Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Travel: Wulai 烏來 (Taiwan)

Wulai 烏來 is a short distance from Taipei and easily accessible via public transportation (subway green line south to the terminal station, Xindian MRT Station then bus #849 for 40NT or cab for 600NT flatrate). It's a hotspring weekend getaway for the Taipei-folks.

Speaking of the cab driver (who looked like he was 70+), he pointed out the flat rate fare on a laminated table he had, and then pointed at a street sign showing the same rates (as if to confirm that he was not swindling us, LOL). Then he proceeded to take us on a harrowing 20 minute drive to our hotel. I felt like I was in a scene from the Fast and Furious: Taiwanese Taxi Drivers.

The river is a beautiful colour (but looks brown if it has rained recently!).


Wulai 烏來

That looks fun...

Pretty flowers along the side of the road

Walking around town

A small "train" up to the Wulai waterfall attraction

The tracks were originally used for logging carts; they were refurbished for tourism.

Pretty much empty on a week day!

It was really hot; look at all the sweat on Cory

The ride was actually pretty scary - felt like we were on Space Mountain. About as scary as the taxi ride, actually.

Small waterfall attraction

There's a cable car to the top where there's something like a theme park (we did not go up).

Totoro Husband

Totoro Wife

A street with tons of hourly-rate hotel rooms and onsens. Dodgy as hell - but perhaps normal.

Cory found a cat! I "meowed" at it and it looked up

Tons of "selfie sticks" in Taiwan and Singapore! Look at the length of this one!

For lunch, I had a hard time finding reviews of actual restaurants online ahead of time. I had read about two shops, primarily: Grandma's 60 year old shop and Taiya Popo. However, both were pretty much devoid of customers, so we ended up at this place which was totally full with customers: Shan Di Mei Shi Wu (1 review and in Chinese. Helpful, I know).

The lunch spot we went to in Wulai ??

Frying up some local snacks!

Menu at lunch spot with English (just ask) WOOHOO - page 1, sorry for the blurry

Menu at lunch spot - 2nd side

The order sheet. You can DIY by matching up the Chinese characters (and select small or large portions), or you can wait for a busy waitress to help you select. We DIYd.

Bamboo rice - A local dish. Totally dry and boring. I'd read reviews saying the same thing, but decided to try anyway. Seriously, trust me and skip this LOL.

Fried fish and shrimp which is fried out front. We got the mixed plate, but I'd recommend just getting a full order of the shrimp - which is much more flavourful and interesting.

Geeze, that's all we ate? I'm telling you, it's rough ordering Chinese food for 2 people. You can really only order 2-3 dishes and rice. Overall though, we were pretty happy with our meal (and were glad it wasn't a massive tourist trap). I'd recommend this joint for sure :D

Vegetable fern - there was a raw egg yolk we mixed in for extra richness. Pretty nice.

I think this is the most famous picture of Wulai. It looks pretty nice in this picture, I'll admit! Much less impressive in person, IMO.

Some refreshments from 7/11 to get me through the entire 15 minute walk home XD

The popsicle hit the spot! It's based on a pudding we saw everywhere in Taiwan. Popsicle version >>> pudding version.

There was a much bigger suspension bridge across the river, but it was closed for some reason :( ... story of our trip?!

Got another treat at the 7/11 next to our hotel too. This one is pretty awesome too.

Overall, Wulai is a pretty nice little town, but honestly there's not really much to see. We were done our walk-about and lunch in under 3 hours. The tourist areas all seem a little run-down and tired. The scenery is gorgeous though, can't lie about that! There's also supposed to be some hiking, but at this point in my trip, I was DONE with hiking ;) Since overnight accommodations can be pricey here, I think a day-trip is more than sufficient, especially given the easy access via public transportation.

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