Day 1 - After 4.5 hours of flight, we arrived in Taiwan - Taoyuan International Airport at 5.30am in the morning. Due to our early arrival, we were not able to get our prepaid cards at the airport. Nevertheless, despite the long night, we felt good and excited on our upcoming free & easy adventure in Taiwan!
We took a taxi from the airport to Audi Garden Business Hotel (Cost = TWD560). Deposit our luggage at the counter and bought some light snacks and drinks to fill our tummies.
Prior to our trip, we went to NATAS fair and learnt about 台湾好行, which offers various shuttle bus routes taking locals and tourists to designated scenic spots. One of the route is 小乌来线 which only runs on weekends that will take us straight to 小乌来风景区 - our first stop in Taiwan.
From Audi Garden Business Hotel, it only takes about 10 minutes walk to Taoyuan Main Bus Station (桃园客运总站). We bought the full day tickets (Cost = TWD150 per pax) entitling us to unlimited rides that day. Remember to keep the tickets as you get additional discount when you purchase your entrance tickets to Xiaowulai Skywalk.
The first bus leaves at 8.30am and there was already a queue at 8am. We were lucky to arrive at the bus station very early to secure seats as it will take about 1.5 hours to travel to 小乌来.
There are a few waterfalls at 小乌来 and you can easily spend a day there exploring the various walk paths. Due to time and energy constraints, we only managed to visit a few areas. We were lucky that the driver dropped us at the viewing point of 小乌来瀑布 and we took some pictures. Some veterans got off and took a walking route down to the bottom of the waterfall. Since this is our first visit, we did not follow and returned to the bus instead.
Bus drop off point at 小乌来风景区.
With the ticket stubs from 台湾好行, we bought discounted tickets (TWD30 per pax) to enter 小乌来天空步道. Normal price is TWD50 per pax.
Xiaowulai Ticketing and Operating Hours information
The gigantic 50-ton Wind Moving Rock (风动石) welcomed us at the entrance. This rock has precariously balanced and stood on a sheer slope since long ago. However, it fell into the river after rainfalls and Typhoon Soulik hit Taiwan in 2013.
Xiaowulai Skywalk (小乌来天空步道) was built to allow visitors to enjoy a closer view of the waterfall. Standing about 70 meters from the bottom of the 3-tier waterfall, we were mesmerized by the spectacular view. The tempered glass bottom flooring allows us to view through, seeing the gushing waters beneath. For a moment, it felt that we were hanging in the sky.
My favourite spot will be walking across 小乌来天空神桥. Opened in 2015, the sky rope bridge has attracted many visitors. As the width of the bridge is narrower, it only allow visitors to cross in a single file. It feels a little wobbly but the view of the forest is superb!
The cables securing the bridge are about the height of our chest, hence it did not feel as scary as we walked across. Taking pictures while trying to stabilize myself on the bridge and not obstructing 'traffic' was a little bit challenging but was worth the effort.
As the rope bridge is only one-directional, that means you cannot turn around and walk back, we can choose to take on the route to "Yixing Suspension Bridge" or "Longfeng Waterfall".
We took on the route to Yixing Suspension Bridge (义兴吊桥) via the Ancient Water Canal Trail which involves climbing a lot of steps. I had a harder time due to the lack of exercise but I am proud that the kids did so much better! Along the way, we were surrounded by lush greenery. Luofu Bridge (羅浮双桥) which is built along the Tahan river on the Northern Cross-Island Highway was another visual treat. 羅浮桥 and 復兴桥 runs side by side with each other. One is vibrant red in colour while the other is in a shade of light purple. Perfect spot for photography.
After 30 minutes walk, we stood before 义兴吊桥.
The 200 meters long bridge is made of steel suspension cables and wooden pavement. It can allow up to 100 people to cross at a time. Unlike 天空神桥, Yixing Suspension Bridge is bi-directional and the path is wider.
Spectacular view of the Dahan River valley
As we were pretty exhausted and my legs were strained after the long walks, I pretty much decided not to take the same route back. Hence, we called for transport (TWD200) to drive us back to 小乌来天空步道.
Map of Xiaowulai Scenic Resort
From 小乌来天空步道, it is only a couple of minutes walk to Dragon Phoenix Waterfall (龍鳳瀑布) and Ho-ping Suspension Bridge (和平吊桥)
Apart from enjoying the scenic view, we also sample the local delicacies like pork sausage, passion fruit and muah chee.
We spent about 3 hours at Xiaowulai and it was a great workout to start our trip.