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Releasing Sky Lanterns (天燈) at Ping Xi (平溪), 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.

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).

The Ping Xi District is world famous for its sky lanterns, with the annual celebration of the Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival attracting large crowds every February.  The Taiwanese believe that the wishes written down on the sky lanterns gets to the celestial beings residing in heaven, who will grant your wishes when they read them.

Pingxi was also in recent years more well-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.

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.

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) at Ping Xi

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

Time to test our chinese calligraphy skills.

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 reminder of what we prayed for.  Auntie then lights up the sky lantern, while we feel the pull of the lantern as it struggles to rise.

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.

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

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

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, and you probably will be standing on the platform waiting to board when it comes.

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

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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