Tuesday, 15 January 2013

2012-13 Hong Kong-Taiwan Trip: Hot Spring and Karaoke Fun in Taiwan

Beautiful scenes in the Hot Spring Bath House

As we spent more time in Taiwan, we managed to fit more things to do in our schedule. Two most memorable things we did was soaking in a Hot Spring bath and singing Karaoke.

There are several hot springs around Taiwan, and the area for each spring is normally very wide. Bath houses are littered near the spring, providing plenty of options and affordability for people to visit. We went to one of the Bath House frequently visited by the family. They offer different packages, from public baths (outdoor pool where gents and ladies separated), 30 mins room, to 80 mins VIP room. It only cost less than a pound to visit the public bath, and there is no time limit as well. The only thing is that you'll be wrapped only with a towel (I think you can wear your swim wear, hehe), soaking with others.

The night we visited, the bath house was packed, but the VIP room was free. The price for it was only NT900 (£19) for the room and you get to stay there for 80 mins (including shower time) with all the privacy you want. It's perfect for a family (I don't want to know what else others have in mind!) as it's very spacious, and there is even a leather bed (no no, keep it in your head) you can rest on, although that would be a waste of time! Towels, comb, earbuds, shampoo, shower gel, hair dryer and even bottled water are supplied and free for you to use and take away. They also provide a wardrobe for your clothes.

The room is cleaned and disinfected each time after use by the kind staffs of the bath house, so you can soak with a peace of mind. The bath itself was quite fancy, you can adjust the temperature yourself, and you can even turn it into a Jacuzzi! With one of the best bubble tea in Taiwan in hand and Clay asleep, we had a really good 80 minutes. It would have been really relaxing too if it wasn't for the hyper Abby prancing around the bath singing 'I'm riding a horse in da wata', the Gangnam Style way!

When you first step into the bath house, you can smell the strong distinctive smell of sulfur. It wasn't too unpleasant as it was expected, and we soon got used to it. We were however, fascinated by how powerful it was! We kept our silver jewellery in our clothes' pockets, but the steam has penetrated through and oxidised them! Hurray for silver cleansing liquid!

Karaoke is a completely different experience in Asia than in the UK. Not only do you sing along to official music videos or concerts, you get to sing your heart out in a room without worrying about how others think about your singing! Snacks and drinks can be ordered, and some Karaoke places even include them in deals.

The best we ever experienced was in Taiwan, where old hotels were converted into Karaoke heaven. The one we went to even had an en suite toilet, so we didn't need to leave the room at all! A few of us did go to the nightmarket (another must go in Taiwan) downstairs to grab cheaper and much better delicious snacks after we have spent the minimum NT900 (£19) on food and drinks. Probably not very good for the throat and singing but it's the fun and enjoyment that counts!

There is a remote control system where you can select and queue your songs, and the songs will magically play for you one after the other. You can cut the song, jump queue, re-select, turn on the singing, and call for the waiter for assistance. Abby was the first to sing Call Me Maybe and since it was the only song she knew (apart from nursery songs) she sang it a few times throughout the night! Good that we all loved her and let her be. At the end me and hubby sang White Christmas with her, which was one of our precious moments!

For a party of 8 we spent about £10 each for 3 hours, which was really cheap! By Taiwan's law, any youngsters under 18 must not hang around entertainment areas, and it was quite obvious why. After midnight all sorts of people started arriving, so it was safer for the youngsters to leave.

These 2 events are a must every time we visit Taiwan, and we can't wait for our next visit!