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.
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.
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 counters. They were hiding under the tables and chairs in and outside. It was cat paradise.
One of the things I knew I wanted to do before I even left for Taiwan was to visit Houtong Cat Village and after I made two awesome new friends in Taipei, I had them convinced they needed to go, too. 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.
- 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.
- Consider checking ahead of time to see when trains leave. We had to do kind of a lot of waiting around for them when we went.
- 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.
- If you have allergies, take some medicine. It probably won’t be bad outside, but in the shops, it can be a little much.
- It can be rainy, but the cats will still be out. Bring an umbrella just in case. A lot of hostels have some that you can use.
Have you been to Houtong? What did you think of it? Do you want to go?