Wulai

Wulai

Wulai (烏來) is a small town in Taipei County, Taiwan, famous for its hot springs and aboriginal culture. The name of the town derives from the Atayal phrase kirofu ulai meaning "hot and poisonous". Don't let this scare you away from this lovely town! Consider going during the week if you can as it is quite crowded on the weekend. Also, in the summer, it might be a few degrees cooler than Taipei, but the elevation is not sufficient to provide real cooling.

Warning: As of August 2015, Wulai was severely damaged by Typhoon Souledor. The road to Wulai was washed out completely and the town largely destroyed. Since then, the roads have been repaired and hotsprings are operating as normal, with some road work continuing.

Get in

MRT to Xindian Station (Xindian line). Take the bus, Bus Number 849, with destination name 烏來 Wu Lai at the bus stop in front of the station, just behind the Information Counter. The bus journey takes about 40 minutes (longer on weekends) and costs NT$15. If you are using the EasyCard, remember to tap both when you are getting on and getting off. Wulai is the last stop, so you can enjoy the journey without worrying when to get off. A seat on the right side of the bus allows views over the river.

Definitely the easiest and fastest way to get to Wulai is simply to take a taxi from Taipei. It only takes 30 minutes from Xindian MRT station, but is not cheap. At the Xindian MRT taxi line, they have a taxi fare sign with predetermined fares (depending on the destination). Going to Wulai from the Xindian MRT will cost you $600 NT one way. Returning from Wulai by taxi can be negotiated and should be cheaper than $600 NT, but ultimately not cheaper than the bus.

Get around

This compact little town is easily covered on foot. There's a map posted next to the bus stop, with all tourist destinations clearly marked in English. If the taxi drivers waiting there tell you that Wulai Waterfall is too far away to walk, don't believe them: it's a nice stroll of less than half an hour. The walk also passes through the open air market on Wulai Old Street, and continues to the falls via the "Lover's Path", which affords some nice views of the river gorge below the falls.

The little train brings you to the terminus of the cable car that brings you to the top of a nearby mountain. From the main tourist street in the town, cross the bridge, and take the wooden staircase across the road. It goes up to the left. Follow the pedestrian street to the station. The little train costs NT$50 each way and takes you one and a half kilometers up the valley.

Do

Wulai

Famous for its natural hot water springs, along with Beitou, Wulai is the place in the Taipei area to soak away the winter cold and damp. In fact, the name Wulai is the aboriginal tribe Atayal's term for hot springs. The springs at Wulai are clear and odorless. Public hot spring etiquette requires that bathers thoroughly wash and rinse off their bodies before entering the bath, do not wear clothing (including swimwear) in the bath and tie up their hair so that it does not touch the water. Finally, people with high blood pressure, heart disease or open wounds should not enter the baths.

Places to bath

Wulai
hot spring rock pool
Make your own hot spring rock pool on the banks of the river.

Hiking

There are a number of excellent hiking trails in the mountains around Wulai.

Buy

Eat

As an Atayal aboriginal town, Wulai has a host of unusual and delicious dishes, including wild boar, Reeve's muntjac (山羌 - shan qiang), and bird's nest fern (山蘇 - shan su). A specialty of the area is seasoned rice steamed in a tube of bamboo (竹筒飯 - zhu tong fan). Another Aboriginal specialty is Millet Wine (小米酒), and various foods are seasoned with the Aboriginal spice maqaw (馬告, Litsea cubeba).

Drink

Cafes:

Sleep

There are numerous hotels in Wulai, making this a nice weekend getaway from Taipei. Many hotels will offer rooms with personal hotspring tubs, prices vary but a nice room with personal hotspring and sauna can be had for NTD$4,500. Most people simply stay in Taipei and come to Wulai for a day trip.

Go next

To get back to Taipei, take the 烏來 Xindian-Taipei Main Station bus (849), and get off at the Xindian MRT station or continue on to the terminal stop Taipei Main Station for NTD$45.

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Monday, December 28, 2015. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.