Swimming & River Tracing
Every weekend in the hot summer months, river-tracing clubs or informal groups of friends flock to the rivers and streams around Wulai to practise river tracing, which combines scrambling, swimming and hiking (and true technical climbing and rappelling at higher levels).
A simple but scenic trail runs for 5km along the Nanshih River, downstream from Wulai to its confluence with the Jia Jiu Liao Stream. The path starts near the old toll gate in Wulai.
From the Jia Jiu Liao Stream, you can hike for 20km along a trail running up the deep valley of the stream, a route that perfectly conveys that lost world feeling of Wulai.
With its wild mountain scenery so close to the capital, Wulai is a popular biking destination. To get here, most cyclists ride Provincial Hwy 9 (and then Hwy 9甲) from Bitan to Wulai.
Within Wulai the Tonghou Trail is sometimes tackled by mountain bikers, while the road to Fushan is popular with road cyclists. As the crow flies, Fushan isn't far from Wulai (about 18km), but the landscape takes a noticeable turn to the wild along the road here as the Nanshih River valley narrows, and the sandstone cliffs drip with dark vegetation. Landslides are very common and Fushan is often isolated for months at a time.
Wulai is also known for its bird-watching areas. Among the birds you can see are kingfishers, collared scops owls and flocks of grey-chinned minivets. Winter is a particularly good viewing time as many mid-altitude species migrate to the lower river valleys. For more information, pick up a copy of Birdwatcher's Guide to the Taipei Region.
Wēnquán (hot-spring) hotels start a few kilometres before the main village as you ride in from Taipei. There are more along the tourist street as well as spreading into the hills around the village.
For cheap but decent options head to the end of the tourist street, cross the bridge and turn left. There are a row of small hot-spring hotels facing the river charging NT$200 to NT$300 for private bathing tubs, and NT$700 to NT$1400 for rooms (including bed, bathroom and hot-spring tub) per two hours.