Heading out to the mountains

Weekend Plans: Heading out to the mountains

If I may toot my own horn for a minute, it’s been a pretty eventful week. In addition to helping to create a number of customized tours for North American visitors heading to Taiwan in a few weeks (more about them in future posts), last night at 8pm I submitted for publishing my most recent book on Taiwan, Formosa Moon.

Co-written by my partner Stephanie Huffman, Formosa Moon is a heartwarming tale about the time I tricked my girlfriend into moving to Taiwan by bringing her on a long journey around the island.

Being done with the book means that we get to experience full weekends again, which neither of us have done all summer (we’ve spent at least one of our two proscribed days of rest on chunks of last-minute writing and editing). So what are we doing with our first real post-project day off? Ironically, we’ll be heading with our friend Tobie to the same spot I brought Stephanie on the very first day we arrived in Taiwan on the current journey (and thus the subject of Formosa Moon’s first chapter): Wulai.

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Wulai is an indigenous village in the mountains south of Taipei, pretty much a hop, skip and a jump from the Xindian MRT station. It’s got a great old street with tribal restaurants, a small but cool museum dedicated to the culture of the Atayal people (Taiwan’s second largest tribe) and lovely hot springs as well.

It was the hot springs that led me to make Wulai the first stop on a trip basically designed to get my girlfriend to fall in love with Taiwan – nothing says welcome to Taiwan after 14 hours in coach seating like a long hot spring soak. (That and the fact that Tobie offered to drive us.) (Read More: Four Taipei Hot Spring Getaways)

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But now it’s summertime, so tomorrow we’ll likely skip the hot spring and have lunch on the old street before heading out for a hike in the mountains followed by a dip in the river. There are tons of excellent hikes in the area, and the river – which is nice enough in the town itself, where it branches into two forks – just keeps getting nicer the further away from town you head. (Read More: 12 Ways to Embrace and Enjoy Taiwan’s Summer Heat)

Afterward, we’re planning to hit one of my favorite spots, an ice cream factory just off Xinwu road, for a week’s supply of locally made ice pops.

Oh, did I mention that we’ve still got a seat left in the van? If you’re into heading out and doing some cultural exploration, hiking, swimming & eating in Wulai with a group of Taiwan travel experts, drop me a line at joshua@mytaiwantour.com before 9 am, August 12.  I’ll let you know where to meet us.

Sunday’s Taiwan plans are still up in the air. We may head out to Fulong beach, or we may just stick around the city.  We haven’t done laundry in weeks, Monday is a work day, and besides…we’ll have a box of ice pops to get through.

What are your favorite spots in Wulai? Let us know in the comments box below!

Until next week,

Joshua Samuel Brown