Trip To Taipei (December 2015) – Wulai

We had visited Wulai without knowing that the area had been badly affected by typhoons Soudelor and Dujuan in August and September which had caused extensive damage and land slides. Wulai Old Street, several hot spring hotels and other areas were badly hit, with power supply and water cut off and residents had to be evacuated. The river banks were eroded and according to reports, even the course of the river had changed.
As I read the media articles on the devastation and watched clips of the raging river and mud slides, I could not help but feel a deep sadness for their ordeal. It saddens me too that their once beautiful emerald green river is now a milky shade and its volume had decreased. I hope that this is due to the season and it would not take too long for the river to regain its pristine condition. I’m glad the people have remained resilient in spite of the setbacks.
We had taken the train to Xindiang Station and continued to Wulai on bus 849. The bus was packed so we had to stand for most of the 40 minute journey.  I spotted a dam along the way but did not manage to take a photo. 

The water in the Nanshi Creek is a lot less than what it used to be and much of the sandy river bed is visible.
Walking through Wulai Old Street. This stretch was badly hit during the typhoon.

Wonder if it’s a Tibetan mastiff
View from the right side of Lansheng Bridge where visitors and locals can be seen enjoying the public hot spring bath along the river bank. Again the water level seems low and there is a sandy bank in the middle.
View to the left of Lansheng Bridge. The hot spring hotels on the right were damaged during the typhoon.
The river used to flow right next to them but its course had shifted to the left.

A flight of steps a short distance after crossing the bridge (middle left of photo) leads to this public hot spring bath. We missed it and ended up walking further ahead before taking another steep flight of stairs down.

Wonder if this rocky area in the foreground was part of the river bed previously

Carved out pools with both cold and hot spring water.

Junction where the rivers merge into one
From some of the web photos, this is part of the river valley alongside the road to Wulai but strangely it’s dry.
Could it be due to the change in the river’s path?
According to media reports, the only access road into Wulai was damaged during the typhoon.
Perhaps it was along this stretch.

Online photos which shows the extent of damage from the typhoon.
typhoon 8
Railings of the Lansheng bridge were damaged by the river water which had risen up and swept over the bridge.
Typhoon 3a
Heavy rain and raging water from the swollen river sweeping over the bridge, flooding Wulai Old Street.
The clip can be viewed at this link:

Typhoon 2
Wulai Old Street filled with debris from the landslide
typhoon 9
Damaged hot spring hotels and muddy water which used to be a beautiful emerald.
typhoon 6
Collapsed road and rail tracks for the tram that goes to Wulai Waterfall
typhoon 7
One of the roads buried by landslide.

I will visit Wulai again should I return to Taiwan. There were many things in that lovely place which I have missed due to inadequate planning. It is my hope that Wulai will regain what it had lost and that its people do not have to go through another disaster of this scale.
wulai 8
The open public hot spring bath at lower right. The emerald waters of a full river in contrast to my photo above.
wulai 9
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