Muzha MRT Activities – Things to do in Mucha

When I first came to Taiwan I stayed in the Mucha area (also spelled Muzha) right outside of the MRT in order to have quick access to National Chengchi University. Needless to say, I was a bit surprised how relatively uneventful and inconvenient the area was compared to other parts of Taipei that are only a few stops away. However, what can be accessed from Muzha is what makes this a special place. I consider it to be a starting point for bringing oneself to bigger and better places that have more to offer.

Where to go from the Muzha MRT station

Coming out of the exit at Muzha (there is only 1), head straight out to the main street and cross the road to where the bus stop is and take bus number 251, 660 or 666 to Shenkeng Old Street. Upon arrival you will be dropped off at the south entrance where you will first see a number of stinky toufu vendors. Don’t be alarmed by the smell, it will pass as you further enter the alley.

My favorite dishes in the alley are fried shrimp balls, BBQ tofu and various peanut dishes. As you walk into the alley about half way, on your left-hand side there is a dealer that sells only peanuts, with a special kind only town to Taiwan known as charcoal peanuts. These peanuts are black and despite the name, are incredible and safe to eat. There are samples for tasting it along with other kinds, which include peanut brittle and pumpkin seed bites, all of which I recommend.

On the right hand side of the alley are several tea dealers, all of which I have tried and have come to the conclusion that only one has tea that has been produced honestly, tastes good, and served at reasonable pricing. The name of this teahouse is called Tian Lun. The best teas found inside this house in my opinion are the Tueguanyin and Baozhong (baochung) grown nearby. I have tasted an assortment of the dealer’s Alishan high mountain tea, and while it is good, I think the other two are more special to that place and the region.

Continuing North

Heading out of the Shenkeng Old Street make sure to continue traveling north to Pingxi where you can see lots of tea fields, mountains and enjoy lighting Chinese lanterns. Despite their hazardous effects to the environment, these lanterns are a fun way to experience the local culture there. No doubt when arriving to the area you will see lanterns being lit and floating into the sky. To get to this area you need to follow the railroad tracks throughout the old street and upon arrival purchase a lantern that has yet to be opened. They will provide you with a marker so that you can write wishes or paint something that you like, and then will help you launch it into the air. Following this make sure to head back down and get a bite to eat or drink at one of the many sit-down cafes or restaurants.

Continuing from Pingxi is the Shifen Waterfall (十分大瀑布), which can be accessed by train by getting off at the Shifen train station and walking about 25 min. The waterfall is a bit far back in the woods but the walk there is picturesque and worth doing.

The Taipei Zoo and Maokong

Muzha isn’t terrible but there are not a lot of options unless you use it as a starting point to go elsewhere. If you happen to be taking the brown line on the Taipei MRT and are wondering whether you should exit at the Muzha station, consider going down to the Taipei Zoo station instead. The area is built into a very lush area of Taipei where you can see all sorts of animals from Africa, reptiles, and even its most popular attraction the pandas from China names Tuan Tuan and Yuan Yuan.

Following your stay at the zoo, take the gondola up to Maokong. When getting your ticket for the gondola there are two lines – one for glass bottoms and one for regular cars- that you can choose between. Most Taiwanese line up in the left line (the glass bottom one), leaving the other one virtually unfilled. It is best to do this on the weekdays as the weekends get filled up quickly. Ticket choices include stopping off at a temple along the way, otherwise head to the last stop for Maokong. Upon arrival head in any direction and you will be greeted with numerous restaurants and cafes in which you can take in the scenery. Going at both during the day and night are great.

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