While I was researching what to do in Taipei, I can across a few bloggers who wrote about Houtong cat village. The reviews were quite mixed. Some people said it is quite boring while others enjoyed visiting the place. So I decided to see it for myself. What I didn’t plan for was the weather! It was raining “cats and dogs” on our visit which was not ideal! As you can imagine, if it rains, all the animals hide away. Anyway, we did get to see a few cutie cats, so read on!
The village is not too far from Taipei and it took us an hour to get there. You can either take the local train from Taipei main station or Songshan station. We tried to buy the tickets from the self-service machine but it did not show Houtong station. So instead, we joined the queue to speak with a member of staff and bought the paper ticket from the counter, which cost us NT$56.
It was only after we were on the train that I realised that I didn’t buy a return ticket. Luckily, it is not necessary to purchase the paper ticket! In fact, we could use their EasyCard to pay which is similar to the Oyster card in London. There is no need to purchase the ticket thru the counter as long as your train is heading Loudong/Su’ao/Hualien/Taitung direction, then you are heading in the right direction (take Hualien/Taitung line).
After we reached the place, the weather was very grey and dull. Luckily, we had this cutie cat stationing itself in this box.
The train station was well looked after with plenty of cat ornaments around the wall. There was work going on to upgrade the bridge as we came out the station. We then walked towards the hill tops to explore the area. This village used to be for coal mining and it became a cat village after a cat lover organised volunteers to look after the welfare of the stray cats. There are only a few families that live there now and they have turned the front of their house to a shop. As it was raining on the Saturday morning, there were not many shops open. Nevertheless, the place was very welcoming and there were plenty of cat souvenirs to buy! Also the real cats can be found everywhere, even on the shop table! You might not want to disturb their beauty sleep.
We then walked back to the station and went over to the other side of the village. In this part of the village, it is filled with more shops rather than houses. Besides selling cat’s souvenirs, they also sell award winning cat shaped pineapple cakes, local foods, desserts, museum, western food and many more. I bought a range of cat wall stickers to stick on my light switch!
We sat down for some lunch and as I mentioned in my prior post, I struggled to read some of the Chinese characters. In the end, I just let the shop owner to decide for me. It was a nice meal and we paid just under NT$400.
Then we went next door to eat the yummy mango shaved snow dessert. It had a really nice, smooth texture and was deliciously fruity!
We then walked around the museum which is located at the end of the village. I didn’t really pay attention to the museum display. I was mainly enjoying the air con and free Wi-Fi more than anything else.
We then decided to head back to do more shopping in Taipei and to visit the night markets instead of hanging around. As the weather was so bad, there weren’t many cats hanging around. My verdict is that it is a nice village to visit but check the weather before you go to make the most of the cats.
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