Ping Xi is one of the most popular places to release sky lanterns in Taiwan.  Check out our experience below.

Ping Xi – The Town of Sky Lanterns

The Ping Xi District

Ping Xi(平溪)was our second stop after Jiufen in our action-packed one day tour of the Ping Xi District.  The Ping Xi District includes Ping Xi Old Town, Shi Fen (十份) and Rui Fang  (瑞芳), all accessible from the Pingxi Line (平溪线).

Ping Xi Sky Lanterns

Ping Xi Sky Lantern Festival

The Ping Xi District is world famous for its sky lanterns.  The annual celebration of the Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival attracts large crowds every February.  It is believed that wishes on the sky lanterns reaches the deities in heaven, who will in turn grant your wishes.

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Travelling to Jiufen, Shifen and Pingxi from Taipei by public transport can be rather inconvenient.  Those who are travelling in a group will get better value by taking up a private day tour.  With your own driver and car, you’ll get to customize the day tour to Jiufen, Shifen and Pingxi and see more sights on the way.  You’ll also get time on your own to enjoy the Old Streets and visit the Shifen Waterfall.

Ping Xi Sky Lanterns

Pingxi is also known for being the filming site of the Taiwanese hit movie ‘You are the Apple of my Eye’ (那些年,我們一起追的女孩).  In that movie, the sky lantern bearing the hopes and aspirations of the lead actors was released at the railway tracks of Ping Xi.

Ping Xi Station

Ping Xi Versus Shifen

Although there is a lot more to see in Shi Fen (十份), Ping Xi appeals with its own unique brand of charm.  The town area of Ping Xi – Ping Xi Old Street  (平溪老街) is built on a hill with a train track running through parts of it.

Ping Xi Railway Track

Ping Xi Old Town

Both Ping Xi (平溪) and Shi Fen (十份) are located along the Pingxi Line (平溪線) of the train system accessible from Ruifang (瑞芳).  Our advice is to buy a one-day pass from Ruifang (瑞芳) to access both towns.

Releasing Sky Lanterns (天燈)

Various shops in the old towns of Ping Xi and Shi Fen sell these paper-made sky lanterns, all for the same price.  The shop keeper would even go as far as to help take pictures of you and your lantern.

Sky Lantern Shop
Sky Lantern Shop
Wishes on Sky Lantern

Rather than jostle with the crowd at Shi Fen, we chose to release our lantern at Ping Xi.

Ping Xi Train

Buying a Sky Lantern

We randomly chose one of the shops along the railway track to get a sky lantern – they cost as little as NT150 (SGD$6.50) for a single-colored sky lantern and NT200 (SGD$8.60) for a multicoloured one.

Cost of Sky Lantern

Apparently, each color symbolises a different aspect of your life, and you can choose a single-colored sky lantern and limit yourself to praying for one aspect of your life only, or a multi-colored one combining the various aspects that you wish to pray for.

Symbolism of sky lanterns

Lucky they got an English translation for it!

It was a little difficult to find one lantern of the color combination that I wanted, despite going through the entire stacks of multi-coloured lanterns, so we had to make do with the closest match we could find.

The shopkeeper clips on the sky lantern on one of these racks.

Our chosen multi-coloured sky lantern of red, orange, green and white.


Ping Xi - Releasing Sky Lanterns

Time to test our chinese calligraphy skills.

Ping Xi - Releasing Sky Lanterns
Ping Xi - Releasing Sky Lanterns

The shop keeper auntie has both of us holding each corner of the sky lantern while photos were taken of each of the four sides as a remembrance.  Auntie then lights up the sky lantern, and we feel the pull of the lantern upwards.

Then it is release time.  Our sky lantern wobbles unsteadily as it ascends the darkening sky, smoking slightly at its edges.  I hope it made it to safely to heaven eventually with our hopes and prayers.

Ping Xi - Releasing Sky Lanterns

Watching other people with their sky lanterns can be quite fun too.  Especially when you take a peek at what they wrote!


Ping Xi - Releasing Sky Lanterns

Other people having their photos taken before they release the lantern.

Ping Xi Railway Track

Oh, and don’t forget to take a picture on the railway track.  Despite what the signage says, everyone ignores it.  It really is quite safe, because the train only comes in once every hour.

Ping Xi - Releasing Sky Lanterns
Ping Xi - Releasing Sky Lanterns
Ping Xi - Releasing Sky Lanterns

We hope you find this article useful in your trip planning. We love to hear from you. Please drop us your comments in the comments box below.

Do stay tuned and follow us on our next article as we explore the Ping Xi Old Street (平溪老街).

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Travelling to Jiufen, Shifen and Pingxi from Taipei by public transport can be rather inconvenient.  Those who are travelling in a group will get better value by taking up a private day tour.  With your own driver and car, you’ll get to customize the day tour to Jiufen, Shifen and Pingxi and see more sights on the way.  You’ll also get time on your own to enjoy the Old Streets and visit the Shifen Waterfall.

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