Wulai 烏來

River and mountain in Wulai
River and mountain in Wulai

Wulai is about 20 kilometres south of Taipei. It has hot springs, a waterfall, Aboriginal culture and an amusement park! There is even a cable car to whisk you up to the amusement park. The air is fresh and cool there, even if it is a bit overdeveloped. The town of Wulai might be a bit of disappointment, but you don't have to go far to escape the crowds. Not far beyond Wulai are some even more beautiful and peaceful places in the mountains.

There are many hotels with hot springs and spas in the town. However, I recommend going to the hot springs beside the river. They are free and after you have spent some time soaking in the hot springs you can cool off with a swim in the river.

A must-see attraction in the town is the Wulai Atayal Museum (烏來泰雅博物館) which shows the culture and history of the Atayal people. They are the indigenous people that live in the Wulai area and the mountains of Northern Taiwan. The museum is very well organised with everything clearly labelled in Chinese and English. There are models of the traditional bamboo buildings that the Atayal lived in. Although sadly there are no longer any of these buildings in existence. This museum shows that there is a lot more to indigenous culture in Taiwan than the tacky souvenirs on sale elsewhere in Wulai.

Luohao Dam in the Neidong Forest Recreation Area
Luohao Dam in the Neidong Forest Recreation Area

The Neidong Forest Recreation Area (內洞國家森林遊樂區) is about five kilometres beyond Wulai. If you don't have your own transport you could get there by taxi. There is an entry fee payable at the gate where you enter. Shortly after entering you pass by the Luohao Dam (羅好水壩). This diverts water to via a tunnel to the hydro-electric power station in Wulai. The small lake created by the dam is quite attractive and the water is an amazing color of blue-green.

It is about a one kilometre walk along a flat path to reach the Neidong Waterfall (內洞瀑布). You can appreciate the beauty of the waterfall or if you are feeling more energetic, hike up the Green Shower Trail (森林浴步道). This trail takes a winding route through the forest above the waterfall. It takes about an hour to reach the end of the trail and you can then return via the same route.

To get to Wulai take the MRT to Xindian station (新店站) and then take a bus to Wulai for NT$40.

Hot springs by the river

Hot springs by the river