Saturday, February 4, 2012

2012 pingxi sky lantern festival

Erica, Phil and I went to the 2012 Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival on the 26th. It was amazing but this post is for anyone out there who is looking for information about the lantern festival and couldn't find anything about it online. I know I tried googling for some dates about when the sky lanterns were going to be released but I found like one site that just had the dates and that was about it. There is way more information in Chinese but of course that isn't helpful at all. Contrary to what I believed the Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival isn't just located in Pingxi City but in different cities located within Pingxi County. Also they only have a mass release of sky lanterns four days out of the year around Chinese New Year time. To get from Taipei to Pingxi, just take a train to Ruifang and then take the Pingxi Line. A return ticket costs $54 NT but wasn't really necessary since no one was checking tickets. The trains get super crowded, people were literally trying to force themselves onto the train and the neat, orderly lines you usually see in Taiwan is nowhere to be found. Every woman for herself and their friends of course. I don't even know how the elderly managed to do this without getting crushed, though I believed they used their fragility to their advantage, no one is gonna push the granny over. There are also shuttles that head to the lantern festival but the only location they depart from in Taipei is from the Taipei Zoo.

2/4 (Saturday) from 18:00-21:00 at the Shifen Sky Lantern Square, next to the Shifen Tourist Center. 1600 sky lanterns will be released into the sky in 8 waves. If you want to participate in the release they start passing out number cards at 12:00. Be prepared to wait in the line for a loooooooong time.

2/6 (Monday) from 18:30-20:20 at the Shifen Sky Lantern Square. The first wave of 1000 sky lanterns will be released and 400 sky lanterns will be released in two separate waves. The info for the number card is relevant here too. Also for both these days there are 800 event souvenirs that will be given out. Just go to the service counter at the event at 12:00 to receive it.

If you go any other times you'll still see a bunch of sky lanterns in the sky that visitors can purchase and release on their own, but to see a massive release of them you'll have to go on the four official dates of the sky lantern festival. I won't be listing the dates in January since they've passed already.

Just to warn you that trains leaving from Shifen Station can head to Pingxi and Jingtong or just Pingxi if you have an interest in visiting the different areas. Besides the station names being in English, the train itself will provide no information in English. All audio notices are done in Chinese. We found ourselves stopping at Pingxi and thinking we were going to head to Jingtong next, which is where the 1/26 Sky Lantern Festival was held, we stayed on. The train apparently terminated at Pingxi and we ended up heading back to Shifen without the train changing tracks or having to change trains to head back. This is after waiting 30 minutes before the train even started, the delay was given in Chinese. The whole while we were standing in cramped corridors with people trying to shove on every couple minutes. So make sure you ask someone that the train will take you where you want to go because you won't be able to tell once you get on it.

Seeing all the lanterns being released at one time was totally worth all the crap we had to deal with in order to get here.

1 comment:

  1. looks like the Lantern Festival in Thailand! love it!