Hot springs and history form the major attractions in this mountainous suburb, just a 30-minute MRT ride north of Taipei. And there are plenty of both. What is now called Beitou Park was once one of the largest hot-spring spas under Japanese rule, attracting visitors from around the world (including Sun Yat-sen).
The first hot-spring business was started by a German in 1893, but it was the Japanese who really developed the area, initially building army nursing homes, and then opening Beitou Park in 1911. Today's park, about a third of its former size, is still a lovely wooded space with old stone bridges, heritage buildings and a hot-spring stream running through the centre.