Cool things to do in Taipei #238: Visit Taipei Zoo

Dear Taipei,

You know that List of Stuff I Want To Do In Taipei that is fed almost daily? Yeah, that one that seems to have more added to it regularly than crossed off? Well, this is the month to get cross happy. I just started my month off between school terms (please don t hate me), and I have an excessive amount of time to do nothing and everything. It s too tempting just to do nothing, so I m going to try and aim for the latter.

Cool Things To Do In Taipei #238: Visit Taipei Zoo

Yesterday I crossed off one of the items that s been there for a while- A visit to Taipei Zoo. To be honest, I never considered a visit to Taipei Zoo a must do before I leave Taipei . It was more one of those items that I thought would be fun to check out, but if I don t go it wouldn t be a loss. There are many more places, experiences and sensations that I hold as much more critical to do. Plus, not to brag, but my hometown Sydney s Taronga Zoo is without a doubt one of the best in the world Although you won t have a chance to see the gorgeous Formosan Black Bear!

Cool Things To Do In Taipei #238: Visit Taipei ZooFormosan Black Bear

But yesterday, drowning in free time, I asked a friend if he d like to go for kicks. I must admit I was quite excited when he said yes- I was suddenly filled with anticipation as memories of childhood visits and more recent ones bubbled in my mind. Arriving at quarter to one, the entrance was startlingly packed. Still a public holiday, I expected it to be crowded, but I didn t envision it to reach the extent it was.

Inside was worse. But while I would normally grumble at the need to battle the crowds, the sight of so many different people- children gleaming with curiosity and excitement, lovers hand-in-hand, friends four-in-a-line, all having such a good day out somewhat added to the fun.

Cool Things To Do In Taipei #238: Visit Taipei Zoo

We made our way around the whole zoo at an excessively leisurely pace. We both agreed that there was no need to rush- if we wanted to stare at the monkeys for an hour, we damn well could! I think that s the way to go with zoos- slow it down a bit, savour the experience of watching an animal do their thing for a bit and rinse and repeat.

Cool Things To Do In Taipei #238: Visit Taipei Zoo

Cool Things To Do In Taipei #238: Visit Taipei Zoo

I m sure my friend would attest that the whole day I was swept up in a childlike excitement. I truly was captivated by the habits of the elephants, the innocence of the panda joyfully chewing on his bamboo, the utter cuteness of the penguins.

Cool Things To Do In Taipei #238: Visit Taipei Zoo

I admired the beauty of the cheetah s spots, envied the intelligence of the monkeys and laughed at the antics of the baboons. I really did feel transformed- if for just a day- back to a time when I was knee-high and bouncing from enclosure to enclosure, mouth agape and eyes widened.

Cool Things To Do In Taipei #238: Visit Taipei Zoo

Cool Things To Do In Taipei #238: Visit Taipei Zoo

The zoo is surprisingly large- something which only dawned on us once we d realised we d already spent an hour exploring roughly 20% of the zoo. For some reason I mistakenly thought it would be small and quaint- perhaps it was the ridiculously cheap NT$60 entrance fee that fooled me. It in fact has a combined area is 165 hectares, with 90 hectares being open to the public.

Cool Things To Do In Taipei #238: Visit Taipei Zoo

The zoo is divided into different exhibition buildings (the Education Center, the Penguin House, the Koala House, the Amphibian and Reptile House and the Insectarium). I was overjoyed to see my favourite animals- penguins- just in time before the 5:00 closing time. I stood there transfixed laughing at their antics until my friend had to practically drag me away.

Cool Things To Do In Taipei #238: Visit Taipei Zoo

Cool Things To Do In Taipei #238: Visit Taipei Zoo

There are also many exhibition areas (the Formosan Animal Area, the Children s Zoo, the Asian Tropical Rainforest Animal Area, the Desert Animal Area, the Australian Animal Area, the African Animal Area, Bird World and the Temperate Zone Animal Area). There is also an outdoor nature observation area, a wetland park, and a special exhibit house (Taipei Zoo1).

Cool Things To Do In Taipei #238: Visit Taipei Zoo

If you go early enough, in the morning there are a handful of shows to enjoy. You might even want to line up to catch the Zoo Train that takes you from one exhibit area to another (it looks like fun for the kid-at-heart, but we didn t get the chance because the line was too long). Arriving early may make the waiting time to bask in the glory of the lovable panda more bearable. As you see, we only got a glimpse through the crowd!

Cool Things To Do In Taipei #238: Visit Taipei Zoo

One thing that I m always wary about with zoos is the treatment of the animals. My friend and I agreed that especially by Asian standards, the zoo is fairly well maintained and the animals generally seems quite well taken care of. Most of the enclosures are reasonably sized and there is a good degree of distance between visitors and the animals. However, there were a few animals that seemed to sport some minor sores (although I m no expert in this regard). Another observation that made us both quite sad was that quite a few animals seemed to be living alone. Overall, there are of course areas for improvement, but overall I think the animals seem to be cared for quite well.

Cool Things To Do In Taipei #238: Visit Taipei Zoo

So, is Taipei Zoo worth the trip? Well, if you re short on time on a trip here, unless you have a particular reason you d want to check out Taipei Zoo (perhaps to see the Taipei Bear?), then skip it and visit those must sees .

Cool Things To Do In Taipei #238: Visit Taipei Zoo

If however, you ve got a half day to spare and are looking for a relaxing, cheap and enjoyable time, sure, check it out! I d say the same goes for expats like me living here- if you re short on plans but want to get out of the house, then why not pay a visit for a couple of hours?

Cool Things To Do In Taipei #238: Visit Taipei Zoo

Cool Things To Do In Taipei #238: Visit Taipei Zoo

You know, I m really glad I crossed Visiting Taipei Zoo off my list. It was way more impressive and fun than I had assumed it would be- and at $60, I think it s quite a steal of a day out. Especially if you get a chance to see this weird and rare creature

Cool Things To Do In Taipei #238: Visit Taipei Zoo

Although don t hold your breath- I ll probably be trying to conquer that never ending list.


What s the greatest zoo you have visited? What animal do you always look forward to seeing? What s on your Taipei Bucket List ? Let me know in the comments section below 🙂

Taipei Zoo

Where? No.

30, Section 2, Xinguang Road, Taipei.
116 ‘ 30
Opening hours:
Open year round ever day (except for Chinese New Year s eve).
Zoo Hours: 9:00 a.m.

5:00 p.m. (no entry after 4:00 p.m.)
Animals Exhibit: 9:00 a.m.

4:30 p.m. (indoor and outdoor exhibits)
Indoor Exhibits are closed on Monday by turns, so please check the website before visiting
Cost: Adults $60.
Discount tickets available in limited circumstances, see website for further details.
Nearest MRT:
Taipei Zoo Station (this is without a doubt the simplest way to access the zoo)
More details:
Taipei Zoo Website2

1) Bring your own lunch or eat beforehand. The variety of food in the zoo is lacking, and most of it is fried fast food and overpriced. At least when we went, there were ridiculously long queues.

There were also a couple of convenience stores, but the lines were even longer, and many of the shelves were already cleared out.
2) Wear comfortable shoes- there s a bit of walking between the exhibit areas.
3) Make sure you have an Easy Card (MRT card) to save lining up and enter the park directly.
4) If you re feeling energetic, you can combine the trip with a visit to Makong- the entrance is right next door!

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An insight view of Maid Cafe Job

I have previously introduced one unique part of Japanese pop culture, the Maid Cafes. They are cute, way too cuteee >> (add link)

An Insight View Of Maid Cafe Job

I have always thought that maid cafe tends to be overpriced, but once I heard the insight story, I feel like the price isn t enough for the efforts these maids put into their work.

An Insight View Of Maid Cafe Jobchoose your maid!

It s hard enough to pass the strict selection process, however, it s even harder to become a real maid. During your time as a maid, there is one thing that you must not forget. The moment you could not fit into the one size uniform, you cannot continue being a maid. Therefore, these girls, while having school and social life like others, need to be aware of their body image all the time.

An Insight View Of Maid Cafe Jobwelcome home, master!

Unlike other cafe, there are a lot of communications between customer and the maids. The merit of maid cafes is to make you feel like you have come home, where there are warm smiles and people who have no problem in listening to the things you want to share. While doing a job of a waitress, the maids need to have excellent charisma skills in order to create conversation, which both them and the customer feel comfortable about.

An Insight View Of Maid Cafe Joblet me draw your omelet with ketchup

Beside that, one should be able to draw, at least basic cute picture. Because sauce-drawing is the most unique feature of maid cafes, every customer will ask to have either their omurice or drink drawn.

And of course, it is unacceptable to say no in such situation.

An Insight View Of Maid Cafe Jobcan you draw a rabbit for me?

Not only that, as there are stage performances in maid cafe, all the maids are required to dance. Once accepted, the maids need to start practicing dance performance. One is not allowed to officially start the job until she can dance at least 3 full songs. The choreography is not some random move but well-developed dance steps. However, 3 songs are just the minimum requirement.

An Insight View Of Maid Cafe Jobstage performance, request based from customers

One must continue learning new songs from time to time, so that if she is requested to do performance more than three times (by the same customer), she won t end up repeating the same song. There are pair/ group performances and solo performances. When the customer specially requested their favorite maid to dance, it is most likely that they want only the requested maid to dance to and for them. Therefore, maids must be 100% confident about their performance as soon as possible.

An Insight View Of Maid Cafe Jobsometimes, they also need to sing An Insight View Of Maid Cafe Joband of course, singing while dancing!

Dance, sing, entertaining, not an easy task! Check out the video;)

To be honest, I think what they have been doing is not much different from being an idol. The efforts they put into participating dance lesson and even voice training are not something everyone can do.

An Insight View Of Maid Cafe Jobshe might look young but she is the manager!

However, I feel like the most difficult part of being a maid is how to get recognized. Not all maids are the same. There are three stages in total. If you had been to maidreamin for a few time, you might have notice there are different uniforms.

When joining the team, one begins at the lowest level, which is distinguish by a fairly simple uniform. The maids will then gradually move up to the next stage. By this time, the uniform looks a lot cuter, with the signature pink ribbon in the middle.

Basic uniform without any ribbon or gem

An Insight View Of Maid Cafe JobAn Insight View Of Maid Cafe Job

The second stage is actually divided into two levels, so until a gem is added onto the uniform, one cannot go to the final stage.

An Insight View Of Maid Cafe JobSorry for my bias angle!

I just love how cute they look while drawing

LL 2015 Staff Highlights

Here s the second part of our annual year-end roundup. Part one, with a lot of words from me, is here. 1


New recipes were mastered, delicious ice cream was made, potlucks were shared, people stepped up when others had to prioritize time with loved ones, early mornings and late nights were enjoyed in each other s company, and delicious chocolates were devoured by all. We couldn t ask for a better place to spend our days.

LL 2015 Staff Highlights


Becoming designated custie person and getting to know all the lovely regular customers a little better, taking one of the hardest course loads I have ever taken and ultimately being so proud of how I did and how much I learned, going to the museum of natural history for the first time with my wonderful boyfriend, seeing both Seal and Madonna in concert, lavender lemonade, toffee, hot cider, maple pecan caramel, Lagusta s pizza2, celebrating the shops 4 year anniversary along with my relationship s 4 year anniversary, being surrounded by the most amazing people every day at work and learning so much about both them and myself, feeling more and more grateful every day that the shop exists, knowing the incredible person that is Lagusta, meeting brilliant Pauline.

LL 2015 Staff Highlights

Alexis: 2015 was the year where going to work didn t feel like going to work anymore. It was the year I truly felt at home in the shop.

2015 was a year of change, loss and growth. And we rallied around one another, everyone so soft and so strong. The staff I belong to I d say they re people that I ve been waiting to meet my whole life. They re not co-workers and bosses, they re friends. I m thankful for them all every day.

Some quick highlights:

-Had my last waitressing job this summer during Lagusta s beautiful dinner series3.

-Got my first real oven burn. Hurt like hell.

-Grew to enjoy the world of solitary enrobing, which was previously my least favorite and most often fucked-up task

-Discovered the beauty of listening to podcasts while working (especially while enrobing)

-Shipped a hell of a lot of boxes in December

-Ate so many scraps

-Learned a whole lot about veganism and made some pretty tasty work lunches

-Witnessed Maresa toss/chuck/heave so many cupcakes/macs/flax eggs into the ditch and it was never not funny

-Had some great Gilmore Girls chats. I m looking at you two, Adrienne and Alexandra. This past month I kept catching myself smiling as I walked through the shop, watching everyone work so seamlessly and flawlessly together through our busiest time. I m so damn grateful to be a part of this. It s been quite a year.

LL 2015 Staff Highlights


I am a relative newcomer to the LL family, having arrived in June to this lovely, tight-knit, happy crew. I m a food business veteran and the oldest member of the bunch so I wondered how my way of looking at things would fit in with the tone already set in the place. Thankfully, it has been a smooth, easy ride. I m happy to put forward my wisdom (ha!) on food safety and baking equipment and proper footwear it makes me feel useful and, frankly, like less of a newbie amidst all these people who really know their stuff despite not having decades of experience. Impressive and humbling as that is, I am super pleased that I m starting to learn all the exacting, attention-requiring arts of chocolatier-ing from such patient, cool, fun people. So, on to the highlights of the year One of the real perks of the job for me is that I m able to visit with and feed my son every working day that is an amazing opportunity for a new, working mom.

I so appreciate everyone accommodating me and him, even during the busiest of times, and it has made the whole experience just perfect. I ve really enjoyed acquiring a few titles along the way: Food Service Professional (natch), Spider Catch (and release)-er, and Peppermint Patty Princess (by far my favorite, but I m wondering, when do I get my tiara??). It has been enlightening to see how even the mistakes (Thank god, since I made plenty) get used and made into something amazing and delicious the most truly efficient and waste-free kitchen that I ve ever seen, and I ve seen a lot!

And even though I espouse to be a principled person, it wasn t until I saw just how much Lagusta lives by her principles and has made a successful business that supports and benefits her community, that I started to put my money where my mouth was and tried to do the same. Joined a CSA, stopped supporting businesses that have dodgy practices, ate better and encouraged others to do the same, the whole shebang. I owe her a big thanks for that inspiration and kick in the pants. But the best highlight for me was making a bunch of friends who make going to work the highlight of my week!! Thank you, one and all.

LL 2015 Staff Highlights


In 2014 I was focused entirely on improvements inside the shop but this past year we started looking outside. We always have a list of wants, needs, and dreams for projects at the shop (if only you knew of some of the grander dreams that have come and gone over the last few years!) and this year we decided to just start crossing some of them off. The biggest one that you ll see if the patio in the front of the shop. That started with a plan to redo our perpetually potholed filled driveway with porous pavers. We went though many design ideas and in the process realized that redoing the front area and setting the parking area back away from the building would be the best best for now. We had our farmer friend Ian Taliaferro design and do the work and we revealed it at our 4-year anniversary party. We re so happy with how it turned it that we had our only dinner series of the year out on the patio this summer. We also added an awning on the side entrance of the shop (no more shoveling snow in order to get into the shop!), a huge deck in the back, and the ornamental Discount Holidays © holiday front awning for the winter. In addition, one of my favorite new items (a years long project!) was the custom bike rack on the side of the patio, that really finished it off for me.

LL 2015 Staff Highlights

Inside the shop we were finally able to tackle the nearly decade old Bluestocking Bonbons packaging when we realized we d be running out of Furious Vulva boxes. This was a huge opportunity for us to bring it up to date but also a lot of pressure to work with one of our oldest, and most recognized, products. After eliciting outside help (thanks Scott4!) and numerous revisions (thanks JP & Hemlock5!) we finally settled on the new Vulva box and I think it s the best of both worlds. I can t wait to update all the rest of them. Of course there s chocolate too!

My favorites for the year:

The Blood Orange Heart6: I was proud of our new creation! It s often hard to create new meaningful chocolates (that taste great) for holidays and this one was splendid.
Peanut Butter Ice Cream Caramel Bar: This one was a dream, literally, we ve been dreaming of such a thing! I used to eat Snickers Ice Cream bars as a kid and there was always the want, the need, for one. Lo and behold, we have it!

LL 2015 Staff Highlights
Slushies and ice cream7: for a chocolate shop we do really great on the non-chocolate side. I was lucky enough to taste-test so many great ice creams and slushy flavors this summer.

LL 2015 Staff Highlights
Daylily bialys with foraged daylily flour8: I could eat these with Miyoko s or Treeline cheese every day of my life. In fact, I think I did as long as I could until they ran out. I even helped forage for these so I think I earned it!

LL 2015 Staff Highlights


my year s memories include birthday party potlucks & scaling recipes up-up-up, wondering why we didn t do it sooner. working harder and better than last year: being unsurprised, being proud. we got new thermometers and an extra selmi (no big deal) (very big deal) and on halloween lagusta covered the shop in spiderwebs with me, which honestly felt like the thing I was born to do. trying to come up with specific and standout memories of the year proves difficult: when you love your work so much, when you are in awe of your co-workers. every day is standout & I am aware of how rosy I am painting all of this & it is my day job, yes & punks aren t supposed to like their jobs or something & yeah right & some jobs are worth loving & rose rose rose rose rose

LL 2015 Staff Highlights


Having just started working at the shop two months ago, its hard to call attention to specific moments of importance when every moment so far feels invaluable in creating my general sense of love for Lagusta s Luscious world and all of the incredible people who make it such an incredible place to be. Every day spent at the shop is full of new feats, new chocolates to taste, endless laughter work for me is dipping turtles, making the always-crucial whipped cream, spoonfuls of peanut butter filling, celebrating birthdays with the best potlucks and party hats, memorizing the ever-growing collection of quotes suspended throughout the shop while wrapping bars in gold, the olfactory satisfaction of Maresa s Macarons, and toasted pecans, and Walk in the Woods bars. The list goes on.

It s 11 pm on New Years Eve, and although my general attitude towards this Discount Holidays © holiday is that the sentiment of excitement for renewal can be replicated any day of the year, tonight I m relishing in this Discount Holidays © holiday s tendency towards hyperbole and feeling extremely grateful for the last two months of this year, and the year to come. I feel so lucky to be a part of such a strong community of talented people who provide me with infinite opportunity for growth- and to be able to feel that about a workplace is something rare and unforgettable.

LL 2015 Staff Highlights

(crazy work times didn t allow time for me to take photos of some of our newest LL team members, eeek!)


The highlight for me this winter was definitely getting to work with so many unique, fun, quirky, entertaining, kind, helpful, amazing people. Everybody was willing to teach and answer questions and to share their love of this delicious, creative work. Birthdays were always highlights as well- whether we had potlucks or pizza parties it was so great to set aside time during the busy day to celebrate and enjoy food and good company!

LL 2015 Staff Highlights


One 2015 LL time that I will always remember is working on Halloween. We had spent the day before packaging pieces of bark that looked like spider webs for the trick or treaters. After putting all of the bark pieces into the bags, we thought we had way too much chocolate, and that we d have a massive amount left over. Come Halloween and the herds of trick or treaters, we ran out of spider web bark within 2 hours, and had to frantically package random pieces for the masses of children that were coming into the shop.

As frantic as it was, it felt strangely fun to be that insanely busy for the day.

LL 2015 Staff Highlights


well, 2015 came and went faster than a peanut butter lover such as myself can devour a peanut butter cup. Things have been tough on an emotional & friendship level, but I truly have never felt stronger teamwork than I did during the past 2 months. Filling hundreds of orders with just a few of us, and without Lagusta being around because she was busy being the best daughter/caretaker/friend on this planet, was hard but it felt good. it also feels incredible to be creatively fulfilled by your job because working late or going in early doesn t matter. Working with people who are hilarious and talented barely gets tiring when you are proud of what do you. Now, as I do every year, I m attending another chunk of Phish concerts to say goodbye to the year. So, I m sitting here in NYC listening to people talk about working in crappy offices, and their long commute on the subway everyday to get to work. And how Phish NYE is their only outlet for happiness. Meanwhile, I m sitting here laughing and eating my hazelnut sugarplum caramel bar.

LL 2015 Staff Highlights

LL 2015 Staff HighlightsLL 2015 Staff Highlights

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  1. ^ Part one, with a lot of words from me, is here. (
  2. ^ Lagusta s pizza (
  3. ^ dinner series (
  4. ^ Scott (
  5. ^ Hemlock (
  6. ^ Blood Orange Heart (
  7. ^ ice cream (
  8. ^ Daylily bialys with foraged daylily flour (

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