Wulai is such a great place. There are loads of hiking trails, waterfalls, the old street, free hotsprings and best of all 1km short of Wulai is Jia Jiu Liao – 加九寮.
We’ve been coming down here every summer for ages. Just next to the big red bridge there are some great swimming holes and it’s a popular place for people to barbecue and swim. However the best thing you can do in this area is river tracing.
Normally when we come here, we follow the river and then take a hiking trail back to the start. However, this time we took the hiking trail first so that we could head further up the river and then trace it back down to the start.
To get there we drove on the Xinwu road 新烏路. There are lots of signs for Jia Jiu Liao but the last one, when you need to turn off, isn’t that obvious. It’s at the end of a small village called Chenggong 成功 on the right, drive slowly and keep your eyes peeled. If you take the bus from Xindian get off at the Chenggong stop 成功站.
At the bottom of the road there is a big red bridge. We crossed this, followed the road around the corner and then stopped just before a much smaller bridge. The trail starts to the left of the bridge.
The trail follows the river but from a height and it’s always wet. At a sign, take the steps to the left up and then a take a right at the next fork. From here the trail is much rougher and in parts it gets quite narrow so care is needed.
Towards the end of the trail there is another split in the road. We headed straight and then steeply down around a rocky outcrop. The river is just below.
At the bottom we took a quick break and found this little fellow below. Hopefully he isn’t poisonous!
There are two branches to the river here and we went up the larger one. It’s amazing just how beautiful this place is. The water is crystal clear and with the jungle surrounding you, it feels like you’re in a Vietnam war movie!
We didn’t really have a destination in mind for this. Instead we just traced up the river. At one point we thought about just heading back as we didn’t seem to be getting anywhere but we didn’t and we were rewarded for our perseverance with a fantastic waterfall.
We climbed over the waterfall but there wasn’t much else and so we decided to trace back down the river. On the way back we bumped into a 60 year old guy who was there by himself. A complete loon! He was just like a little kid, scrambling over rocks, jumping into the pools. I can only hope that I’ll be half as energetic as him when I’m that old!
Just a little bit downstream from where we entered the river there is a fantastic natural slide. Often there are organised groups of rivertracers here but this time we were lucky and had it all to ourselves. We stopped here to play for a while but then the heavens opened and so we had to get down the river fast. I had thought that the rain would swell the river but it didn’t and so we had no problems going back.
Towards the end of the river there are 2 artificial waterfalls. The one closest to the start is the biggest and has the deepest pool at the bottom. It’s safe to jump in from the left hand side and as it had stopped raining, we spent some time just messing around.
To the right of the waterfall you can climb up and rejoin the original path. After getting back to the bikes we rode over to Wulai to relax in the springs by the river and watch the local kids doing back flips in to the water. A perfect day!
More pics here
River tracing shoes are essential. You can get them from just about any fishing shop for around 300-500NT. They’re called “fáng huá xié” in Chinese 防滑鞋.
You can also take the bus out to Jia Jiu Liao from Xindian MRT. Bus routes can be found here.