The Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival is dubbed as one of the best festivals in the world by the American Discovery Channel’s Program, ‘Fantastic Festivals of the World‘. This had been on my bucketlist for quite some time now.
There is no exact schedule for this festival since it depends on the Chinese lunar calendar. This year, the festival was held on February 11, 14 and 22. I attended the festival on the 22nd.
Every year, this festival is held in different locations in Pingxi, a small township nestled among the mountains in northeastern Taipei. The fastest way to get there is through the TRA express train going to Ruifang and then transfer to the local train going to Shifen Station via Pingxi Railway. The cost depends on the train type based on the time of your desired departure and ranges from $49-$79 for the TRA and $20 for a one-way ticket from Ruifang to Shifen. Alternatively, you can also go there via train-bus combo. Allow a maximum of 2hours for your travel time (each way).
The train ride by itself was a scenic one. We passed by rivers, mountains and waterfalls. There was an option to explore the areas in Jiufen, too but we headed straight to Shifen. The railway was also extraordinary. It was the closest I could get to a moving train. You see, the people on the railways had to move out of the way every single time a train passed by. It was very exciting!