I love cats! Have I mentioned this before?
When I visited Taiwan, I made it my top priority to visit the “Cat Village.” So much so, that I even made the one-hour journey from Taipei to the village (and then back) on a day with icy-cold, pouring rain. I was very committed.
A local resident told me that there are approximately 200 cats that prowl the streets of the picturesque, lush, hillside village of Houtong; but – on a rainy day, that I shouldn’t be disappointed if I don’t see half as many. I saw 65. I counted carefully. And, I definitely wasn’t disappointed.
After taking the train from Taipei, I bolted down the platform and immediately started scanning my surroundings. Right away, I saw a few, lone cats patrolling the outside of the train station. Even in the rain, my adventure to the Cat Village was off to a promising start.
I followed a small crowd up and over a bridge to cross to the other side of the train tracks. The bridge was ornamented with cat-themed signs, lanterns and even little outdoor cat houses, some of which were occupied by napping cats.
Once I had reached the other side of the train tracks, I was promptly greeted by three cats lounging outside a storefront. Exciting.
I began to make my way upwards through winding, narrow streets and stairways towards Cat Corridor – the highest point of the village that has awesome views of the village and its surrounding mountains.
On my way through the little maze of passages, I kept stumbling upon more and more cats! There were cats everywhere! Cats wandering about the paths, hiding in boxes and behind signs and furniture, and perched on ledges and rooftops! This was truly a village overrun by cats.
I was so entertained by how many cats and cat-themed decorations were scattered throughout the village that I completely lost track of time. I missed my train back to Taipei and had to wait an hour for the next one (… I like to think that this was fate). This gave me an extra hour to browse the little boutique shops and cafes in Cat Corridor and explore the area of Houtong along the river. Little cat houses lined the riverside, where I discovered three more cats taking their afternoon cat naps. I myself am currently looking into buying a vacation home here as well.
If you are in or around Taipei and a crazy cat woman like me, be sure to make the half-day trip over to Houtong to experience the cat mania for yourself!
HOW TO GET THERE:
Take the MRT from Taipei Main Station north to Ruifang Station. The journey takes about 50 minutes and costs $46 NT for a one-way ticket. From Ruifang, transfer platforms to the Pingxi Line. Houtong Station is the first stop along the line. It takes about 20 minutes and costs $15 NT for a one-way ticket.
Happy cat spotting, everyone!
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