Wulai Waterfall (烏來瀑布 [Wūlái Pùbù])

Wulai District / near Taipei, Xinbei County (New Taipei), Taiwan

Rating: 3.5     Difficulty: 1
The Wulai Waterfall

TABLE OF CONTENTS



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INTRODUCTION

The Wulai Waterfall (烏來瀑布 [Wūlái Pùbù]) was possibly the best known waterfall in Taiwan besides the Shifen Waterfall. I suspect the reason for this was its relative close proximity to Taiwan's capital city of Taipei. There was pretty good reason for this popularity as you can see from the photo above as the waterfall featured an 80m drop right across from the Atayal aboriginal-themed town of Wulai. While the main drop was the easiest to see, there were actually more hidden cascades and waterfalls further upstream from the valley comprising the overall Wulai Waterfalls. Those were only visible by cable car. So technically speaking, the overall Wulai Waterfall could very well be a much taller drop if you count these other cascades and waterfalls.

Once we made it to the town of Wulai, it was pretty straightforward to see the waterfall as it was pretty much right across the Nanshi Creek (南勢溪 [Nánshì Xī]), which was the main watercourse cutting right through the Wulai Valley. This creek eventually joined up with other tributaries as the Xindian Creek (新店溪 [Xīndiàn Xī]) cutting through Taipei. There appeared to be three main levels of the town. The lowest level was where there were lookout areas peering right at the waterfall. Down here were also a lot of cafes and shops as well as a toilet facility.

Further up towards the uppermost level was where we caught the cable car leading up to the tops of the neighboring cliffs. As mentioned earlier, during the cable car ride up, we were able to look down at some hidden cascades and waterfalls. Once we made it to the top, there appeared to be a restaurant and accommodation up here as well as birdseye views back down towards the Wulai Township as well as the scenery further down the valley. We also saw that there were yet more cascades tumbling towards the main drop of the Wulai Waterfall. Moreover, we also gained a new appreciation for the power of Mother Nature when it came to the landslides that would occasionally cut off Wulai from Taipei as we were able to see the extent of the scarring done to the mountain's slope given this commanding view.

Even though experiencing this waterfall didn't require a hike nor did it require the cable car, we wound up spending nearly 90 minutes here, which did include some relaxing walks around town as well as the cable car return trip itself (which strangely required us to do more waiting than moving on the rainy day that we visited).




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PHOTO JOURNAL

This was the panoramic view from the upper cable car station towards Wulai. Note the big scar on the mountainside to the topleftThis was the panoramic view from the upper cable car station towards Wulai. Note the big scar on the mountainside to the topleft
It was only about 30km from Taipei City to the Wulai Waterfall. So it wasn't surprising that this waterfall was so popular due to its accessibilityIt was only about 30km from Taipei City to the Wulai Waterfall. So it wasn't surprising that this waterfall was so popular due to its accessibility
Night markets are a part of Taiwan's culture, and Taipei certainly has no shortage of them. Shown here was the busy Linjiang Night MarketNight markets are a part of Taiwan's culture, and Taipei certainly has no shortage of them. Shown here was the busy Linjiang Night Market
It was about 23km between Taipei and the coastal city of Keelung, which was my Mom's home townIt was about 23km between Taipei and the coastal city of Keelung, which was my Mom's home town
After we parked the car in Wulai, we walked down the steps to the lowest level to experience the views of the falls from down thereAfter we parked the car in Wulai, we walked down the steps to the lowest level to experience the views of the falls from down there

Mom continuing to walk down the steps flanked by tall buildings and steep slopes in WulaiMom continuing to walk down the steps flanked by tall buildings and steep slopes in Wulai

Our first full look at the impressive main drop of Wulai WaterfallOur first full look at the impressive main drop of Wulai Waterfall

In front of the main drop of the Wulai Waterfall was a walking plaza with this Atayal statueIn front of the main drop of the falls was a walking plaza with this Atayal statue

A differently angled view of the Wulai Waterfall from further towards the edge of the center of the Wulai TownshipA differently angled view of the Wulai Waterfall from further towards the edge of the center of the Wulai Township

Looking back at the context of the Wulai Waterfall and the townLooking back at the context of the falls and the town

Looking down at a car park below the cable car station backed by the main drop of the Wulai WaterfallLooking down at a car park below the cable car station backed by the main drop of the falls

The cable carThe cable car

Looking down at the main street passing through the Wulai TownLooking down at the main street passing through the Wulai Town

Looking back down at the Wulai Town from the upper cable car stationLooking back down at the Wulai Town from the upper cable car station

Mom checking out one of the hidden tiers of the Wulai Waterfall further upstream of the upper cable car stationMom checking out one of the hidden tiers of the falls further upstream of the upper cable car station

Context of the upper cable car station and the Wulai Valley in the distanceContext of the upper cable car station and the Wulai Valley in the distance

Looking at the uppermost of the cascades that we could see from the upper cable car stationLooking at the uppermost of the cascades that we could see from the upper cable car station

Focused look at the Wulai Valley from the upper cable car stationFocused look at the Wulai Valley from the upper cable car station

Waiting for the cable car operator to bring us back down to the Wulai TownWaiting for the cable car operator to bring us back down to the Wulai Town

Looking down at one of the hidden tiers of the Wulai Waterfall seen only from the cable carLooking down at one of the hidden tiers of the Wulai Waterfall seen only from the cable car

Looking down at the full main drop of the Wulai Waterfall from the cable carLooking down at the full main drop of the falls from the cable car

The upper floor where we boarded the cable carThe upper floor where we boarded the cable car


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VIDEOS OF THE FALLS


Closest look at the Wulai Waterfall from the public restroom area and viewing deck


Sweep covering the other side of Wulai Waterfall before approaching an Atayal statue and having one last closeup sweep of the falls


Tracking the Wulai Waterfall while riding the cable car


Video examining the upper unseen tiers of falls (at least if you didn't take the cable car up) as well as the view of the valley, which also revealed a giant landslide area that might have closed access here after one of the typhoons that caused damage to the area in the past


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DRIVING DIRECTIONS

The way we did this drive from Taipei City area was to head west on the National Expressway 3 from say its interchange with the 3甲 Expressway (the character is pronounced "jiǎ") until its exit near Bitan (碧潭 [Bìtán]) some 5km later (there were signs for Wulai or 烏來 [Wūlái] at this point). After taking this exit, we then headed south on the Zhongxing Road Section 1 (中興路一段 [Zhōngxīng Lù yī duàn]) some 2km or so before keeping left to go south along the Tai-9 route. We then followed the Tai-9 route for about 1.3km before turning right onto the Tai 9甲. We'd continue on the 9甲 for about 13km before turning right and crossing the bridge onto the Huanshan Road (北107; 環山路 [Huánshān Lù]). After following this road for the next 3km, we finally made it to Wulai, where we managed to find some parking near the cable car station. Overall, this drive of about 27km from the 3甲 Expressway to the Wulai Town took us about 45 minutes.

If we were coming from the other direction along the National Expressway 3 along the southern outskirts of Taipei, then we'd exit at the Huanhe Road (環河路 [Huánhé Lù]) exit turning right onto Huanhe Road itself and driving for another 1.5km before turning left onto the 北100 Road then shortly thereafter turning right to go south on the Tai-9. From there, we'd follow the directions as above to get all the way to Wulai.

Finally, while we didn't exercise this option (though we might do this next time if self-driving in the city wouldn't be an option), it was possible to visit the Wulai Waterfall from Taipei by public transportation (especially since driving in Taipei may not be desired due to traffic congestion and parking). This would involve catching the MRT (Taiwan's metro/subway system) to Xindian Station (新店站 [Xīndiàn zhàn]) then catching a bus the rest of the way to Wulai.




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ITINERARIES

For more information about our itineraries involving this waterfall, check out the following links.




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MAP OF THE FALLS



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TRIP REPORTS

For more information about our experiences with this waterfall, check out the following travel stories.




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TRIP PLANNING RESOURCES


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NEARBY WATERFALLS




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