by Tanja M. Laden in Cool Travel on Friday 8 June 2012

Beitou is bewitching – quite literally. The northern Taiwanese Ketagalan Aboriginal group historically referred to the region’s flurry of volcanic activity as ‘patauw,’ which translates to ‘witch.’ There are more than 30 hot springs in Beitou, which is located along two faultlines that meet at the dormant Datun Volcano Group.

Sulfurous hot-water springs from jade-colored pools in the form of ghostly fumes that, by all appearances, are highly restorative, even if the sulfur characteristically ruins silver. It’s something Japanese occupiers realized back in 1913, when they built a bathhouse along a series of creeks in Beitou. In 1994, an elementary-school field trip unearthed the deserted baths, and they’re now part of the Beitou Hot Springs Museum. There’s still a working public bathhouse, and Taipei’s northernmost district also features Taiwan’s first certified “green” building. A team of eco-friendly local architects built the three-story Beitou Public Library, which opened in 2007, from recyclable materials, with natural lighting and electricity-generating solar panels. It’s just another piece of ‘green’ to add to the already lush, natural, scenery of the Beitou District in Taipei City, Taiwan.