The Luminous Hot Springs Resort
features a geothermal pool, a spa
and luxury guestrooms.
Okay, now lie down on your backs,” A Do, owner of A Do’s Bike
Tours, Taitung’s bicycle tour company, instructed me and my fellow
I looked at him in confusion. We were standing in the middle of
the road, albeit a desolate country road, but a road all the
“You want us to lie down in the middle of the road?” I
He nodded at me, smiling, and gestured up to the beautiful
canopy of trees arching overhead.
We were at the tail end of a relaxing bicycle tour that had led
us through the countryside of Taitung County, a region in southeast
Taiwan. Farmland stretched for miles around us and the air was
thick with humidity and the threat of rain. Butterflies danced
through the rows of tea trees before me. I hesitated for a moment
longer and then did as instructed, lying down right on the warm
asphalt. The world tilted above me, the lush green trees curving
against the blue sky.
“A different way to see the world, no?” A Do said, as he began
I started to laugh too. Lying there in the middle of a country
road in Taiwan, I realized why he’d been so insistent as I thought
about how important it is to allow for different perspectives.
Taitung County with its lush farmlands and abundant hot springs,
had already provided an immediate respite from the hectic pace of
Taiwan’s capital city, Taipei. Nestled between the Coastal Mountain
Range and the Pacific Ocean and lying directly on the junction of
the Eurasian and Philippine tectonic plates, Taitung is only a
45-minute plane ride from Taipei even though it feels worlds
The main reason visitors journey to Taitung is for the natural
hot springs. All throughout the region, these geothermal waters
gurgle to the surface. Many have hailed the therapeutic benefits of
bathing in such high mineral content, and the brand-new Luminous
Hot Springs Resort in Taitung even features a hot tub in every
Paragliding is another popular activity in
The Luminous Hot Springs Resort also boasts an impressive
geothermal swimming pool, a full-service spa and an array of
luxurious accommodations ranging from two-story suites to
single-occupancy rooms, all of them with their own hot tub framed
by glass that looks out onto either the valley or the mountains.
There are festive performances nightly and a decadent buffet dinner
featuring the best of the surrounding farmland’s organic offerings.
Another aspect that makes Taitung County unique is the influence
that the various aboriginal cultures have contributed to the
region. The valley is home to several different tribes who work
hard to retain their rich history, utilizing original languages and
honoring ancient folklore and tradition. While it’s possible to
catch an aboriginal performance at the hotel, guests can also spend
time visiting the local village.
In particular, the thriving Bunun tribe provides an example of
the ability to carry history into the present day. Visitors can
tour the village center and even book a simple room in which to
stay a night or two. Tribe members gather daily to perform
traditional dances before an audience and an extensive gift shop
features handicrafts, weavings, wood sculpture and stone
Also housed in the mountains above Taitung is the Yuan-Sen
Botanical Garden. Complementing the healing qualities of the
county’s natural hot springs, Yuan-Sen gardens celebrate the
region’s limitless flora and fauna. The area contains both
subtropical and tropical climates, encouraging an abundant variety
of all forms of life.
Facing the Pacific and washed over by the Kuroshio current,
Taitung enjoys uncontaminated soil, clean air and unpolluted water.
The Yuan-Sen Botanical Garden takes advantage of this by heading up
the LOHAS (Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability) program, which
combines biotechnology, agriculture and tourism. Yuan-Sen aims to
utilize the native plants of Taitung in products and various facets
of everyday life.
The Botanical Gardens encompass not only research and product
production but an extensive eco-educational experience for
visitors. An enormous garden divides itself into six areas based on
plant classification and offers detailed guide services for guests.
The Mu Chang Healthy Restaurant proudly uses the medley of organic
vegetables grown on the property, offering visitors a chance to
truly embody the philosophy of LOHAS. Before leaving Yuan-Sen,
visitors are led through Plant Life Hall which showcases the 200
LOHAS products, including Alianthus Prickly Ash, also known as
Finally, for those looking for a more uplifting recreational
experience Taitung has become a popular place for paragliding. The
valley lends itself to the kinds of wind necessary to the sport,
and standing at the lip of the take-off pad looking down into the
basin with its rich green plots of farmland it was easy to
understand the impulse to drift out over it all.
Whether you’re paragliding or relaxing in a geothermal hot tub,
you’re bound to find yourself slipping into a different pace. The
culture and people of Taitung naturally amplify the land’s
tranquility, leaving you no choice but to relax.
Lying on the warm asphalt of that country road, my laughs faded
into a serene smile. I took a deep breath and as I let it out I
promised myself that I would do my best to look at the world a
little differently now and then.