In the foothills above the plains of Tainan, Guanzihling is divided into two parts: “old” Guanzihling in the valley near the hot spring source, and the “summit” (山頂) atop the nearby hill. As the names hint, the old part has older, cheaper hot spring resorts, while the hilltop has newer, pricier ones.
Even by Taiwanese standards the romanization of the name is confused: alternative spellings include Guanziling (Hanyu Pinyin), Kuantzuling and Kuantzeling, and until recently written the Chinese characters were written as “關仔嶺”.
Buses leave hourly on the hour from Chiayi‘s Zhongshan Rd bus station, several hundred meters down the street from the TRA railway station. The journey on rattletrap local buses goes through Baihe and takes around one hour ($79), crossing through old Guanzihling and terminating at the summit near the Toong Mao resort. Alternatively, you could take a taxi, which will cover the distance in around half the time for around $400.
Leaving from Tainan, the easiest way to get here is to take the TRA (local, not high speed) to the Sinying station stop (about a 30 minutes train ride). There are also eight buses daily (30 min) from TRA Sinying (新營) station. A taxi from the TRA Sinying station takes about 25 minutes and will cost around $600 depending on where in Guanzilin you decide to go. Remember to get the taxi driver’s telephone number before getting off because there are very, very few taxis in the hot spring area waiting to take guests back to the train station.
Sightseeing in Guanzihling requires your own wheels, but traveling between the two parts on foot is reasonable. There are three possible routes: the meandering main road (~2 km), a fearsome pedestrian staircase (好漢坡) of about 300 steps, and a wooden stairway that passes by the hot spring source (温泉源頭).
- Fire and Water (水火同源) (If you travel there by yourself, be sure to memorize the Chinese name as some of the key signs pointing the way only have Chinese). Open 24 hours. A part of the hot spring that releases methane, which has been on fire for over three centuries now! Free.