Houtong Cat Village Guide (how to go from Taipei, hours, map, cafes)

December 4, 2023

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A couple at HuoTong Cat Village, the best day trip from Taipei
Houtong Cat Village from Taipei

In the ongoing debate among Taipei locals over the best day trip destination, Houtong Cat Village (猴硐貓村) is one of our favorite day trips because we love cats! If you love food, you’ll also love our guides on the top Jiufen must eat foods, and the best Pingxi vegetarian food – the best part is that these towns are nearby Houtong!

In this guide, we’ll be giving our review and covering how to get to Houtong, its hours, the village map, if you can feed the cast, where to stay, and lots of photos. This dainty village is where feline dreams become reality! 🌈🐱 It’s perfect for a romantic date or a day trip with family members of all ages.

If you’re visiting Houtong Cat Village, we highly recommend staying in a Taiwanese luxury Minsu in Jiufen Old Street for a couple days to visit Pingxi to fly a sky lantern, hike the best trails nearby with our Keelung Mountain trail guide and review and the Teapot Mountain hike for 365 degrees sea-to-mountain views of northeast Taiwan.

How to get to Houtong Cat Village (猴硐貓村) in Taiwan

Our Houtong Cat Village photos

Houtong Cat Village From Taipei:

  • Train: Take the Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) train from Taipei Main Station to Houtong Station. The journey takes about 1 hour.
  • Bus: There are buses from Taipei to nearby areas, but the train is more direct.
  • Uber or Taxi: Uber in Taipei and our favorite way to get around Taipei and day trips to this region. Getting to Houtong takes around 40 minutes to 1 hour, depending on where in the city. This is a good option if you have 2 or more people in your group and don’t live near a direct bus or train station. (We took Uber to save time and we’re so glad we did!)

Traveling around Taiwan? Use our free Taiwan Travel Maps and Taiwan itinerary 10 days and read our guide on is it safe to travel to Taiwan right now. Also, stay connected with the best esims to use in Taiwan.

Houtong Cat Village from Jiufen:

  • Train: From Jiufen, you can take a bus to Ruifang Station (15 minutes) and take a train from Ruifang station to Houtong Station (20 minutes). Ruifang is close to Jiufen and Houtong a short train ride away.
  • Uber or Taxi: Alternatively, a taxi ride from Jiufen to Houtong only around 18 minutes. We recommend this route because waiting for train and bus easily adds another hour to your transportation, as there are fewer bus/train times than in Taipei. Read our guide on using Uber in Taiwan.

Houtong Cat Village Quick Intro

cats at HuoTong Cat Village, a charming village near Taipei

Due to its vast coal deposits, the village—once known as “monkey cave” —became well-known during the Japanese occupation a century ago. More than half of Taiwan’s yearly coal production was mined from the mines, which attracted hundreds of people to the area for employment.

However, the coal industry’s collapse in the 1990s, and many residents moved to large cities and urban areas. Houtong’s population shrank from 6,000 in its prime to just a little over 100.

When a Taiwanese photographer documented the village’s attempts to care for the stray cats in 2008, it served as an unexpected catalyst for the village’s rebirth. Her pictures went viral on the internet, and helped make Houtong into a cat lovers’ destination! (love the power of creatives!)

What started as a coal town, Houtong Cat Village has become as a compassionate haven for stray cats. From the first moment we stepped into this dainty town, the air lightened, the world warmed, and the streets adorned with adorable cat statues, cat-themed shops, and the heart-melting spectacle of little kids racing for hugs with the resident kitties!

  • Houtong Opening Hours: The village itself is open all day, but individual shops and cafes typically operate from around 10 AM to 6 PM. In our experience, most of the cafes close by 3/4pm on weekdays but you can always go to Jiufen or Ruifang for food.
  • Houtong Entrance Fee: There is no entrance fee for visiting the village.
  • Weather: The weather can vary, so check the forecast before your visit. If it’s raining, the cats may be hiding. Generally, it has a subtropical climate with hot summers and mild winters. Download Taiwan Weather along with this list of the best apps for Taiwan.
  • Map: Maps are available at the Houtong train station and online.

What to do at Houtong Cat Village

We can easily remember the first moment we stepped foot into this cat-filled town. It felt as if we were transported back to the carefree days of childhood. What adds an extra layer of enchantment to this charming town? There are more cats than people calling this place home!

Imagine a community where whiskers outnumber humans, and every alley is a whimsical playground for our furry friends. Immerse yourself in cat cuddles; picturesque streets and surprising nature spots await. Many of the stray cats, now given affectionate nicknames, are taken care of by local villagers as well as a troop of volunteers.

kitties at HuoTong Cat Village, the best day trip from Taipei city

Here are the Best Things to do in Houtong Cat Village:

  • Cat Watching: Enjoy the company of over 200 friendly cats around the village, they’re all over the place from above the train tracks to down below, and even by the bridge
  • Cat Cafes and Souvenir Shops: Visit the local cafes and shops offering cat-themed snacks, trinkets, hats, drinks, and souvenirs.

    Looking for souvenirs and to do some shopping? Check out our list of famous things to buy in Taiwan as souvenirs, including the best things to buy in Taipei, Houtong, Jiufen and across Taiwan!
  • Houtong Coal Mine Museum: Explore the history of the village and its mining past.
  • Scenic Walks: Stroll along the picturesque paths, down to the river, and up to the old mining tunnels.
  • Walk up to the Ruisan Coal Transportation Bridge to enjoy the peaceful views of the river.

Below are more of photos from Houtong, a village map, and cafes so you can get a review and idea of how the town is.

Amidst the meandering alleys, you’ll discover an abundance of cat statues, cat-themed shops, and delightful cat-themed snacks. Each reflecting the genuine adoration the villagers have for their feline companions.

Don’t miss the opportunity to ascend to the train tracks area, where a cat heaven unfolds inside the train station and on the other side of town.

visit cats at HuoTong Cat Village, a charming village near Taipei

Inside the Houtong Train Station, you’ll find more cat themed areas to take photos.

As you explore the village, you’ll encounter a diverse feline cast in all colors and personalities – some playful, others skittish, and a few enjoying an afternoon leisurely nap. Much like humans, each cat possesses a distinct personality, ensuring a dynamic experience for visitors. So, fear not to move on if one kitty isn’t in the mood for play – there’s a plethora more awaiting your affection. Here’s two of the chief resident cutie pies below!

Houtong Cat Village Map

Houtong Cat Village map in English
猴硐貓村地图 Houtong Cat Village map in Chinese

Houtong Cat Village Cafes and Food

The village has several charming cafes and eateries that serve local Taiwanese snacks and cat-themed food items. You can also find vending machines and small stalls offering desserts, shaved ice, matcha ice cream, and drinks!

  1. 217 Cafe – This brightly colored cafe is another great spot to relax and enjoy a cup of coffee or tea with the company of some furry friends. They also have a selection of light meals and snacks available. Link to 217 Cafe in Houtong.
  2. Hide & Seek Cafe – This cafe is a favorite among many visitors, known for its relaxed atmosphere, delicious desserts, and friendly cats. They have a wide variety of cakes, teas, and coffees, and the resident felines are always happy to cuddle up with you while you enjoy your treats . Closed on Wednesdays. Link to cafe.
  3. Empress Gallery (Catwalk 219) – This cafe is part art gallery, and visitors can enjoy browsing the artwork while sipping on a beverage. They also have a small selection of cat-themed souvenirs available for purchase.
  4. Cat Village Café (貓村咖啡) – Located near the entrance of the village, Cat Village Café is convenient for visitors just arriving. It serves a variety of coffees, teas, and snacks. The outdoor seating area is particularly pleasant, allowing visitors to enjoy the scenic surroundings while sipping their drinks.
  5. Shih-Wan Eatery and Souvenir combines a café and a souvenir shop, making it a convenient stop for visitors looking to enjoy a meal and pick up some unique gifts. The eatery offers a range of traditional Taiwanese dishes, snacks, and beverages. The souvenir section features cat-themed items and local crafts, perfect for bringing a piece of Houtong home with you. This place is praised for its friendly service and wide variety of options.

Can I feed the cats at Houtong?

And the burning question – can you feed the cats? Absolutely! Indulge in the joy of treating your new furry friends with cat food, available for around 100 NTD ($3 USD) at nearby shops. However, exercise caution not to offer human food or cow’s milk. Many cats are lactose intolerant, and such treats can lead to health issues.

Next you might be wondering, what else can I do at Houtong Cat Village? Read on below for the most surprising nature spots a stone’s throw away.

Insider Tip: Outdoor Getaway in Houtong Cat Village

Beyond the realm of feline fascination lies an unexpected outdoor getaway within Houtong Cat Village. Here’s an insider tip – following your cat cuddle session, descend to the riverbank for a serene view and some rock skipping. We recommend savoring taro pastries from local shops while admiring the rock formations and natural waterfalls.

This is a perfect spot for swimming with clear blue waters and a slow current. While the water is pristine, its deceptive depth warrants proper swimming gear if you plan to take a dip.

Walk down from the cat village to this beautiful river:

The charming village of HuoTong Cat Village, also an outdoor getaway
An outdoor adventure at HuoTong Cat Village, Taiwan

Houtong Ruisan Coal Transportation Bridge Views

For an unmissable vista, venture up from the cat village to the Ruisan Coal Transportation Bridge (a mere 3-minute walk). Ascend to the top, and be greeted with breathtaking river views that will sweep you off your feet – a delightful treat complementing the village’s feline charm. Kitties spotted along the ascent only add to the enchantment.

famous bridge near HuoTong Cat Village, Taiwan, Ruisan Coal Transportation Bridge

The incredible views from the top of the bridge is below. We even saw kitties on the way up.

view from famous bridge near HuoTong Cat Village, Taiwan, Ruisan Coal Transportation Bridge

Undoubtedly Houtong Cat Village isn’t just a haven for cat lovers but a meow-gical fusion of cat-filled adventure and nature’s charm. So, if you crave a day trip that transcends the ordinary, this is the place to be. It’s time to let your inner feline-loving wanderer roam free!

Looking for a hike to pair with Houtong Cat Village? Our favorite hike in Taiwan is Mount Keelung Trail, a 10 minute walk from Jiufen and a 15 minute Uber ride from Houtong.

Where to stay near Houtong Cat Village

The truth is there aren’t any large hotels near Houtong Cat Village, but there are Taiwan Minsus! If you want to visit multiple towns in the region, your best bet would be staying at a local hotel or Minsu in Ruifang (the next nearest town), Jiufen, or Pingxi.

Read our guide on what a Minsu is in Taiwan, how to book one, and why minsus are perfect for unique stays, families, and couples.

What to do after around Houtong

Well explore more Taiwan, of course! For those with an appetite for an extended adventure, delve into our Ultimate Jiufen Food Guide for the best eats in our favorite magical town nestled in the Taiwan mountains, or Pinglin, Taiwan to see Taiwan tea plantations. The best part? Jiufen is only a 15 minutes Uber ride from Houtong Cat Village, making a perfect combined day trip!

Looking for a completely different adventure? Check out our Kenting National Park guide in Southern Taiwan, and make a whole island trip! Also, best apps to download for Taiwan Travel where we share the best apps for transportation, shopping, taxi (and more) while traveling in Taiwan!

jiufen day trip from taipei
Visit Jiufen Old Street to eat the best food and misty cake after your visit to Houtong

  1. kelly says:

    Gorgeous photos! I’ve never heard of this cute village before! Thanks for sharing your tips for visiting this spot!

  2. Maddie Deer says:

    How fun! HuoTong Cat Village seems like a unique experience. Those views were incredible as well! I can’t believe I have never heard of this before!

  3. Farrah says:

    Ahhh, this is definitely up my alley!! I’d love to check this place out someday! That river looks beautiful too. <3

  4. Cosette says:

    How cute! I just showed the post to my son, he loves cats, I think he has added a new destination to his list of places to visit.

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