Taipei Zoo - A Guide to Exploring Asia's Finest Zoo
The first time we traveled to Taiwan, we immediately decided that we wanted to visit the zoo. We had three main reasons for this: the tickets are cheap, it is the biggest zoo in Asia and they have panda's.
Little did I know that the zoo would become one of those places I regularly go back to, and where I like to bring other people too.
So, here we go. A detailed guide on how to get to Taipei Zoo, why you should go, what animals they have and answers to any other questions you might have.
How to get to Taipei Zoo
Taipei Zoo is located in the Wenshan District, in the more Southern part of Taipei City. The easiest two ways to get there are by MRT or by car. Though, especially on hot days, I recommend you taking the MRT.
The MRT has a brown line called Wenhu-Line (文湖線) or Brown-Line. This line connects Wenshan District and Neihu District. You can get on the MRT on numerous stops and get off at Taipei Zoo Station, to go to the zoo. From the MRT station to the zoo is less than a five-minute walk and it is very straight-forward. You can find signs pointing out the direction to the zoo. Depending on where you get on the MRT, a ticket is somewhere between 20NTD-65NTD (roughly 65 cents to 2 Euro's).
You can either buy a one-way ticket at one of the machines; a one-day pass, including or excluding the Maokong Gondola at one of the stalls, or you can get an Easy Card. The one day pass gets you unlimited travel on the MRT for 24 hours, which is perfect if you're only in Taipei for one day, and plan on taking the MRT a lot. If you are staying in Taipei for a longer time, I recommend you get an Easy Card. You can buy this at the station stalls or any convenience store. You need to put money on this card, and then you can use it to travel by MRT, bus, gondola and even the little shuttle train in the Taipei Zoo.
If you don't feel like taking public transport, you can also drive to the zoo. There is a huge parking lot right across the road, where parking is pretty cheap(30NTD/1 euro per hour). Take in mind that during the Summer days, the sun is very bright and really heats up your car.
You don't have to pre-order tickets to go to the zoo. When you get to the zoo, there are a lot of ticketing machines. You can select the type of ticket you want: adult or concession. The concession tickets are for seniors, disabled people, students with a student card and children under the age of 6. The normal adult tickets are 60NTD (2 euro's) a piece, and the concession tickets are half that price, so 30NTD (1 euro).
That is everything you have to pay to enter the zoo. With this ticket you can look at all the animals and walk around everywhere.
Taipei Zoo Train
Getting around Taipei Zoo can be tiring, to say the least. The zoo is really big, and on top of that, quite a part of it has hills. Fortunately, Taipei Zoo has a little shuttle train that goes up and down the hill. What I always like to do, is go to the Koala's, look around and then take the shuttle going up the hill. If you do this, the shuttle takes you all the way to the back of the zoo, near the reptile house and bird world. You can start your trip there. Like that you only have to walk down the hill, while looking at all the animals, and not up.
I definitely recommend you take the shuttle if you want to save time, or just relax for a little bit. A one-way trip in the shuttle is only 5NTD! You can use an easy card to get on.
The shuttle goes about every 15 minutes, so you never have to wait long. Even when the zoo is almost closing, the shuttle still goes every 15 minutes. There are only two stops, at the beginning of the zoo, and all the way in the back, so it is very hard to get lost.
Now that we got all the logistics settled, let's talk about what makes this zoo so amazing. First off, when you enter the zoo, you get to a big square. This is where most of the restaurants and shops are located. Among other stores, you have a McDonald's and 7-11. You can also find a stroller and wheelchair rental place here, in case you need a stroller or wheelchair. If you want to get a map of the zoo before you begin the adventure, this is also where you can get the map.
Taipei Zoo has so many animal sanctuaries worth visiting, I can't even decide where to get started. But, we'll just dig right in. In Taipei zoo you can find around 400(!) animal species, some being inherent to Taiwan and some being 'imported'. There are a lot of well-known animals, which you can find in stunning houses or domes.
Taipei Zoo has two big Pandas, and two years ago, one of them gave birth to a little baby Panda, Yuan Bao, who is still at Taipei zoo, but quite grown-up already.
The zoo also has a Bengal Tiger, Red Panda, Penguins, Koala's, numerous types of monkeys, two White Rhino's, African Elephant's, Bison's, and a lot of different birds, reptiles and amphibians.
The zoo is divided into different sections, all being a different climate and continent. There are 8 different outdoors sections, and 5 indoor spaces. The outdoor sections include African, Australian and Tropical Rainforest animals, among others. The 5 indoor spaces are the Koala House, the Panda House, Insectarium, Amphibian and Reptile House and the Penguin House.
My favorite part about Taipei zoo is the 'Formosan Animal' section. This is a part of the zoo where you can find a lot of animals that are inherent to Taiwan. You can still find all of these animals in the wild, however some of them are endemic. Like the Formosan Black Bear, Formosan Rock Macaques, and Swinehoe's pheasants. There are also other animals here like leopard cats, wild boars and pangolins.
One of the main attractions, which is still relatively new, is the Pangolin Dome. Don't be fooled by the name, they don't keep pangolins in here. The Pangolin Dome is an indoor-outdoor area where they keep some monkeys, sloths, birds, fish, tortoises and nocturnal animals. You can walk through the whole dome and meet animals along the way. The monkeys walk on the road, and climb in the trees right next to you. The sloths hang high up in the trees, if you're lucky you can spot them when you're walking on the sky-walk.
Another spectacular and unique attraction in Taipei Zoo is the Bird World. This is an outdoor area of the zoo that is completely covered with mesh. You can walk around here, just like in the Pangolin Dome and be super close to all the animals. Like the name already revealed, this is where they keep birds. You can find all kinds of colorful birds that all have their own song. And, you'll also be able to spot quite a few turtles in the water.
Taiwan has been called many things over the year, and rightly so. The Spanish called Taiwan 'Isla Formosa': beautiful island. And years later, Taiwan was dubbed 'Butterfly Kingdom'. Let me tell you why.
Taiwan is home to over 400 species of butterflies, with some species being inherent to Taiwan. In the Taipei Zoo you can see about 125 of these! Next to the insectarium you can walk through this stunning indoor garden where all the butterflies fly freely. If you stand still for just a couple minutes, you can almost be sure a butterfly will sit down on you. It is a magical place!
Apart from just looking at animals, you can also go to this zoo to learn more about animals. You can find signs everywhere with information about what the animals eat, where they live, how they live and whatnot. The signs are all in Chinese and English, so don't worry about any language barrier.
Every time I go to the Taipei Zoo, I try to think about what my favorite animal is, and I always have a hard time picking one. But today I feel like otters are my favorite. They're so cute and playful!
What is your favorite animal? Let me know in the comments and I'll let you know if you can find it in the Taipei Zoo.