The small hot spring town of Wulai 烏來 is a great visit for a day or overnnight. It is located in the mountains, has cool, yet rainy, weather, and best of all is only about 1 hour away from downtown Taipei City by public transportation.
Visitors who stay in hotels might have their own hot spring pools. However, there are also "wild/natural" hot springs along the river. Just cross the bridge at the end of the old street, take a left and walk down. Many little pools have been formed with rocks by other visitors.
Wulai is very easy to get to with or without your own transportation. If you are coming from Taipei, hop on the MRT Xindian Line and ride to the Xindian stop. At the front entrance of the MRT station, find the bus to Wulai #849. The bus trip will cost you around 40 NT and takes you about 40 minutes to get up the mountain to Wulai. This all of course depends on traffic as weekends and holidays can be busy. Once in Wulai, it is easy to walk where you need to go.
Wulai has a cool old street. It is open during the day, but really gets going in the evening. There are lots of great things to eat.
The Wulai area is inhabited by the aborginal Ayatal Tribe. One staple of the aborginal people is mountain boar. There are lots of of these sausages cooking on the old street.
More mountain boar sausages are being prepared. They smell great and taste fresh and delicious.
There are some old style foods on the Wulai old street like this sticky candy that is pulled and stretched multiple times while being prepared.
In Wulai, you will also find a lot of rice that has been stuffed into bamboo and steamed.竹筒飯 (zhu tong fan) When it's cooked, you crack open the bamboo and dig out the rice. There are many fillings and flavors that you can mix with the rice. Cooked in this manner, the rice really absorbs the flavors of the other ingredients.
Atayal souvenirs and crafts can be found in Wulai.
After you walk throught the old street of Wulai and cross the river, you'll soon come to a gondola that brings you up to the mountain overlooking the town. This is a pretty ride and on top you can travel to the waterfall. The round trip gondola ticket is about 220NT.
This small train runs 1.6 km around the area from the top of the cable car to the waterfall. It is also a very nice walk between both places.
The Wulai waterfall is quite beatutiful. Wulai gets its share of rain so the waterfall always seems to be at full force.
A wall painting of Wulai and visitors riding the train in the old days. There was once an amusement park on top of the mountain but has been abandoned for many years.
The sign for the small Wulai train and its two stops.