Zhiben Hot Springs.

Possibly one of the most enjoyable things about winters in Taiwan is the hot springs. Even better are the discounts and events that come with the annual hot spring and fine cuisine carnival. Today Dinh and I are in Zhiben, Taitung, doing some hiking at the forest recreation area before we hit the hot springs.
After a long but not too arduous walk through the forest, finally we get to the part where Dinh gets in the hot springs. Me? I・m shy. So I・m just going to help with the uh, lights and make reservations for uh, dinner. Feel good, Dinh? Yeah, I thought so too.
Zhiben hot springs have a Ph value of 8.4, it・s an alkali sodium bicarbonate spring. People call it :beauty spring.; Lots of women feel that it makes their skin smoother.
I・ve never been to a hot spring. There are no hot springs in France. So it was the first time I was in a hot spring like that. So zen. I didn・t want to get out of the water. Just give me a book and it would be perfect. Heaven on earth.
I agree.
There are about 128 pockets of hot springs in Taiwan, and most of them have been in existence for the last 20,000 years. Mostly it was the indigenous Taiwanese who made use of the hot springs, but it was the Japanese who developed them, and it was actually the Japanese police who used it most to relieve their bodies that ached from bringing order to the island during the 50 year occupation. But these days the hot springs are available to everybody, and after a long soak, a nice meal usually follows.
This is a Puyuma restaurant. The Puyumas are one of the indigenous tribes of Taitung.
This is a chrysanthemum tempura. No, not the flower, just its leaves. Here, they・re commonly known as :airplane leaves,; and supposedly their seeds were scattered from Japanese planes during WWII and left to grow in the wild as food to keep the people of Taiwan from starving.
And this is a packet of millet rice with pork and mushrooms, wrapped in leaves which make it easier to carry around.
Hot springs and fine cuisine, there・s plenty to be enjoyed this winter in Taiwan.
 
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