Taipei is a bustling metropolis known for its love of scooters, 7-11 convenience stores, and bubble tea (read more about my favorite things about Taiwan here). Taipei is also surrounded by natural beauty. You don’t have to venture too far outside the city to enjoy beautiful scenery. One place that is worth a visit for great hiking opportunities, temples, and tea is Maokong, a quaint village located in the Wenshan District of Taipei.
Maokong, which literally translates to “cat sky,” can be accessed by riding the Maokong Gondola. The 25- minute gondola ride offers magnificent views of the Taipei cityscape and the surrounding green hills. You also have the option of taking a gondola with a glass-bottom floor, which makes it seem like you’re floating above the mountains. Once you get to the top there are tea houses, little shops and food vendors.
Maokong is known mainly for its tea plantations and tea houses and there are tons of options to choose from for tea houses. You really can’t go wrong with the teahouses at Maokong and some are even open 24 hours. There are tons of varieties of tea to choose from. The tea I chose to enjoy was called, “Oriental Beauty,” which is an oolong tea with a sweet and fruity flavor.
Aside from tea, Maokong is also known for Xiangong Temple, which pays homage to the Daoist immortal Lu Tung-Pin. The temple is a beautiful site amidst the green hills of Taipei. The temple also offers fortune telling services and a dream interpretation room.
Maokong also has tons of hiking trails. You can spend a whole day here just walking around and exploring. One frequent visitor I ran into while hiking were banana spiders. These large spiders are everywhere! They can be found hanging from powerlines, signs, and I even saw one at the tea house hanging precariously from the window. Despite their constant presence during my hike, I didn’t mind, as I was able to get some beautiful views of Taipei, including an awesome view of Taipei 101.