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Pingxi Lantern Festival

Where
Pingxi, Taiwan

(Northern Taiwan)

When
2020: February 8
2021: February 26
Great For
• Culture Vultures
• Photographers
• Romantics
Ticketed?
Only for the main stage area. (Free, first-come, first-served)

Basics

Every year, the Pingxi Lantern Festival (also known as the “Taiwan Lantern Festival”) sees thousands of paper lanterns ascend the heavens with brush-painted wishes. It’s a magical scene with echos in pop culture around the world.

Located in its namesake town of Pingxi — accessible from Taipei — the Pingxi Lantern Festival is a one-night event that takes on a carnival-like atmosphere. Bring your camera, and some extra cash, and, if at all possible, plan ahead and get a free ticket to the main event staging area (given out on the day of the festival, first-come-first-served).

Must-do activities include painting and launching your own paper lantern, enjoying the variety of street food and vendors throughout the town, taking plenty of pictures, and enjoying some of the live performances taking place at the main stage.

There are several synchronized releases of many lanterns at once that take place throughout the night — these originate from the staging area from just before sunset and continue every 20-40 minutes over the next few hours. That said, there’s seldom a moment you won’t see a lantern in the sky as participants throughout the town are constantly sending up new wishes.

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Accommodation

• Hotels and AirBNB opportunities in Pingxi are very limited, so book early if you plan to stay in town.
• If staying in town isn’t an option, EG recommends you stay in either Ruifang or Taipei.

Search below for hotels, hostels or homestays in & near Pingxi. This is a one-stop search engine that allows you to compare all accommodation options across many sites, including those on Agoda, Airbnb, Booking.com, Expedia and Hotels.com. Starting your search here helps support our site–at no additional cost to you–so we can continue bringing you Eventful Events!

Transportation

International travelers will likely fly into Taiwan’s Taipei Taoyuan Airport.

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• From Taipei Main Station: Take a Northbound train (except Keelung-bound trains) towards Ruifang.
• From Ruifang: Connect to the Pingxi Line and get off at Shifen (be sure to purchase a new ticket, if needed).
• Trains are full, but not excessively packed. Be prepared to stand and note that special seats are reserved for passengers requiring assistance.
• Check train times on the Taiwan Railway official website.
Pingxi is accessible by car, but note that it is a small mountain town, so roads and parking may be an issue given the event’s crowds. Plan ahead and arrive early to ensure parking. Check rental cars.

Tips

Pack
Pack your winter clothes – most of your time in Pingxi will be spent outdoors.
Cash
Bring Taiwan Dollars (ATMs are limited in Pingxi)
Tickets
If possible, get tickets to the main event (tickets are free and first-come-first-serve)
Postcard
Send a wooden postcard to show where you’ve been!

Additional Info

Travelers attending the Pingxi Lantern Festival are joining a rich history dating back over 2,000 years. Also known as the Taiwan Lantern Festival, it is celebrated on the 15th night of the Lunar New Year (a.k.a. “Chinese New Year”), which means the event always takes place during a full moon. According to tradition, thousands of lanterns should usher in the New Year.

The lanterns are born from the evolution of the legendary/historical communication tool amongst local men into a customary communication tool between men and gods. Legend has it that sky lanterns were invented by Kong Ming who applied the Science of hot-air balloons to float lanterns as a military communication tool.

According to elders of Pingxi, historic villagers would evacuate to the nearby mountains due to bandits. When it was safe to return, sky lanterns will be flown to signal “all clear”. This custom of flying sky lanterns has carried on till this day where it now serves as a means of communication, now between men and the gods.

In 1990, Taiwan began officially recognizing the event and marketing it alongside its suite of celebrations that take place elsewhere in the country, including the Beehive Fireworks Festival of Yanshui, where locals try their best to get hit by dangerous fireworks as they think doing so brings good luck.

The Pingxi Lantern Festival is not only auspicious but awe-inspiring, a must-see for Culture Vultures, photographers, and romantics.

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