in Northern Taiwan
The Wulai Valley, viewed from the top of the gondola
Wulai Travel Information
Facts about Wulai
Wulai District has gone the route of many indigenous towns throughout history - humble local culture, followed by exploitation of natural resources by colonizers, followed by modernization and a tourist economy. Here, aboriginal culture, particularly that of the Atayal people, is rich and on display for all.
Book your hotel in Wulai before you get there!
These days Wulai is a tourist town through and through, with such attractions as an amusement park, cable car (gondola), and of course a tourist's favorite natural resource: hot springs.
Atayal painting in Wulai Township
Wulai lies in the center of Northern Taiwan, wedged between Taipei and Yilan Counties (see above). In spite of the middle of Taiwan's mountainous geography, Wulai is not at a particularly high elevation (250 meters).
The district is also famous for several waterfalls, particularly Wulai Falls. While Japanese and Chinese resource exploitation has had its effects, Wulai remains a great place to get a glimpse at Taiwan's exceedingly diverse indigenous culture - the Atayal Museum and many shops and eateries allow you to get in touch with one of the myriad aboriginal groups on Formosa.
Nanshih Bridge, just before Wulai's touristy (and busy) old street
Wulai Hot Springs
The hot springs in Wulai are said to have special abilities to diminish the effects of skin diseases and, if your skin is already healthy, smooth it out even more. The hot springs are colorless and odorless, and supposedly have some combination of minerals that is beneficial for the skin. In Wulai, hot springs come in two varieties - free and not-free.
Many hotels will have private hot springs available. Another option, however, is the free hot springs that lie next to Wulai River. Take your pick of private luxury or open-air freedom.
An Atayal man cooks some sausage and mountain pig's meat.
Wulai Atayal Museum
Taiwan has been undergoing a heartwarming increasing appreciation for the island's indigenous populations. The museum in Wulai was developed to give tourists an understanding of the Atayal people, rather than just having tourists toss out money to help them eke out a living.
The Atayal Museum discusses not only Atayal history and culture, but the ecology and resources of the Wulai area as well. In the museum, English is well-covered unlike some Taiwanese museums where Chinese is almost a requirement for entry. Finally, the museum is a cheap endeavor, just NT$50 for a full adult ticket.
A Taiwanese woman sells local rice wine.
YunShien Amusement Park and Gondola
If you trace the water up from Wulai Falls, you'll eventually get to YunShien Amusement Park. And the government has made it easy to get there, too. A cable car takes you from the town up to the top where the park lies; obviously, the gondola ride is an attraction in itself.
The park is rather blase unless you're under ten years old, with rides mostly for kids. There are great views of the surrounding area and waterfalls though, and some peaceful gardens where you can rent canoes and go for a bit of a ride. The cable car is a bit overpriced (NT$250) and you'll have to pay an additional fee (NT$50) to get in to the amusement park.
A place of worship, along a hiking trail in the mountains surrounding Wulai
Wulai Tourist Railway
Previously used by the Japanese to ship lumber from the forest to town, a humble rail line is now used to ship tourists from Wulai's cable car area to an area further into the mountain for more looks at waterfalls and the like. It will give you a good sense of that early 20th-century Asian infrastructure feel. The train costs NT$50.
A river close to Wulai village. There are many clean, natural rock pools in the area where you can swim.
Another good thing to do while in Wulai is to sample the goods sold by the local population. Local arts and crafts as well as food and clothing are available for sale in shops.
Getting Around Wulai / Transportation
Wulai is pretty small, and walking should be more than adequate. The cable car and tourist train are good ways to get to other parts of the area to see things like the amusement park or waterfalls. Some travelers might be interested in exploring parts of Wulai slightly further out, where hiking and natural attractions are available. For those of you of this mind, taxis are available for hire, and scooters can be rented.
Wulai's old tram runs along the "miniature railway" between Nanshih Bridge and the gondola; 50NT$ one way.
Eating in Wulai
Wulai has a lot of special foods inspired by local Atayal tradition. Try to get a taste for these as they're not so readily available in other parts of Taiwan.
Wild Boar - These beasts are eaten in all kinds of ways: roasted, grilled, sausaged and so on. Try not to be put off by the boar carcasses lying about.
Millet Wine - Another local specialty uses millet, a grain that grows near Wulai, to make a sweet alcoholic beverage; it is usually sold in little bottles and comes in varying degrees of alcoholic potency.
Stuffed Bamboo Tubes - Atayal cuisine continues with a provision of bamboo tubes stuffed with seasoned rice. The rice is cooked while actually inside the bamboo and might include other ingredients such as mushrooms or meat.
Helen Coffee Shop - Distinctly not local is Helen Coffee Shop, but still a great place to kick back if you're looking to get a rest from walking (and from exotic foods). The cafe is near the tourist train.
Cheap, aboriginal food is sold everywhere along Wulai's Old Street.
Pause Landis Resort - From 7,500NT$ - 5 Stars
This 5-star accommodation is a true modern paradise and in my opinion one of the best hot spring resorts in Taiwan.
It's got 27 private hot spring pools as well as 35 guestrooms and suites - all with a personal hot spring bathtub. Very scenic area!
Check room rates, discounts, and availability now!
No.61 Yanti Road, Wulai, Taiwan
Hotspring World Hotel - From 4900NT$ - 3 Stars
The Hotspring World Hotel is in a splendid Japanese-style building that's surrounded by lush mountains, just outside of Wulai. Due to its stunning location, this resort is super popular, so book your room in advance! Check room rates, discounts, and availability now!
No.118, Huanshan Road, Wulai, Taiwan
Full Moon Spa
Though a bit pricey, the Full Moon Spa includes complimentary breakfast and private bathtubs filled with hot spring water. It also offers good views of the area.
No. 1, Lane 85, Wulai St., Taiwan
Note: Wulai's hotels are mostly pretty pricey due to the touristy nature of the location - your best bet might be a day trip from Taipei or another location.
Ruby waits for me as I try to get a good picture of the train, and the famous Wulai Falls
Getting to Wulai
From Taipei, the cheapest way to get to Wulai is taking the MRT to Xindian Station (the southernmost stop on the green line), then taking Bus 1601 to Wulai. This trip will only cost the price of MRT fare and NT$40 for the bus. Alternatively, you can take a taxi directly from Taipei and it shouldn't be much more expensive than the bus option.
A roasted mountain pig is on display right in front of a convenience store at the southern end of Wulai's Old Street. You can get a decent piece of the beast
in a paper bag for as little as 100NT$.
Other cool destinations in the area
Fulong - Hualien - Taroko Gorge - Taipei - Danshui - Ilan - Sanxia
Beitou Hot Springs
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