CK Travels

Houtong Cat Village + Photos – A Day Trip From Taipei 2024

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Houtong Cat Village is an easy day trip from Taipei and a ‘paw-some’ adventure. If you’re ‘feline’ like a journey along the Pingxi Line in Taiwan and a stop-off in a cute mountainside village, Houtong Cat Village is for you mew…sorry…you.

Home to dozens of cats and kitties, Houtong Cat Village is a riverside town in the Ruifang valley that has direct trains from Taipei Main Station (and also easily accessible from Jiufen).

Houtong has quite the history – a former coal mining town that once had riches galore, it was most famous for having a cave full of monkeys about 100 years ago (‘Houtong’ translates as ‘monkey cave’).

Now it is best known for its feline residents which outnumber humans hence the name ‘Houtong Cat Village. You know you are going to be in for something very different when one of the first things you see as you arrive at Houtong station is a massive metal footbridge, shaped like a cat.

Houtong Cat Village station
Metal footbridge, shaped like a cat (you can see the pointed cat ears at the end)

Houtong Cat Village February 2024 update

We’ve been to Houtong Cat Village near Taipei three times – in 2019, summer 2023 and most recently in early 2024.

Whilst Houtong Cat Village is still worth a visit, post COVID and travel restrictions, the cat village is now quite faded and forlorn with most shops & themed cafes boarded up.

On our last visit in 2024, the famous Cat Corridor area had a couple of cat gift shops open and two cafes (the best of which is the Hide and Seek Cafe) – there are more gift shops open just across from the Houtong station entrance.

Houtong Cat Village Taiwan

The Houtong Cat Village illustrations, signs and cat models are also in a state of disrepair. The cats are still well looked after (possibly too well as they are mainly quite rotund) so hopefully tourism and good times will return to Houtong soon.

If you are already doing all the main stops along the Pingxi Line like Shifen Old Street, Houtong Cat Village is still worth doing as part of your train day pass. But if you are short on time or not a massive cat fan, you may want to give it a miss.


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Getting to Houtong Cat Village from Taipei by train

Houtong Cat Village is easily accessible by train from either Taipei or Jiufen.

Houtong station is located on two different railway lines – the main line that connects Taipei and Hualien/Yilan, plus the local Pingxi Rail Line.

To get to Houtong station from Taipei, you can take a direct ‘fast local’ train from:

  • Taipei station – 47 minutes to Houtong station (56 TWD one way)
  • Songshan station – 54 minutes to Houtong station (46 TWD one way)

We used our EasyCard to pay for our fare. You cannot reserve seating on this train.

Pingxi Line train Taiwan
Pingxi Line train
Pingxi Line train Taiwan
Pingxi Line train

Looking for cheap Taipei day-trips, attractions or group/private tours? We recommend visiting Viator, GetYourGuide, and Klook!

Getting to Houtong Cat Village from Jiufen

To get to Houtong Cat Village from Juifen, you need to take:

  • a 10 minute bus ride from Jiufen Old Town (15 TWD one way) then alight at Ruifang Station
  • then a 6 minute local train from Ruifang Station to Houtong Station (15 TWD one way)
Bus 827 Jiufen to Riufang

Taipei to Houtong Train and Pingxi Line Pass costs

If you just wish to visit Houtong Cat Village and no other places, then you can do a return journey from Taipei station directly to Houtong station (or a return journey from Ruifang Station if you are coming from Jiufen).

If you wish to visit other nearby places such as Shifen Waterfall and Shifen Old Street, you can purchase a Pingxi Line day pass at any of the stations along the Pingxi Line which includes Houtong station.

Pingxi Line Pass ticket Taiwan
All day Pingxi Line Pass

The cost of the trip from Taipei to Houtong is 56 TWD, plus an extra 80 TWD for an all day Pingxi Line Pass.

So the total price of the return train from Taipei to Houtong (2 x 56 TWD each way fares) plus the Pingxi Line all day ticket (80 TWD) is 192 TWD (or approx £4.80 / $6 USD or 5.60 Euros). These prices are based on our return trip to Houtong from Taipei in February 2024.

Remember that if you just want to do just Houtong Cat Village and no other stops, there is no need to purchase a Pingxi Line pass.

Read more about the Pingxi Line Pass and the Pingxi Line stops in our detailed guide >

Houtong Cat Village train station

Tours that visit Houtong from Taipei

If you do not wish to visit Houtong Cat Village independently, then you can visit the village as part of a guided tour that pick you up from Taipei.

Some of the tours you can book online that include Houtong are:

Houtong Cat Village & Jiufen Food and Tea Tasting Tour from Taipei >

Yeliou, Jinguashih, Juifen and Shifen Join Day Tour >

Arriving at Houtong Cat Village and Houtong Station

The cat experience starts as soon as you arrive at Houtong Cat Village Station, with the station and platforms adorned with various cat-friendly hangouts, scratching posts and even a huge plastic figurine depicting a cat with a station master’s hat.

Houtong Cat Village Taiwan

On our most recent visit to Houtong, we were greeted by a fat cat curled up next to the cleaning bucket – we also found lots of cats hiding along the overhead walk-way that takes you from one side of the station to the hillside cat village.

The railway cat bridge also appears to be the main indoor feeding area as there were lots of cat food bowls and big dollops of cat biscuits here

Houtong Cat Village Taiwan
Houtong Cat Village Taiwan
Houtong Cat Village Taiwan

The station waiting room appears to be home to at least two cats, including the fabulous Furbo, who whizzes around the waiting room and has lots of toys and trucks with ‘Furbo’ emblazened on the side. The other Houtong Station resident cat appeared to be called ‘Miaow’.

Furbo and Miaow in the station
Houtong Cat Village Taiwan

In the Houtong station ground floor area, you‘ll also find free toilets (so you don’t need to go in the cat litter trays)!

When we left the station, we made the short walk across the road where we had our initial furry encounters.

Houtong Cat Village Taiwan

There were several kitties sunning themselves near to the river, plus others play-fighting near one of the cafes. Most of the cats we saw appeared well looked after (perhaps too well as some were really fatty cattys).

Head across the beautiful river here across the huge wooden suspension bridge to see where the old mines used to be – you’ll also find two large cat models here (in the car park) looking out over the miaow-tains…. sorry …mountains.

Houtong Cat Village Taiwan

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Exploring Houtong Cat Village and ‘the Cat Corridor’

To head into Houtong Cat village itself, go back to the station and take the pre-mentioned cat footbridge across the railway tracks to explore the village.

Our first sight was several cats being fed by one of the locals (we think) plus several large cat models you can sit and pose with – look out for directional signs pointing left towards the main cat-themed area, the Houtong Cat Corridor.

Taipei day trip: Houtong cat village blog post | Taiwan

Here, you can wander aimlessly around the various hillside walkways and laneways that make up Houtong Cat Village, discovering cats in every nook and cranny (some wanting attention and some just wanting to be left alone to sleep, fair enough).

Shops and Cafes in Houtong Cat Village

You will also find several cat themed cafes and shops, of varying quality in Houtong Cat Village.

There is one main mini-strip of cafes and shops (the ‘Cat Corridor’) that all seem to be pretty good quality – some of the others on the outskirts are a little less salubrious and a tad run-down (even more so on our last revisit).

Houtong Cat Village cat corridor
Houtong Cat Village cat corridor
Houtong Cat Village cat corridor
Cafe Restaurant at Houtong Cat Village Taiwan

One of the shops also played constant ‘miaow miaow’ songs (famous hits played back as cat sounds – y’ouch and an attack on the ears!).

We bought a couple of mini souvenirs, including a model of the famous Houtong station cat (now sadly passed away), complete with a train driver’s cap.

Souvenir gift shop at Houtong Cat Village Taiwan
Souvenir gift shop at Houtong Cat Village Taiwan
Souvenir gift shop at Houtong Cat Village Taiwan
Souvenir gift shop at Houtong Cat Village Taiwan

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Hide and Seek Cafe – the best cat cafe in Houtong

If you are visiting Houtong Cat Village, we can really recommend the Hide and Seek Cafe located along the Cat Corridor area as they have the BIGGEST cat we’ve ever seen who runs about the place, plus cute cat themed food and drink.

Hide and Seek Cafe houtong Taiwan

We visited Hide and Seek in early 2024 to escape the rain and it was one of few busy and bright spots in Houtong – the cafe seems to have a couple of resident cats (who have lots of toys and scratching posts inside) plus it was doing a steady trade with tourists and cat fans.

Hide and Seek Cafe houtong Taiwan

We visited Houtong on a Thursday morning most recently and Hide & Seek appeared to be one of only two cafes open along the Houtong Cat Corridor, along with Houtong Walk and Taste Cafe).

Hide and Seek cafe serves up adorable themed treats like cat puffs (very popular when we visited), cat shaped mocha smoothies, cat paw cake and cat pineapple cake. We ordered a latte coffee for 120 TWD and an Americano for 90 TWD (the latter came in a cat shaped cup and saucer).

Hide and Seek Cafe is open daily from 10:30am to 6:30pm – there is a minimum order of one drink per person.

Hide and Seek Cafe houtong Taiwan
Hide and Seek Cafe houtong Taiwan

Other things to do in Houtong, Taiwan

What is nice (and possibly unexpected) is that whilst Houtong is primarily famous for its feline side, it is a gorgeous town with mountains serving as a perfect backdrop and also right next to the river.

It has a large bridge that spans the gorge which allows for some fantastic views (almost reminiscent of Ironbridge in Shropshire, UK).

As a former mining town, there are other non cat-themed attractions like a mini-train ride on a former mining train that goes into part of the Houtong gold mines (not really our thing but the tour groups seemed to like it).

Alas, the monkeys that Houtong was originally named after (Houtong means monkey in Korean) are no longer there – maybe the cats scared them off?!

Houtong Cat Village – is it worth visiting?

Houtong Cat Village seems to have embraced its status well, with enthusiastic locals setting up cat baskets / huts in all manner of places around the village, including a little sheltered section right by the river. Houtong is also a nice day trip from Taipei and easy to reach by train.

Obviously they are very reliant on the cats for tourism and trade so it is good to see they have taken steps to look after the cats. Roughly half of the cats we saw had collars (especially on the upper levels by the shops and cafes) so we assume that some have homes whilst some are strays.

If you go to Houtong with the understanding that this is a real working place and not a large, clean and neat cat cafe like you’d see in Ximending, you should have a fun time exploring.

Houtong itself isn’t massive so we’d recommend you visit as a part of a day trip that takes in Shifen, Pingxi and Jingtong (all along the same Pingxi train line).

You can buy a Pingxi Line day pass from Houtong Station for 80 TWD and make a ‘purr-fect’ day of it (sorry couldn’t resist one pun)!


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Taipei Accommodation

Here are some highly rated accommodation suggestions for all types of budget in Taipei!

Backpacker

Hostel accommodations that come highly rated include:

Meander Taipei hostel / Formosa 101 hostel / Sleepy Dragon Hostel

Mid range

If you are looking for something mid range then these hotels are in excellent locations with great reviews:

CityInn Hotel Plus – Ximending Branch / Just Sleep Ximending / Ambience Hotel

Treat yourself!

Alternatively if you are looking for something more special then treat yourself to a stay at one of these beautiful hotels in Taipei:

Shangri-La’s Far Eastern Plaza HotelW Taipei 


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Taipei day trip: Houtong cat village blog post | Taiwan

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2 Comments

  • Reply
    Ducke
    November 24, 2023 at 8:50 am

    Misleading advice. You dont need to alight at Ruifang station. There’s train going straight to Houtong station from Taipei station

    • Reply
      CK Travels
      November 24, 2023 at 9:59 am

      Thanks for the heads up – we’ve updated the post!

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