If Yi-lan is a green gem, Jiaoxi is on the top of it glowing brightly like a crystal.
There is the rare Ground Hot Spring in Jiaoxi, where Xue-shan Mineral Water gets bottled.
Prior to the opening of Xue-shan Tunnel, Jiaoxi was similar to Yangmingshan and Bei-toe, which are referred to as the backyard garden of Taipei.
Although Jiaoxi is separated from Taipei by Xue-shan Mountain, going from place to place is quite easy.
Due to the intersection between the railway and highway, the first interchange is around the corner once you enter Yi-lan by exiting Xue-shan Tunnel on Provincial Highway 5.
It's perhaps hard to picture the hot springs being so close to the bustling train station. Upon exiting Jiaoxi Station, you'll see a large sign.
Making a left turn onto the first street ahead, you'll be greeted by tens of hot spring signs.
Tang-wei-gou Hot Spring Park
We recommend that you walk around Tang-wei-gou Hot Spring Park prior to checking in to a hot spring hotel.
This hot spring comes naturally from a hot spring source. You can readily see vapors bubbling out of the ditch during winter. Without any introduction, some might mistaken this for a typical farmland ditch.
The locals initially called Tang-wei-gou "Hot Water Ditch." It has been utilizing the gift from nature since the Japanese colonial era. Public baths have been around since then, providing free hot springs for people.
This place is packed with people during normal days. There used to be male and female baths respectively. Due to the low female usage rate, it's now changed to male only.
Due to growing popularity, the local government transformed this little hot-spring ditch into a beautiful park, but also thoughtfully preserved the original public baths.
Inside the Japanese garden seen in the picture is the hot spring coming from the hot spring source.
There is even a semi-outdoor foot bath established nearest Yang-de Road entrance.
Jiaoxi is much more prosperous than ever due to the opening of Xue-shan Tunnel. The area around Tang-wei-gou Hot Spring Park was a vacant lot; it's now surrounded by hot spring hotels and Yi-lan specialty shops.
You don't need to look too hard if you like to buy some local products in Yi-lan. You'll naturally notice those large shop signs.
Pao-ma Historic Trail
To get a panoramic view of Jiaoxi, you'll need to travel a little to get to Pao-ma Historic Trail.
The south entrance to Pao-ma Historic Trail is on the way toward Wu-fong-ci Waterfall. Before reaching a five-star hotel "Hotel Royal," pay attention to a small direction sign at the corner and make a right toward the hill road.
You'll need to travel over 1 kilometer to get to Pao-ma Historic Trail. This is the south entrance with a distinct sign.
The north entrance is located by Taipei-Yi-lan Highway. It takes three hours for a round trip. In good weather, you can get a panoramic view of the river mouth, Yi-lan Plain and Gui-shan Island.
When the visibility is insufficient in good weather, you can still see an indistinct shape of the Gui-shan Island.
The part of Pao-ma Historic Trail that was opened during the Qing Dynasty was called Danan Historic Trail at that time, meaning it can get to Yi-lan from Tamsui, making it the most convenient trail to get to Yi-lan from Taipei.
During the Japanese colonial era, this was a military route for making rounds riding horses.
Some say, this was a road used for transporting logs using a type of Trojan horses; therefore, it was named Pao-ma Historic Trail. Pao-ma in Chinese means "running horse."
Along the way, you can get a panoramic view of Jiaoxi from places that aren't obstructed by trees.
There were initially tens of hot spring hotels in this little town Jiaoxi. Since the completion of Xue-shan Tunnel in 2006, the number of hotel establishments has been rising in order to accommodate the influx of tourists.
The number of five-star hotels, including the ones under construction, is at least 6. The surge in the number is amazing. You can witness this from the Pao-ma Historic Trail.
The scenery here compared to the metropolis is gorgeous without the overly crowded feeling .
Aside from hot springs, the highway toward Pao-ma Historic Trail also leads to several beautiful trails. For example, Wu-fong-ci Waterfall and Lin-mei Shi-pan Trail both are great choices for enjoying forest bathing!