When you visit Taiwan, make sure to add Taipei Zoo to your itinerary.
Getting there is cheap and easy. Just take the brown Wenhu line of their MRT.
Travel time is about 30-45 minutes from the heart of the city.
You'll know you're on the right train when you see lots of Hello Kitty stickers decorating the windows inside:
It's the last stop on the Wenhu line and the train station is right beside the entrance of the zoo.
Once you get there, you'll be greeted by this view:
You might also notice some weird sounds nearby. That's the RC (remote control cars) race track. :)
Once you get off the train, you'll end up on this pathway that is decorated with different animal footprints.
"Camel Toe" hahaha
To enter the zoo, you can either pay with your EasyCard:
(you must get one, once you land in Taipei. Get it for just 100NTD and load it with however much you want at the machine in train stations. Use this tap card to pay for your train/bus rides, convenience store, entrance to amusement centers, etc) If you don't consume the entire amount, you can get a refund before you leave.
A ticket to the zoo only costs 60NTD or about 85Php and it is soooo worth it!
If you don't use your EasyCard to pay, you have to line up here for a ticket:
Your ticket will come with a stub containing your time schedule to visit the Pandas.
Taipei Zoo is huge and very clean. There's lots of benches and shady areas where you can rest your feet, have a snack from the nearby kiosks or a cold drink.
They have a vast collection of species from all over the world and all the animals look clean, healthy and happy. :)
One of my favorites were these Koala Bears:
One of them was named Nicole like my daughter which is funny cause we used to call her Nikoala when she was little because of the way she would cling to me 24/7. :)
If you get thirsty (and you will, it's pretty warm up here and things can get sweaty with all the walking...wear something cool and comfortable), there's lots of vending machines around. You can get bottled water for 20 NTD, juice, soda, milk tea, iced coffee for around 30-35 NTD (25-50Php).
I like this mixed fruits and vegetable soda. It's not like V8 at all, this one has some "spirit" to it and it's really refreshing.
Back to the animals...
And this Llama who was really funny. Kept running around the place as if searching for something. :))
And the biggest attraction at Taipei Zoo...the Panda's!!!
Because of the scheduled visits, seeing the Panda's are hassle-free and very organized. As long as you show up at the time assigned to you, you don't really have to wait that long to see them. We were ushered directly to the viewing area which was corded off and guarded to make sure visitors don't linger too long and the line keeps moving. Gotta love Taiwanese efficiency!
There are about 4 Panda's and they're all REALLY adorable! Panda's never get old in my book. I love watching them over and over again.
Caught a photo of this fat guy chomping away on his bamboo.
And this one taking a dump! ha-ha!
First time I ever saw a Panda poop and it's quite peculiar. They sit just like us and their poop looks like XXXXXL rabbit's poop. :P
Right beside the Panda viewing area is a Panda gift shop:
In here, you'll find all things Panda, from caps, bags, wallets, magnets, pencils, keychains etc. Prices aren't bad either. We got a bunch of stuff for less than 800 NTD.
The elephants here have a much better life than our poor Mali (see HERE). These guys have a house, a shower that's on 24/7, and even their own bathing pool.
There's lots of signs to help you get around but I think it's wise to pick up a zoo map near the entrance to help you navigate yourself around better since this place is really vast.
"Zoo Poo Poo" hahaha
These Flamingos were surreal, they looked more like garden ornaments than real birds. They're not in a contained environment and we were surprised that they don't try to run/fly away and escape. They must really like it here :P
When you visit Taipei Zoo, go first thing in the morning (I think they open at 8am). Prepare to spend half your day there. End your visit to the area with a gondola ride heading to Maokong for some dinner/late afternoon snack, a great view of the city and the most delicious tea you will ever taste!
More on my visit to Maokong in my next post! :)