By Mabel Collins
Nestled in the hilly terrain of northern Taiwan, a charming little village holds a delightful secret. Situated next to the Keelung River, Houtong, a once-thriving coal mining community, now plays host to an astonishing number of cats.
During the 1990s, the decline of coal mining led to a gradual depopulation of the village, leaving behind only a few hundred residents. However, in 2008, the village's fate took an unexpected turn when a local cat enthusiast named Peggy Chien began sharing pictures of the community's efforts to care for stray cats. These heartwarming images attracted visitors, volunteers, and, of course, more adorable feline companions to the village.
Let Taiwan Immigration Services take you to the cutest place ever - Houtong Cat Village Taiwan.
A Brief History of Houtong Cat Village Taiwan
Houtong Cat Village's story began as a small coal mining town in the early 20th century. In those days, coal mining was a significant industry in Taiwan, and Houtong was a bustling hub for miners and their families. As the coal industry declined, the town fell into disrepair and faced economic challenges. But little did anyone know that fate had something extraordinary in store for this quaint town.
Around the early 2000s, as the coal mining era came to an end, Houtong faced the prospect of being forgotten and abandoned. However, its fate took a fascinating turn when a group of cat-loving individuals decided to intervene. As stray cats started wandering the deserted streets, these kind-hearted people began to care for and feed them. Soon, the number of cats increased, drawing more attention to the town and, unwittingly, sowing the seeds for the transformation of Houtong into a cat lover's paradise.
Houtong Cat Village Taiwan
The Rise of Houtong Cat Village
As more cats settled in Houtong, their presence caught the attention of local media and social media outlets, eventually spreading like wildfire across the country and beyond. Tourists began flocking to Houtong, drawn by the allure of the feline residents who now ruled the village. Local businesses also saw an opportunity in this newfound fame, and the concept of a cat village started taking shape.
With the combined efforts of residents, tourists, and cat enthusiasts, Houtong Cat Village underwent a significant transformation. The town was given a facelift, and cat-themed attractions, cafes, and shops sprouted up all over the village. Today, Houtong Cat Village Taiwan is a charming blend of tradition and modernity, where cats reign as beloved and pampered residents.
What To Do in Houtong Cat Village
Houtong Cat Village Taiwan's popularity as a tourist destination is undoubtedly due to its endearing feline population.
When you arrive here, you'll discover two distinct areas for you to explore.
The first area, located in front of the station, features several attractions, including a visitor information center, old coal mining machinery, restaurants, gift shops, a 7/11 convenience store, and a scenic view of the Keelung River. Naturally, you'll also encounter cats in this section.
If you follow the signposted "cat bridge," the second area will lead you behind the station into the cat village, which is home to cafes, more restaurants, gift shops, and, of course, a plethora of cats. If time permits, it's highly recommended to explore both sides of the village. Unfortunately, my own visit was limited, so I had to skip some parts, but even if you only have an hour between trains, it's still worthwhile to make a stop at Houtong Cat Village.
Travelers can see cats everywhere in this village
With hundreds of cats calling the village home, visitors can expect to meet many personalities, from playful and affectionate to shy and elusive. The cats are accustomed to the attention they receive and are generally friendly towards visitors, especially those bearing treats and toys.
For cat lovers, Houtong Cat Village Taiwan offers a dreamlike experience, where they can interact with and admire these adorable creatures up close. Many visitors spend hours strolling through the village, seeking out the cats' favorite spots, and trying to capture the perfect photograph of their newfound feline friends.
Visit Houtong Cat Village Taiwan With Care
Behind the charming facade of Houtong Cat Village Taiwan lies a dedicated community that works tirelessly to care for the feline residents. Local volunteers and animal welfare organizations play a crucial role in ensuring the well-being of the cats, providing them with food, shelter, and medical attention when needed. These efforts have been instrumental in creating a sustainable environment for the cats to thrive.
Visitors who wish to support the cause can make donations at designated spots within the village or purchase cat-themed merchandise, with proceeds going towards the care of the cats. This sense of community and shared responsibility has been one of the driving forces behind the village's success and has created a unique bond between the residents, the tourists, and the cats themselves.
Travelers should treat the cats well when arriving here
Travel Information for Cat Lovers - What to Prepare?
How to get to Houtong Cat Village Taiwan?
Getting to Houtong Cat Village in Taiwan is quite easy; there are several transportation options available, depending on your starting point. Here's a general guide on how to reach this charming destination:
By train: Take a train from Taipei Main Station to Ruifang Station, and the journey takes approximately 45 minutes. At Ruifang Station, transfer to the Pingxi Line. Purchase a ticket to Houtong Station, which is only a few minutes away. The ride from Ruifang to Houtong takes around 15 minutes.
By bus: Board a bus from Taipei City to Houtong. There are some bus services that connect the two locations, and the journey typically takes around an hour, depending on traffic conditions.
2. Keelung City
By Train: Take a train from Keelung Railway Station to Houtong Station on the Pingxi Line. The journey lasts approximately 30 minutes.
By Bus: You can also catch a bus from Keelung City to Houtong. Buses run at regular intervals, and the trip takes around 40 minutes.
By Train: If you're in Jiufen, you can take a train from the nearby Ruifang Station to Houtong Station on the Pingxi Line, as mentioned above.
By Bus: Buses operate between Jiufen and Houtong, providing another convenient transportation option.
Getting to Houtong Cat Village is very easy
Once you arrive at Houtong Station or the designated drop-off point in the village, it's just a short walk to immerse yourself in the adorable world of the feline residents. Remember to explore the village responsibly and treat the cats and the community with respect during your visit.
What to Know about Houtong Cat Village Taiwan Entry Fee?
Entering Houtong Cat Village is free of charge.
However, if you wish to take part in the Houtong Mine tour, there is a fee of NT$150.
How to Photograph The Cats at Houtong Cat Village Taiwan?
When using a mobile phone, the automatic mode will automatically adjust the focus depending on the subject's distance from the background and the camera's proximity to the subject. If your phone offers additional modes like manual focusing or aperture control (available on Huawei phones), you can have more control over the focus by adjusting the aperture and manually selecting different areas of the subject to focus on.
Fortunately, the majority of the cats are friendly, making the process of taking pictures of them easier. However, in case you encounter any moving subjects, you may need to increase your shutter speed to capture them in a freeze frame.
Additionally, you can purchase cat food from the cafés or pet stores. Providing them with food can encourage the cats to stay in one spot, resulting in adorable photo opportunities.
Be patient when photographing the cats
What to Prepare for Your Trip to Houtong Cat Village Taiwan?
Houtong Cat Village Taiwan represents the transformative power of love, compassion, and community. What was once a struggling mining town has now become an enchanting destination that celebrates the magic of feline companionship and the joy of responsible travel. For cat lovers and adventurers seeking a unique experience, Houtong Cat Village is a must-visit destination that promises memories, both heartwarming and unforgettable.
Ready for the most adorable place in the world? Apply for a Taiwan visa now to visit Houtong Cat Village Taiwan. An e-visa is a wise decision for all travelers to travel to Taiwan in the fastest way. Within a few days, travelers can have an e-visa without any difficulties. Moreover, e-visa only needs some basic documents that meet the visa standards.
So, if you ever find yourself in Taiwan, set aside some time to explore the enchanting streets of Houtong Cat Village, where you'll find not only adorable feline companions but also a renewed sense of wonder and an appreciation for the power of love in transforming lives, both human and feline.