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Houtong: From Coal Town to Cat Town

Once a busy coal mining town, Houtong is rapidly becoming a popular spot for cat-watching. Houtong is a small village in Ruifang township, north of Taipei. Once a busy coal mining town during the Japanese colonial rule in the 1900s, Houtong is now famous for the hundreds of stray cats that inhabit its streets. The cats are regularly fed and cared for by locals and volunteers.

Photo by duringmyheyday

The cats are generally very used to the snap-happy crowds, hundreds of amateur and professional photographers come to Houtong every week to capture the tabbies and calicos on camera. They are literally everywhere: wandering free around the little village, snoozing on benches, watching the crowd from the tin rooftops.

There are cute little signs reminding things like: “It is not advisable to bring dogs”, “Warning: now entering cat territory,” and my personal favorite as a photography enthusiast: “Please, no flash photography.” Other than spending time with the adorable kitty cats, you can also visit the mining museum, the coal transport bridge, and the Japanese shrine, all prime attractions of Houtong.

How to get there: Houtong station is located along the Yilan Line, the northern section of the Taiwan Railway Eastern Line.

written by duringmyheyday

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