WuLai: Hot springs & Aborigine culture

---By Yan Chen Translated by Sho Huang

If you're tired of the crowded streets and suffocatingly-busy lifestyle of Taiwan's urban landscape, Wulai is a great place to escape to. Legend has it that the name "Wulai" comes from Atayal Aborigine language. While hunting here, Aborigines supposedly found smoke rising from a creek. Upon closer examination, they found hot water flowing out of cracks, so they named the place "ualikirofu", which means "steaming hot springs". Although Wulai is famous for those hot springs, there are also other fun things to do.

During the day, you can visit the Wulai Atayal Tribe Folk Museum, where you get to understand more about tribal culture. Or check out the Wulai waterfalls and Wuchong Creek to enjoy the cool waters and forest showers. When your feet get tired, you can always recharge along Wulai Old Street, where you will find all sorts of snack shops and restaurants. Tasty dishes like fried mountain boar, venison and vegetables can be savored here. And, if you consider yourself bold, try the deep-fried bees and "Xiao Mi Jiu" rice wine, which makes up a perfect authentic Atayal meal.

At night, the hot springs are an absolute must. There are many options, including simply jumping straight into the hot springs pool along the riverside. Or you can walk along Hot Springs Street and cross the bridge to the "Heated Hot Springs", where the temperature is even higher. Tourists usually bring along eggs and cook them up here. While there's no fee, you should prepare your own towels and showering kit. And, if you feel like giving yourself a treat, many hotels here are also equipped with public pools and private rooms to enjoy the hot springs at.
Finally, don't leave Wulai empty-handed as the specialties here like plum wine and Aborigine decorative accessories make great gifts.

On National Highway No. 1 heading north, take the Hsinchu Interchange to connect National Highway No.2. Get off at AnKeng or XinDian Interchange. There is a brown sign pointing the way to WuLai. Take the Rt. 9 "Jia" spur directly to WuLai.


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