I still remember the first time I rode a cable car. It is an experience that is hard to forget- pretty much like your first date. I was a nervous wreck back then, especially when the cable car launched out of the station. I gripped the hand rails with too too much effort than needed as I anxiously watched the trees below us become smaller. After the first few minutes however, the tension slowly moved away from my body and I started to feel more and more at ease with the surroundings. I was able to appreciate how beautiful the view is. By the time we reached the end of the ride, my senses were already asking for more.
Going to the Maokong Gondola
The Maokong Gondola can be accessed near the Taipei zoo. From what I remember, there is also a shuttle service from the Taipei zoo going to the foot of the cable car ride going to Maokong. I suggest that you avail of this ride after you’ve explored everything in Taipei zoo. The ride is not free, but it is very cheap. Also, you will get the chance to have a unique view of the zoo while riding the service. This ride is a must of you are in a rush and if you are saving energy to explore the further reaches of Maokong.
Start of the ride to Maokong
The counter where you can buy the cable car ride tickets cannot be missed. There are a couple of windows to accommodate large groups of people during peak season. The crowd is not so large when we came so we got our tickets immediately. You have 2 options for the ride. You can either get the one-way or the round trip ticket depending on your itinerary. I will post all the prices for the gondola at the end of my post if you’re interested. If you availed of the one way ticket ride, then you could get back to the Taipei zoo by riding a bus or taxi from Maokong. I personally recommend that you get the round trip ticket if you are going back to Taipei zoo anyway. Maximize that opportunity to ride that cable car because you could always ride a taxi or bus anytime you wish.
Arrival at Maokong
We arrived at Maokong after riding the cable car for about 20 to 30 minutes. The wind is undeniably colder so ready your jackets when you arrive at the top. The view of the surrounding mountains at the top is simply soothing. We let the other passengers go ahead of us because we wanted to stay and enjoy this rare view. We also took our time to take some photos.
After exiting the gondola station, you will immediately see food stalls selling snacks to ward off the cold weather.
My mother bought a boiled sweet potato and my brother and I got ourselves some squid balls. We ate the snacks while strolling through the streets of Maokong.
I don’t know what got into our heads. We saw this cute stall selling green tea ice cream amidst the very cold mountain climate yet the three of us agreed to try it. I think it’s because the stall is quiet and isolated unlike the other crowded parts of Maokong. We enjoyed the ice cream despite the chattering teeth we had while eating it.
The tea of Maokong
I did not know that Maokong is known for its tea. But I did have some idea that they might be selling tea the moment I saw the plantations from the cable car. We roamed around and saw more of the plantations up close. At first I had doubts whether the neatly trimmed bushes are all tea leaves but all the doubts had vanished when we stumbled upon a whole street lined with tea shops.
Our family loves tea, so we did not pass the opportunity to browse all the tea they had to offer. Some shops sell fancy looking cartridges containing exquisite tea while other shops offer cheaper versions of the usual tea I know. They also sell cups and tea infusers if ever you wanted to complete your tea experience.
We continued our stroll through Maokong after buying some tea. We had no plans whatsoever and just allowed our feet to take us wherever it wanted. We walked until a huge temple came into view.
The temple was the conclusion to our trip here. We took a few shots of the temple then we made our way back to the Maokong gondola station.
-Maokong Gondola Round Trip ticket: NT 260/ $8.45
-Snacks: NT 100/ $3.25
-Tea: NT 600/ $18.5
-Opening hours of the gondola?
Closed on Mondays due to maintenance except for national holidays. From 0900 to 2100 during Tuesday to Thursday. From 0900 to 2200 during Friday and the day before a National holiday. From 0830 to 2200 during Sundays and national holiday.
-What are the other local attractions near the gondola?
They have the Taipei zoo, the musical clock, and the dancing waters area. To know the schedule of the other attractions, click HERE.
– How long is the Gondola system?
It extends for about 4.03 kilometers and is shaped like a number “7”.
-How many stations does the gondola have?
4 stations. Namely: the Taipei zoo station, the South Taipei zoo station, Zhinan temple station, and the Maokong station.
The little mountain villages in Maokong is truly a spot worth seeing. You get the opportunity to see how the locals make a living by manufacturing their famous tea. The area is also quiet, clean and is surrounded by trees so people who are fond of nature would surely enjoy strolling through its streets. Just don’t forget to bring your rain gear because it’s more humid at the top, making rainfall a little more common. Also, be aware of the closing hours of the Gondola to avoid renting an expensive taxi on your way back.
Oh, and if you also love tea as much we do, then you might want to check out my post about Cameron Highlands. It’s one of the major tea producers in Malaysia! See it by clicking HERE.
See you on my next adventure! Happy traveling, guys!