Pinxi （平溪區） is an area most well known in Taiwan for lighting sky lanterns (Tiandeng, 天燈). These lanterns carry the wishes of the owner into the sky in hopes that they will come true. The old style streets in Pinxi also add a bit of flavor making the experience enjoyable whether or not you decide to light your own sky lantern. The affordable street food, lush green landscapes, and romantic feeling of the area makes for a great date location ;). Otherwise, still a good places to go with friends.
Initially, I was a little reluctant to light one because it litters the natural habitat (there is a redemption of $10NT for each fallen lantern). But once seeing all the lanterns in the sky, it’s hard to sit back and not light your own. The lanterns can be lit in multiple locations, but at Shifen (十分) the lanterns can be lit and cast off in the middle of a (still active) railway.
It’s really neat seeing the trains pass through. The sound of the whistle is the warning callout. Soon after people are displaced off the tracks in a scurry clearing a path for the train.
The colors supposedly represent different wishes: Fortune, Opportunity, and a few others I can’t remember right now. Just like any business, you will be up-charged for a multicolor lantern!
My wish? The opportunity: to be happy, loving and compassionate, to have a loving family, create and develop deep and lasting relationships, for personal growth and development.
There are trains from Taipei Main Station leaving to Ruifeng, and from Ruifeng another train can be taken to PinXi. These trains are PACKED, you will be luckily if you can even find enough space to sit on the floor. A much better alternative is to take the bus directly to PinXi.
3/2014, written 04/2014