Monday, May 01, 2006

Wulai 烏來

Wulai 烏來

The Wulai Falls are not Niagara Falls, but are a nice waterfall and an easy day trip out of Taipei. While the scenery is beautiful, there can be a lot of tourists and vendors to remind you that the city is not far away. In addition to the waterfall there are hot springs here and some scenic areas along the riverside. There is a mini-train that can take you to the base of the waterfall. The cost is $50. There is also a cable car that goes to the top of the falls. At the top are some really lame amusement park rides and games, a hotel, and some good hiking trails where you can leave the crowd behind.

Wulai Hotsprings 烏來溫泉 wūlái wēnquán

There are many spas and hotels in Wulai where you can pay to play in the hot springs or you can enjoy open air hot springs along the riverside. Spas offer communal baths, private rooms, or both. The communal baths are sometimes separated by sex, and are sometimes co-ed. The free pools can be crowded and get dirty quickly, but you definitely get more than your moneys worth. Local volunteers keep the pools clean, there are showers and changing rooms, they have steam tents and you can cool off in the river.

Getting to Wulai 烏來 wū-lái

See Tourism Bureau Directions or See Wikitravel Directions

By MRT & Bus:
Take the MRT to Xindian Station, which is the terminal station on the South end of the Green-Xindian Line, which turns into the Red-Danshui Line at Guting. When you step out of the MRT you will see directly in front of you a building with a sign reading Wulai. This looks like it could be a bus terminal, but don
t be fooled. Turn to face the opposite direction and walk uphill along Beiyi Rd. (the main road) to the nearest bus stop. The bus may or may not be marked in English. Look for the characters 烏來 on the bus that meanWulai. The MRT Tourist Map had an enlarged section on Wulai, but new editions may not have this. Once you actually get there, you probably wont need a map. Just follow the crowd to the pedestrian toll bridge. If you go straight across the bridge you can take the stairs towards the cable car. To the left you will come to the mini-train station and a pedestrian path that will lead to the waterfall. To the right you will come to stairs leading down to the riverside and the free hot springs.

By Car or Scooter:

Go past Xindian Station and up the first steep hill. At the top of the hill you will find one of Taipei Countys few attractive betel nut girls, but shes not worth a special trip. As you go down this hill you will see signs directing you to turn right. After you turn you will stay on this road until you reach Wulai. As you approach Wulai if you continue straight you will go into the town of Wulai where the buses stop and where the pedestrian toll bridge access is located. The other, better option is to turn right across the last highway bridge. When you cross the bridge you will curve to the left and as you go uphill you will take the first left towards the free hot springs and the other side of the pedestrian toll bridge. As you go downhill you will see a 7-11 on your right hand side. Find a place to park and the stairway will be on your left-hand side.

HOT SPRING SPAS 烏來溫泉 wūlái wēnquán

If you want a little more luxury than the free hot springs can offer here are directions to one of many spas in Wulai. Approaching Wulai you should take the bridge to the right, which bypasses the town center. Continue on to where the road forks and the Familymart is in the middle, the main road to the left will take you to the Wulai cable car, the right fork will take you to this hot springs spa and hotel. It is the next building on the left hand side. There is no English sign but see the name card below.

The prices are typical and above average amenities. The rate is $1200 for 90 minutes. This is for a private spa room. This particular spa doesn
t offer communal baths. Some spas sell time in 40 or 60 minute increments. 40 minutes is too short, and 60 may be just enough, but who wants to feel rushed when they are here to relax. The bath is quite large with an inclined area big enough for one person to lie down. Then there are some bench seats where two people can sit side by side or across from each other in water up to the shoulders. Overnight rates are available between $3000 and $4000. Dont worry if you cant find this particular spa there are plenty of others.


This is located on the way to Wulai, 8 km from Xindian.On the way to Wulai you will cross a bridge, the center of which is at the 7 km highway marker or 7 km from the turn the turn at Xindian. You will go through a small town, pass the 8 km highway marker, and then cross another bridge. Immediately before crossing this bridge you will turn left, going downhill to the riverside parking lot. Cars have to compete for space, but scooters should have no problem.

This is a popular spot for locals to have a BBQ. Questionable toilet facilities are available for $10. Shade tents can be rented along the rocky beach for $200. Inflatable rafts and toys are available for rent or sale. Soft drinks, beer, and snacks are sold, but you should bring everything else. The town has some limited facilities.

The river is calm with some shallow and some deeper areas. It is a nice place for swimming. This is a very nice spot but because it sees a lot of people, it can get littered.

If you cross this bridge and turn left you will come to another branch of the spa listed above.

Continue going past Wulai and you will reach Neidong Park. Near Neidong is a pedestrian suspension bridge, which leads to a paved walking trail. This trail is free; there is an entrance fee to Neidong. Parking is available.

Restaurant on the way to Wulai 烏來
There is an open air restaurant featuring wood fire whole roasted chicken. Coming from Xindian, there is a bus stop at the 4 km marker, just past this on the left is the restaurant. They have parking in the rear.

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