I rarely make it up to Taipei. So this trip up, I was looking for a new neighborhood of Taipei to explore but was also easy to get to and around as I wanted to meet a friend. We decided that Beitou would be a good option. And it was. It’s really a good place to spend an afternoon.
Beitou is Taipei’s most northern and mountainous of Taipei’s districts. It has long been and continues to be well-known for its hot springs. In addition to the hot springs, there are other attractions to see, so let’s explore them.
First up on our tour was Lady Zhou’s Memorial Gate 周氏節孝坊. Lady Zhou was born in Beitou in 1788 and died in 1846. She was widowed at a young age and was very filial to her parents-in-law. The gate was built in her honor in 1861 and underwent partial restoration in 1992. Since there aren’t many remnants of the Qing era in Taiwan, I’m constantly searching for items from that time.
Next up are some of the old street houses 北投街屋 that remain in Beitou. These old shops would have been the economic center of Beitou.
The former Beitou Train Station, currently known as Xinbeitou MRT station, is the next stop. This building has quite an interesting history. Originally built in 1916 and renovated in 1937, it was used as a train station until 1988 with the closing of the Tamshui Xinbeitou line.
It was then disassembled and moved to the now-closed Taiwan Folk Village in Changhua. The former train station was abandoned there after the park closed, and its future is unknown. However, the train station was returned to Beitou in 2017 after a request from people from Beitou.
More information and better photos are here.
Next up is a cool old building that also housed a movie theater. I can’t find the name of this building but it’s down the street from the old train station. It’s a famously seedy building, so take the normal precautions if you go in.
金馬獎大戲院/Jinma Theater/Golden Horse Theater.
This very empty theater is in this building. It has been closed for many years and is a little famous for all the ghost stories. It was opened in 1980 but closed down in 1985.
After a ghost building, you need to go to church.
Puji Temple (普濟寺)
This Japanese Buddhist temple was built in 1916. It has been restored over the years and is really beautiful and worth a visit.
Beitou Thermal Valley 地熱谷
As mentioned before Beitou is mostly famous for its hot springs. And this small lake is one of the sources of the hot springs. It’s free to enter and filled with people, but it is really cool. Even on a hot day, you can feel the heat coming off the water.
There are numerous hot spring hotels in Beitou and a few abandoned ones. This is the best one that I found. I usually don’t enjoy empty shell buildings, but I really enjoy the overgrown nature of this place. I can’t find much information about this hotel online, but it has been, obviously, abandoned for a long time.
前衛戍醫院北投分院 and 中心新村 Heart Village
Our last stop was an old military village that is now a museum. Heart Village is a medical military village and was housed by doctors and other hospital staff at the nearby hospital. There are a few exhibits showing life in the village during the 1950s and onward.
The Former Japanese Garrison Hospital Beitou Branch was built in 1898. It was used to help Japanese soldiers recover from their injuries in all of Japan’s wars around that time. It wasn’t open when I was there. So hopefully in the future, it will be.
So if you are in Beitou for a nice hot spring soak, or just looking for something to do in Taipei, try Beitou. Go around and say Hi!