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.
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.
I snapped the above photo as the train was approaching the Waterfall Station.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Hopefully, my photos will make you want to go and see the Wulai waterfall for yourself. Here are a few more shots:
This shot shows the dual streams at the very top.
There are multiple streams even at the bottom, making this waterfall even more interesting.
Wulai looks almost like 2 waterfalls combined.
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.
Of course, every tourist must have an obligatory photo in front of the waterfall!
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.
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.
We saw lots of cute birds, although they are difficult to photograph!
As we walked back North, this was the view of the waterfall behind us to the South.
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.
This is a power generation plant on the river.
Here we are approaching the bridge that goes back into the downtown area.
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.
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.
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.
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!