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Yup. You read that right. A cat village. Just a short train ride from Taipei is Houtong Cat Village. It’s nestled up in the hills and like most days, it was rainy.
After some delayed trains, we finally made it with no idea what to expect. This is certainly one of the most fun and unique day trips from Taipei.
There were all kinds of little shops around and they all sold cat things. Cat socks. Cat bags. Cat shirts. Cat postcards.
They were playing cat music. Yes, cat music. There aren’t really even words to explain that. It was like, meowing versions of regular songs. Definitely not something I ever thought I would hear!
There were cats all over outside, but there probably would have been more if it was sunny. They were all over in the shops, just sprawled out on the stuff for sale and the counters. They were hiding under the tables and chairs in and outside. It was cat paradise.
Our experience in the Houtong Cat Village
So, one rainy day, we hopped on the MRT, then a train, then another train and saw the cats ourselves.
We only saw them after waiting, and starving at the train station, for like, an extra hour and a half because our train was late.
But once we got there, it was all good and I was excited. Right off the train, we started to see the car paraphernalia adorning the station.
We started in a couple shops on the same side of the tracks as the train station before crossing over in the bridge to see the live cats and even more cat things than I could ever imagine.
Even though it was kind of chilly and sprinkling, we still saw some cats outside. I think if it was nicer out, we would have seen more outside.
We wandered between shops, cafes, and other random buildings, admiring the cat sculptures and murals adorning the sidewalks and walls.
Going back through my pictures as I update this, I wish I could go back when it was nicer out. The view over the train tracks was pretty nice though with the fog over the trees.
Some may say it’s a tourist trap, but whatever. It’s a fun way to spend an afternoon, especially if you like cats.
There isn’t a ton of stuff to do there other than wander around, but it was still fun. I don’t know if I would go back now that I’ve been there, but I wouldn’t tell people to just skip it either.
I thought it was an enjoyable part of Taiwan and a good day trip from Taipei. It was one of those weird Asia things that you just might not want to miss.
Where is Houtong Cat Village in Taiwan?
Houtong Cat Village is along the Keelung River near the northeast coast of Taiwan, not too far from Taipei. Here are some travel times to the village by train and bus:
- Taipei to Houtong Cat Village: 1 hour 20 minutes
- Jiufen to Houtong Cat Village: 30 minutes
- Houtong Cat Village to Shifen Waterfall: 35 minutes
- Keelung to Houtong Cat Village: 40 minutes to 1 hour 20 minutes
- Houtong Cat Village to Pingxi: 1 hour
How to get to Houtong Cat Village in Taiwan
To get the Houtong Cat Village, take the MRT to Taipei Main Station, then take a train to Ruifang and either take a local train one more stop to Houtong or transfer to the Pingxi line and get a day ticket so you can explore the rest of the area.
You can also take a train to Ruifang then cross the street from the train station and get a bus 808 or F808 to the Houtong town area.
Consider checking ahead to see when trains leave. We had to do kind of a lot of waiting around for them when we went but we didn’t plan at all.
Were there always cats in Houtong Village in Taiwan?
Yes, but not in the way there are now. Houtong started as a strong coal mining town but people began to leave when the government was looking for more efficient ways to run trains.
About the cats in Houtong Cat Village
When people moved away, cats got left behind (poor babies) and in 2008 a remaining resident started feeding and caring for them. She posted pictures online which attracted volunteers to help care for them and tourists to visit them.
Is there a Houtong Cat Village entrance fee?
Nope! It’s free to visit unless you buy food, souvenirs, or visit the mine museum. And the train fee, of course.
Houtong Cat Village catiquette
- Don’t give the kittys your food, you can buy cat food throughout the village.
- On a food note, don’t overfeed the cats. There are plenty of people that give them snacks.
- Use the cat bowls around town to feed the cats and help keep the village clean. And take your trash! (Do that everywhere though).
- Don’t tease or scare that cats. Or any cats, it’s just mean.
- Don’t chase them either. If they don’t want pets, don’t force it. An don’t pick them up. Touching them isn’t always recommended, for theiir health.
- Wash your hands before and after you pet them, and don’t touch their mouths. You want to keep the kittys healthy!
- Make sure the flash is off when you’re taking pictures.
- Finally, don’t bring pets!
Things to do in Houtong Cat Village in Taiwan
There aren’t very many things to do in Houtong Cat Village but there are a few ways to spend your time there.
See the cats
Obviously this is the highlight of visiting Houtong Cat Village. Walk around, see the cats, visit the shops, check out the cat art, meow with the music.
Grab a snack
You can find food stalls in the main square and some cafes up on the hill. You’ll find typical Taiwanese food.
See the Houtong Shrine Relics
I wish I knew about this when I was there! You can see one of the few Torii gates in Taiwan here!
Here is the address for the relics: No. 61, Houdong Rd, Ruifang District, New Taipei City, 224
Visit the mine museum
Finally, if you’re into museums or history, join a 30-minute mine tour to see the mining relics, then take a quick stroll through the small museum.
How long do you need in Houtong Cat Village in Taiwan?
2-3 hours should be plenty of time to mingle with all the cats, see the village, and visit the shrine relic and museum (if you want).
Is it worth visiting Houtong Cat Village in Taiwan?
Yes! As long as you like cats. If you don’t, then maybe skip it. It was a fun experience and would definitely go back, especially since I’m a card-carrying cat lady now.
Where to stay in Taipei
Meander Taipei – I stayed here and absolutely loved it! They have dorms and private rooms and it was so good for meeting people without being a party hostel. It’s near Ximending.
Meander 1948 – This is a beautifully modern hostel conveniently located above a 7-Eleven near Taipei Main Station!
Taipei 109 Hostel – This is another nice, modern hostel near Ximending. There isn’t much for a common area so it might not be the best if you want to meet people or socialize.
Star Hostel – This is another beautiful modern hostel near Taipei Main Station. This is a hostel with sustainability practices aimed at reducing waste.
Best time to visit Houtong Cat Village in Taiwan
I don’t think there is a bad time to visit Houtong Cat Village. I was there in January and it was a bit chilly and rainy but not terrible. It’ll probably be hot and humid in the summer.
Even if it’s rainy the cats will probably still be out. And still in the shops. Bring an umbrella just in case. A lot of hostels have some that you can use.
Other Taipei area posts you may like
Have you been to Houtong? What did you think of it? Do you want to go?