Saturday, August 19, 2017

Wulai and Bitan Scenic Area

Everything looked sad and bleak on my last day in Taiwan. I certainly hope it would be sunny this time at least, but I didn’t want the gloomy weather to dampen my mood, so it’s still up to me to liven up my day. In times like this, I would usually just curl up in my bed with a book, but not today. As hard as it was, I prepped to do some light walking in the laidback district of Wulai in New Taipei.


Situated in the mountainous area of Southern New Taipei, the idyllic town of Wulai 烏來 serves as home to the aboriginal people of Atayal. It is a famous destination for day trippers from Taipei for its natural hot springs and easy hikes with spectacular views.

wulai taipei

You’d need about two transfers if doing this DIY. Alight at MRT Xindian Station along Xindian line. From there, you need to take bus 849 that stops in front of the station. Wulai is the last stop on this route.

bus rain
looking for Wulai.. it was indeed another rainy morning

The town is not that huge and most attractions can be visited by foot. I opted to visit the waterfalls first as this located the farthest, but don’t worry, it will take you only 25-30 minutes and you will pass by some scenic spots so you’ll surely be occupied. If it was not destroyed by a rocks like a couple years back, The Wulai Log cart would have taken me along the 1.6km path to the falls. When I went there, there were no signs that it will still be repaired and no one was manning the reception area.

taiwan mural

the waterfall stop, if the Wulai Log Cart was operational, this area would probably be crowded

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.

lovers trail wulai
the lover's trail was closed that day, I wonder why

wulai tribal
Atayal influence can be seen all throughout this town

The torrent of Wulai Waterfall was as strong as ever, this is due from the consistent raining in the region the previous days. I have read that there are a number of falls in this town, but this one is the largest of them.

Nearby is the stop for Wulai Gondola, a short cable car ride that would take you to the top of Wulai Falls. There is a hotel at the top called Yun Hsien Resort wherein you can have access to parks and smaller waterfalls in Wulai.

Wulai Waterfall

Wulai Waterfall  taiwan
Wulai Waterfall

There are lots of interesting food choices along the open air market of Wulai Old Street. As it was almost close to lunchtime, I decided to feast on snacks and street food that made me full to the brim. There were also a number of aboriginal crafts in store in case you want to buy some souvenir.

wulai old street

taiwan owl
see, more owls! haha

taiwan hot spring
and of course, there are lots of smaller hotels renting out their hot spring and bathing services.

wulai hot spring resort
this is the cheapest private hot spring I was able to find in Wulai

wulai town

wulai street food

taiwan sausage
there's only one in this picture, but for a very irresistible offer of 3 for 100 NTD, guess who downed three servings of meat?!

if I remember correctly, this is muaji dirzzled with honey

There’s also the Wulai Atayal Museum if you’re interested to learn more about the culture and traditions of the people who live here. As usual, I took my time looking at their traditional clothing and accessories. There were also some old pictures on display, as well as models of Atayal houses.

wulai atayal
this iconic statue would greet you as you make your way around town

atayal museum
traditional weapons of the Atayal

wulai atayal

tribal clothing taiwan
I'm really into these accessories and design

aboriginal accessories
I love these handbags!

It took me a while to figure out where the outdoor public hot springs where located. If you’d like to try the experience, it is located on the opposite bank of Nan Shih River. Like in Yangminshan's Lengshuikeng, there are also two areas, a smaller pool where you can dip your feet, and a bigger one. It is an open air area and was not segregated by gender, but it’s totally free so don’t complain! Proper swimwear must be worn or else, locals will not let you use the facility.

wulai river
the mighty current of Nan Shih River, I could see people going in here for a swim though

wulai public spring

public hot spring taiwan

I took the bus back to MRT Xindian to see another charming destination, the Bitan Scenic Area. Just like Wulai, it features another prominent river. It has become a popular hangout spot for its laid back atmosphere, it’s a good idea to enjoy the view along the restaurants and cafes situated nearby the riverside. There is also the Bitan Suspension Bridge that connects the east and west banks. In a sunny day, one can rent boats and paddle around the area. I have read that there is also a night market around the area that would be perfect for us hungry explorers. Perfect for a date or an afternoon stroll.

Bitan Scenic Area

a short strip of restaurants along Xindian MRT

taiwan noodles
this and a serving of dumplings was my last meal in Taipei

taiwan ice cream
the cold weather is not stopping me to get some ice cream

I envy people who live in Taipei. They get to visit so many destinations that are just within their arms reach. It helps that their transportation system is so efficient and comprehensive, they were also blessed with abundant natural scenery that you don’t necessarily have to go out of the city for some fresh air and environment.

taiwan mural

More of my 16-day exploration of Taiwan here:








New Taipei

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