Pingxi Lantern Festival


I ended up going to Pingxi for their unusual celebration of the yearly Lantern Festival last Saturday, Feb 19th. In case anyone else is interested, here’s a little info. Although I am not certain, I believe that Pingxi will repeat this unusual and worthwhile ceremony on Wednesday night, Feb 23rd, the customary night for the festival. As I understand it, it is being conducted by the Taipei County government, so they could be contacted for more info/confirmation.

Pingxi is a little town in the mountains about 30km southeast of Taipei. I reached it by taking the MRT to the Taipei Zoo Station, and then catching a bus to Pingxi. On the weekend the buses were running from about noon until 11pm, I believe. The specially marked city buses were lined up outside the MRT station waiting to go. The bus fare was NT $45 going there, and no charge coming back. Not sure why. The travel time on the bus was about 45 minutes one-way.

When I went, it was overcast, rainy, and a bit windy. I went because of the special nature of the celebration in Pingxi, a better description of which can be found on TaiwanHo. In any case, they write messages or requests on large paper lanterns and then light their wicks, let them heat up, and release the lanterns into the night sky where they rise like mini hot air balloons. This is done individually or as part of the government-sponsored ceremony in large groups of 100 lanterns or so. The official group release of the lanterns happens in waves, with the first being about 6:20pm just after dark, and I actually got to be part of the first wave. Very cool. Some lanterns didn’t go up well due to bad handling, bad luck, or something else, but most rose into the sky like huge fireflies and faded off into the distant clouds.

This celebration is something to see – as a participant or just an observer. Worth the trip and the standing in the rain.


I have always wanted to go to this, but have been put off by the thought of the crowds and the traffic getting there. Any advice on how to avoid that? Do they only do it twice, the 19th and 23rd?

Wednesday is the actual Lantern Festival Day right?

I hope Pingxi’s doing the festival that night too, because I want to go if it’s halfway bearable weather.

Does anyone know for sure?


Yep. It’s wed night. My gf and I are going. Same route as mentioned above thru Taipei Zoo.

Hey Seeker4, what’s the bus # or was it a special shuttle bus? Thanks.

Hobart, you live in Xizhi right? Head up highway 5 toward Keelung and you’ll see road #33 on the right under an overpass (don’t cross the overpass but keep right, ride parallel to the highway for a 100 feet or so then turn right). If you are coming from Lotus Hill area it is about 5 minutes before the turnoff. Take this beautiful mountain road straight down to Pingxi. It’s about a 20-30 minute drive.

It’s a nice road to take anytime as there are only a few houses on it once you get past the settlements near the number 5. Most of the road offers clear clean mountain views and there are pavilions set up in many locations to stop at. Nice place to go in the evening to sit and have a coffee or tea as the sun sets.

I can’t promise that it will have no traffic on it on Lantern Festival but I have used the route many times when comign back from the area on a weekend evening (when the 106 to Mucha is backed up) and there have been no more than a few cars on it.

You can light lanterns any time of year in the area though obviously it is most spectacular around lantern festival because of the sheer numbers of lanterns being sent into the sky.

Mucha Man: I drive a car, will there be any parking? I think even when it is not Lantern festival Pingxi has no parking. Hmm…maybe I should take the scooter to this place. Thanks for the reminder Mucha Man. I have taken that road before, Cheers.

Special shuttle bus. Several of them. On the lighted display on the front top of the buses, it has some Chinese characters and some symbols/pictures of lanterns. Pretty easy to ID. When you exit the Zoo MRT station, stay on the MRT station side of the street, turn right, and walk down the sidewalk along the road. The buses were parked down there within a few hundred feet. There are also buses on the other side of the street for the festival, but you can’t board them (they are waiting to take their place in the “load up and go” line on the MRT side of the street).

Good luck. For me it was worthwhile even in the rain and cold.


Don’t know if there will be any official parking but there are plenty of back streets and roads heading up into the hills you can park on. Just before you cross the river to head into town there is a road to the right that leads all the way to Jingtong a couple kilometres away. This is the not the main 106 route but a back street that runs along the river. You could park here and avoid the 106 altogether which will likely be very busy.

Still, I’d take scooter if I were you, if only so you can pass cars should there be a lot of traffic on the way back.

Here’s the video for the PingXi Lantern Festival. … ode=invite

Taken with my Canon digicam. I don’t think you need it, but might need the MJPEG codec. Enjoy!