As most international flights arrive in Taiwan's capital Taipei this year's Taiwan trip started out here. I flew in and met up with my boyfriends parents who had flown in from Australia and we visited the old Raohe Street nightmarket for all sorts of yummy, weird and very local snack! The following day the three of us caught a bus to get out of the bustling capital and visit a more nature-filled place: Destination Wulai.
I love Taipei, it is such a colorful city with lots of life, lots of culture and lots to see & do. But coming straight from the center of Shanghai all I could think about was getting out of the city - out of any city - and instead explore a more rural area.
Wulai - Hotsprings & Waterfalls
Though only 40k out of Taipei and still part of New Taipei City Wulai looks and feels like a different world. The little village known for hotsprings and waterfalls is green, lush and have a pace of life that suits any traveler who's looking to slow down while exploring some of the beauty of Taiwan.
Best reasons to go?
Wulai is easy to access, easy to enjoy and easy to fall in love with!
Easy To Access
Wulai is super accessible - catch bus 849 from the outside of Xindian Metro Station in Taipei (the station in the most southern part of the Taipei Metro Map). The busride to Wulai is 15 TWD which is like RMB 3 or less than $0,5. It takes approximately an hour and it's a really local ride with lots of stops as well as a really beautiful ride through the outskirts of Taipei towards a more rural Taiwan. According to the Lonely Planet you can take a taxi from Taipei and get there in 30 minutes. This should cost around 600 TWD each way.
We took the bus and it is really super easy! Wulai is the end station so no need to worry about getting off at the right place. Wulai bus station is also the beginning of Wulai Old Street and village center so perfect place to start exploring.
Easy To Enjoy
At the bus station you will find a big map which shows just how easy it is to get a good overview of Wulai. The little village and its attractions can be explored in a day's time. Continue straight ahead and you'll find the tourist information on your left. Here you can get a map and overview over the biggest natural attractions such as: Wulai Waterfall, the Jiajiuliao Trail and Neidong Forest Recreation Area.
Wulai old street with its famous snacks (try sticky rice and hot almond milk) and souvenirs is located just after the tourist information. This is a nice little stroll but I'll recommend to do it after some of the nature trails. At the end of the old street you find a bridge and across you can find the public hot spring area just down at Wulai River. You can combine a river dip with a hot spring experience so don't forget to bring your swim outfit!
Wulai is also the hometown to the Atayal tribe which is the second biggest tribe in Taiwan. In Wulai you can visit the Atayal Tribal Museum if you are interested in knowing more or just keep your eyes open for Atayal monuments and local Atayal people who among different things can be recognized by their traditional face painting.
Easy To Love
After a day in Wulai you already feel like you know the village. But not in a "been there saw that" kind of way. More in like a "been there want to stay or go back" kind of way.
The nature trails are beautiful and you can find hikes that suit most people. The waterfalls and other beautiful sights a long the trails are breathtaking and the clear water makes you want to jump in! At least if you go in summer (if you go in winter make sure to book a hotel with hot springs inside. My hotel had them but it was too warm to feel like using them). The old street and center area is charming and if I had had more time I would have sat down at a cafe a long the river to write my postcards and just be.
My boyfriends parents went back to their hotel in Taipei and I stayed alone one night in Wulai at the Beauty Garden Hotel in the more mountainous area of Wulai. It was such a good experience waking up in Wulai and eat breakfast with a view I'll never forget.
I'm definitely coming back to "Atayal's Utopia" and I can highly recommend anyone who visit Taipei to make time for a small escape to here.