Don’t ask me how or why capybaras (水豚, literally “water dolphins”) became one of the hottest tourist attractions in Taiwan.
Yes, there does seem a global obsession with the world’s largest rodent in the last few years. But I’ve seen more than a few travelers come to Taiwan with capybaras at the top of their Taiwan itinerary (they’re also huge in Japan).
According to my wife, who is Taiwanese, there’s a Mandarin expression that perfectly summarizes why people love capybaras so much: 醜得可愛, which means “ugly cute”. This ridiculous capybara song and countless viral TikTok videos have also helped.
In this article, I’ll introduce the best places in Taiwan to see capybaras. All of them are kid-friendly. I’ve personally been to several of them because I just had to see what all the fuss is about. The biggest surprise for me was just how chilled out these oversized rodents are!
Top 3 Capybara Spots
Since you probably won’t be visiting all 10 capybara farms and cafes in Taiwan, I’ve narrowed it down to the three best ones, from my personal experience.
Pingtung Kenting Paradise
Pingtung Kenting Paradise (墾丁鹿ㄦ島水豚生態園區) is my personal favorite place to meet capybaras in Taiwan. The main reasons I liked this one best is because there were lots of capybaras and it was not crowded (on a weekday), so I was able to have a very personal experience with the huge rodents.
Also, the only place in Taiwan where you’ll find a dedicated capybara shrine (Japanese-style, of course, because Japan is cool). AND it’s the only place in Taiwan where you can swim with capybaras.
Don’t get too excited about the swimming part, though. You’ll have to pay an extra fee, wear the wetsuit provided, and the pool isn’t very big or deep. There are showers on site, so you shouldn’t smell too much like a capybara after.
Besides interacting with the capybaras and praying to the capybara gods, you can see giant turtles, baby goats, and sika deer. There are also rocks you can smash to find a capybara coin inside, which can be exchanged for merchandise in the shop.
Your entrance ticket also comes with a voucher to be used towards the cafe at the end – I went for a capybara popsicle.
The attraction is just north of Hengchun in Pingtung county, which you’ll pass through on the drive to Kenting National Park. It’s about 30 minutes’ drive before Kenting Main Beach and Night Market.
Buy discount tickets for Pingtung Kenting Paradise on Klook.
Capybara Knight (水豚騎士) is the only dedicated capybara café in the Greater Taipei Area. It is in Tucheng District of New Taipei City, but you can get there by riding the Taipei MRT blue line to Tucheng Station and walking five minutes.
The café has a minimum charge of TWD 100 per person. They’ve got capybara cakes with chocolate sauce for dipping, smoothies, pizza, noodles, and other small eats.
You’ll need pay an additional TWD 50 for a 15-minute time slot for visiting the two capybaras and one duck outside. The capybaras’ names are Gabi (male) and Bala (female). They are especially chubby because visitors get to feed them snacks all day long.
You can also buy some capybara paraphernalia here, including capybara stuffies and headbands with an orange on top (capybaras are known to be able to balance oranges on their heads).
The café is understandably popular, so you’ll want to book your table here, and try to go on a weekday if you can.
Zhang Mei Ama’s Farm
I put Zhang Mei Ama’s Farm (張美阿嬤農場) in the top-3 because it by far the most popular place to see capybaras in Taiwan. However, I didn’t enjoy it as much because it is very crowded, with constant bus loads of tourists.
Of the many leisure farms with animals in Yilan county, Zhang Mei Ama’s has risen to the top as the most popular one. This is not a real “farm” but rather a petting zoo for tourists.
There are around half a dozen capybaras here. But the petting zoo is especially known for having a wide variety of cute and exotic animals. These include Valais blacknose sheep, sika deer, giant turtles, and some tiny marsupials.
Entrance is 200 for adults and kids age 6+, 50 for 2-5, and free for age 0-1. Entrance ticket includes a small dessert and food to feed the animals. There’s also the option to add a short cooking class or other DIY activities.
This zoo is fairly small, so only expect to spend around 1 hour here. Buy tickets online here. It is a 15-minute taxi ride from Luodong Station in Yilan (1-2 hour train ride from Taipei) or you can take this day tour from Taipei.
Consider to combine Zhang Mei Ama with a DIY green onion experience nearby, as this area is famous for its green onion farms.
Other Capybara Attractions around Taiwan
Here are more places where you can see capybaras around Taiwan. Most of these only have a capybaras or capybaras are not really the main focus.
Xpark is Taiwan’s best aquarium (personal opinion – I liked it more than the larger but older aquarium in Kenting).
While the focus of Xpark is of course on marine creatures, like sharks, rays, penguins, and jellyfish, they also have a small outdoor venue with daily animal performances – and these include capybaras.
Xpark is very convenient to reach as it is just 10 minutes’ walk from Taoyuan HSR station. This makes it very easy to reach from Taipei or on the way to/from the airport when leaving/arriving in Taiwan.
Dancewoods Japanese Garden
Dancewoods is the second-most popular place to see capybaras in Yilan county. This facility is more varied, though – capybaras are not the main focus, but you can see a couple of them there.
Besides the capybaras, Dancewoods also has a Japanese garden, wafuku (traditional Japanese clothing) rental, Japanese tea ceremony, sika deer, meerkats, hedgehogs, and more.
Come here to be transported into a Lord of the Rings setting, and just follow the capybara signs to find your favorite oversized rodents on site.
Hobbit Valley is in a remote, natural setting with beautiful views. They’ve also got children’s hammocks, other farm animals, and a restaurant/café.
But discount tickets for Hobbit Valley on Klook. You’ll need to drive to get here – it’s a 20-minute drive from Dahu, which is famous for strawberry picking.
Sichongxi Hot Spring Park
If the above entry isn’t enough capybara love for you, there’s another spot you can see capybaras in Pingtung. That would be at Sichongxi Hot Spring Park (四重溪溫泉公園).
This park is a 15-minute detour (by car or scooter) from Checheng, which is on the highway between Kaohsiung and Kenting.
The hot spring park features foot bathing tubs, Japanese architecture, cute statues, and a capybara pen. If you happen to come at night, there are lots of lights and lanterns throughout the park, giving it a very cool vibe.
The main focus here is on photo ops in Japanese settings, with kimonos and yukatas for rent. You can see the capybaras from pretty close up but not interact with them. There are also Japanese snacks like grilled fish, mochi, and beer available.
Expect a 45-minute drive from central Kaohsiung, or you can follow the directions here (scroll down for English) to get fairly close by bus then taxi the rest of the way.
Buy discount tickets for Senya Village on Klook.
The fesh fruit tarts are delicious and Instagrammable, with little capybara cut-outs on top, but they are pricey, at TWD 250+, but you’re essentially paying for the experience.
The café is located 15 minutes’ walk east of Tainan station in the city center – most of Tainan city’s temples and attractions are west of the train station.
Wanpi World Zoo
As far as zoos go, I don’t really recommend Wanpi World Zoo (頑皮世界野生動物園) in northern Tainan. The zoo is quite old, there’s more cement than nature, and some enclosures are too small or the water looks dirty. It’s not in a super convenient location, either.
Wanpi World does have some capybaras, though, which is why I mention it here. They’ve also got a few other cute animals like servals and Fennec foxes. If your kids are capybara or animal lovers, they’ll surely enjoy it, but there are better options in Taiwan.