Maokong Gondola and Ningxia Night Market

Today’s activities included a ride on the Maokong Gondola cable car up a mountain to the village of Maokong, followed by a visit to the Ningxia Night Market for more Taiwanese street food.

To get to the Maokong Gondola, I took the red MRT line from Taipei Main Station to Daan, where I transferred to the brown line which I rode to the terminal station at Taipei Zoo. The gondola station is a short walk from the MRT station and is well sign-posted.

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Gondola station at the bottom of the mountain

There are four stations on the gondola route at which you can get off/on (the top, the bottom and two in between). The cost for riding the gondola are NT$70 for 1 station, NT$100 for 2 stations and NT$120 for all three stations (from bottom to top). If using an Easy Card, there is a discount of NT$20. So, to ride from bottom to top and back again will cost NT$200 ($6.34) using an Easy Card.

The gondola carries passengers up to an altitude of 299.3 metres (275.2 metres above the base station). Construction of the gondola commenced in 20065 and it commenced operation in 2007.

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Gondolas at one of the stations
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Almost at the top
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Food outlets at the top of the gondola ride

The village of Maokong is known for its tea and there are several tea-houses located near the top of the gondola ride. There are also several walking trails that can be accessed from the gondola station.

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Map showing tea houses, walking trails and other points of interest around Maokong
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View of Taipei from Maokong
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Tea-flavoured ice cream
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Riding the gondola back down the mountain
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Zhinan Temple, viewed from the gondola

Once back down the mountain, I returned to the Taipei Zoo MRT Station. I rode the brown line to Daan and transferred to the red line which I rode to Shuanglian. On exiting Shuanglian Station’s exit #1, I turned left and walked about 500 metres along Minsheng Road to reach Xingxia Night Market.

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The market takes up almost one block of the Ningxia Road, with a double row of stalls that almost exclusively sell food. Towards the end of the double row, there are a few stalls that sell other items, but this is primarily a street food market. It is smaller than other night markets in Taipei, but it does have some street food options that I haven’t seen at the other markets I’ve visited.

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A section of the double row of food stalls
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Thick soup of squid with stir-fried noodles
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Duck head and other meaty items
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Duck heads and sausages
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Fish and seafood
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Fruit with syrup coating
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‘Hot & Spicy Stinky Tofu’

The first food item that called out to me were these stuffed fried balls (below). The first photo shows the contents of the balls before they are sealed and fried. The second photo shows the finished product. I bought one of the shrimp balls – it was delicious!

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Showing the contents of the fried balls
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Sealed and fried. Delicious!

The next option to call to me was only a few stalls away. Again, the vendor had some completed items and some that she was preparing that showed the contents. I bought one of these also. The base had some noodles in it and had a flavour that tasted of egg. It was very nice.

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Freshly prepared on the left and fully cooked on the right
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Ready to eat
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More stinky tofu dishes
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Cooked oysters
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Pearl Milk Tea and other ‘pearly’ drinks

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Coffin Bread
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‘Cheese Potato’ – stuffed baked potatoes
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Get your dinner and your medicine in a single serving
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Peanut ice cream roll – Shavings are taken from the large peanut block to flavour the ice cream roll
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My final food selection for the night was one of these desserts – like an English custard tart
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My strawberry flavoured dessert

With my three-course dinner taken care of, I headed back to the hotel to think about what I’ll do tomorrow.

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