Friday, March 22, 2013

Maokong Gondola (貓空纜車)

Getting there
Take the brown MRT line to the last stop Taipei zoo. Leave the station and follow the signs along the main road to the Gondola.

Maokong Gondola

This has nothing to do with boats and is in fact a cable car. For 80NT (one way) you get to travel out of Taipei with great views of the city, flying above fertile forests and into fresh mountain air. The trip takes 20 minutes, and its worth doing for the views alone. To make a day out of it, you can stop at Zhinan Temple (指南宮站) en route to the top. If you like temples it's definitely worth a visit, and even if you don't, it's a great place for taking photos and views of the city.

Arriving at the top of the Maokong Gondola
At the weekend there will be a lot of tourists, so exit the station and take a left. If you walk about 20 minutes along the road there will be almost no one and you will come to the last tea shop. Take a seat in the quiet garden and enjoy what is probably the world’s most expensive tea. But look around, you'll realise you’re paying for the scenery - and it's completely worth it.

Drinking tea at the top of the Maoking Gondola
Apart from the one above, there are many other tea shops along the road. They make you buy a box of tea for about 500NT ($17) and in addition you pay them for water and use of a kettle (80NT/$2.20 per person). If you ask (and you should) they will show you how to make the tea properly using all the different bits and pieces they supply you with.

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