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A walk down Pingxi Old Street (平溪老街), Taipei

Taipei . 2015 . Jan 20

This post is part of our Taipei Trip Report and Itinerary. Do check out the full itinerary and our reviews here.

Pingxi (平溪) is much quieter than its more popular brother Shifen (十份).  However, it still appeals with its Old Town charms.

Map of Pingxi.  It is easy to navigate around by foot.  Pingxi Old Town is actually quite small, but has mild slopes to climb because it is located on a hill.

Just like the taipei night markets, Pingxi Old Town is filled with food shops and their wonderful aroma.

There are a couple of shops selling barbecued sausages - They smell really good, and have long queues.

Hygiene conditions at the stall don’t look too good, and it brings to mind the warnings of our tour guide in Hualien. But we went ahead to buy one, because I had wanted to feed a stray dog.  Ended up that I couldn't find the stray after I bought the sausage and had to eat it myself.  Taste quite good, but not worth the risk of a stomachache.

This stall selling ice-cream wrapped in popiah skin and peanuts is insanely popular.  It is located somewhere up the hill at one end of the street.  Try it if you must.  It is at this place that I spotted the stray doggy again.  By then, the sausage I bought for him was already in my stomach.  Sorry doggy.

Pingxi Old Street is also littered with many souvenir shops fighting for the tourist dollar.

After holding off my impulses to buy the miniature sky lanterns at Jiufen, I can now finally indulge myself with a few of these.  Each has a unique message written with a fine Chinese calligraphy brush. Spare a few moments at the souvenir shops, and you may just be able to catch the shop keeper in action hand making these tiny lanterns.

In contrast to the actual sky lanterns, these miniature souvenir sky lanterns do not have a fixed price. Their prices can vary with the shops and the kind of ornament they are embellished with.

So many options, so many to choose from.  I lost my mind trying to figure out which ones I should buy.  Doesn't help that my Chinese is not very good - I had to spend quite a while to figure out how to read those Chinese characters.

Other than the different messages and different fabric design/colors, you can find some subtle differences if you look carefully.  Some of them are designed to be keychains, while others are meant to be purely ornaments to be hung up.

Some of them comes with a tassle at the bottom, while others has a small wooden message board at its bottom.

Cheaper ones come only with the fabric and message - no additional ornaments, so look carefully before you buy.  Cheap is not equal to good.

They even have Disney themed ones - ultra cute! I just cannot resist!

Many of those slightly higher-priced ones comes with LED lights, and some with even with music.

As with all Taiwanese souvenir shops, they carry a good collection of cutie stuff that we can’t find in Singapore.

Along the same Pingxi Line (平溪線) that brings us to Pingxi and Shifen, there is another small town at the terminal end of the line called Jingtong (菁桐).  We had originally wanted to visit Jingtong for its bamboo flutes of wishes, but it looked like there was no such need, because Pingxi has them too!

Simply walk into one of the souvenir shops and purchase a blank bamboo flutes for writing down your wishes and tie them to one of the structures in the Pingxi Old Street (平溪老街).

Bamboo flutes are all over the place even at Pingxi Train Station.

At the terminal end of Pingxi Old Street (平溪老街) - does this bridge looks familiar?

How about now? :)

Tommy insisted that the filming for the movie You are the Apple of my Eye (那些年,我們一起追的女孩) included this little stream (or shall I call it a longkang?) and the bridge across it, but I seriously cannot recall having seen this scene in the movie.

There is a shop that sells cheese toast near the stream - so you might want to stop by to have a quick bite after all that walking.

Across Pingxi Old Street is an Guanyin temple located at mid-waist of a hill. There’s supposed to be a Ba Xian cave (八仙洞) located near to the temple as well, but we didn’t have time to visit either because we only had an hour to spend in Pingxi, as we need to catch the next train on the Pingxi Line (平溪線) to maximise our day.

Spot the sky lanterns in the sky at the end of Pingxi Old Town.  According to villagers, most of the sky lanterns end up on the other side of the hill after they are released from Pingxi and Shifen.

Back to the Pingxi Train Station after an hour of sky lanterns and shopping at the Old Town.

The trains can get rather crowded, and they come only once in an hour, so be sure to wait at the platform around 10 minutes before the train arrives.  Otherwise, you may not even get a chance to squeeze into the crowded train.

Last look at sky lanterns at Pingxi.

Join us next as we bring you to Shifen!

Special 1-day tour around Jiufen, Shifen and Pingxi by KKday, Our Travel Partner

For those of us who wish to explore Jiufen, Shifen and Pingxi in one day but are lazy to navigate their way around, we are pleased to share with you a travel deal from our Travel Partner KKday! :)

Click on the link below for more information!

This post is part of our Taipei Trip Report and Itinerary. Do check out the full itinerary and our reviews here.

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