Wulai (烏來, Wūlái) is a small aboriginal village located 27km south of Taipei in northern Taiwan. It’s one of Taipei’s easiest day trips and a great place to spend a day, especially if you like being surrounded by nature. Although many visitors hardly ever make it to Wulai, the town and outer lying area can offer day visitors. With outdoor hot springs, scenic hiking trails, beautiful mountain views, and delicious street food, there’s no reason not to visit Wulai on a day trip from Taipei!
If you are looking to explore the outskirts of Taipei, Wulai Hot Springs is a great choice. Trade the busy streets for a relaxing day outdoors on an easy Wulai day trip from Taipei. Read along to find the best things to do in Wulai and discover all of Wulai’s best bits.
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Best Things to do in Wulai: A Fun Day Trip From Taipei
If this is your first visit to Taipei, Beitou (one of the city’s most famous hot springs areas) might already be on your Taipei itinerary. Although Beitou is nice enough, you’re likely to see fewer crowds at Wulai Hot Springs.
Wulai also has stacks more character! And, if you’re planning on spending a night, the prices are much more favorable here than the hot springs hotels in Beitou. Not to mention, you’ll get to experience the unique tastes and culture of the local Atayal tribe, the surrounding lush jungles, and let’s not forget the beautiful Wulai waterfall.
Wulai Hot Springs Fee
Wulai is renowned throughout Taiwan for its natural hot springs. Visitors can enjoy the steamy water at one of the many outdoor pools along the Nanshih river or head to a hot spring hotel.
Most Wulai hot spring hotels are located near the village’s Old Street (tourist street). Choose to soak in either a public pool or private tub, depending on your budget and free time available.
So, what will it cost?
- Outdoor public pools: Free entry
- Wulai Hot spring hotels: Generally, most hot spring hotels display prices at their entrances. Budget for roughly NT$300-$500 (unlimited time) at the public pools. Private tubs/rooms range from NT$600-$1500 (two hours)
Wulai Hot Spring Hotels
Accommodation types vary from budget hotels and inns to more luxurious spas and resorts. Here are my top choices.
Luxury: Pause Landis Resort Wulai is a beautiful 5-star hot spring resort overlooking the river and mountains. The hotel features clean, stylish rooms with a private hot spring tub.
Mid-range: Full Moon Spa is a great 3-star hotel offering breathtaking views of the surrounding area. The rooms are clean and spacious and feature a private hot spring tub.
Budget: Yufuin Hot Springs is a no frills hotel, but offers good value for money. The rooms are clean and more modern than other budget options you’ll find in Wulai.
Wulai Hot Spring Tips
- Public pools at hot spring hotels are gender-based, so it’s not uncommon to see locals enjoying a soak au naturel.
- Be sure to rinse your body before and after using any of the pools.
- If you suffer from heart disease, high blood pressure, or have any open wounds, it’s best to entirely skip the hot springs.
- At all times, avoid the water covering your chest, especially your heart.
- Don’t stay in the water longer than 20-30 minutes at a time.
- Give your body some time to cool down before heading back into the hot water.
- Read all the safety instructions displayed at hot spring hotels carefully.
The Wulai waterfall is 80m high and is easily reached on foot (1,5km from the village) or by a mini train. There are plenty of lookout points and selfie opportunities once you get to the base. Several charming little eateries and coffee shops are also based here. Alternatively, take the gondola up the mountain for beautiful views of the waterfall.
Hiking in Wulai
Wulai is an excellent place for outdoor enthusiasts and hikers. The area has a scenic 5km trail running along the river. More serious hikers can also enjoy the 20km Jia Jia Liao Stream trail, which runs between Wulai and Sanxia.
What to eat in Wulai
In recent years, Taiwan has become a food lovers’ paradise. It has gained so much popularity that it was even dubbed the #1 Food Destination by an online CNN poll. Even though some critics are suspicious of this result, Taiwan still has many exciting and tasty street food options. With its deep-rooted Atayal culture, Wulai is no different and is sure to delight your taste buds.
The most accessible place to grab a bite is at the Old Street, where food stalls and restaurants are abundant. Although Westerners are often quite skeptical of Taiwanese foods and drinks, don’t worry too much. It usually tastes better than it looks!
Popular local snacks in Wulai
- Barbecued Mochi (烤麻糬, Kǎo máshǔ) – a glutinous rice snack served with condensed milk and peanut crumbs.
- Wild boar sausage (山豬香腸, Shān zhū xiāngcháng). If you prefer not to eat wild boar, opt for the traditional pork sausage (香腸, Xiāngcháng). Take note that Taiwanese sausages are usually a lot sweeter than western-style sausages.
- Sticky rice bamboo tubes (竹筒飯, Zhútǒng fàn) are bamboo tubes stuffed with rice, vegetables, and often some form of meat.
- ‘Tian bu la’ (甜不辣) – made from fish paste, this delicious snack can either be broiled, deep-fried or barbecued.
- Various eggs – a wide variety of eggs, differing in size, color, and even texture, are available here.
If you are vegetarian, there are many stalls in the Old Street selling fresh fruit. Vegetable dishes are also available at most restaurants but note that some restaurants might add a pork-based sauce to their vegetable dishes.
Getting to Wulai from Taipei
Taking a Wulai day trip from Taipei is extremely easy, thanks to Taiwan’s fantastic transportation system. You can quickly get to Wulai by using the public bus. But if you prefer driving, you could easily reach Wulai by car or scooter, too. In fact, some people even cycle here.
However, if you are using public transport, catch Bus 849, near Xindian MRT Station. The ride takes about 45 minutes and will cost NT$15 for a single ride.
Have you been to Wulai? If you’ve got anything to add to this Wulai hot spring guide, let me know in the comments below so that I can keep this post updated!
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