Saturday, April 12, 2014

strolling maokong


Tucked away in the hills of Taipei is perhaps the most beautiful suburb of the entire city: Maokong. Up in the mountain side, life slows down a little bit and people are seen tending their gardens, sitting in the shade and chatting or selling fruits and vegetables rather than playing on their smartphones, running to catch the metro or strolling high end shopping malls. 

The air is fresher and Maokong seems worlds away from the sprawling metropolis it looms over. 

Narrow roads cut into the mountainside offering stunning views of the city and tea plantations and gigantic temples carved into the steep hillsides. Every hour on the hour, a gong from a monastery across the valley sounds. Frogs croak and birds chirp and people laugh and it is such a contrast to the soundtrack of urban Taiwan: scooters reeving, horns hoking and bus tires squealing. 

Moakong is a tourist destination but all one has to do is wander five minutes beyond the last bubble tea stall to find peace and quiet and solitude. We spent the day getting lost and found on mountain roads and trails and I know in one afternoon we barley scratched the surface of everything this suburb has to offer. 















And one of the best parts about visiting Maokong? You can get there by riding a Hello Kitty gondola! Apparently, so many people fled to the mountains over the weekend that the one narrow, twisting road that led to Moakong was always too congested and very dangerous. Therefore, the city decided to invest in a gondola that would take people there instead. The gondola begins at the Taipei Zoo and takes 30 minutes to get to the top of the mountain. Along the way, riders get a bird's eye view of Taipei and its surrounding areas.  



For more fun travel stories, check out the blog A Southern Gypsy, which automatically became my favorite blog ever due to this post on the Harry Potter Studio! I am one jealous nerd! 

16 comments

  1. This looks like a fun weekend! I think it is great that you and Jamie from Ink and Adventure get together to explore Taiwan!

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  2. Love the every day life pictures, something like my From the Road series, if you wish to take part, just let me know :)

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    1. I would be interested! I looked at your blog and I found the places you highlight to be very unique and interesting :)

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  3. If the photos weren't enough to sell the idea of the trip - the Hello Kitty gondola is. Found you via the Sunday Traveler linkup - thanks for sharing!

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    1. Taiwan is obsessed with all things Hello Kitty!

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  4. You totally got me at the Hello Kitty gondola. My niece would love that ride. Landscapes are lovely. Thanks for linking up to the #SundayTraveler.

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    1. Your niece would love, love, love Eva Air, Taiwan's national carrier. The airline has a Hello Kitty airplane. The food, toilet paper and practically everything is Hello Kitty!

      http://evakitty.evaair.com/en/

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  5. A Hello Kitty gondola?! I'm there! Some of your pictures of the temples remind me of the ones in Penang, Malaysia. and I liked how you framed that monastery across the valley. This looks like a good way to explore the outskirts of Taipei.

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    1. I've been to Malaysia and they are very similar. It was a perfect way to spend a sunny [albeit sweaty] Saturday.

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  6. What a beautiful place and gorgeous photos. It makes me wish I was there right now! And the Hello Kitty gondola - that's just the icing on the cake, isn't it!

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    1. Thanks! The Hello Kitty makes standing in line for the gondola ride totally worth it!

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  7. Whoa a Hello Kitty gondola? I'm so there! What a beautiful village! Thanks for linking up to the #SundayTraveler again!

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  8. These pictures are absolutely gorgeous! Love it :) And a Hello Kitty gondola? Awesome! Thanks for linking up to the #SundayTraveler! See you next week :)

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    1. The Hello Kitty gondola made my day :)

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