Jiaoxi is probably the town that attracts the most tourists in Yilan, especially in the cooler winter season. The town is easily accessible by train, and I always felt refreshed after stepping out of the train station with a view of the mountain surrounded by clouds. We visited on a day trip from Luodong last year, and stayed at a hot spring hotel during another family trip around the Lunar New Year holidays.
Taking a walk at Tangweigou hot spring park (湯圍溝溫泉公園)
The hot spring park was just about 10 minutes walk from the train station. We took a stroll in the park, it was a very calm and relaxing walk when we went on a weekday. There were plenty of public areas to dip feet into the hot spring water, and a few public or private hot spring bath venues.
Hot spring fish
I first tried hot spring fish near Taichung years ago, but the place I found in the hot spring park, Heavy Flavor (重口味溫泉魚), is at a much larger scale. Upon entrance, they gave everyone a towel and the fee was very low (80 NTD in 2019). There were multiple areas of different types of fish, varying in size and degree of bite. We tried almost all types, and I generally preferred the medium to bigger fish – stronger massage power.
Hiking to Wufengchi waterfall (五峰旗)
Wufengchi is perhaps the most popular and accessible hiking trail in Jiaoxi. We walked to Hotel Royal for lunch, to the trailhead, then took a bus back with my family. The bus is not very frequent and it would be worth checking the status or schedule beforehand. The trail goes up to 3 levels of a waterfall. The hike only took less than one hour round trip, but the stairs were not super easy either. For a more challenging hike, Shengmu trail (聖母步道/抹茶山) takes about 5 hours to a catholic church and is also called “Matcha Mountain” for the color of the mountain.
Lodging at a hot spring hotel
We stayed at Evergreen Resort Hotel with my family, and we all enjoyed our stay a lot. Each room has a hot spring bath, and the hotel also has a pool and spa area with different types of hot springs and a small hot spring fish. By the pool and spa area, they also offered a few kinds of beverages (non-alcoholic) and sometimes hot sweet soup to relax after the hot spring.
Jiaoxi is truly a nice town for a getaway in the wintertime. I loved how the town is surrounded by rivers and mountains, and I would like to take on the challenge to hike the Matcha mountain next time.