Wulai 烏來: A Mountainous Sausage Paradise
Wulai 烏來 in New Taipei City attracts visitors for a host of reasons. Some come for the old street, some come for the scenery, some come for the hot springs, and some come to learn about aboriginal culture and chow down on traditional food. You can dabble in whatever you like, and I doubt you’ll be disappointed. Check out some photos from my visit after the jump.
One amusing thing about Wulai is the name. The Chinese characters could translate to something like “crow comes” or “darkness comes.” A bit ominous, but the original word from the Atayal people, one of the many aboriginal groups of Taiwan, is even scarier. In their language, the name means “poisonous” due to the water. Considering so many people come to Wulai today for the natural hot springs, I think it’s safe to say that the name is a bit ill-fitting.
I’m not an expert on hot springs, but Wulai’s hold a high reputation and there are many hot spring resorts and hotels in the area. They are carbonate hot springs, different from the sulfur streams of Beitou. Carbonate streams are colorless and odorless, so you won’t be overwhelmed by sulfur fumes as you inch closer to the springs. There’s a mix of different types here, ranging from expensive hotels to cheap public baths.
Wulai also has an old street selling aboriginal handicrafts and food. The most noticeable snack you’ll find here is the mountain boar. There are many vendors selling boar on a stick, and people are more than willing to line up at the most popular venues. You may see a big roasted pig sprawled out at the beginning of the old street. Not the best place to go if you’re vegetarian! Another famous dish is bamboo rice, which is sticky rice mixed with other ingredients that are shoved in a bamboo tube. I definitely recommend you try both if you come here.
Walk about fifteen or twenty minutes from the old street, and you’ll behold some beautiful scenery which includes a large waterfall. The waterfall is thin, yet no less impressive. Located around the waterfall are some more shops, an aboriginal museum, and a cable car which takes you higher up the mountain. At the other end of the cable car is a park and hotel. You can spend quite a bit of time exploring and having fun up here.
Wulai is certainly a nice day trip to take from Taipei. Even in my two visits, I feel like I haven’t done everything it has to offer. There are many hiking trails sprouting off from the area that I would like to try one day. Enjoy some pictures with more information.
Take the MRT to Xindian Station and transfer to the bus heading to Wulai (there will be a lot of signage and possibly a big wait). It takes about 45 minutes to get to Wulai from Xindian Station.