After visiting Jiufen, our second stop in the Ruifang District in Taiwan was to Houtong. Like Jiufen, Houtong was once a bustling mining town. Today though, it's more well known for being a home to many cats after a cat-loving local started caring for the abandoned cats in the town. Although those who are allergic to cats should probably stay away, if you like cats and cat-themed places, at just about 1 hour away from Taipei by train, Houtong is the place for you! Here's what you'll find at Houtong.
Cats, cats everywhere!
The cats in Houtong pretty much have free roam in the town. You'll find them wandering the streets, and curled up amongst the merchandise in stores (selling cat-themed products)!
There used to be four famous cat residents in Houtong. They were lovingly named "Runny Nose", "Black Nose", "Kirin Tail", and "Big Head" by locals after stand-out characteristics in their appearances. Unfortunately they have all since passed away, but you will find reminders of their adorableness sprinkled around town, like this cartoon version of Black Nose.
No cat town is complete without a cat bridge! The Houtong Cat Bridge is meant to abstractly look like a cat sprawled across the train platforms, with its head looking back towards you. Can you see it?
Not only does it look a bit like a cat, the bridge is lined with ledges for the cats to wander around on and it's common to see cat food left there for the cats to enjoy.
Cat Themed Everything!
Being known for cats, it goes without saying that you'll find cat themed everything here. From cat murals, to cat homes lining the streets.
One of my favourite cat themed sightings was this sign with a cat on it saying that visiting with dogs is not recommended!
Remnants of the Mining Town
Although Houtong no longer functions as a mining town, you can still find remnants of its mining history in rusting historical structures from its mining days. By the Houtong train station there is a small exhibit with photos and stories from those who lived here and worked in the mines. Houtong is also home to the Houtong Coal-Mine Ecological Park which features a short coal train ride that takes you into the coal mines.
This post is linked up on Our World Tuesday, and...