Taipei Zoo, Taiwan

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One of the things I was insistent on seeing in Taiwan was the baby panda, Yuan Zai.

Last year, the pandas at Taipei Zoo gave birth to a healthy baby girl. The people at Taipei Zoo are excellent at social media - they have a Youtube channel, and heaps of videos centering around their animals. The most popular ones are those of that adorable and curious baby panda - here are a couple of her videos.

Warning: addictive and adorable.








Having watched this baby panda's growth progression through videos, I wanted to see her in person. I wanted to hug her too, but I'll take what I can get. The day I went to Taipei Zoo was separated into three segments.

I was going to Taipei Zoo for the first half of the day, then to the LINE exhibition at the National Taiwan Science Education Center, and then to Shilin Night Market at night.

First on the agenda, however, was Taiwan-style breakfast! I went to a place near the hostel, the name of which can be literally translated as 'The Soya Bean King of the Four Seas'  (四海豆浆大王), located along the Western side of Chang An Road( 长安西路).
































A staple Taiwanese breakfast includes lots of carbs and oil. My favourite is the cruller. In Taiwan they come in a thinner width compared to Malaysian crullers, but the length is almost double the length of Malaysian crullers that I am used to. They are also crunchier, which to me is all that matters.

Other staple Taiwanese breakfast dish include soybean drinks, baked wheat cakes, turnip cake, xiao long baos, beef roll and etc.

The place that we went to had an old-school Asian coffee shop charm... or non-charm, depending how you looked at it. The staff would hand you a piece of paper to fill in your orders, they worked in hurried manners and didn't seem to feel inclined to help tourists with ordering (I mean, I knew what I was reading, but I can't imagine what it'll be like if you didn't know how to read Chinese and you showed up there).

There was a certain unpleasant smell in the air from all the food chemicals churning and meeting in the air particles, but I quickly got used to it.

After that, it was Taipei Zoo time.

I got lost trying to get to the Taipei Zoo Station. I am pretty sure I took the correct line, which is supposed to be the Wenshan-Neihu line, but somehow...the train we were on wasn't heading towards the Taipei Zoo Station. I then got off at some random station, and then tried Google Maps. Got on a bus that luckily headed towards Taipei Zoo, but then wasted an hour or so just getting there.

It was getting to be a regular occurrence on my trip, what with getting lost on my way to Jiufen and all too.

Meh.

At least I got to to all my destinations, okay?


































This was a grass sculpture located outside when we were walking towards the entrance to the zoo. I'm guessing these two are meant to be mama panda and baby panda.

To be honest, I thought these two sculptures were weird and looked nothing at all like mama panda and baby panda, when I came across THIS sculpture instead.



































The Chinese words at the bottom mean "love and protect animals". Yeah, okay, but I think breastfeeding deer is taking things a step too far. I certainly do not want to explain this sculpture to any kid.

"Mummy, why is that deer biting that woman's breast?"

"I don't know, sweetie. Let's move on."

I must say I am impressed with Taipei Zoo, and that is high praise from me for a zoo indeed. I was NOT impressed with Zoo Negara the last time I was there, which was more than a decade ago. Perth Zoo was averagely maintained and hugely overpriced.

Taipei Zoo does not only have an excellent social media video account in engaging with people, they are also WAY reasonably priced (as of now) at 60TWD per adult. That will be almost RM7 per adult, or AUD2.

You know how much Perth Zoo costs for adults?

24.50AUD.

You know how much Zoo Negara costs for Malaysian adults?

RM30. 

You know how much Zoo Negara costs for foreign adults? (This is an unfair practice, by the way, ripping off foreigners just on the basis that they earn more - I'm glad Perth Zoo/ Taipei Zoo didn't do this to me, a foreigner).

RM50.

I mean...

Really?

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Now that pandas are arriving at Zoo Negara, I have been informed that Malaysian adults will be charged an additional RM20 on top of the entrance fee to view the pandas, while foreign adults will be charged an additional RM30 to do so.

Oh, IT'S NOT JUST THAT, too, but there's also a VIEWING TIME LIMIT for the pandas after being charged those extra fees.

...

Are you freaking kidding me. I, as a Malaysian adult, have to pay RM50 just to go look at pandas? Do you know how much I earn a day, on average in a month?

LESS THAN RM100. 

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I didn't know going to the zoo was an endeavour meant for the rich nowadays.

Luckily Taipei Zoo had great rates of RM7, and I could go and look at pandas for about half an hour without being shooed off.

Pffft. YAY TAIPEI ZOO.

It was clean and well-run, too. I walked in and was amazed to see that McDonald's had taken root inside near the entrance. A smart idea, if you ask me, because all these school kids are going to see McDonald's and be lured there with their hapless parents.

Heck, even I was lured there after my zoo-viewing experience, just to get fuel before moving on.
































Flamingoes near the entrance.

I had a viewing time of noon-ish for the Panda House, so I went around looking at animals from different weather and climate around the world.

Taipei Zoo is located near the mountains, so the air was fresh. I adored how well-maintained it was - it was clean despite the amount of people walking about.

There were also billboards and sculptures around to take pictures with, such as this one.
































Omo omo omo pandas <3

This is possibly the closest I can get to Tuan Tuan, Yuan Yuan and  Yuan Zai in Taipei. T_T
































The Malaysian tapir, which was lazing around underneath.
































Some lionesses lazing around too.


Zebras with their butts facing towards visitors.
Rhinoceroses, which as you can see were totally not interested in visitors like all the other animals.

I was discussing this with K, about how we'd act if we were put into a zoo and aliens came to see us. Like, they would probably put us in what they would think is our natural habitat. So basically our zoo containment would be our rooms, probably humans doing nothing but typing on a computer and/or staring at our phones.

If the computers/ phones were just for show without Internet, though, we'd probably sleep all day and not be interested in visitors like these animals, too.
































Don't let the price fool you - the variety of animals at the Taipei Zoo was nothing to scoff at. We saw hippos, crocodiles, giraffes, elephants, koalas, horses, penguins, turtles, reptiles, bears, snakes, frogs, orangutans, and I'm pretty sure we missed a few areas like the Bird World and the Australian animal area, mostly because well, we've already seen Australian animals heaps of times.

I would totally buy a ticket to go back to Taipei and go to the zoo again, rather than fork out RM50 to go to the local zoo. (-_-)" I would at least get a holiday in the process, if at 60 times or so the price.

Worth it.

We finally got to the Panda House.... and Yuan Zai was sleeping.

Noooooooooooooooooooooooooo.

She did wake up at one point for all of ten seconds, though, and that whole ten seconds consisted of me going 'LOOK SHE'S LOOKING AT US OMG SHE IS SO CUTE OH LOOK SHE'S GOING BACK TO SLEEP NAW'.

Whatever don't judge me.


































'OH LOOK SHE'S GOING BACK TO SLEEP FACING US NOW OH SHE'S SO SWEET AND CUTE AND FLUFFY I WANT TO HUG HER'

The rest of the time while Yuan Zai was sleeping, I was basically just looking at her mother Yuan Yuan eating stoically in the vicinity, moving around sometimes before sitting back down... and resuming eating stoically.


"Food, food, looking for food~"
































"This looks like a nice spot."
































"Yep, got food from the ground."


"Whatchu staring at. Got a problem, punk?"
































"Yeah I thought so. Om nom nom nom."

If there is such a thing as reincarnation, I won't mind coming back as a panda.

Also I highly recommend going to Taipei Zoo for all who are going to Taiwan. At the very least, you know you're not getting ripped off, and it'll be a pleasant way to spend the hours away.

Woohoo I rhymed.

Up next, the LINE Exhibition Convention!


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