Fri, Dec 08, 2017 - Page 13 News List

Off the Beaten Track: Huisun hot spring

An exciting river trace in Nantou County through a series of spectacular narrow gorges leads to one of Taiwan’s most unusual hot springs, located in a cave

By Richard Saunders  /  Contributing Reporter

IF YOU GO

>> There’s no public transport to Huisun Forest Recreation Area, so you’ll either need your own transport, or try hitching a lift (the recreation area is a popular destination on weekends).

>> Start early. It’s a long way out and back in one day, and camping or carrying heavy, bulky backpacks in the narrow canyon is a bad idea. A gravel track which once made the trip relatively easy (it was even used by mountain bikes) has long since been washed away by typhoon floods. A few short, overgrown stretches remain (look out for these — they’re all on the right as you work your way upstream), and you’ll need to use them all to reach the hot spring and get back in one day.

>> Get an early start by camping around Huisun Forest Recreation Area. Officially, camping isn’t allowed inside the Recreation Area, but in practice campers set up in car parks or quiet spots near the road after dark, and as long as they’re gone soon after dawn, there’s rarely a problem. It’s best to do this in fact, because the Recreation Area (which isn’t open 24 hours) opens at 8:30am for day-trippers, making it a rather late start for a long day.

Richard Saunders is a classical pianist and writer who has lived in Taiwan since 1993. He’s the founder of a local hiking group, Taipei Hikers, and is the author of six books about Taiwan, including Taiwan 101 and Taipei Escapes. Visit his Web site at www.taiwanoffthebeatentrack.com.

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