There’s an Alpaca Cafe in Taipei – and We Have Pictures

When I first heard that there was an Alpaca Cafe in Taipei, my response were noises so high pitched only dolphins could hear them. Excited did not quite cut it. Instagram was full of people getting Alpaca selfies – their curious little faces peering over their shoulders, reviews told tales of feeding them carrots and lots of soft fur snuggling.

Even when I found out that ‘Oia Cafe, Taipei’ might be a tiny bit misnamed as it wasn’t actually in Taipei, but a two-hour train and bus ride away in the nearby Sanzhi district, I didn’t care. It was a cafe with alpacas – but as with so many things in life, what you see on Instagram doesn’t necessarily reflect reality!

There's an alpaca cafe in Taipei, Taiwan. This is one of it's fluffy residents.
Hi – I live here.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links which mean I earn a small commission if you use them to book. This does not cost you any extra.

Our Visit to the Alpaca Cafe, Taipei.

We chose to go to the cafe on a Wednesday morning and get there as it opened at 11am.

We took the red line train 30 minutes out from the centre of Taipei to the nearby beachside town of Tamsui then changed to a local bus. A surprisingly short forty minutes later we arrived at the rather windswept seafront that is home to the Oia Cafe.

We knew we were in the right place when we saw about six alpacas standing in a stone yard.

They weren’t quite a white and fluffy as I was expecting, in fact, as it was raining, they were decidedly bedraggled, and the front of the cafe was a bit rundown making us wonder if it was still open – but the lights were on so in we went.

We were the second group of customers there and we were led to a corner table where a small brown alpaca was kneeling down having a snooze. ‘Don’t touch him,’ said the waiter.

Not a problem, I figured as he was small he was probably new and getting used to the place – so I was fine with a no-touch rule.

As the waiter took our order another alpaca appeared. Big, white fluffy, he was everything I’d dreamed off – but he didn’t care that I’d travelled miles on a bus to see him.

Snow - one of the residents at the Alpaca Cafe, Taipei.

He was too busy trying to eat the furniture or the clothing of the ladies next to us. The waiter told us that in fact, he’d eat anything that wasn’t nailed down – cue me rapidly switching my handbag to the other side of the table and flipping my hair to the other side of my neck.

Suddenly the reason for all paper within 200 metres being laminated made perfect sense.

We snapped a few pictures, but most of the time Snow, as I guess his name was from the super cute drawing of one big alpaca and one small one on the handwritten menu, was too busy trying to get into the kitchen to pay us much attention.

Again, though, I was really pleased to see that the staff weren’t forcing him to interact with us – but a bit sad that my alpaca selfie was unlikely to happen. And that I wasn’t going to get my chance to distribute carroty snacks.

Oia Alpaca Cafe is definitely an unusual thing to do in Taipei. You can have a coffee while surrounded by alpaca.

A third alpaca appeared – small and ridiculously cute. I’m pretty sure this was the one that everyone seemed to be cuddling in their pictures and interpreting the menu drawing again he’s called Li Bai. But again, he was keeping his distance.

I think, in hindsight, maybe going when the cafe was less busy was a mistake.

Rather than getting more alpaca time as we had hoped, we got less as they didn’t have lots of other people feeding them carrots or interacting with them to keep their interest off their hay and the kitchen.

And, without any other customers to serve, the staff kind of left us alone once we’d ordered so we couldn’t ask them if it was okay to get close for pics.

Handdrawn menu at Taipei's Oia Alpaca Cafe showing two of the residents Snow and Li Bai.

There were also a few other issues making me a feel a bit uncomfortable.

It smells – I guess that’s not unexpected when you effectively have farm animals wandering around but it didn’t make for the most pleasant backdrop to consuming anything – although what we had tasted okay.

On which note, the cafe has a minimum order of one item per person – and it doesn’t have to be food. I ordered a Chocolate Smoothie (200 NTD) and The Boyfriend had an ice cream sundae which cost 230NTD. If you’re more of a coffee drinker, a latte would set you back 180NTD. If you do want to eat, pasta dishes cost 300 NTD.

There's an alpaca cafe in Taiwan. Here's one of the residents with a chocolate ice cream shake!

There were also some Bengal cats living in a glassed area near the door and I didn’t like the fact that they were all cooped up. Apparently, they are the owner’s pride and joy though so maybe it was so people didn’t play with them – or so they didn’t have to dodge big clunky alpaca hooves.

My biggest worry though were the alpacas outside. They did not look like they were living their best life.

They live in a small enclosure with a stone floor and unlike the inside alpacas who were all groomed and fluffy, these were decidedly bedraggled.

Admittedly, this might be because it was raining as I’ve seen pictures of them munching carrots on sunny days and they look a bit happier and fluffier, but seeing them peering in through the window at Snow and Li Bai cavorting about inside. made me sad for them – well, except at the point I took this picture, that just made me laugh.

A curious resident at the Alpaca Cafe in Taipei.
He’s behind me isn’t he?

How to get to Oia Alpaca Cafe, Taipei

If you do decide to visit Taipei’s Alpaca Cafe, here’s how to do it.

First up, ignore how long Google maps says it’s going to take you to get there – Google lies! The bus journey is roughly half the time they suggest.

We actually noticed this about quite a lot of the Google bus timings on our trip and we think they must allow for heavy traffic – but it’s a bit disconcerting when you’re not sure when to get off so, keep an eye on your phone. We had ordered a prepaid Taipei SIM that’s great for tourists from Klook that we picked up at the airport and used that throughout our trip.

From central Taipei, take the red MRT line to the last stop at Tamsui.

This is actually quite a cool town to wander around with an old market, a cute seafront and some great street art – it’s particularly well known for it’s sunset views so you could easily spend a few hours here before or after your cafe visit.

Street art in Tamsui, Taipei. If you want to visit Oia Art Cafe and it's alpacas, you leave from Tamsui.

Buses that go to Oia Cafe include the 860, 862, 863 and 892. We got the 860.

We settled down in our seat ready for the long ride watching the little dot wander along the blue line on google maps – then, panic, panic, panic – it went a different way.

Worried we’d made a mistake we got off – only to discover that, no, we were on the right bus but, for some reason, it does a short square divert that Google doesn’t know about so don’t panic if you do take a small detour.

You’re getting off the bus at a place called HuoCuo – you’re getting close to your stop when you notice sea appear on your left-hand side.

The bus moves pretty quickly at this point and you rapidly tick off the stops so pay attention. You go past a beachside park on your left and you’ll see a big blue bridge coming up ahead – your stop is just past that bridge.

Handily you stop outside a cafe that’s shaped like a giant dog!

If you see that you’re in the right place. Don’t wait to see the dog though or you’ll miss your stop.

This dog shaped cafe is very near the Oia Alpaca Cafe Taipei

When you get out, cross the road at the pedestrian crossing and turn right. The entrance to Oia is about a two-minute walk up on your left. It’s just past an Indian restaurant. As I said, it looks pretty run down and so it’s quite easy to miss.

When you’re finished with alpaca time, just head back the way you just walked to the bus stop on this side of the road and jump on the bus back to Tamsui.

According to Google, the bus journey should cost 30NTD each way, and the easiest way to pay is to buy an Easicard at any subway station, or the airport and load it up with cash. You then just tap it when you get on and off. You can use that on the metro and buy things in 7-11 and a few other stores with it, so it’s worth having.

So, did I enjoy Taipei’s Alpaca Cafe?

We stayed about 40 minutes and took heaps of cute pictures that more than made up for the long bus journey but…if I’m honest, I’m torn.

It wasn’t the worse animal cafe I’d ever been to – the staff obviously do care about the animals – but I also really didn’t feel that the happy, smiley cafe portrayed on Instagram was reality and, maybe people need to know that before they schlepp quite a long way out there.

Also, considering how little attention the alpacas paid us when we were the only people there, I wonder how much they’re normally being grabbed or teased by people to get their selfies.

But my experience and yours could be totally different. Maybe the day you go it will be unforced selfies a go-go, alpacas dancing their little hooves off outside and the cats chasing catnip mice around the furniture. I hope so.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links which mean I earn a small commission if you use them to book. This does not cost you any extra.

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If you're looking for something unique things to do in Taipei, you might want to add visiting the Alpaca Cafe to your list. Also known as Oia Art Cafe here's how to get there and what you might see. Click to read it now or add it to your Taipei board for later. #taipei #thingstodointaipei #alpacacafe #alpaca #taipeicafes

2 Comments

  1. Clazz - An Orcadian Abroad

    Awwww. This is cute but I’m really uncomfortable with all the animal cafés that keep popping up. It’s hard to tell sometimes whether they’re being treated right.

    Reply
    1. Helen from Differentville (Post author)

      Yes. I have been to a couple that I really didn’t like.

      Reply

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