This quaint little town/street on the outskirts of Wulai is famous for its odorless and colorless hot springs, food influenced by aboriginal Atayal culture, waterfalls and beautiful scenery. The Wulai Old Street (烏來老街) is essentially a street that is packed with local snacks and restaurants/eateries, set amidst a picturesque backdrop of mountains with streams and small waterfalls, and the famous hot springs!
|The town beside the river and amidst the greenery.|
Visiting the town could be a day trip, or you could stay a night or two in the many types of accommodations (e.g. hotels, inns etc…) that offer you the opportunity to enjoy the hot springs as well. Most accommodation places offer private hot springs and have some nice amenities that you could enjoy for a fraction of the price of spending the night. However, if you’re feeling adventurous and want to save money, the best way to enjoy an original hot spring experience is to bathe at the open-air hot spring on the bank of Nanshih Creek - just arm yourself with sunblock, umbrella, beach towels and your swimsuit!
|The hot springs experience at its best, just do as the locals do!|
We stayed for 2 nights at the Volando Urai Spring Spa & Resort, which is a 15 minute walk away. It might just be a short walk, but as the road is narrow and there is no pedestrian walkway, walking in a single line and keeping a lookout for traffic is a must. If walking up a slightly inclined slope and looking out for traffic at the same time on a slightly uneven pathway is too challenging, you could take the bus or get a taxi for NT$150-200.
|From Urai Voalando Spring Resort, just take a right turn and walk straight till you see the signage...|
|Walk straight ahead. There is no pedestrian walkway so be careful with oncoming traffic!|
|Once you walk past the bus terminus you have to cross the bridge. There is another similar bridge at the end of the street which leads to the waterfalls.|
|... where housing meets the river and the mountains.|
As we had arrived early in the morning on the first day, there was plenty of time before check-in so we left the luggage with the resort and went exploring! We were supposed to have made a right turn from the resort, but we turned left instead (we got distracted by the 7-11 on the left side from the resort). Since it was too early for the shops along the street to be opened (we arrived at 8am!), we ended up taking a taxi for NT$200 (it is a flat rate within Wulai, shorter distances are NT$150) to Wulai Gondola (which is just a fancy name for cable car) to see the waterfalls and do some exploring. If we had walked to the gondola it would have been a good 45 minutes to an hour stroll up the slightly inclined slopes!
Anyways, after our adventure at the Wulai Waterfalls and Gondola (which took about 3 hours since we didn’t go all the way up – there were many steps!), we managed to catch a taxi back to check out the ‘old street’. The lady taxi driver who ferried us was very friendly and even suggested we visit Neidong National Forest Recreation Area (內洞國家森林遊樂區), a forest trail containing 3 waterfalls and splendid scenery. She even provided us with her namecard, which would come in handy for our future visits. If you happen to be Wulai and are interested traveling up to Neidong, you can engage her services. Drop me a line and I will pass the contact to you. Unfortunately, we did not manage to visit Neidong this time round, but it is certainly a place of interest that will be visited!
It was already close to lunch time when we arrived at the old street, which was by this time already packed with people and vendors selling their wares. The shops along the streets open until 9pm, so if you are looking for some dinner this would be a good place to explore: bamboo shoots stuffed with rice, handmade rice cakes in a variety of flavors, baked mochi, deep fried river prawns, honey-glazed yams, wild boar kebabs, and for the vegetarians (or those who need their veges) wild vegetables and ferns.
|Wild mountain boar sausage (山豬肉香腸). NT$35 each. |
Wild mountain boar skewer (山豬肉串) NT35 each, 3 for NT$100.
|Candied sweet potatoes for NT$50 per packet. It looked a little too sweet, so we gave this a miss.|
|Vegetables. meat and food (e.g. rice, noodles) were on display outside of eateries beckoning us to come eat|
While there have been blog posts about dining at Taiya Po Po (泰雅婆婆美食店), which serves authentic Atayal aboriginal dishes, we decided to dine at the eatery opposite it, Wulai Little Eatery (烏來小吃店). We had noodles, bamboo rice, vegetables, soup with mountain vegetables, stewed bamboo shoots and chicken – a hearty meal, all for NT$680 (about S$28-30). [Read all about the dining experience here]
When we were done with lunch it was time to go back, so we took the bus as recommended by the lady taxi driver (a taxi ride from the bus terminus would have cost NT$150-200 while the bus ride costs only NT$15 per person with and Urai Voalando Spring Resort being just one stop away). One bus ride and a stop later we found ourselves back at Urai Voalando Spring Resort just in time for check-in. [Read about the room review here ~ coming soon]
We visited the ‘old street’ again on the last day of our short trip. This time we tried the handmade buns (at NT$20 per bun) and eggs cooked with hot springs at NT$10 each for the normal ones and NT$15 each for the wine infused ones. As you can ask for samples to try with no obligation to buy, DramaQueen managed to try quite a variety of millet wine (小米露 / 小米酒) at 泰雅媳婦 (Taiya Daugther-in-law) prices ranging from NT$150 to NT$450. There was also wild mountain boar skewer (山豬肉串) for NT35 per skewer, 3 for NT$100.
|The delectable handmade pork buns at NT$20 each! They come in 3 different seasonings and are very nice.|
|Hot Spring Eggs! These were simply a delight and very flavorful. They were chilled so they are perfect on a sunny day. NT$10 each for the normal ones and NT$15 each for the wine infused ones.|
|Ranging from NT$150 to NT$450, wine has never looked cuter/prettier. Besides the overly sweet packaging, the standard ones look pretty nice as well.|