Houtong in Ruifang an hour from Taipei close to Jiufen and Keelung offers funky attractions. The former mining colony now mainly attracts the Taiwanese tourists for its “cat village“, where cats basically roam around in large numbers as if they’re part of the community. With all due respect to cats, I think the bigger story here is the mining colony, and there are a few ways to explore that part of Taiwanese history and learn a bit of the harsh life of miners. One such attraction is the Monkey Cave Coal Mine Museum. You go on a kiddie train that takes you through a long tunnel and on the other side you’ll see the instructor demonstrate some of the everyday life tasks miners used to do. Then, you’ll have some time to explore and do things yourself. Together with the nearby tourist center and the Houtong Coal Mine Ecological Park, this will give you a taste of such life, and some local Taiwanese history.
Not what I’d consider a must world-class attraction, but it was cute, and worth doing if you’re there and tired of cats.