(Dad and Yvonne in Wulai)
After Dad and Yvonne had been in country for a few days, they wanted to get out of the city and into the country. So we decided to go to Wulai, a small Atayal village nestled beneath a waterfall about an hour South of Taipei. So we caught the MRT to Hsin Tien and jumped on the bus.
The weather on the day started out great but as we got closer to Wulai the weather started to come in and the rain came. A little summer rain in Taipei is not enough to deter intrepid travelers like us. And besides, we were already in Wulai.
Of course the bus ride as usual was stunning. Driving on road that runs to Wulai in the valley next to the river is beautiful. The natural beauty of the road up to Wulai amazed both Dad and Yvonne. It is always difficult to believe that such places exist when living in the congestion of Taipei. A little effort is all that is needed and a person can be away from the bustling crowds.
(On the road to Wulai)
The Atayal Village
After a 90-minute journey we arrived in Wulai. We walked through the small, narrow streets and Dad and Yvonne tinkered around the little shops buying some trinkets and knick-knacks. Yvonne bought a traditional Atayal hat that she wore all the way on the Journey.
What I haven’t seen there before was the Atayal museum. The Atayal people used to be headhunters apparently. And the village is like any other tourist village in the world. But never the less, it is quaintly nestled in the valley with the river running next to it. While we were there we also tried some special almond milk. I remember thinking it was heavenly. Dad and Yvonne also stopped and chatted with lots of the local folk. Of course this was challenging but I managed to translate for them.
After hanging out in the village for about an hour, we caught a taxi to the waterfall. The taxi driver was a hoot. He told us that he had a wife but that he also had a number of girlfriends. He also mentioned that his wife didn't seem to mind too much and he said that is the way of a real man.
The Top of the Waterfall
(Dad and Yvonne at the Top)
We finally got to the waterfall. A cable car takes people to the top of the waterfall where there is a restaurant, pond and some other activities. We decided to eat at the top so bought the cable car tickets and tickets for lunch
The cable car ride is always fun but it was the first time I was doing it in the rain. Dad and Yvonne also managed to make friends with a bunch of kids in the cable car and, even when we arrived at the top, managed to initiate a language exchange. It was really amusing. We spent some time looking at the view from the cable car station and then headed off for lunch.
The coy fish in all the ponds fascinated Dad and Yvonne and so getting to the hotel took a lot longer than we thought it would. We finally arrived and had a great traditional Taiwanese lunch. We had a great time just relaxing in the hotel dining room.
Nearly Headless Paul
My one abiding memory from Wulai will always be my first trip there. Queenie first took me there in 2000. At that time there was a small amusement park at the top of the falls. In the theme park was a roller coaster that seemed a bit small but the attendant assured me that I could go on it. So I did. Well, I remember going over one of the rises on the roller coaster and as we came down the other side I saw a steel bar running across the tracks precisely at the height of my head. I managed to duck really quickly and kept as low as I could for the rest of the way. I don’t think the roller coaster is there anymore.
The Obstacle Course
After the meal we went walking on some of the trails at the top of mountain. There is also an obstacle course so we decided to try our luck on the course. We used a considerable amount of energy pulling ourselves over the different obstacles but it was fun. I was most impressed with my father who, even though had a sore knee, still managed to climb over the obstacles.
After walking around at the top for sometime the rain started to come down in buckets. We had to flee. By the time we found some shelter we were completely drenched. Bt by that stage we were really in a rush to get home because we needed to meet Queenie’s family for dinner. So we trudged through the rain to the cable car station.
The End of the Day
We took another 70 minutes on the bus to get back to Gongguan and then walked through the university home. It was a great day in the clouds above the waterfall. Everyone usually has a great time there. If you have some time it is a great day trip. You might even try the hot-springs, which are also great but we never got to try
Anyway, that's it for this time
See our Taipei and Taiwan Travel Guide for more day trips outside Taipei