Maokong Gondola: The best, cheapest way to see all of Taipei!

The sign at Taipei Zoo station.
You can never go wrong with cute pandas!
The gondola line is boxed in gold.
I made my first trip up to the Maokong (貓空) area of Taipei almost three months ago with a friend, yet the memories are still quiet fresh. Maokong is a gorgeous area in the mountains with a breath-taking temple, lush greenery, and tasty food to try.

Almost as popular as Maokong itself is the method one takes to get there - the gondola! It's one-of-a-kind and easily accessible depending on where you're coming from. From Danshui where I live, we took the red MRT line to Taipei Main Station, then the blue line to Zhongxiao Fuxing, then the brown line to Taipei Zoo. Then, after getting off at Taipei Zoo, we walked a short distance to the gondola station.

(Note: We went before the red line was extended, so coming from Danshui you should switch trains at Chiang-Kai Shek Memorial Hall, then again at Da'an and stay on the brown line to the end).
When you see this sign,
you know you're close to the gondola station!
Instead of buying a ticket to get on the Maokong gondola, you can use your MRT Easy Card if you have one. Therefore, my student discount applied! If my memory is correct, it costs 50NT (~1.72) to get to Maokong Station, the last of the four stations on the gondola.

At Taipei Zoo Station where you
board the gondola.
On the gondola!
See Taipei 101 in the distance?
Passting through Taipei Zoo South Station.

A look at the gondola supports.
We skipped the Taipei Zoo Stations and decided to only visit the temple and little Maokong village. We're not fans of Zoos; I personally don't like the idea of caging animals.

Stop #3: Zhinan Temple Station

Zhinan Temple is the third location on the Maokong gondola line, and it is completely breath taking. Not only is it a beautiful location, but you can see all of Taipei from there. It's cheaper and more peaceful than going to the top of Taipei 101.

A map of the area around Zhinan Temple.
The main temple building, with the city
peeking in the background.
Foliage is a major part of the temple.
One of the temple's many lookout points.
Directions of various parts of the temple. 
The main part, so majestic! 
Taipei 101 never fails to stick out, do it?
A temple gate.
A pot of incense those praying would circle around. 
An beautiful side-building.
I love the architecture and detailing on the roof.
The temple from a distance.
Lanterns at another part of the temple.
Intricate wall carvings are also present.
I liked how the light hit here.
A crematorium.
Part of the village around the temple. 
A Maokong village house.
Decorations to be burned as offerings.
Winding stairs.
The stairs were curved, really interesting. 
Potty break? Everyone needs one while spending the day
at a "Buddhish" shrine, haha.
A third part of the temple.
The liked the spots of color here.
Inside the shrine.
The lanterns there were gorgeous! 
Close to the temple, there was part of an
old, abandoned mine. 

Stop #4: Maokong Station

The last section of the Maokong gondola is the little Maokong village. I think the main attraction of this stop is the food. There are stalls that sell noodles, sausages, and even Korean food. Also, there are a couple of hot pot restaurants and several coffee shops. Unfortunately, I didn't take many pictures up there because it was already night time and my camera wasn't the best.

Maokong village at night!
This restaurant was bustling. 
Taipei's lights.
The Maokong gondola is fun because you can appreciate nature and tradition in one place without burning your wallet. Taiwan is a tourist's dream as many of the fun places to go and cool things to see are cheap and highly accessible.  Maokong is a place any visitor to Taipei should visit!

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