Beautiful Wulai, Part III

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Photos by MJ Klein

On our little trip to Wulai, we’ve seen that there is a lot more to the place than simply the waterfall for which it is famous. Wulai has hot springs, a river that is used for bathing, a downtown shopping area and an historical passenger railroad, in addition to the waterfall. Also many people don’t realize that you can see several other waterfalls within a few kilometers of Wulai. There are some excellent trails in the area for hiking.

Beautiful Wulai

We’re going to take a look at a few things on the way down to the waterfall. One of them is another shot of what’s been called “the cutest little train” the Log Cart.

Beautiful Wulai

Beautiful Wulai

I snapped the above photo as the train was approaching the Waterfall Station.

Beautiful Wulai

This perspective shot shows just how tiny the cars are. Cutest train, indeed!
Beautiful Wulai

The road from the center of town to the waterfall area runs essentially North to South. This is the view looking South as one enters the waterfall area from the train station. It shortly becomes a tourist madhouse.

Beautiful Wulai

Unfortunately, to vendors, the waterfall is nothing more than a place to make money, so why would they care about things like “ambiance” and “tranquility?” They don’t. This coffee truck was blaring out some crappy “jazz” music that was so loud, it drowned out the natural sound of the waterfall! People haven’t gotten there yet. Unfortunately the local thinking is that any situation + “music” = “high class.” That is completely false. How much better it would have been to sit and listen to nature’s own music? We couldn’t stand it here so we moved further down the road.

Beautiful Wulai

Beautiful Wulai

Another aspect that adds to the carnival atmosphere is the cable car that runs directly over the waterfall. I’ve never taken it because the top is some kind of amusement park for kids. Was that really necessary? Someone thought so.

Beautiful Wulai

If you persevere and make it past the Chinese sausage vendors, coffee truck “jazz” station, and the

usual street vendors yelling at you in poor English, eventually you will reach a place where you can enjoy the waterfall in peace.

I want to apologize for the poor quality of my waterfall photos. I do not have neutral density filters and I couldn’t appropriately stop down the exposure in order to “soften” the water flow well enough.

If you really want to see some cool waterfall photos, check out Todd’s work.

Hopefully, my photos will make you want to go and see the Wulai waterfall for yourself. Here are a few more shots:

Beautiful Wulai
Beautiful Wulai

This shot shows the dual streams at the very top.

Beautiful Wulai

There are multiple streams even at the bottom, making this waterfall even more interesting.

Beautiful Wulai

Wulai looks almost like 2 waterfalls combined.

Beautiful Wulai

Beautiful Wulai

These 2 shots above were taken near the extreme Southern end of the observation area. I think the waterfall looks great from any angle. I encourage you to check it out from both directions.

Beautiful Wulai

Of course, every tourist must have an obligatory photo in front of the waterfall!

Beautiful Wulai

After spending considerable time down at the South end near the waterfall, we decided to walk back up North. We learned that the road is also known as the Lover’s Pathway but nothing else other than that.

Beautiful Wulai

As you walk back towards the downtown area, there are still some interesting sights to see, including the fantastically rugged mountains that characterize much of Taiwan’s varied topography.

Beautiful Wulai

We saw lots of cute birds, although they are difficult to photograph!

Beautiful Wulai

As we walked back North, this was the view of the waterfall behind us to the South.

Beautiful Wulai

Beautiful Wulai

If you keep your eyes open you’ll see things like this wasp’s nest. There were several of them in this tree, and hardly anyone noticed.

Beautiful Wulai

This is a power generation plant on the river.

Beautiful Wulai

Here we are approaching the bridge that goes back into the downtown area.

Beautiful Wulai

Beautiful Wulai

Beautiful Wulai

While crossing the bridge, I noticed this cut through the side of the river gorge. It looks like it’s fallen down and is in disrepair. There are many places like this in Taiwan and I fear that whatever historical value they possess will soon be lost forever. I have no idea what the story is, but it’s old.

Beautiful Wulai

On the way back through town, we ate at an aboriginal restaurant. There are several aboriginal offerings you can check out such as this fermented pork. I didn’t try it but I heard it can give stinky tofu a run for the money! The food in the restaurant was excellent.

Beautiful Wulai

This is “shao mi” or millet. We bought a couple of bottles of millet liquor, which is a local concoction. In Wulai, the competition is fierce, and all street vendors offer samples. Most of them are pretty much the same but if you persevere you will find the ones with the best liquor. It’s worth walking around and tasting samples until you find just what you’re looking for.

Beautiful Wulai

I leave you this this last photo, and perhaps one of the most unusual reasons to visit Wulai. This place features a type of fish that can survive in the high temperatures of the hot spring water. These fish are in the hot springs bath and they exfoliate the skin while you relax. People with skin problems swear by this therapy. Sounds like something I’d like to try sometime.

We hope you’ve enjoyed our series on Wulai and that you’ll let us know if you decide to visit. We’d love to hear your Wulai experiences too!

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14 comments

  1. MJ beautiful pictures. At least no one’s built a condo tower yet in front of the waterfall.

    I wish man kind could just learn to appreciate nature instead of exploiting it or trying to improve it.

    owshawng’s last blog post..Owshawng: Snake Wrangler

  2. Thanks for the mention MJ! Despite what you said, I think your waterfall pics look great! Those birds you photographed are Black Bulbuls (Hypsipetes leucocephalus). Although common, they are quite adorable.

    Todd’s last blog post..I’ve moved!

  3. owshawng, it’s only a matter of time before someone does. it’s typical though – places are wasted on the inhabitants.

    Todd, thanks for the vote of confidence! but you have to admit they would look a lot better with a slower shutter speed, so i should get some neutral density filters.

  4. Ok, I’m about to make an obscure TV reference…
    There was an episode of Ugly Betty (a popular sitcom/drama in the US) where the evil boss Wilhemina exfoliates her feet in order to seduce the owner of the fashion magazine where she works using this method that “she heard they do in Singapore.” So the fish-exfoliation method must be pretty well known if it showed up on this show!

    Sandy’s last blog post..A Caribbean Paradise: Turks & Caicos

  5. Craig, yes i agree. i need some neutral density filters.

    Sandy, i’ve seen that on TV before so i think it’s probably very well known, but the show that i saw wasn’t about Wulai. there are some other places in the world that have the little fish in hot springs.

  6. “How much better it would have been to sit and listen to natureā€™s own music?”

    How much better indeed! Often when I go hiking in the Dakeng area of Taichung, the sound from nearby KTV’s reverberates around the hills. And if by some chance the KTVs are quiet, there are always some hikers who must listen to Taiwanese enka, pop music or political talk shows on the portable radios they are carrying. Is it because the sounds of nature (birds, insects, wind, water etc.) produce feelings of anxiety in some people?

    Kaminoge’s last blog post..Monkey Business

  7. Kaminoge, good questions. i think it’s a matter of how one is raised. i get very annoyed by the useless barking of the neighbor’s dog, but he isn’t phased by it. i dislike the dog barking because it disrupts the tranquility of the neighborhood. that concept wouldn’t occur to the owner.

    your point about the mountain karaoke is well taken. i’ve been hiking with Michael Turton only to find ourselves way up in the hills where the sounds from the local beer joint cranking out karaoke songs is clear enough to know the tune.

    i don’t think that natural sounds induce the anxiety, but rather the lack of man made sounds. this explains why a successful torture on Green Island was being locked in a dark room underground. detainees remarked that “the silence was frightening.” when i read that i thought “frightening? to whom?” i would have just fallen asleep. those portable radios mean “i’m not alone out here” as ridiculous as that sounds. and i’ve been told by people who use those radios that they actually get scared without them.

    i’m gonna go camping with some Taiwanese friends and i’m sure i’m going to run into that situation. what’s the point of going “camping” if you’re doing the same stuff you do at home?

  8. I think your comment about the lack of man-made sounds pretty much nails it.

    If your camping buddies are anything like one of my students, no doubt at least one of them will bring a TV along!

    Kaminoge’s last blog post..In the news ????

  9. oh my goodness, i certainly hope not! i was joking with them, asking if they were “experienced campers.” when they answered that they were, i said that it would be a pleasure making a shelter with them. perplexed, i explained that when i go camping, i only bring my bush knife. i make everything i need, and i hunt/fish for all my food. that got their eyes popping! lol one thing i’m going to bring is my gold pans. i have yet to pan for gold in Taiwan. should be a fun new experience here.

    thanks.

  10. I went out for a walk in Dakeng again this morning, and sure enough, there were several hikers with radios out on the trails. I know they’re scared of the lack of man-made sounds and all, but there were plenty of other walkers out there, and signs of civilization are never far away. I guess I’ll never understand their anxieties.

    BTW, it’s great to see you’re back to full health! The new hairstyle looks good too!

    Kaminoge’s last blog post..Cum on feel the noize ???????????????

    1. Kaminoge » i wonder if they are listening to something in real time, like a ball game? it almost seems to me that the reason for them being out there in the first place might be totally different than ours. perhaps it’s just obligatory exercise for them, having nothing to do with being outdoors and enjoying that experience. perhaps they are just getting exercise and not willing to give up the other aspects of their daily routines, such as listening to the radio. thankfully, as you mentioned on your blog, they kept the volume low.

      thanks for the kind words. it does feel good to be back, although i’m not sure my guitar playing is yet up to where it should be. but i’m enjoying playing at any rate.

      this is the first time that i’ve cut my hair and didn’t regret it 5 minutes later! it’s just getting too thin and it’s starting to look like an old guy trying to look young. i’ve seen men with literally thin ribbons of hair tied back and i think they look ridiculous. i’m 52 and i’ve had a great run, retaining more hair than many men by age. so it’s time to scale it down a bit and go with a shorter style.

      take care!

  11. You have had a great run with your hair! Mine began to desert me from the age of 35 or so. For years before that I kept it at shoulder-length, but I accepted the inevitable before it started to look ridiculous, and have kept it close-cropped ever since.

    Hair is overrated anyway, isn’t it? šŸ™‚

    Kaminoge’s last blog post..Cum on feel the noize ???????????????

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