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If you want to make a wish, come to the Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival, which is one of the most prominent festivals in Taiwan and also famous worldwide.

The Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival held annually during the first full moon of the Lunar New Year, usually in February, attracting over 100,000 visitors gather together to release thousands of sky lanterns with wishes, ascending into the night sky.

It has been voted by Discovery Channel as “the second biggest New Year’s Eve celebration in the world” and listed in CNN’s “52 Things To Do in 2013“. Additionally, it has been named one of the “14 Festivals To Attend Before You Die” by Fodor’s Travel.

So it must see and go!

Are you ready to make your dreams come true?

Let’s keep reading.

The Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival

Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival

The Sky Lantern Festival in Pingxi has over a century of history.

A sky lantern, also known as Kongming lantern, is a small hot air balloon made of paper, initally used to convey military messages during the Three Kingdoms period(220–280 AD).

By the early nineteenth century, each year farmers in Pingxi district would write messages on the sky lantern to pray for a plentiful harvest in this year and release it into the sky to the gods at the beginning of spring planting.

Nowadays the historical tradition makes the sky lanterns become the custom of the local Lantern Festival, the people often write their wishes and blessings on the sky lanterns and watch the sky lanterns slowly float up to the sky, and hope their dreams would come true.

The next Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival will be on 8 February 2020.

Way to Pingxi District 

There are two options to get there: Train and Bus.

Train

Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival
Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival

Take the train from any station to Ruifang Station, and transfer to Pingxi line.

*From Taipei Main Station

  • Avg. Time:1.5hr~2hr
  • Train Fare [Local ~ Express]:NT$49~76 ($1.6~2.5) 
  • Pingxi Line Train Fare:NT$15 ($0.5)
  • Check Train Schedules

There are many attractions on each station of the Pingxi Line, so you would pay NT$15 ($0.5) on each stop while dropping off, here you can buy One Day Pass Ticket, only $56 ($1.8) to enjoy unlimited travel.


Taipei Bus 795

You can take the Taipei Bus 795 from MRT Muzha Station and drop off at any stop in Pingxi Line(A5 ~ A10).

Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival
Source: Taipei Bus 795

Pingxi Line Trip

The Pingxi Line is a 12.9 km long single track railway. You can get there not only for sky lantern but also experiencing three different styles of the old street, natural spots and enjoy a variety of snacks nearby railway track.

Let’s get down to see what’s fun on each stop.

Houtong 猴硐


Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival

Cat Village 

The Cat Village is definitely great for cat lovers, hundreds of cats have been inhabited in here since the early days.

Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival
Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival

Most of the cats here are dozing lazily, and they are almost used to the tourists who come and go.

Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival

Also, some stores take care of these cats living here, so you don’t need to feed them, just quietly enjoy the cat’s every move and take pictures.

Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival
Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival
Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival

MEOW MEOW 喵喵

Meow Meow is a really cute and cozy cafe opened by a young couple who chose to back to their hometown.

The all-white house with a simple interior style is also decorated with many cute kitten elements.

Though the space is not big, It’s still a great idea to have a cool drink after wandering around the cat village under the hot sunny heat.

  • Avg. Cost:NT$80~130 ($2.6~4.1)
  • Get Location
  • Hours:Mon – Fri 12:00~18:00 | Sat – Sun 11:00~18:30

Sandiaoling 三貂嶺


Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival
Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival

Cafe Hytte

Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival
Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival

Cafe Hytte is extremely like an abandoned house hidden in the mountains, there is no telephone, no WiFi and even no air-conditioning, only red brick, moss, and mottled concrete walls.

Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival
Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival
Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival

Though the location is a little hard to find, it’s still worth to come and enjoy the quiet coffee moment far from the hustle and bustle of the city.

Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival

How to get there:

Get off at Sandiaoling Station –> Go straight along the tracks –> Walking through a pedestrian underpass –> Keep walking about 10 mins –> Cross the track to the opposite side –> Go on a ramp on the left side –> You will find Cafe Hyatt.

Shifen 十分


Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival

Many people thought Pingxi station is the first place to release the sky lantern in the early era, but Shifen station is actually a origin of Taiwan’s sky lantern.


Shifen Old Street

Shifen old street is located near the station, and it is a must-visit station on the Pingxi line.

The unique feature here is that houses are located closely on both sides of the railway track, so it’s easy to see the train pass by you in front of you.

Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival

There are many food stalls and shops selling sky lantern on both sides of the street, releasing a sky lantern costs about NT$150~200 ($4.8~6.4) each, and multiple colors to choose from, with different color meaning different things you hope to, from wealth, reputation, fortune, true love, or academic achievement. You would see many people writing the wishes on their sky lantern, and standing on the railway track to release it to the sky.

Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival
Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival
Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival

Shifen Water Fall

Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival

Shifen waterfall is 20m tall and 40m wide, the largest natural waterfall in Taiwan, it is also known as ”Taiwan’s Niagara Falls”.

Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival

The walk to the waterfall is about 20 minutes from the station, you’ll cross over two suspension bridges, and then you’ll get to an area with a few food stalls next to the waterfall where you can relax with Taiwanese food.

Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival

Rice Noodles Soup under Banyan Tree

Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival

Under the big banyan tree next to the railway, there is a century-old-shop selling famous rice noodle soup and a variety of side dishes, the price is cheap and local food is delicious, so usually attract many tourists.

  • Avg. Cost:NT$30~110 ($0.96~3.5)
  • Get Location
  • Tel:+886 2 2495-8276
  • Hours:Wed – Fri 10:30~15:00 | Sat – Sun 08:00~19:00 | Mon – Tue Closed

Rice Stuffed Chicken Wing

Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival

There is always a long line for rice stuffed chicken wing next to the station as soon as you get off the train.

Rice stuffed chicken wing is a special creative food, the stall prepares wings and remove the bone, then stuff them with fried rice before grilling.

Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival

Rice stuffed chicken wing mix with their unique barbeque sauce is fragrant and very tasty.

Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival

They also offer stinky tofu and Kimchi flavor, you might want to give it a try.

  • Avg. Cost:NT$65($2.1)
  • Get Location
  • Tel:+886 2 2495-8200
  • Hours:Mon – Sun 09:30~18:00 

Riverside Beef Noodle Shop

The shop looks so unremarkable on the way to Shifen Waterfall, but foods here are great, highly recommend Xiao Long Bao, you must try it before going to Shifen waterfall.

Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival
  • Avg. Cost:NT$60~120 ($1.9~3.8)
  • Get Location
  • Tel:+886 976-462-338
  • Hours:Mon – Sun 10:00~18:00 

Wanggu 望古


Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival

Wanggu Waterfall

Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival

Wanggu Waterfall is not as big as Shifen Waterfall but is like a secret paradise hidden in the mountain waiting for someone to explore.

It just takes 15 minutes to walk from Wanggu station.

Walk along the track from the station and climb a wooden upstair on the right-hand side next to the track, climb on the hillside for a couple of minutes and you will see a stair, walk down and follow the trail then you will gradually hear the water sound from the waterfall.

There is a water pool, water is quite clear, and not many people on a normal day, it’s the best place for relaxing.

How to get there:

Lingjiao 嶺腳


Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival

Tsai’s Residence

Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival

Tsai’s Residence is nearly 80 years of history two-story red brick building behind Lingjiao Station.

The classical round arches at the entrance are very elegant and unique, which has attracted many visitors to take pictures and feel like back to the past.


Lingjiao Waterfall

Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival

Besides Wanggu Waterfall, It’s another awesome place without many tourists.

From Lingjiao Station walk around five minutes can reach.

From Oct to May every year, you can challenge yourself to go canoeing from Lingjiao waterfall to Wanggu waterfall, give yourself an unforgettable memory of mountain city rafting canoe trip.

Pingxi 平溪


Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival

Pingxi Old Street

Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival

Pingxi Old Street has its own simple atmosphere, and there are many ancient houses on both sides of the hillside and railway.

Most of them are traditional grocery stores, hardware stores and food stalls. Also, here is another good place for you to release the sky lantern on the railway.

Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival

After releasing the sky lantern, you can stroll along this old street, which is filled with many delicious street snacks waiting for you to try.


Grilled Sausage

Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival

You can smell the grilled sausage far away while walking on the Pingxi old street, it’s a 20 years old shop selling various flavor of grilled sausages, also you can try Doubled Layer Roll Sausage and Chicken Breast Fillet both taste good.

  • Avg. Cost:NT$35~100 ($1.1~3.2)
  • Get Location
  • Tel:+886 2 2495-2632
  • Hours:Mon – Fri 10:00~19:00 | Sat – Sun 08:00~21:00

JIAN-LU

JIAN-LU is actually a Taiwanese pronunciation, means deep fried snacks.

It is very big and the ingredients are very rich, including pork, chicken drumsticks, shrimp, squid and onions.

You might give it a try when you come by.

  • Avg. Cost:NT$70 ($2.2)
  • Get Location
  • Hours:Sat – Sun 09:30~17:30 | Mon – Fri Closed

Mountain Stream Water Tofu Pudding

Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival

The shop insists on cooking tofu pudding by using natural mountain spring water, add brown sugar syrup makes tofu pudding taste sweet without being cloying.

Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival

Adding various ingredients into tofu pudding are delicious and surely satisfy your sweet tooth.

  • Avg. Cost:NT$40~60 ($1.3~1.9)
  • Get Location
  • Tel:+886 2 2495-1437
  • Hours:Tue – Sun 08:00~18:00 | Mon Closed

Taro Ball and Sweet Potato Balls

Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival

This old shop selling taro balls and sweet potato balls are freshly made every day, the taste is soft and chewy so usually attract many tourists.

You can choose hot or ice, and mix with green beans, red beans, or both depends on you like.

  • Avg. Cost:NT$40~60 ($1.3~1.9)
  • Get Location
  • Tel:+886 2 2495-2108
  • Hours:Mon – Sun 08:00~20:00

Peanut Ice Cream Roll

The Peanut Ice Cream Roll is a special snack but is simply made up of peanut candy, ice cream, black sesame, cilantro and a pancake.

It special combined taste is definitely an ideal choice for a hot summer day.

  • Avg. Cost:NT$35 ($1.1)
  • Get Location
  • Hours:Mon – Sun 09:00~19:00

Seasoned Millet Mush

Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival

Seasoned Millet Mush is a traditional snack came from north of China, it roughly means noodle’s tea, but it actually is not tea.

Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival

It is made from millet flour, pour some boiled hot water into the millet flour and stir them until mush, then add the sesame sauce on top makes it smell rich.

In addition, the boss also ingeniously designed iced seasoned millet mush, has special taste and unique flavor.

  • Avg. Cost:NT$35~60 ($1.1~1.9)
  • Get Location
  • Tel:+886 932-327-765
  • Hours:Fri – Tue 12:00~18:00 | Wed – Thu Closed

Osmanthus Sour Plum Drink

Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival

Osmanthus Sour Plum Drink is a traditional Chinese beverage not only can cool off but also quench your thirst.

Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival

You can give it a try while wandering on the Pingxi old street.

  • Avg. Cost:NT$30 ($1)
  • Get Location
  • Tel:+886 2 2495-1501
  • Hours:Tue – Sun 06:00~18:00 | Mon Closed

Jingtong 菁桐


Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival

Jingtong Station is the terminal of Pingxi line, built in 1929 for carrying coals, is one of the few Japanese style all-wooden stations in Taiwan.


Jingtong Old Street

Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival

Jingtong Old Street is less crowded than Shifen and Pingxi so that you can leisurely stroll through this once prosperous coal town.

Also you will see many rows of bamboo tubes on which people write their wishes.

Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival

Sky Lantern Police Station

Sky Lantern Police Station is a 9 meters height sky lantern shaped building with nearly 200,000 LED lights used.

There are 5 minutes of light shows every half hour from 4 pm until 7 pm (holidays until 8 pm ) introducing the origin of the sky lantern and Pingxi local features.

Especially It’s the only place to release the LED sky lantern which is different from the traditional sky lantern.

Each LED sky lantern costs NT$150 ($4.8), you can buy one card for writing your wishes on it, later it will be shown on the screen of Sky Lantern Police Station.

  • Get Location 
  • Tel:+886 2 2495-2358
  • Hours:Thu – Tue 10:00~19:00 | Wed Closed
  • Light Shows Time:Holidays 16:00~20:00 | Weekdays 16:00~19:00 (every half hour)
  • LED Sky Lantern:NT$150 ($4.8)

Yang Family Chicken Rolls

The famous local homemade snack Chicken Roll is actually no chicken in its filling.

The crispy chicken roll is made from minced pork mixed with onion and taro, all of which are wrapped in bean curd sheet and deep fried, moreover, having a bowl of Pork Thick Soup with Chicken Rolls is more delicious.

  • Avg. Cost:NT$50~115 ($1.6~3.7)
  • Get Location
  • Tel:+886 2 2495-1056
  • Hours:Fri – Wed 09:15~17:15 | Thu Closed

Miner’s Lunchbox

Jingtong Restaurant was once a dining place for coal miners during the prosperous coal mining industry era.

Though nowadays no more coal miners, the restaurant still retain nostalgic decor and vibe.

The most famous here is the miners’ lunch box set, and you can bring the stainless steel lunch box home.

  • Avg. Cost:NT$100~380 ($3.2~12)
  • Get Location
  • Tel:+886 2 2495-2168
  • Hours:Mon – Sun 11:00~18:00

How to Plan Your Pingxi Trip 

Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival

1 Day Tour

You can just slowly enjoy your one-day railway trip on the Pingxi Line, or only go to some stops you prefer, and then go to Jiufen Old Street for a beautiful night.

See also : Jiufen Old Street – the Romantic Nostalgic Mountain Town


2 Days Tour

Option 1
D1 Pingxi – Jiufen / D2 Jiufen Jinguashi

You can go to Pingxi during the day and then have a one night stay in Jiufen, as well as enjoy the beautiful night of Jiufen Old Street.

Next day, you can have lunch on Jiufen Old Street and then begin to explore attractions in Jinguashi.


Option 2
D1 Jiufen – Jinguashi / D2 Pingxi

I recommend you go to Jinguashi and Jiufen on the first day, so the next day you can slowly enjoy your one-day railway trip on the Pingxi Line.

See also : Jinguashi – Northeastern Taiwan’s Most Natural Spot


Recommended Itineraries

If you still have no idea how to plan your tour, consider joining below tour packages booked by 8,404 travelers. All trip not only comes with the professional and experienced tour guides can speak fluently English, Japanese and Chinese, but also the transportation service which is saving you tons of time!

You might like to experience the sky lantern, see the Shifen waterfall and taste street snacks on the Shifen old street:

Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival

Shifen Half-Day Guided Tour with Pingxi Sky Lantern Experience

  • Free Cancelation – 48 hrs notice
  • The fee is including sky lantern experience
  • Shifen Old Street – Shifen train station – Shifen Waterfall

You might like to make Taiwanese pastry by yourself and also have one day fun in Jiufen, Yehliu and Shifen:

Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival

Yehliu & Jiufen & Shifen Day Tour with Taiwanese Pastry Making

  • Free Cancelation – 48 hrs notice
  • Taipei Main Station Pickup
  • Yehliu Geopark – Jiufen Old Street – Shifen Sky Lanterns – Shu Shin Bou Wagashi Museum(DIY Taiwanese pastries)

Extra information for you

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4G WiFi Router (TW Airport Pick Up) for Taiwan

I hope you enjoyed reading this post.

Tell us what is the most favorite part of Pingxi? What kind of food you would like to try?

If any questions on your trip to Pingxi you have, please leave in the comments below.

23 Comments

  1. Kat

    Wow, an very informative and thorough post with amazing things to do. I love the tradition of the sky lanterns. Such a spiritual and hopeful activity to do and seems like it’s magic with the balloons lifting upwards. How beautiful. The Pingxi Line Trip sounds like a ‘must do’ activity to explore the area with lots to see. The Sifen waterfalls look stunning along with all of the amazing foods. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Wow! That looks like such an amazing trip! I especially loved the Cat Village and the little cafe that’s hidden away. I would love to try the peanut ice cream cone. And what is stinky tofu? I’ve never heard of that. It sounds so interesting.
      Great article! Very informative. I would love to go there one day!

  2. Thank you very much for the great post.
    I love the variety of photos you have. The whole experience seems to be breathtaking! Not to mention magical and spiritual!
    This trip would be a great adventure. I would love to experience the sky lantern and see the Shifen waterfall. I would also love to taste the street snacks on the Shifen old street.
    I will definitely give it a thought for our next family trip!

  3. Great article. Hearing it for the first time from your post. It seems Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival is a great experience to participate and enjoy.

    Listing it as the second biggest New Year’s Eve celebration in the world by Discovery Channel and CNN is something you should be proud of.

    Thanks for sharing this amazing celebration.

  4. Wow, some beautiful places in Taiwan I didn’t know were existing! Very informative and I particularly loved your little GIF showing the road to take, it is very visual and it helps a lot when you’ve never been there before 😀 I would probably try the sausages, they look very good. Thank you for sharing this information and these very nice pictures!

  5. A lot of these spots are drop-dead gorgeous! I’m a sucker for old-style architecture and culture. And food, lots and lots of food. I love how many authentic options for food are available along the way to the lantern festival; I’d eat so much they’d have to take me home on a stretcher!

  6. Lawrence akwa
    I enjoyed your post on the Pingxi lantern festival. I found it to be very informative. It gave an insight into what the festival is about and its important to the people of Taiwan. excellent photos and directions to the festival. Excellent content as well.

  7. Amalia

    I love how well researched this article is! I had no plans of going to Taiwan before, but now it’s definitely on my list! I like how you explain everything so well and even have slides to show exactly how to get to a certain place! This is very valuable for any traveler.
    I would definitely like to see the latern festival and the waterfalls along the way! Thank you for sharing this! 🙂

  8. Derek Marshall

    I have never been to Taiwan, but my goodness!

    This post makes me want to go right now!. I just know that PingXi festival is beautiful, no doubt about that, I have seen similar Yi Ping in Chiang Mai, Thailand. It is so beautiful how the sky just lights up with all the lanterns.

  9. Thank you, Chas. This is an extremely thorough project you have going here. I have always been curious about the Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival, the culture, the food and everything about it. In your opinion, is this a trip a person can enjoy alone?

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