TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – If you like hot springs, you should not miss Fanfan Hot Spring (梵梵溫泉), which is an undeveloped outdoor hot spring on the bank of the Fanfan River that flows past Yingshi Village (英士村), Datong Township (大同鄉), Yilan County.
The village is located off Provincial Highway 7, about a couple of kilometers from the eastern entrance of the Northern Cross-Island Highway.
The hot spring is relatively accessible compared to many other natural hot springs that are tucked away in the remote mountains of Taiwan.
Park your car or motorcycle in the parking lot near the Yingshi Elementary School and walk upstream on the Fanfan River embankment beside the school. At the end of the embankment, go down the stairs and walk along a trail on the river bank until reaching a wood bridge. Cross the bridge, continue walking upstream until steam rising from the hot spring area is in sight. It takes about 15 minutes to walk from the parking lot to the hot spring area.
There are many shallow hot spring pools lying along the edge of the river, which is virtually a part of the riverbed. It's said that some of the pools were dug by local aboriginal residents, and some were dug by visitors.
As there is abundant geothermal energy in the Fanfan hot spring area, the original spring water is so hot that cool water has to be diverted from the river to the pools to make their water temperatures congenial to human enjoyment. Some people like to lie in the river to cool themselves off after soaking in the hot spring long enough.
As the hot spring area is surrounded by verdant hills, soaking in the hot spring within the natural and even primitive environment is extremely relaxing. The undeveloped, unspoiled hot spring is really a very precious natural resource and a god-given gift for all to enjoy.
Many people like to camp in the hot spring area, especially on weekends and during long holidays. Therefore, the hot spring area could be crowded during these times.
As the natural hot spring is located on the edge of the riverbed, the whole area could be flooded and buried by sand and gravel after the river course is changed by a severe storm. In those cases, the hot spring will have to be excavated again.
However, public access to the natural hot spring might come to an end, according to local aboriginal residents, who are being briefed about a plan by the energy authority to turn the Fanfan hot spring area into a geothermal power plant. Many local residents have expressed their opposition to the plan.
(The following photos are courtesy of George Liao)
The Fanfan River embankment beside the Yingshi Elementary School