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The Dummy's Guide to Taipei's Lush Southern End

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Post date:2015-04-21

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The Dummy’s Guide to Taipei’s Lush Southern End: Mayor Ko enjoyed a dialogue with indigenous animals and lush trails
Travel days
1-Day Tour
Themed Itineraries
Maokong Gondola

Introduction

Mayor Ko enjoyed a dialogue with indigenous animals and lush trails.

Stop 1: Taipei Zoo (accessible via MRT Route 1 “Wenhu Line”)

Spending all day at Taipei Zoo costs only NT$60 (full rate). A NT$30 discount and free admission for preschool children are also available; the zoo is ideal for family outings that teach kids to cherish all forms of life through direct encounters with animals.
 
Taipei Zoo

People fanatically flock around Taipei City Mayor Ko Wen-Je for a handshake or snapshot, as if he were one of the cute “petting zoo animals”.
 
People fanatically flock around Taipei City Mayor Ko Wen-Je for a handshake

The intra-zoo transit service takes visitors to the Hippo Square, which features installations that had once won one of the world's 25 most creative sculpture projects, at the African Animal Area.
 
Hippo Square

Lazily sunning themselves, the African lionesses either lay on the grass or stood up for some stretching during Mayor Ko's visit. They reportedly responded to the mayor's visit with a few intimidating roars for show.

These easy, breezy and beautiful hippos are a stark contrast to the ill-fated “A-he”, a hippo that made global headlines following its deadly fall from a private zoo’s truck. His tragic end prompted scholars and people to reexamine the spirit and essence of proper, dignified care of animals.
 
hippos

Both the black bears and clouded leopards in the Formosan Animal Area, also accessible via the intra-zoo shuttle, give us renewed respect for, and understanding of, our precious indigenous species.

The estimated number of the very-endangered Formosan black bears, a species no less popular than giant panda, is numbered at just 200 and 600. Among them, the 6-year-old “Black Sugar”, currently living in Taipei Zoo's Formosan Animal Area, enjoys a superstar status for its white, crescent-shaped chest marking and also for its appearance in the movie “Life of Pi.”
 
Black Sugar

Living next door to Black Sugar is the 29-year-old “Hei-mei-pei” who, suffering from senility, has lost much of her hair, beauty and popularity.
 
Hei-mei-pei
 
Hei-mei-pei

The Formosan clouded leopards are native to Taiwan, but the one now kept in Taipei Zoo was trafficked to the island from a place that still remains unknown.
 
Formosan clouded leopards

It is not possible to spot the elegant, nimble Formosan clouded leopards in the wilderness anymore.

In addition to giant panda Yuan-Zai, Eurasian otters Dajin, Xiaojin and Jinsha are also highlights of the Taipei Zoo. The three playful creatures were flown from Kinmen as part of the Forestry Bureau's wildlife rescue and sanctuary project. It's wonderful to see them growing up now carefree and well taken care of in the capital city!
 
Eurasian otters

Stop 2: Maokong (accessible via Maokong Gondola from Taipei Zoo South Station)

With transparent cabin flooring, the Maokong Gondola lift transportation system provides an unusual bird's-eye view of the luscious mountain slopes and natural greenery only miles away from the urban bustle.
* Maokong Gondola Fares: https://english.gondola.taipei/
 
Maokong Gondola

The term “Maokong” originated from niao-kang (pockmarked face) in the Southern Fujian dialect, used by early settlers to describe the area's potholes and uneven bedrock surfaces, the result of long creek erosion. The historically significant and interesting name stuck over time as more and more people pronounced the name in Mandarin.

Accentuated with oxcarts, replicated barns, brick pavilions and other symbols of a bygone agricultural era, the idyllic Camphor Tree Trail offers a glimpse into a quaint lifestyle hardly experienced in our busy, modern urban lifestyle.
 
Camphor Tree Trail

Maokong's crisscrossing paths, notably the Zhanghu and Yueling Hiking Trails, reflect the erstwhile farmers' daunting task of transporting tea downhill.

A stroll through the terraced tea plantations amid the fragrance of Osmanthus would open your eyes to the harmony between man and nature, every step of the way: a harmonious co-existence is possible between nature and man, as Maokong has so aptly demonstrated.
Taipei City Mayor Ko Wen-Je
An extensive tea-inspired menu has been created by farmers in Maokong based on the Wenshan Baozhong and Tieguanyin (or “Pouchong” and “Ti Kuan Yin”) tea varieties their ancestors introduced to the world 150 years ago. The menu was developed to regale even the pickiest gourmands.
 
Tea Restaurant   Tea Restaurant

On a sunny day, Maokong is a perfect place for sightseeing - you can take in the gorgeous cityscape over a gourmet dinner.
 
Night View from Maokong

Underscoring the beauty of Taipei Zoo, Maokong and the greater Muzha area, this eco-tour, which deserves further development, is expected to engage more people in a dialogue with indigenous animals and verdant hiking trails across the City's southern tip.
 

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