Things to do in Taiwan: An elephant finding shade and relaxing at Taipei Zoo
Asia,  Destinations,  Taiwan

What to do in Taipei: Zoo and Maokong Gondola

Figuring out what to do in Taipei can be overwhelming since the opportunities are endless!

Have a day with no plans? If you’re looking for what to do in Taipei we recommend killing two birds with one stone and visiting the Taipei Zoo and taking the Maokong Gondola up to Maokong Tea Village! (but don’t actually kill birds).

Start your day at the zoo, start early if it’s hot! They’re open from 9am to 5pm and admission is only NT$60 ($1.96 USD) per adult. “Discounted” tickets are available for foreign exchange students and seniors.

Things to do in Taiwan: An elephant finding shade and relaxing at Taipei Zoo

This zoo is huge! Seeing every exhibit we could, it took us two hours and spanned 6.4 km (4 mi). Quite the walk! The reason we wanted to visit the zoo? Pandas! Of course, they were both asleep and had their backs to us during our two visits to the panda house that day. But it was still cool to see some pandas in person!

In addition to pandas, this zoo had everything. A LOT of everything. The most hippos, zebras, and elephants we’ve ever seen at a zoo. Also the most entertaining! We were so close to the animals we could almost touch them.

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We brought a lot of water as well as some fruit for a snack, but this zoo has several restaurants and food stands, plus some water refill stations, cold or hot. Hot water in the scorching Taiwan heat? No thanks. And there’s a McDonald’s at the entrance for those desiring a taste of a little Americana, or those people like us who crave cheeseburgers in a land of noodles and rice.

The zoo was a great experience and definitely worth checking out. Just plan your day according to the weather!

When you’ve had your fill of the zoo make your way to the Maokong Gondola.

Things to do in Taiwan: Maokong Gondola takes you up the mountain to Maokong Tea Village in Taiwan

There’s a station near the main entrance of the zoo (Taipei Zoo station) on the opposite side of the MRT, or you can hop on at the Taipei Zoo South Station. Just follow the path past the reptile house along the back end of the zoo.

We chose to jump on the gondola at the Taipei Zoo station, wanting the full ride experience. It was our first time on a gondola, after all! It was a little more expensive than we expected, running NT$240 ($7.83)  per ticket one way so be prepared. That’s NT$480 ($15.67) round trip per person for those that don’t do math.

Have a MRT Easy Card? Use it for the Maokong Gondola and entrance to the zoo! When deciding what to do in Taipei, you should look to see if attractions accept the Easy Card (it’s more than you would think).

Enjoy the beautiful ride up to Maokong Tea Village.

Things to do in Taiwan: View of Temple from Maokong Tea Village in Taiwan

We went in the late afternoon so it was very hot, but a nice breeze blew in the gondola car, making our ride rather enjoyable. You stop for passenger loading/disembarking at Taipei Zoo South Station, Zhinan Temple, and finally Maokong Station.

What do you do now that you’ve arrived at Maokong Tea Village? Drink tea! Lots of tea. 

There are plenty of tea cafes and restaurants to relax and sip some tea so have your pick. We chose Maolan Tea because of the spectacular view. Beverage and food is a little pricey in this more touristy area, but try it. It’s worth it.

Things to do in Taiwan: Beauty Tea and Cranberry Tea with a view

Oh, and some snow ice! Our best decision of the day! A fluffy, creamy, delicious, heavenly, cold treat. We found this by wandering a little further down the road from the station. Google search the Redwood Tea House and it’s a couple shops down the street from that!

Things to do in Taiwan: Fluffy, cold and delicious snow ice with chocolate and bananas

We spent almost two hours atop Maokong before finally deciding to head back. We had a night market to go to!

Traveler’s Tip!

Maokong Gondola is closed on Mondays, like many attractions in Taipei we’ve discovered. Always google before you go! Or read our blog 🙂

If you’re looking for what to do in Taipei, going to the zoo and then kicking back and having some tea makes a great day trip!

Things to do in Taiwan: Great Views of Taipei, Taiwan from Maokong Mountain

Happy travels!

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