Lantern Festival (in Taipei)

I know that that the really interesting part of the lantern festival takes place outside of Taipei but I’ve heard that there is also stuff that happens inside the city - something on Renai or maybe around City Hall. Does anyone know anything about this? Is it just decorations that will be around for a while? Or is there some sort of parade that takes place on a specific day. I’d like to take in some aspect of the festival but am definitely not going to make it out of the city tomorrow so any info would be appreciated.

You could always hop the MRT to Xindian and check out the sky lanterns at Bitan. It’s small-scale, but can still be interesting and will probably be quite bustling. You can paint your name and your dreams on a giant lantern and let it drift off up into the sky.
They also have a pretty nice looking new restaurant at the end of the suspension bridge called Rosemary’s Kitchen. Looks very Mediterranean with its blue and white livery, balconies and outside cafe-style seating, as well as indoor seating on three floors with commanding views of the bridge and the river. Chef’s from one of the 5* joints and is supposed to be good, but I haven’t eaten there yet.
If that’s too rich for your wallet, you can get a delicious Sri Lankan roti or two from Athula. He’s just past the bridge on the MRT side of the river, or there are the usual Taiwan-style seafood places along the waterfront.

But Winnipeg to Bitan is a helluva long way just for some paper lanterns. :wink:

I saw there was something noisy happening on Sunday before 9 o’clock in the evening. I guess there will be more action tomorrow. You should be able to hear it as soon as you get out of the MRT at Taipei City Hall station.
I passed it by and it didn’t make me stop. If it’s cold or raining, don’t bother. If the weather is nice and you’re bored, you might actually enjoy it. :slight_smile:

(And I see Sandman already made my joke about your location… :raspberry: )

Honestly, I don’t see the big deal about these “lanterns”. I’m seeing more and more garish plastic monstrosities with fluorescent lights in them, passing themselves off as an example of Chinese “culture”. Yeah, right, whatever… Geez, by those standards, every gas station in America has a “lantern” out front… :unamused:

Yeah, but I think the sky lanterns are still pretty authentic, and it sure is pretty to see dozens of them floating up inot the night sky. The crap that’s going on at City Hall, though, is pure tat.

Yeah, we saw one far out at sea just after a perfect sunset at Eluanpi, Taiwan’s most southern point. It was very pretty.

To get to Bitan by MRT, do you still get off at Xindian or Xiao Bitan station? I haven’t been there in ages…

I believe they’re having a lantern exhibition or some such thing at Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall. In previous years it was a CKS Memorial Hall, I believe. I’m thinking of going to check that out on Friday night, and hit Bitan on Sunday night.

You get off at Xindian, which is the very last stop on the green line. Don’t go to Xiao Bitan – you’ll end up 2-3 km downriver from Bitan. (Hmmm, maybe I should do my civic duty and write to the NRT people to point out the potential confusion there – NAAAAH! The fewer mouth breathers down in my 'hood the better, present company excepted, of course :wink:)
And are you sure its SYS Hall? AFAIK, the CKS event was moved this year to City Hall.

The lights on Ren’ai road look quite nice actually. Start at the City Hall area. Some of the floats are interesting as well. Have a look if you have never seen it. It is not in Taipei every year. Last year it was in Kaohsiung.

How the hell do I know this stuff? I’ve never been to a Lantern Festival in my life! Anyway, the OFFICIAL Taiwan Lantern Festival this year is not in Taipei but Tainan. Whatever difference that makes – I don’t know, maybe there’ll be fewer bigwigs in Taipei looking for a photo op.

There is a latern display at SunYatSen Memorial Hall. Stumbled across when I was on my way to the MRT station from the HH on Sunday. But I dunno how long it’s gonna be there… :s

So … I saw the lantern thingies at CYS Memorial Hall on Sat, they were quite nice!
BUT I’ve never seen the floating lanterns, and I really want to. Is Hsintien the place to go, then? :blush: Sorry, but I get confused when you Taiwan oldsters talk about places … :notworthy:

So how does one get there after getting off the MRT?

So how does one get there after getting off the MRT?[/quote]

You get out and head left down the road. At a T intersection (where there’s an excellent Cho Tofu stand), you walk just a little ways ahead for the suspension bridge.

Walk up the steps. Voila.

Off-topic: Rosemary’s Kitchen is a western restaurant. Somewhat pricey but huge portions. Set meals come with soup, salad, entre and dessert and coffee. 3rd floor view is nice. Food – decent to good. Music is good too.

[quote=“Yellow Cartman”]You get out and head left down the road. At a T intersection (where there’s an excellent Cho Tofu stand), you walk just a little ways ahead for the suspension bridge.

Walk up the steps. Voila.[/quote]

Do you mean, you get out of the station, cross the road and then veer left? That’s where the suspension bridge is, right? Awwww I mean, on the right? :wink:

Its depressing for certain.

Last Sunday evening I took Zack to Lungshan Temple to see if they had lanterns. I remembered years ago the temple was adorned with several hundred hand made lanterns in every shape imaginable… insects, birds, animals (real and mythical) and various Chinese design motifs as well. Those lanterns were beautiful and I have always wanted to go see them again with my boy.

Sadly, but perhaps expectedly, thre were no such lantern when we went and none will be hung during the festival. Instead, there is a huge lighted sculpture in the front outside courtyard.

I wouldn’t even bother to go out to City Hall and brave the masses for the crap they display now as “lanterns”. I work on Ren’ai Road near the intersection of Ren’ai and Fuxing and the place is lit up… like Christmas… :unamused:

<–link to info

So how does one get there after getting off the MRT?[/quote]
After you go through the turnstile at the MRT, you head to your left and go out the back side (where the bus terminus is). Then left again, then stright ahead past all the food vendors and the Cosmed chemist shop. When you reach the 7-11, turn right, go up the short flight of steps and you’ll be on the suspension bridge. It’s self-explanatory after that.
Or just follow the crowds.

O.k., I know that my profile sorely needs an update. But who has time when there are paper lanterns to be tracked down. So am I correct in understanding that there will be no genuine sky laterns at the City Hall deal? And does anyone know if the sky lanterns at Bitan happen at a specific time or go on all night?

If … IF there are sky lanters at Bitan, they’ll go on for as long as there are still people there. The way it works is that there are a bunch of vendors on the waterfront selling the giant paper lanterns in all sizes and colours. You pick one out – some of them are 5-6 feet high – they provide you with a marker pen for you to write your “message to the gods” and then they fire it up and release it for you.
Again, I’m not 100% sure that it’ll be going on tonight, but from my past experience (I’ve lived there for about 10 years) there will be something happening. Anyway, Bitan is only about 20 minutes on the train from Kuting, so it’s not as though you’re traveling to the ends of the earth. And it’s quite pretty at night, what with the river, the little teahouses, the suspension bridge with its lights … not a bad place to check out, seeing as its so close to Taipei.