How does a free hot spring foot spa sound? You can find them all over Jiaoxi in Taiwan. I went there for a few days earlier this year as it is an area famous for its natural hot springs.
Natural hot springs are in abundance all over in Jiaoxi. If you travel by train here, you will see a small one right in front of you as soon as you step out of the station. There's a bus stop and taxi rank right outside the station, and if you're neither shy nor tired, you can take a dip immediately. Don't worry, nobody will bat an eyelid if you have foot spa here.
The most popular free natural spring foot spa is at Tangweigou Park in the center of town. It's normally very busy with tourists who come here to find a nice spot to relax. There are plenty of stone ledges in the middle of the pool to sit on. Some are even by the source, one has to be quite brave to sit here.
The water is very hot, as expected and you can see the steam rising to the surface. I know that for a fact as during my first visit to Jioaxi a couple of years ago, I went for a dip. I was passing through the town, and being a tourist immediately took off my shoes and rolled up my trousers. What I forgot was that I didn't have a towel to wipe my feet afterwards!
I had my own spa in my room this time, and didn't come to the free spas. In fact my hotel was right next to the park and I walk passed it all the time. On this particular evening it was a bit quiet, maybe because it was raining.
Apart from the free foot spas, there are some fish foot spas. I've never tried those before and to be honest not sure if I fancy fishes to nibble my feet after they've nibble other peoples.
Although ths is a free natural spring, it is done up very well. There's a lit covered area with tables and chairs, you can come here at all hours. A bit further along are a few more walkways and more natural springs, though it seems everyone likes to congregate around covered area.
If you ever plan to visit Jiaoxi in Taiwan, here are a few tips to make your trip more enjoyable:
- taking a coach from Taipei city takes just over an hour, whereas a train takes an hour and a half and are less frequent
- it is possible to visit Jiaoxi from Taipei for a day trip, there is plenty to eat in town
- there is a direct coach from Taoyuan International Airport that takes about an hour and a half. If you're flying into Taiwan, you can come to Jiaoxi directly
- in case you are a bit of a hygiene freak, the foot spa at Tangweigou Park is washed every Tuesday and Friday
- there are many natural hot spring foot baths around in Jiaoxi, you can find them here
- and most important of all, remember to bring a towel with you to wipe your feet afterwards!