Pingxi was a notable mining town in 1900s, but is now a town most known for its huge lantern festivals each year at the end of the the beginning of the lunar new year. The end of the beginning! Or, the 15th day into the lunar new year. Each lantern festival, the small town fills up with hundreds of thousands of visitors, painting their wishes on lanterns, and letting them drift up into the sky.
I visited the week before the festival to watch the town enjoy the new lunar new year and see its people prepare for the upcoming event. It was then still a quiet, peaceful town, but I could see the excitement slowly mount. Houses were being swept up, streets were being washed. Lanterns were already being lit, and vendors were preparing large batches of food and snack.
Tourists stopping by Pingxi also visit Shifen to see the old town charm there and to check out its beautiful falls of the Keelung river. It is the widest waterfall in Taiwan, making it a perfect landscape for nature photographers. Unfortunately, the ONE day I visit, it happened to be closed for the Lunar New Year. I guess this is motivation to learn Chinese!
If you decide to stop by, make sure to head out early, as trains get packed. Visiting these two towns in the reverse route (Pingxi first, Shifen second), helps too. My morning train was totally empty, making a real comfy cozy ride through the rural country.
Category:Travel and Places
Keywords:lanterns, mountain, pingxi, railway, scenic, street, tourism, traditional, travel, village, wildlife, 台湾, 平溪, 燈會