attractions for hot spring bathers heading to Zhiben.
The township of Chenggong in Taitung County has an especially productive fishery industry thanks to the confluence of the warm Kuroshio Current and cold Oyashio Current in its coastal waters. A major species caught here is sailfish, which swim close of the ocean surface during the northeast monsoon season.
Five major species of sailfish frequent the waters off eastern Taiwan, including swordfish, black marlin, blue marlin, striped marlin and indd-pacific sailfish. The sailfish fishing season extends from September to February, and the peak catch months are October and November. During the Sailfish Festival, visitors can feast on sailfish cuisine at major restaurants in Chenggong as well as at the Taitung Hotel Royal Chihpen, Hoya Spring Resort Hotel and other Zhiben area hotels.