Monday, March 31, 2014

Taiwan Travelogue: Geothermal Valley Beitou

Geothermal Valley is the top attraction in the Beitou area; with its emerald jade sulphuric waters and the thick clouds of steam rising from the boiling waters from this volcanic crater tucked away as part of the town's pride.
The picture of thick mist enveloping the area as a result of the rising steam from the high temperature (at the boiling temperature of 100 degrees Celsius) may seem like a scene from a fantasy world; yet this is a truly amazing work of nature, leaving many awestruck following a visit to this magical place.
The place was also once, during the colonial rule of the Japanese, known as one of the top eight natural beauties in Taiwan.

The hot water flowing downstream and everywhere in the town

Even the drains outside the park is filled with boiling water

It was a surreal experience, and it was as though my vision has blurred with the thick mist engulfing the entire area. It seemed like I have stepped into a different dimension or world, where it seemed so magical yet mystical at the same time. While it was really breathtaking to witness the works of nature  in the form of the rising steam, it was also eerie at the same time to see so much that it almost seemed like the whole place was enveloped by the thick clouds rising from the heat of the emerald green or jaded waters of the spring below.

Jade Spring Valley, as the Geothermal Valley is also known is attributed to the mesmerizing tones of the waters from the high content of the sulphuric mineral-based in the spring. This rare phenomenon, or the mineral based of sulphuric content in the spring water can only be found in two places in the world; here in Beitou and the other in Akita, Japan.
While the colors and the misty scene can be alluring and hypnotizing, the pungent odor from the high sulphuric content acts like an agent to knock one to consciousness as fills the air with its unpleasant smell.

The thick misty state which can overcome the entire atmosphere and the high temperatures of the waters also earned the valley its other notorious nickname of the Hell Valley, or the Valley of Death. Perhaps it was the heat which brought it in close comparison to the underworld, or perhaps it was also due to the number of tragic and fatal incidents which have occurred in this area.
Yes, sadly, this may be a scenic and natural wonder but there have been deaths or unpleasant incidents which have occurred here.
According to the locals, there was a man who have reportedly fell into the water by accident and ended up being cooked/boiled to his death here.
This led to tighter security measures being implemented here; with the authorities putting up signs and fences to prevent anyone from being in too close proximity to the extremely hot waters flowing in the spring.

Scary stories aside, the Geothermal Valley still strikes me as a natural wonder and is indeed an eye-opening experience (yes, I could still keep my eyes open while wandering through the thick mist of steam).

Many are spotted with umbrellas and even rain ponchos; even mask wearing while enjoying the scenes unfolding in action in this valley.

This is indeed an amazing work of nature, and a must-visit for anyone who is in the town of Beitou.
The Geothermal Valley, is indeed, a natural depiction of nature at one of her best here.

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