Taiwanese London Cat Village: Pingxi’s Houtong Cat Village
Pingxi, Houtong Cat Village, Shifen, and Jingtong have gradually become famous tourist attractions in recent years. If one would like to have a short trip after a busy week, I think this place would be a good place to go. However, as for “how,” that would be a branch of knowledge.
If you do not mind to get up early in the morning on weekends, just get up, brush your teeth, wash your face, bring your wallet, camera and cellphone, and set off on a trip.
Before departure in the station, or a day even a week before departure, one should finish collecting the information, such as the timetable for trains.
Anyways, here I attached the link of Taiwan Railways’ timetable and fare finder: http://twtraffic.tra.gov.tw/twrail/
Tip #1: The ticket of local train to Houtong is about NT $56. There are through trains to Houtong, so you do not have to take the train to Badu and then transfer to Pingxi. However, as for the exact arrival time of the train, you need to search by yourself. If you are using a day pass, you can adjust the fare at the ticketing widows after arriving at Houtong station.
Points of sales of Day Pass for Pingxi line are Banqiao, Taipei, Songshan, Keelung, Badu, Ruifang, Houtong, Yilan, Luodong, Pingxi, Jingtong, and Shifen. Adult fare is NT $52, and discount fare is NT $28. So decide by yourself when to buy the Day Pass. Remember not to buy it a day before departure because it can only be used on the day you buy.
Another important thing is the timetable for trains. If you do not catch a train of Pingxi line, the next one may be after an hour or so. Thus, remember to pay attention on the timetable!
The timetable for trains of Pingxi/Shen-ao lines: http://188.8.131.52/webdemo/htmlpage.html
Square in front of station and Houtong Prospect Gallery.
Why Houtong is the first stop?
On one hand, Houtong station is the beginning of Pingxi line, that is, the nearest station. On the other hand, there are not so many people in Houtong in the morning so that you can have more time to play with cats. In addition, the feeling of leisure will be gone when there are many people. At that time, people is the only thing you can see.
Stepping out of the station, you basically have two ways to go. One is going up to the cat village. The other is going down to Houtong Prospect Gallery.
When I went there, I brought cold noodles with me, and ate it on the cat footbridge. I will talk about the route to cat village first. Basically, cat village is a small village in which are some shops selling souvenirs and some cat models. The rest are local stray cats.
Recently, because of the thriving village, more and more cat-lovers, photographers, and volunteers advocate how to interact with cats correctly. If you are interested in it, you can search some related key words. Besides, I will briefly explain as following.
- Please do not use cat teasers.
Why? It is because that cat teasers are for those cats which stay at home and lack exercises. As for stray cats, their strengths must be used to fight with stray dogs and seek food. However, cat teasers might waste their strengths when they play with us, and they might have no strengths when they need to fight and survive.
- Please do not disturb cats.
Disturbing cats includes interrupting cats when they are sleeping or using photoflash to take pictures of cats. I think you will not like to be interrupted you are sleeping or to be flashed all the time, and so do cats.
- Please do not feed at will.
The food that cats cannot eat include fish bones, chicken bones, vitamins, liliaceae, chocolate, tea, almonds, coffee, etc. In short, cats cannot eat what human beings eat. Any carelessness will lead them to death.
Read more: Caution! 11 kinds of food that dogs and cats cannot eat. http://goo.gl/WAmkt5(chinese)
Maneki-neko (literally “beckoning cat”)
Back to the topic of Houtong, I provided here the map of it. Whoever wants to go there must save the picture right now! I like to decide where to go at my pleasure, so basically I do not have any plan or destination. I just take a look at the map, see where I am interested, and go there, so I suggest that people can wander here at their wills. After going down the station, there is a square. If people finish strolling cat village, they will go to the square. Stores surround the square, not to mention cats.
Recommending some local attractions below!
#1: Coal handling plant. It is completely a ruin now. The stairs beside lead to a bridge built for delivering coal.
#2: A bridge for delivering coal. Compared to coal handling plant, it is apparently overhauled. After crossing the bridge, you can choose to go by the left or right side.
#3: Houting Leisure Park and the offices of the Rueisan Houtong Mining Company. I remembered that there is a bathroom on the right hand side. Generally speaking, after crossing the bridge, you will see Houting Leisure Park. The admission should be NT $50. However, I do not think it is worthy to visit because it is just a short tunnel. If you have never been to that kind of place, you can try.
#4: Turning left, passing by Jieshou bridge monument, and going forward a bit. There is a path. It is said the path has one hundred stairs which can effectively burning calories. You will see a pavilion at the end of the path, and torii one and two after going through the pavilion. However, the shrine disappeared, only a high tower left.
#5: On the left side is the far 三也磅空 (read as “san-ye-bang-kong”), also called Yuanshang tunnel I, II, and III. Now it is called Ruihou cycling route.