FIRE hot springs! What other reason do you need to visit this place? Hopefully that should be enough, because there is not much else to see besides a natural gas fire and a hot spring. It's name Chinese literally means water and fire coming from the same source (水火同源). Some have called it one of the seven wonders of Taiwan. This is a place that we have wanted to go for a long time, and the first place that we have checked off of our “secret places” list.
We came south on National Highway 3 from Jiayi and exited near Tainan Baihe district. If you do not have a vehicle, Water and Fire hot spring can also be reached via Xinying Bus (新營客運) or tour bus.
After we drove into Baihe, we made our way past a few Buddhist temples, and then the road got really steep. We were stuck behind 7 tour buses, which seem to break the rules of “no oversize vehicles” on the mountain road. They took up both lanes on every switchback. Below the spring, there is a parking lot and bathroom from which you can walk up to the entrance.
The entrance is full of snacks and other “street food” of which we did not partake except ice cream, because looking at fire on a scorching 36 degree autumn day is quite a hot experience.
We noticed that the tour buses were not full of foreign tourists, but rather Taiwan senior citizens. We made our way through the crowds of Taiwanese elderly to the front of spring to take pictures. No one was standing there, probably because it was so hot.
There is a shrine underneath which burns a natural gas fire, and the water beneath bubbles. It reminded me of the natural gas fireplace I had growing up in Seattle. There's not much more to say except that it is a rare natural wonder.
Here is a video of the fire so you can see Water and Fire hot spring in all its glory.
History of Fire and Water Cave:
The Fire and Water Hot Spring and Cave was supposedly discovered by a Fujianese monk from a nearby monetary on the mountain in Baihe. After the Japanese Colonial Period ended in Taiwan, the local people created a shrine here and placed a God atop the spring called “不動明王” “unmoving king.” The natural gas for the fire is supplied from the Liuchong River Fault that runs underneath the ground here. In 1964 there was an earthquake that apparently split the fire apart, whereas before the fire all came from one hole. Nowadays this place is a tourist destination that from which locals can cash in on by selling various snacks and merchandise.
Informative signs next to the spring:
This sign is a series of beautiful poems about the Water and Fire Cave put up by the Tainan County Chairmain.
Some information about the spring's history in Chinese, English, and Japanese.
Legend of the Water and Fire Cave:
According to local Chinese folklore, the Kirin, a mythical Chinese Dragon-Horse creature, is said to have long ago lived in the spot where the fire spring now stands. The spring water is his leftover urine and the fire his breath. This legend comes purely from the sign above.
Another legend from the Taiwan Tourism website says that the legend is actually about two dragons: a fire dragon and a water dragon. They both lost in battle, one became the spring's water and the other the spring's fire. Source: www.siraya-nsa.gov.tw/mainweb/article.aspx?L=2&SNO=04000653
This legend seems to go along with the mural next to the spring which depicts two dragons fighting. I don't understand why they put the above sign which seems to clash with mural next to it.
Now you are ready for your trip to Fire and Water Cave! Be sure to like, share and comment below!
As Foreigners living in Taiwan, we have spent years living in and travelling in Taiwan, but there are some places so remote and secret that we haven’t had the chance to go there. Below is a list of the top places we know of that we want to go to, as well as the small bit of information we have that makes us want to visit there. (BTW none of these pictures are ours; we haven’t been to any of these places.)
10. Mangrove Green tunnel 紅樹林綠色隧道
This is a river with a tunnel made of trees in Tainan. Apparently there is a boat ride that you can take for 150 NT through it. It reminds me of the Louisiana bayou, and seems out of place in busy Taiwan. This is definitely a photogenic and magical looking place. Photo cred: http://blog.xuite.net/ks.ob1/twblog/139571994-%E5%85%A8%E5%9C%8B%E5%94%AF%E4%B8%80++%E7%B4%85%E6%A8%B9%E6%9E%97++%E6%B0%B4%E4%B8%8A%E7%B6%A0%E8%89%B2%E9%9A%A7%E9%81%93
9. Da Yi Temple 大義宮
This is a temple in the Penghu island chain. Its basement has a pool with a bunch of giant sea turtles swimming in it! There is probably some religious significance that goes along with this, but we just want to see those turtles. You are justified in thinking of us as pervaders of animal cruelty. We are sure there are tons of coins in those poor turtles stomach’s that need to be surgically removed. Photo cred: http://loloto.pixnet.net/blog/post/32644579-%E3%80%90%E6%BE%8E%E6%B9%96%E3%80%91%E7%AB%B9%E7%81%A3%E5%A4%A7%E7%BE%A9%E5%AE%AE%EF%BC%8E%E8%93%AE%E8%8A%B1%E7%8F%8A%E7%91%9A%E6%B4%9E%EF%BC%8E%E7%B6%A0%E8%A0%B5%E9%BE%9C%EF%BC%8E
8. 都蘭 Dulan
This is a small village in Eastern Taiwan. Apparently there is a secret local village beach (no picture), few visitors and lots of stuff to eat. Also, there is a unique physics-defying feature there: Water Running Up Hill水往上流. It’s probably just a stupid optical illusion, but it captures our interest nonetheless. Photo cred: https://www.eastcoast-nsa.gov.tw/zh-tw/Attractions/Detail/33
7. Nangan 南竿and Beigan北竿 islands
These two isolated islands are in Matsu county. On Beigan北竿, there are preserved Fujian villages, coastal scenery, peaceful beaches, and surely there are no crowds. Photo cred: https://solomo.xinmedia.com/photo/21829-matsu
On Nangan there is a military tunnel北海坑道, connected to the ocean in which you can kayak. A very special place indeed. Photo cred: https://www.google.com.tw/search?q=7.+%E5%8D%97%E7%AB%BF&newwindow=1&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjmvruBkqbUAhWFgrwKHVVEDZsQ_AUICigB&biw=1440&bih=721#imgrc=eW68Io1AIv5r8M
6. Chi’mei island 七美鄉
This outer island next to Penghu has one of the most photogenic heart-shaped structures built into its beach. Although this was originally made to catch fish, it has become one of the staples of Taiwan tourist marketing. Too bad, like all the outer islands, it is not so easy to get to. Photo Cred: https://zh.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E4%B8%83%E7%BE%8E%E9%84%89_(%E8%87%BA%E7%81%A3)#/media/File:Fishpot.jpg
5. 60 Stone Mountain 六十石山
The is the first picture that I have ever seen of Eastern Taiwan. It is the sole reason I took my first trip there, even though I never went to the place the photo was taken, which I regret. I will definitely go there some day. Photo cred: http://share.irving.tw/talk/join.aspx?Seq=107
4. Turtle Island 龜山島
Why is this place called turtle island? Take a wild guess. This place has some great whale watching and snorkeling. I don’t know if you are allowed to sleep overnight there, which makes me want to sleep overnight there. Photo cred: https://www.tripzilla.com/photo-guishan-island-turtle-island-taiwan/19337
3. Guanziling 關子嶺
This is a place in Tainan county. It doesn’t just have hot springs, it has MUD hot springs，and it doesn’t just have mud hot springs, it has FIRE hot springs! What other reasons do you need to want to visit this place? Photo cred: http://guanzi.emmm.tw/
2. Chaori Hotspring 朝日溫泉
This hot spring is located on Green Island, an island off the coast of Taiwan (like many of these places). These aren’t just hot springs; these are natural seawater hot springs, one of only three such natural hot springs in the world! Enough said. Photo Cred: http://tour.taitung.gov.tw/)/Travel/ScenicSpot/372/%E7%B6%A0%E5%B3%B6%E6%9C%9D%E6%97%A5%E6%BA%AB%E6%B3%89
1. Jade Mountain 玉山
Okay, this is not a secret place; it’s probably the most popular hike for tourist in Taiwan. But it is relatively hard to get to. You have to have a local friend draw out of a raffle to get to hike this thing, weather permitting. If the weather gets bad the day of the hike, too bad. Wait until next year. We have been trying to climb this thing for years with no luck, and no time in our schedules. However after writing this we have learned that Foreigners don't have to take part in the raffle, so we might do it soon. But it is Taiwan’s ultimate hike and gives one the right to brag for a lifetime. Photo:
So you might have realized that most of these places are on the outer islands in Taiwan. That is because the outer islands are naturally secretive, hard to get to, and great vacation spots. We will be sure to update and expand this list in the future. If you have any secret Taiwan spots that you want to share with the rest of us, please comment below.
-Foreigners in Taiwan
We are US Expats that have extensive experience living and working in Taiwan. In our day, we had to learn many things about Taiwan the hard way. But we have come to learn that Taiwan is one of the best places in the world for Foreigners to live. Our blog does not represent the opinions of every foreigner in Taiwan. We are just trying to help others learn more about this beautiful country.