For our last full day, we decided to take a bit of a trip out to Shifen and Pingxi, which are both known for their lanterns. We arrived at Shifen first (they’re both on the same line), and I just loved the view from the platform.
It was an amazing clear day, and you could actually cross on the tracks itself to the small street lined with shops on the other side. Turns out, anyone can go on the tracks as long as the train isn’t approaching.
There are plenty of small souvenir shops and places to eat!
Since its main tourist attraction is the lanterns, there are lots of people that will try to get you to fly off a lantern with them. We had plans to do it at Pingxi later in the day, so we just enjoyed watching everyone write their wishes and such on their lanterns and fly them off.
Don’t worry about having to switch off with your friends or asking a stranger to take a photo for you. Usually, the worker will take your camera so that you can have the perfect photo (of all four sides of the lantern!).
We decided to rest at a small shop for snack time, since I couldn’t say no to chicken rice. I was pleasantly surprised by this generous place of not just chicken but plenty of vegetables and even a whole boiled egg. They also gave me tea and watermelon! My friends had ice cream and one of them even brought in food from outside, but they didn’t seem to mind.
There’s also a bridge near the station! Not much to do or see but good for photos when there aren’t too many people.
We actually spent a really, really long time around Shifen, so we got to walk all around the town and enjoy the peaceful scenery. I loved how even from far away, you could see the lanterns floating up into the air.
We took a walk to Shifen Waterfall, which took maybe about 10-15 minutes.
It was definitely worth the short hike(?), but it was so hot that I was sweating just from standing and taking photos.
On our way back, we passed by a small shop selling drinks and decided to stop by to cool down. It was really nice to get some shade under a tent with a chilled drink.
We were trying to get on the train to head to Pingxi around evening, but we had some trouble figuring out the train system and ended up waiting on the platform for an entire hour and twenty minutes.. The train was late, and only come about once every hour. Definitely not a highlight of our trip. (But we did manage to meet an adorable, friendly cat!) If you’re going to Shifen and Pingxi, I would definitely make sure to check the times and plan out your day well!
When we finally got to Pingxi, we were greeted by darkness. We were devastated to find out that everything had already closed for the day, and there were no more tourists or anything. We could hardly believe it since it wasn’t even that late yet, but we asked someone that was passing by, who told us that pretty much everything was over for the night. Luckily, one shop right by the train platform was still offering the lanterns, so we ended our day there. The lanterns have lots of different colors and meanings, and we decided to go with the iconic red lantern. We took our turns writing on the different sides with a paint brush, and the man helped us go out onto the railway and record as we lifted it off into the night sky.
Overall, our Taiwan trip was quite rushed and short, but memorable. I’d love to return some day!
Below is my travel video from our trip ^^