One of the absolute must do thing when visiting Taiwan, other than eating at every other store that you can find, is to have a good soak or two in the hot springs!
Taipei, the capital of Taiwan, is probably the most visited city of Taiwan. When seeking out hot springs in Taipei, typically the first names to come to mind would be Beitou and Yang Ming Shan. Though these 2 locations have very good hot springs, let me introduce you a lesser known hot spring gem of Taipei, Wulai.
Like Beitou and Yang Ming Shan, Wulai is somewhere up in the mountains and takes a bit of travelling to get there. Firstly, take the MRT to Xindian Station, followed by Bus 849 at the bus stop located in front of the station (it is near to the line of taxi queue).
Alternatively, if you are travelling in a group of 4, you might want to grab a taxi instead. During my recent visit to Wulai, I noticed that they have nowstandardised the taxi rates to TWD 680, which brings you from Xindian Station to Wulai Old Street, or vice versa. As for the bus, payment was as easy as tapping your EasyCard on the card reader when boarding; it is so easy that I didn’t even notice the charge! XD
|(PS: You can purchase EasyCards with cute designs from 7-eleven stores!)|
Up at Wulai, there are many hot spring accommodationswith generally 2 types of packages – one would give you a certain number of hours access to their hot spring (could be in a private room, or at the public hot spring area) while the other comprises of a night stay (with or without meals) and access to their in house hot spring. During my latest visit, my buddies and I had a night’s stay at Full Moon Spa, which is conveniently located at the entrance of the Wulai Old Street. Wanting to enjoy a bit more, we indulge ourselves with a room complete with a private cypress wood tub, packaged with a lovely view of Wulai and its surrounding mountains. Such arrangement is best for those who are too shy to enter the public hot spring area, as you might have already guessed, will (usually) require you to be butt naked!
Be it you are using the public hot spring or your private hot spring, there are some etiquettes to follow for hygiene purposes, which can be easily found via Mr. G(oogle).
|(Our private cypress wood tub. No peeping!!)|
Along with our one night stay came dinner, breakfast and 2 x coupons to enter the public hot spring and we had a choice for dinner to choose either fish, pork, beef or chicken as our main. It comes served along with 2 standard side dishes, rice and soup. The staff were very accommodating when we informed them that some of us do not take meat, and they took the effort to prepare vegetarian meals for us.
(Onward to the Male Public Bath… or maybe not…)
|(I love my grilled fish!! Mmm…)|
|(Their cakes, which were really yummy, helped conclude dinner for that night.)|
A great meal calls for some light exercise to burn away the calories. Though most of the shops were already closed for the day, it was fun seeing the old street at night, which gives a very different vibe from seeing it during the day.
|(A view of Full Moon Spa in the night.)|
|(A local rice wine stall, selling very smooth and sweet rice wine!)|
|(For those who love nature and hiking, do go for a walk down Lovers’ Trail and go see the Ulay Waterfall!)|
(You absolutely have to try the seasonal fruits and Hot Spring Eggs!! The eggs are so yummy, I feel like I can eat a dozen of them and still gulp down more!!)
|(A kitty meowing in front of FamilyMart, asking to be fed~~)|
Breakfast being the most important meal of the day, we had ours’ at Full Moon Spa, with a choice between the Asian and Western Set. Regardless the choice, both were extremely satisfying and set us forth on our day!
As we proceed to the Wulai Old Street, a bustling street, with lotsa tempting food stalls all around!
|(I simply couldn’t resist including this photo in!)|
During the day, you will see an area along the river bank filled with people. This is Wulai free hot springs! (Yes, you read right! Is FREEEE!!). Bring along your swimming wear and enjoy the dip!!
Do also visit the Wulai Atayal Museum, which offered free entrance when I was there in April 2015. There, you will gain insights on the Atayal Tribe (one of largest group of Indigenous People), such as their way of life and the houses they lived in.
|(Entrance to the Wulai Atayal Museum.)|
Like all good times, it is always too soon for the end to come. As I bid farewell to my favourite hot spring place in Taipei, I’m already looking forward to my next holiday, and perhaps, a visit to another hot spring place!
In the meantime, be Adventurous, go Bath (in hot springs), and be Carefree (something this urban girl get to enjoy when up in the mountains)!