Monday, September 21, 2009

Xiao Wulai

We went to Xiao Wulai (小烏來) on Sunday for a fun, somewhat exhausting trip. Xiao Wulai is one of many waterfalls in Taiwan but is often said to be the most beautiful, as unlike the others it can be viewed from a distance.

A trip to Xiao Wulai starts in Daxi (大溪) in Taoyuan county. Daxi is famous for dried tofu and a few old streets where much of the original colonial architecture is preserved.

Daxi also has a dog who apparently loves getting hit on the butt. Seriously, the dog went up to her owner and begged - begged - to be punched in the bum before presenting herself thusly.

I dunno.

I wonder where Kodos lives. (Google Kang and Kodos if you don't get the joke).

Taoyuan Bus Company (桃園客運)runs buses from Daxi to Xiao Wulai several times a day - but the information they give on the phone is worse than bad. I called the morning of our trip and was assured that there were irregular buses until about 3pm, and if we were willing to walk back to the intersection with the main road, a bus would come by to return to Daxi at 7pm. At 1:30 as we waited for a bus from Daxi, we called again. The guy I talked to assured me that the first guy doesn't know anything and not to trust him and that there were no more buses.

(I think they were the same guy.)

So we charter 2 taxis, which cost a pretty penny, because dammit I wanted to go to Xiao Wulai and I was going to go to Xiao Wulai.

On our way back, just as a side note, we not only passed a bus returning to Xiao Wulai that we were assured did not exist, but as we were preparing to leave a bus going to the falls - not just the turnoff 2km away but the actual falls - went by. Seriously. What the. Pffft. Taoyuan Bus Company: FAIL.

Anyway, along the way we saw some gorgeous butterflies and dragonflies:

And the falls were down several hundred meters worth of uncomfortably spaced stairs.

Sasha, Lilian, Becca, Joseph, Brendan and me.

We then hiked up about another hour to Dragon Phoenix Falls (not worth it) and the Wind Balancing Rock (not really worth it, either). What was worth it - the views and mountain scenery as we made the stiff, steep hike up the side of the mountain.

Wind Balancing Rock. Apparently this rock is worshipped as a god by some locals and aboriginal tribes. It's OK.

There are signs all over the place warning of poisonous snakes, and I know Taiwan has snakes, but other than a baby snake we once saw near Jiufen I've never actually laid eyes on one. This is the closest I've gotten to seeing a real, live, adult snake in Taiwan:

As we returned to the gatehouse, just in time to see a bus that doesn't exist roll by, the light improved a lot for picture taking.

That's Xiao Wulai in the corner.

The advantage to taking a taxi was that we could stop in a few places for photos, and we also stopped to buy some local alcohol (made from grapes but not wine) and Lalashan Honey Peaches, which are expensive but wonderfully scrumptious. We would have bought bags full but 3 of them cost NT$400 (a little over US $10).

We stopped again to take more photos as the sun set before heading back to Daxi and catching transportation to Taipei, where we had dinner at Jolly (near Nanjing E. Road MRT). Very good food and awesome on-site brewed beer.


Anonymous said...

Is the Becca in the picture your sister Becca or another Becca?

Phillip said...

Beautiful pictures. Well composed. Wulai is truly a beautiful part of the world.

Jenna Lynn Cody said...


The Becca in the photo is another Becca. I know, it gets confusing!