This time of the year the weather should be dry, fair and a lovely time to travel in Taiwan. But, it rained almost everyday in the northern part of Taiwan so far this winter. The unusual rain pattern made traveling a bit uncomfortable and wet. However, in the meantime, we embraced poetry-like scenery and fresh air. That was the good parts of the rain. Our last scenic visit for the entire trip was Wulai hot springs recreational area.
Wulai hosts one of the 14 official recognized aboriginal tribes which is called Atayal. One of its traditional customs was its facial tattoos. It was the symbol of honor and beauty. When young women's waving skills were judged and approved by the elderly, they would be tattooed on their faces which also meant that they could get married. If young men passed the head hunting test, they became real men and they were also marked with facial tattoos. This is the most popular reason why the Atayal had facial tattoos; however, facial tattoos also have some other meanings. But, this cultural activity or custom is no longer adapted by the Atayl people due to the integrating of the Han cultures and changing norms
|Wulai main street was lined with food and souvenir shops |
There is also an Atayal Tribal Museum awaiting visitors to understand their unique cultures.
|Taken by Ann|
Wulai is in a remote area. It preserves some old lifestyles. A mobile food market selling on the main street is one of the old lifestyles.
|Taken by Ted|
Fresh vegetables sale in front of the restaurant. Visitors buy vegetables and the chef cooks the fresh vegetables for you.
About 300 years ago, the Atayal ancestors hunted in this area and saw a lot of smoke from natural hot water. Therefore, they called it "Wulai" which means hot springs in their language. It was just their hunting territory; however, because lumber, producing camphor oil, and construction of the hydraulic power plant offered great job opportunities during the Japanese government occupying Taiwan, people gradually moved to Wulai area and formed the village. Now it is a popular spot for soaking in the hot springs after a day hike in this area or on a cold and chilly winter day in Taipei. Furthermore, it has other attractions which catch people's attention.
|There are some public hot springs pools nearby the riverbed. Visitors can enjoy soaking in hot springs under the sky.|
|We crossed a bridge toward the visitor tram station for visiting a waterfall and taking the gondola.|
|After walking up a steep stairway, we saw a small tram siting on the track.|
|Ticketing and Boarding|
Operating Schedule: 08:00~17:00, Summer Time: 09:00~18:00
Ticket: NT$50/one way
|Visitors are welcome to sit with the tram operator|
|The ride was about 1.6 km long and it was a quite interesting ride.|
|The waterfall is about 80 meter high. There are some aboriginal stores and the tram cart historical museum around.|
|In order to take the sky cable car, we had to climb the steep stairs which was higher and more steep than the one near by the tram station.|
|Looking down the stairs we came from.|
The steps seemed endless. I was tired and out of breath but there were more steps to go. Never given up and kept trying. Go, Go, Go! (Gi Yo, Gi Yo, Gi Yo)
|Taken by Ted|
A birds eye view of the village from the cable car
|Walking out from the station, we came across this view which meant there were more stair climbing awaiting us to finish. That was really great! I hoped the stair would be too wet and slippery for us.|
|The view of the village from the top.|
|We arrived at a park on the top and there was a hotel in this area. We sat down at the restaurant in the hotel to have our lunch and enjoyed a piece of quiet. A woman was sweeping the fallen leaves.|
|One of the park views|
|When we were there, some workers were working on this area. They probably were remodeling its layout and preparing for the summer crowds.|
|Talking with an Atayal lady|
For more information about Wulai, please visit: http://wikitravel.org/en/Wulai#b
It was a leisure day to Wulai. We took our time there and went back to the hotel early for packing our suitcases. We also had to give ourselves sometime if there was a need to purchase an additional suitcase for our souvenirs we had purchased during our trip. Our dinner was arranged at Club 63. It was also called the MAAG NCO Open Mess during American military presence in Taiwan.
It now is only opened to its members who must possessed an American green card and pay a yearly fee. We booked the reservation through one of its managers one month ago since we all were not members. Our driver took us to the club and said good bye to us. We appreciated his great service and keeping us safe during the entire trip. We hoped he enjoyed his first western customers as well.
|Kent and his girlfriend joined us at the dinner. His knee was getting a little bit better after taking the Chinese medicine and acupuncture.|
|Lovely and happy couple: Ann and Ted|
Thank for their wine and their beautiful and interesting pictures.
|One of our meals|
|Craving for the pizza|