Wulai is a small town outside of Taipei known for its natural hot springs, aboriginal culture, and of course Wulai Falls. many locals and tourists go for a soak in the river, or rent a room at a hot spring hotel which pipes water in for a more private experience. the water here is not sulfuric, so would be a good choice if you are put off by the smell of other springs.
to get to Wulai, take the MRT to Xindian station and hop on bus 849. Wulai is the last stop, about 45 minutes through a winding and hilly drive. [you can also take a cab, but it will cost you 600 NT instead of 15]
I visited on a hot and misty day last June with my brother - intending to explore the town, see the waterfall, and take a dip in the famous springs. after strolling through the main drag and crossing over the river to the hillside crowded with hot spring hotels, we discovered a strange little blue train. for 50NT, or less than $2US, it zipped us up to the waterfall viewing area in no time. thanks to the misty day and recent rains, the falls were flowing freely. [don't be fooled by how refreshing it looks in these photos though, it was HOT out.]
we were promptly befriended by a cat. both my brother and I love cats, so we spent a few minutes giving this stray some love before washing our hands and heading back to the waterfall. aside from the animals and some dancing shop girls in aboriginal gear, the area was nearly deserted. we visited on a weekday so the lack of crowds was a refreshing change from the crush in the city.
if you climb back into the streets near the viewing platform, you can find the cable car station and take a ride up and across the gorge. round trip tickets cost 220NT [about $7US] and allow you to wander the park at the top of the waterfall as well. even though the day was steamy, we decided to continue our explorations.
we discovered from the top that a series of smaller falls lead up to the large one. there is also a hotel, several cafes and food stands, and what looked to be a children's amusement park. we spent a few hours exploring the park and trails [and accidentally going for a dip in the river - a story for next time!] before taking the tram back down.
you might also notice that I've added a new page specifically with links to my Taiwan travels. my other travel destinations around the world are still listed here, but as I plan to explore and share more about Taiwan over the next few years, I felt this island deserved its own page.