Day trippin’ in Taipei with pandas and gondolas

Lions, tigers, cable cars, tea, pandas, oh my! It doesn’t matter if you’re five or thirty five: the Taipei Zoo and Maokong Gondola ride are a must see while in Taipei and we’re genuinely happy we did.

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Taipei Zoo
We experienced each of these on different days, but the zoo and the gondola ride are at the same MRT station and right next to each other. You can certainly do them both in one day if you’re tight for time and lines aren’t long (and they weren’t for our visit in December).

The Taipei Zoo is filled with all kinds of exotic animals, including a beautiful toucan looking bird that we had never seen before. More obvious highlights are the cute panda we caught eating bamboo (silly panda), a majestic tiger, and larger in real life lionesses. We also loved making googly eyes at the lemurs as we walked through a tunnel right below their cage. With the 3 hours we had before closing, we didn’t even get to see the penguins or buy panda hats! Naturally, that means we’ll have to go back.

SIDE NOTE: As animal lovers, we do dislike seeing animals in cages and although we thought the exhibits looked well preserved and large enough, we would love for someone to verify that the zoo is in fact an animal friendly one. If you know, please drop us a line!

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Maokong Gondola

Riding in a gondola is just a genuine good time. Bring beautiful views of Taipei mountainsides and trees into the mix WITH a glass bottom and now you’ve got a uniquely, kick ass experience.  Not to mention cute traveler Hello Kitties and anime pandas splashed on every car? I’m in.

You can use your EasyCard (metro pass that you can buy at any MRT station) and for 50NTD or less than $2, you can ride to the very last station at the top of the mountain over a forty minute ride. Get in line for the Crystal cars that also take fewer people (bonus!) if you want a glass bottom cable car, hop in, and relax. You’re in for a ride.

After taking in the views from the cable car and reaching the top, we got out and walked along a lonely, quiet road to the left.  Chilled and walking through the rain, we stopped into a tiny cafe on the right hand side for some tea and “waffles” that came in the shape of donuts. A bit expensive, but when else are we going to be having Friday night tea on a mountainside in Taiwan?

We took the cable car back down the hill to save time, and at the cost of $2, it was a no brainer. There seems to also be a bus that runs, but I am not sure of times or schedules. The gondola ride is even fun if it’s raining, which it has been for the entirety of our trip so far. There seems to be a shorter line to get on and, if you want to snap photos, just hold your camera very close to the glass without flash and you’ll be able to photograph the lush landscape through the raindrops.

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Have you been to either of these? If not, what’s your favorite zoo in the world? Better yet, what’s your favorite zoo animal?! Get at me, ya crazy cats!
xx. Jillian

Taipei Zoo Info
Entrance fee: 60NTD or $2USD
MRT: Taipei Zoo Station, walk out to your left
Duration to spend? 3+ hours
Suggestions to bring? Camera and/or sketchbook. Some great photo ops and scenes to draw.

Maokong Gondola
Entrance fee:
 50NTD or < $2USD
MRT: Taipei Zoo Station, walk out to your right
Duration to spend? 3 hours
Suggestions to bring? Camera and/or sketchbook. Some great photo ops and scenes to draw.

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