The healing hot springs of Chingchuan

Take a dip; it's good for you. Photo: Kloie Picot
Take a dip; it's good for you. Photo: Kloie Picot

By Barry Martinson

I am floating in the steaming hot springs of the aboriginal mountain village of Chingchuan (清泉), an hour’s ride from the foothills of Chutung (竹東), not far from Hsinchu (新竹) City. Outside, the air is chilly. But once in the water, there is nothing but warmth.

“Chingchuan” can be translated as “Pure Springs.” The clear mineral waters of this village are reputed to be the best in Taiwan. From the smoothness they create on my skin and the relaxation they give to my body and spirit, I tend to agree.

Chingchuan Hot Springs is a large, rambling structure set next to a flowing river that divides the village. The two halves of the village are connected by suspension bridges. One of the bridges, brightly lit with soft lights in the evening, leads from the parking lot to the hot springs.

The hot springs include two hot water pools — one inside and the other under the stars — a cold pool, and several private Japanese-style hot tubs. I chose the outdoor pool, beside a small waterfall, which appears to be the hottest.

As I soak in healing waters that gurgle in time to the Mando-pop tunes on the sound system, I wonder if there is any place on earth as comfortable as this. The price is reasonable, too — only NT$150 for large pools and NT$300 for a private tub. Groups get special rates. More information can be found at 03-5856037.

Feeling thoroughly clean and invigorated after my hot spring bath, I head upstairs to the second floor and find a very elegant restaurant and coffee shop. For around NT$200 I can choose from a set menu or have hotpot. I notice there are also mouth-watering pastries to go with the coffee or tea.

Since Chingchuan is a tribal area, the entire atmosphere of the hot springs is rustic and natural. From the cordial smiles of the Atayal youth that greet me, to the many forms of aboriginal artwork found along the paths and at the nearby school and church, you know you are in a tribal area, far removed from the stress of city life.

On my way to the hot springs, while it was still light, I visited the new memorial to Chang Hsui-liang, the famous “Young Marshall,” who was kept under house arrest in Chingchuan for some 14 years. Just up the hill from where he stayed is the former house of San Mao, one of Taiwan’s most famous writers.

I cross the suspension bridge back to the parking lot and am greeted by a waft of assorted smells from barbeques and little restaurants dotting the riverbank. I notice that many of the offerings are local dishes, like sticky rice with mushrooms stuffed in bamboo. There are also different types of homemade wine for sale.

Up the hill from the parking lot, I reach a Catholic church that is decorated with colorful mosaics and murals. Next to the church is the Chingchuan Fountain of Youth Hostel (“Ching Chuan Shan Chuang”) This clean and spacious structure is nestled among pine trees, overlooking a large basketball court.

The first floor of the hostel has a large dining area and kitchen. Guests are able to do their own cooking, if they wish. Upstairs, there are several large Japanese-style rooms for groups. There is even a penthouse of sorts on the third floor, with a large balcony overlooking the waterfall and valley below. (For reservations call 03-5856026; Web site:

Only a few minutes’ walk down the road from Chingchuan Hostel is Old Wang’s Restaurant and a stained glass studio run by Yawee, a tribal man from Orchid Island. Both religious and aboriginal stained glass art hang from his display window.

Another half-hour trek brings me to Mindoyo on the opposite side of the river, where there is a traditional Atayal village. Aborigine woodcarvers, farmers and gardeners can be seen here, going about their work just as they have been doing for hundreds of years.

The rolling hills with their bright green trees are perfect for trekking. I pass a group of hikers, who remind me that the aromatic buds of the tung oil trees will soon blossom, covering the paths like snow. The hikers joke that if I get lost, the fireflies will light my way, and I can listen to the croaking of the frogs to find the river.

If I kept going up the main road from Chingchuan, I would pass the Eight Immortals Waterfall and eventually get to Shei-Pa National Park. But I am content for now to rest here in Chingchuan, listening to the sound of the waterfall and floating in the hot springs. I’m looking forward to some warm spring days soon, when I can come to watch the fireflies and hear the frogs croak.

How to get there:

From the second cross-island highway, take the Chutung turn-off. Continue to Sya Gung Gwan, and from there go straight in the direction of Wufeng. Continue about 10 minutes past the tunnel to the village of Chingchuan and follow the signs.

It takes about an hour to reach Chingchuan from the Chutung turn-off. There are also buses from Chutung to Chingchuan.

Originally published May 8, 2008 in The China Post, republished with permission from the author.

One thought on “The healing hot springs of Chingchuan

  • September 4, 2010 at 8:32 am

    Chingchuan的醫治用的温泉 2010年9月2日 採取垂度; it’ s有益于您。 照片: Kloie在 巴里・ Martinson 我在原史山村的通入蒸汽的温泉Chingchuan (清泉),從山麓小丘的1小時的乘駕浮動Chutung (竹東),離新竹(新竹)市不遠。 外面,空氣是冷顫的。 但是一次在水中,有溫暖。 「Chingchuan」可以被翻譯作為「純淨的春天」。 這個村莊清楚的矿泉水是馳名是最好在臺灣。 從平滑性他們在我的皮膚和放鬆創造他們給我的肉与灵,我倾向于同意。 Chingchuan温泉是在劃分村莊的一條流動的河旁邊被設置的一個大,漫無邊際的結構。 村莊的二個一半由吊桥連接。 其中一座橋梁,明亮地點燃與柔光在晚上,從停车场导致温泉。 温泉包括二個热水水池-一裡面和其他在星之下-一個冷的水池和幾個私有日本樣式浴盆。 我選擇了室外水池,在小瀑布旁邊,看來是最熱的。 當我在及时汩汩地流對的醫治用的水域中浸泡Mando流行在伴音系统的聲調,我想知道是否有地球的任何地方一样舒適象此。 價格是合理的,太-大水池的一個私有木盆的僅NT$150和NT$300。 小組得到特殊费率。 更多信息可以在03-5856037找到。 感覺十分地乾淨和鼓舞在我的温泉浴以後,我朝向在樓上對二楼並且發現一家非常典雅的餐館和咖啡店。 為在NT$200附近我可以從集合菜單選擇或有hotpot。 我注意也有味道好的酥皮點心去用咖啡或茶。 因為Chingchuan是一個部族區域,温泉的整個大氣是土氣和自然的。 從招呼我Atayal青年時期的熱忱的微笑,對沿道路被找到的原史藝術品的許多形式和在附近的學校和教會,您知道您是在一個部族區域,取消從城市生活重音。 在我的對温泉的途中,而它是輕的,我參觀了新的紀念品對Chang Hsui梁,著名「年輕馬歇爾」,誰被保留被软禁在Chingchuan不少14年。 小山從他停留是前房子聖・毛,其中一位臺灣的最著名的作家。 被分類的氣味飄動过吊桥回到停车场和上午招呼的我從加點河岸的烤肉和小的餐館的。 我注意許多奉獻物是地方盤,像黏米饭用在竹子充塞的蘑菇。 也有自創酒的不同的类型待售。 從停车场的小山,我到達用五顏六色的馬賽克和壁畫裝飾的天主教教會。 在教會旁邊是Chingchuan長青之泉旅舍(」Ching Chuan撣人閣宗”)這乾淨,並且寬敞結構在杉树之中被緊貼,俯視一個大篮球场。 旅舍的一楼有一個大饭厅和廚房。 如果他們祝願,客人能做他們自己烹調。 在樓上,有小組的幾個大日本樣式房间。 有排序甚而頂樓房屋在第三楼的,當一個大陽臺俯視下面瀑布和榖。 (保留要求03-5856026; 網站: 在路下的僅几分钟步行從Chingchuan旅舍是老Wang的餐館,並且一個彩色玻璃演播室由Yawee,從蘭花海島的一個部族人负责操行。 從他的橱窗的宗教和原史彩色玻璃藝術吊。 另一半小時艱苦跋涉給Mindoyo帶來我另一邊河,有一個傳統Atayal村莊。 他們為上百年,做着土人木雕家、農夫和花匠能被看見這裡,忙于他們的工作。 有他們鮮綠色的樹的綿延山對遷徙是完善的。 我通過一個小組遠足者,提醒我油桐树的芳香芽很快將開花,包括像雪的道路。 遠足者耍笑,如果我迷路,螢火蟲將點燃我的方式,並且我可以听呱呱地叫青蛙發現河。 如果我继续去從Chingchuan的主路,我會通過八個不朽的人物瀑布和最終到SheiPa国家公园。 但是我暫時是滿意休息這裡在Chingchuan,听瀑布的聲音和漂浮在温泉。 當我可以來觀看螢火蟲和聽見青蛙呱呱地叫时,我很快盼望不少溫暖的春日。 如何到那裡: 從第二條十字架海島高速公路,採取岔開的Chutung。 繼續對Sya Gung Gwan和從那裡朝Wufeng的方向去直接。 繼續大约通過隧道的10分鐘到Chingchuan村莊並且跟隨標誌。 需要1小時到達從岔開的Chutung的Chingchuan。 也有從Chutung的公共汽車到Chingchuan。 最初出版2008年5月8日在中國崗位,重印經作者同意。


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