Spending a birthday in a foreign country isn’t new to me because since I turned 20, I’ve been spending my birthdays in different places. But this is my first time to celebrate in a country where I live alone. Everyone I talked to felt really sad for me but actually, it wasn’t too bad. On the contrary, I really enjoyed my day!

My day started pretty well. I slept in because it was the weekend, and honestly, I think I really deserved that after a long and stressful midterm week. But I must admit that I really didn’t know what I should do for the day. I don’t like parties, so throwing a partyΒ is not an option. Everyone seemed to be busy anyway, so I decided to just go somewhere I haven’t been during my last vacation here. I decided to go to Beitou, a district in Taipei known for its hot springs, to see the Thermal Valley that my friends have been talking about.

The trip from my dorm to Beitou was really long (more than an hour) and I really regret going in the afternoon because I was looking forward to visiting more places within the area. But it was okay because I still managed to see lots of places.

As I was strolling around the area, I passed by Beitou Public Library and the Plum Garden, a historical building and tourist information center. I thought I would only get to see a garden, but it turns out that Plum Garden is part of a historical building. The house where the garden is situated is an old Japanese-style house belonging to a well-known calligraphy master and government official Yu You Ren. Besides serving as a historical landmark and tourist information center, it’s also a great place to relax. Plus, his original calligraphy works are still displayed in the house and it adds to the overall elegance of the place.

Plum Garden house

The garden is situated near a main road, but you really won't notice all the activity outside because of the relaxing atmosphere of the place.
The garden is situated near a main road, but you really won’t notice all the activity outside because of the relaxing atmosphere of the place.


Beitou Public Library
I took this photo of the library just before sunset, so… πŸ˜›

I also passed by this pretty building, I believe it’s the Hot Spring Museum. But it was really late in the day and the Thermal Valley park closes at 5, so I had to hurry along. Oh well, now I have another reason to go back to Beitou!

Beitou Hot Spring Museum

So, after long walk, I finally got to the Beitou Thermal Valley. It’s a natural sulfur spring with scorching hot water – so hot that youΒ can see the steam rising out of the water. This also means that it can’t be used for bathing (it’s actually corrosive), but it’s still a pretty sight that I’m glad I got to witness.

Entrance of Beitou Thermal Valley

Can you see the smoke coming out of the water?
Can you see the smoke coming out of the water?

Beitou Thermal Valley

It was pretty late when I finished exploring Thermal Valley so I went back to have dinner. I didn’t know what I wanted to have for dinner that night, but I ended up eating night market food (no photos though) and then for some reason I ended up at Yongkang Jie. There were so many restaurants and stalls to choose from, I wished I had dinner here instead! But no worries, I decided to try this popular shaved ice store called Smoothie House, and it was so good!

Their shaved ice comes in different flavors. This one is peanut and taro flavored. Yum!
Their shaved ice comes in different flavors. This one is peanut and taro flavored. Yum!
They also have matcha and mango flavored ones. I think the mango flavor is the most popular (and for good reason!)
They also have matcha, red bean, and mango flavored ones. I think the mango flavor is the most popular (and for good reason!)
My default mood lol. I'm always eating!
My default mood lol. I’m always eating!

After dessert, I went back to my dorm and my roommate arrived with a cake for me! So cute! And there was also a candle, which took us a REALLY long time to light up because we couldn’t get the lighter to work. Lol. It was so nice of her to do this for me and we had a great time celebrating in our room and just talking. No big parties needed, I was just so happy to be celebrating with a good friend.

Now, I’m just worried about my midterm scores! I hope everything turns out okay, the midterm exams really stressed me out. Maybe after this I would be able to write more detailed posts in the next few weeks!


  1. I’d love to spend my birthday somewhere beyond my hometown, maybe in 2017? Anyway I’m so glad that you had a happy birthday, and I love all of the pictures that you took.

  2. You’re never alone really – happy birthday from across the world! Sending lots of digital cakes and love your way! πŸ˜›

    I’m glad you got to get the most out of your day πŸ™‚ It looks like that you celebrated well and got to see and experience so many beautiful places! I’m not a fan of parties either (especially when you’re center of attention in them!)

    Haha, that photo of you eating food is so funny! That’s my default mood too ;P

    Happy belated birthday!

    1. Aww that’s so sweet! Thank you so much Pauline πŸ™‚ Lol I certainly don’t like being the center of attention in parties as well, it’s just really awkward and when you’re the host, you’re expected to entertain EVERYONE. πŸ˜›

  3. Happy (belated) Birthday! Sightseeing in a new place sounds like a great way to spend it πŸ™‚ The sulfur spring looks amazing. I can’t believe how much steam there is, and I found it relaxing to watch it move across the water in your video. I’d love to see that in person!

    Aahh, I love Taiwanese shaved ice. It’s so light and fluffy! We have a place here, and I was so addicted to it in the summer. That was sweet of your roommate to get you a cake too! I’m glad you had a good birthday!

    1. Thank you Cat! πŸ™‚ I was really surprised when I saw the steam too, and it was a cool day but I was all sweaty when I got near the spring. It’s a beautiful sight though and I’m glad I went there to see it πŸ™‚

      Taiwanese shaved ice is so addictive right?! Lol I would love to go back to that place but right now I can’t handle cold food because it’s really cold in Taipei XD

  4. Happy Belated Birthday <3 I know what you mean, I spent my birthday in not a foreign country but in a new state away from home, and I can sympathize. Glad you are staying strong and having a great time!

  5. Happy belated 23rd birthday! It’s pretty cool that you get to spend your birthdays in different places for the past few years. I should make that a goal or something XD. I always think going for the “treat yo’ self” path is the best path for birthdays XD. The garden and library looks amazing! I love how big the library is. The hot springs look amazing.

    Your roommate is super sweet to get you a cake! I’m glad to hear you had a great time. Good luck with your exams!

    1. Thanks Nancy! πŸ™‚ Well my first birthday out of the country was my dad’s idea (he really just wanted to go to Hong Kong and the trip’s duration coincided with my birthday), and it kind of became a tradition because I was the only one among the siblings who really made time for travel every year.

      Lol I have the same “treat yo’ self” mentality when it comes to birthdays (or any special occasion, really). I feel like we all deserve a fun and relaxing day because we work really hard for the rest of the year πŸ˜›

  6. Hiiii! Belated Happy birthday!
    I as well wanted to experience celebrating my birthday farway from my country XD AHAHAHA! Enjoy and be thankful for every blessings you have πŸ˜€ Good luck on your studies! πŸ™‚

  7. Happy belated birthday Claudine! Spending your birthday in a foreign country is a foreign concept for me since I’ve always been home for mine, but it sounds like it would be way more fun, and I think that’s an exciting way to spend your special day.

    Ooh, what a beautiful place! I’ve never been to any hot springs before, so all of the smoke makes it look almost dream-like. Omg, that shaved ice looks like it is to die for. All those toppings! The red bean one sounds a little weird, but the peanut one looks delicious!

    I think celebrating with close friends is the best way to spend your birthday. It sounds like you had a great day, and I hope the rest of the year is a great one for you too! πŸ˜€

    1. Thank you Becca! πŸ™‚

      Hot springs are really relaxing, you should try visiting one when you get the chance πŸ™‚ I agree about the smoke, that plus the beautiful sunny day made me feel like I was in a dreamland πŸ˜›

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