Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival 2015 in Taiwan

On February 17, 2015 by admin

The Lantern Festival is one of Taiwan’s tourism highlights and takes place annually during Chinese New Year. It is consistently listed in travel guides as a “must see” for international travelers around the globe. Although there is only a short window of opportunity to take in the festival, and there are guaranteed to be crowds, the night sky illuminated with countless floating lanterns is an enchanting sight that is rarely viewed elsewhere in the world.

The major lantern festival sponsored by the national government is referred to as Taiwan Lantern Festival, and takes place in a different geographical location each year. It therefore requires some advanced trip planning, which may not work into every traveler’s schedule. However, the Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival (平溪天燈) is held in the same location (Pingxi, just outside Taipei) and on the same lunar calendar dates every year, making trip planning slightly easier. The history of the sky lantern in Pingxi goes back over a hundred years, as it was used as a method for sending one’s wishes up to God (or one’s ancestors in heaven).

The festival however, where thousands of lanterns and personal wishes are released into the sky simultaneously, only began a couple decades ago. The festival’s majestic beauty and convenient access from the Taipei metropolis has seen the event rapidly grow in popularity, and has attracted the attention of major international media outlets. The Discovery Channel has named it the second largest nighttime festival in the world. CNN Travel named it one of the top things to do in 2013, and Fodor’s Travel Guides named it one of the 14 festivals a person must see in their lifetime.

Pinxi is the only place in Taiwan where sky lanterns can be released legally, as it has been deemed a safe location due to its location high in the mountains, its significant annual rainfall, and high humidity level. Festival viewers will be glad to know that it is also one of the places with the lowest amounts of light pollution in Taiwan due to the low population density, which means the lanterns appear all the more beautiful and distinct in the sky.

The lantern festival is held to celebrate the first full moon of Chinese New Year, which is the 15th day of the first month in the lunar calender (not to be confused with the western calendar), and is when the main celebrations occur. However, the Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival events are now held in three slightly different locations within Pingxi over three dates during the new year’s period. This is also the last official day of the Chinese New Year period. An overview of the three days of events is listed below:

Date Location Activities
22 Feb 2015
18:00-20:30
Jing Tong Elementary School
No.45 Jingtong Street, Pingxi Dist., New Taipei City
The 4th day of the Lunar New Year. 2015 is the year of the lamb, so lamb shaped lanterns as well as cartoon themed lanterns associated with the children’s story “Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf” will be released. A total of 480 lanterns will be launched into the sky over the course of 8 sessions.
27 Feb 2015
18:00-20:30
Pingxi Junior High School
No.92 Shidi Street, Pingxi Dist., New Taipei City 226
The theme for the night is hot air balloons, and hot air balloon shaped sky lanterns will be released.
1,600 sky lanterns will be launched into the sky over the course of 8 sessions.
5 Mar 2015
18:00-20:30
Shifen Sky Lantern Square
No.136, Nanshanping, Pingxi Dist., New Taipei City
The theme for the night is paper art, and paper art shaped sky lanterns will be released.
A total of 1,600 sky lanterns will be launched into the sky over the course of 8 sessions.

 

To participate in the official sky lantern launching, advance registration is usually required, but if you are prepared with your own lantern and a few spots open up towards the end of the festival, organizers will generally let you sneak into the back and participate in the official launching. Even if spots do not open up, you are free to release your own lantern after the official launching has finished, or from different areas of Pingxi around the official grounds.

There will be plenty of tents selling lantern kits, so you don’t need to bring anything to the festival grounds.

The lantern kit will include a paper lantern and gold paper soaked in kerosene. One must first write their New Year’s wish on the outside of the lantern (pens provided at the tents selling the lantern kits) and then carry the lantern to the launching site. To prepare for launch, first unfold the paper lantern, attache the kerosene soaked gold paper inside the lantern, then light the four corners of the gold paper. Hold the lantern down on the ground and allow it to fill with hot air. Once the lantern is filled full of hot air, release the lantern and watch your wishes float up towards the heavens.

Getting to Pingxi

The Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival is location in slightly different areas of Pingxi each night. As traffic control will be in effect each night from 9:00 – 24:00 (i.e. no cars allowed into the festival area) it is highly recommend to use public transport.

Take the MRT Wenhu Line (brown line) to Taipei Zoo and then transfer to shuttle buses departing from in front of the zoo. The bus will depart every 5 minutes from 9:00-19:00. The last departure for the return bus is 23:00.

Shuttle Bus Fare:
From Taipei Zoo: NT$50
From Shiding: NT$30
From Pingxi District: NT$10
Return Fare: Free

Shuttle Bus Route and Schedule:
February 22nd, 2015 – Jingtong Elementary School

Shuttle Bus Route Bus Stops Operating Hours
Taipei Zoo – Baishi Village Zhongpu Taipei Zoo, Shiding Access Road to Beiyi Freeway, Gu-niang Temple,
Village Zhongpu
Departure from Taipei Zoo:9:00-19:00
Return from Baishi Village: 9:40-23:30
Shifen Nanshan Bridge – Pingxi Junior High School Shifen Nanshan Bridge, Pingxi Junior High School Departure from Shifen: 9:00-19:00
Return from Pingxi 9:15-23:30
Ruifang Train Station – Shifen Railway Crossing Ruigfang Train Station, Shifen Railway Crossing Departure from Ruifang: 9:00-19:00
Return from Shifen: 9:40-23:30

February 27th, 2015 – Pingxi Junior High School

Shuttle Bus Route Bus Stops Operating Hours
Taipei Zoo – Baishi Village Zhongpu Taipei Zoo, Shiding Access Road to Beiyi Freeway, Gu-niang Temple,
Baishi Village Zhongpu
Departure from Taipei Zoo: 9:00-19:00
Return from Baishi Village: 9:40-23:30
Shiding Access Road to Beiyi Freeway – Baishi Village Zhongpu Shiding Access Road to Beiyi Freeway, Gu-niang Temple,
Baishi Village Zhongpu
Departure from Shiding: 9:00-19:00
Return from Baishi Village: 9:30-23:30
Shifen Nanshan Bridge – Pingxi Lingjiao-liao Shifen Nanshan Bridge, Pingxi Lingjiao-liao Departure from Shifen: 9:00-19:00
Return from Pingxi 9:15-23:30
Ruifang Train Station – Shifen Railway Crossing Ruigfang Train Station, Shifen Railway Crossing Departure from Ruifang: 9:00-19:00
Return from Shifen: 9:40-23:30

March 5th, 2015 – Shifen Sky Lantern Square

Shuttle Bus Route Bus Stops Operating Hours
Taipei Zoo –Shifen Nanshan Bridge Taipei Zoo, Shiding Access Road to Beiyi Freeway, Gu-niang Temple,
Xiping Bridge, Shifen Nanshan Bridge
Departure from Taipei Zoo: 9:00-19:00
Return from Baishi Village: 9:50-23:30
Shiding Access Road to Beiyi Freeway – Shifen Nanshan Bridge Shiding Access Road to Beiyi Freeway, Gu-niang Temple, Xiping Bridge,
Shifen Nanshan Bridge
Departure from Shiding: 9:00-19:00
Return from Baishi Village: 9:30-23:30
Ruifang Train Station – Shifen Waterfall Ruigfang Train Station, Shifen Waterfall Departure from Ruifang: 9:00-19:00
Return from Shifen: 9:40-23:30

 

63 Responses to “Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival 2015 in Taiwan”

  • Thank you so much for posting this!! It’s been so difficult to find concrete information in English about the festival. I was under the assumption that it was happening every night between Feb 22nd – March 5th (since that’s what a lot of websites list it as), so I was planning on going this Sunday March 1st… you saved me from failure! Thank you!

  • eileen

    hi what do you think the dates will be for 2016?

    • admin

      The dates for the 2016 Sky Lantern Festival have now been confirmed and are as follows:
      1) Feb. 11, 2016 – 4th day of Chinese New Year
      2) Feb. 14, 2016 – Valentines Day
      3) Feb. 22, 2016 – 15th day of Chinese New Year, last day of festival

      • nadia

        hello there,
        do you know where is the location of the festival on feb 22?
        Thk u

        • admin

          Yes, on Feb 22, 2016, the festival will be held at Shifen Sky Lantern Square
          No.136, Nanshanping, Pingxi Dist., New Taipei City
          I recommend taking public transportation. It is efficient and will take you directly to the site. Then just follow the crowds to the lantern launch site.

          • nadia

            Thank u soooo much!
            u just made me happy!!!
            will u be there as well??
            anybody else going? 🙂

          • nadia

            thank u for the information.
            Can I ask more? I read on some websites that we need to pre-book in able to join the event.How do i do that?

          • admin

            You only need to pre-book to be part of the official release of lanterns. Unless being part of the official release is important to you, I would recommend just attending the festival without pre-booking. You are still allowed to buy a lantern, decorate it, and release it anytime without a reservation. This gives you more freedom to walk around and enjoy the festival as you please. If you register for the official release, you will need to wait in a line for possibly a long amount of time, and will only be allowed to release the lantern when you are told.

          • Josie

            Please let me know where event will be held on February 14th. I’ll be staying in Taipei. I’m a single female traveller and would like public transportation. Thank you in advance

          • admin

            The event will be held at Pingxi Junior High School on Feb. 14, 2016.
            Please find the event details for 2016 here:
            http://phr.heteml.net/e2t/pingxi-sky-lantern-festival-2016-in-taiwan/

          • Josie

            Thank you for responding. I’m looking forward to this event!

  • Sam

    Hi,

    Other then the few dates, are there any date in Jun (17-24Jun15) that there’s release of lantern this period Or we can release the lantern this period?

    Thanks,

    • admin

      Thank you for your question. The lantern festival is only held during the Chinese New Year period. However, if you wish to release your own lantern during other periods, I would recommend taking the train to Shifen (十分)Station. There is lots to see and do in this old town, and there are shops selling lantern kits. You can create your own lantern and release it here. The only thing is, you will not be releasing it with hundreds of other people at the same time, this only happens during the festival.

      Happy travels!

      • LsF

        Hi, thank you very much for having this thread on Pingxi.

        We are travelling soon to taipei and we are making a day trip to Pingxi. We have been to Shifen a few years back and would like to travel to Pingxi this time round instead.

        Can I seek your advise on the following:

        1) In Pingxi, are there any shops selling the lantern kit like those in shifen? As my mum would want to release lantern (we last did in shifen), so I wouldn’t want to disappoint her this time.

        2) Also, from Pingxi train station, how do we travel around and what are the attractions around which we should go and see?

        Thank you very much.

      • Josh brand

        Hi
        I have found the date for 2017 of February 11th. Do you know where the festival will be held on this date?
        Thank you very much
        Josh

        • admin

          Hi, the official dates have not been released by the event organizers yet. So I cannot confirm any dates. Dates are usually released a month or two before the event. The festival is always held in the same three locations each year. Please check back at a later date, as I will update the site once the dates are released.

  • Abc

    Do you know the confirmed date of 2016?

    • admin

      The dates for the 2016 Sky Lantern Festival have now been confirmed and are as follows:
      1) Feb. 11, 2016 – 4th day of Chinese New Year
      2) Feb. 14, 2016 – Valentines Day
      3) Feb. 22, 2016 – 15th day of Chinese New Year, last day of festival

  • Ruel

    Hello, Thank you for this – would like to validate if the schedules for 2016 has firmed up already? Planning to book flights already to catch the finale of the latern festival (Feb 22?)

    • admin

      Thank you for your message. Although there has not been official confirmation yet, the dates for the festival in 2016 should be on the 4th day of Chinese New Year (Feb. 11, 2016), the 9th day of Chinese New Year (Feb. 16, 2016), and the finale on the 15th day of Chinese New Year (Feb. 22, 2016). Feb. 22 should be the last day of the festival.

      • Ellen

        Thank you so much! This is the first website with clear information on the festival! And thank you for these dates!!

      • Josh brand

        Hi there
        Roughly how many lanterns are set off on the last day of festival?
        Thank you so much

        • admin

          Unfortunately, that information hasn’t been released yet, but I would guess the number will be similar to last year, 1,600 lanterns.

          • Miraah

            What date is the date that release a huge amount of lanterns (1,600 lantern)?? Which date is must-see activity?

          • admin

            The number of lanterns to be released is as follows:
            Feb 11, 2016: 420 traditional lanterns, 60 lanterns with children’s finger prints. Total 480 lanterns divided over 8 launches.
            Feb 14, 2016: 1,200 traditional lanterns, 200 lanterns with heart impressions. Total 1,400 lanterns divided over 8 launches.
            Feb 22, 2016: 1,600 traditional lanterns divided over 8 launches.
            So, Feb. 22 will have the most lanterns. I have just updated the new information here:
            http://phr.heteml.net/e2t/pingxi-sky-lantern-festival-2016-in-taiwan/

    • admin

      The dates for the 2016 Sky Lantern Festival have now been confirmed and are as follows:
      1) Feb. 11, 2016 – 4th day of Chinese New Year
      2) Feb. 14, 2016 – Valentines Day
      3) Feb. 22, 2016 – 15th day of Chinese New Year, last day of festival

  • Dheyski

    Please kindly give me updates on the days of the events for 2016? thanks

    • admin

      The dates for the 2016 Sky Lantern Festival have now been confirmed and are as follows:
      1) Feb. 11, 2016 – 4th day of Chinese New Year
      2) Feb. 14, 2016 – Valentines Day
      3) Feb. 22, 2016 – 15th day of Chinese New Year, last day of festival

  • Frances

    Thanks for posting about this festival! I plan to go in 2016. How do I register? Thanks in advance! ^_^

  • Kathryn

    For the return trip did you just go back to the same place as to where you were dropped off?

    • admin

      Yes, for the return trip, just return to the same place at which you were dropped off. It will be very clear where to catch the bus, as there will be a long line with hundreds of people waiting for the same bus. But don’t worry, the line does move relatively fast, so you will not need to wait too long.

  • Rebecca

    Hello,

    I was wondering if the dates of the sky lantern festival have been confirmed yet? Thank you!

    • admin

      The dates for the 2016 Sky Lantern Festival have now been confirmed and are as follows:
      1) Feb. 11, 2016 – 4th day of Chinese New Year
      2) Feb. 14, 2016 – Valentines Day
      3) Feb. 22, 2016 – 15th day of Chinese New Year, last day of festival

  • Hey, thanks for the great post and confiemation of dates. Im living in Taiwan this year and am super keen to see this event, I dont suppose you know of any good places to stay in Pingxi during the period, as I live in Hsinchu not Taipei

    • admin

      I’m sorry I don’t have any suggestions for staying in Pingxi. You may want to consider staying in Taipei, as the public transport is very efficient between the festival site and Taipei. Taipei is also more convenient in terms of urban amenities.

  • Crystal

    Are we allowed to enter the premises if we are not releasing the lanterns on the 3 specified dates? Thanks!

    • admin

      Yes, you are free and encouraged to enter the premises to watch the lantern festival. It is an amazing sight, similar to fireworks but without all the noise. One of the most relaxing and pleasant things I have ever watched.

  • Smernoff

    How do i register?f your not been register that means you cant attend?

    • admin

      Everyone is free to attend and you can buy sky lanterns when you are there. Registration is only required to be part of the “official launch” of the lanterns. However, when part of the official launch, you need to wait for the scheduled moment to release your lantern. So I would recommend watching the official launch (not participate), but buy and release your own sky lantern separately at any point during the evening.

      • Stephen

        If you were to register though, where would you do that? I’m planning on going the 22nd, however I haven’t decided which launch I want to do.

        Also, how did you find out the dates? I’ve been looking everywhere with no luck. Thank you so much for your help!

  • SkyLanternKills

    Sky lanterns kill animals, destroy environment and have caused huge structure fires and wildfires. This flaming aerial trash has caused serious burns to humans and killed animals who eat them or become entangled in their fallen remains.
    Entire countries have banned the use of sky lanterns, including Austria, Australia, Brazil, New Zealand, Spain, Germany and parts of Canada.
    https://www.facebook.com/wuowuo.tw/posts/955795881149344?pnref=story

  • Priscilla

    Hi,

    Will the 3 locations for 2016 be the same as the locations that were selected for 2015?

    ie:

    Feb. 14, 2016 – Valentines Day will be at:
    Pingxi Junior High School
    No.92 Shidi Street, Pingxi Dist., New Taipei City 226

    So I can use the same public transport information as the one for 2015?

    I am interested in attending the event on 14 February 2016. If it will be held at Pingxi Junior High School, is there anything to do around the area if I go there earlier in the day and wait until the evening for the official release? Do you have any recommendations?

    Thank you

    • admin

      Yes, the locations will be the same. I have updated the information for 2016 here:
      http://phr.heteml.net/e2t/pingxi-sky-lantern-festival-2016-in-taiwan/

      The location for Feb. 14 will be Pingxi Junior High School as you have correctly stated.

      Similar, if not the same public transportation should be available, however details about the transportation have not been released yet.

      There plenty of touristic activities in the area, but please remember the shuttle bus won’t be available during the day, it will only be available at night. The government has now released an official web site, and there is some tourist information for spending the day in the region.
      http://tour.ntpc.gov.tw/tom/lang_en/index.aspx

  • Mari-Liis

    This post is wonderful! Very informative. I am wondering if there are any other public celebrations, parades, festivities etc during 8th-11th February (holiday time) around Taipei area? There is not a lot of information in Internet in English. Thank you so much for your help!

    • admin

      Unfortunately, a lot of Taipei will be quite quiet during this time as many locals will be returning home to spend Chinese New Years with their family (Feb 8, 2016). Families usually start making trips together around the 3rd day of Chinese New Year (Feb. 10, 2016), so you will likely start to see lots of tourists around this time. I am sorry that I don’t have any other festival news at this time. You will likely see fireworks sold in many places, and this will at least add to the festive spirit.

  • Hello, Thank you very much for all this very clear information.
    I’m planning on going to the 14th of February 2016 festival. Could you please tell me the place where it will be held for this date (if you have the information)?
    Thank you 🙂

    • admin

      You are very welcome. The location for Feb. 14 will be Pingxi Junior High School, No. 92 Shidi Street, Pingxi Dist., New Taipei City 226.
      Hope you enjoy!

  • Sorry, I just saw the information is just in latest post before mine… Oups ! Thank you very much for your help !

  • Dheyski

    Thank you! We’re planning to go on the 11th of Feb.. do we still need to register??

    • admin

      If you are just planning to watch the show or release a lantern on your own, you do not need to register. You only need to register to be an official launcher in the ceremony.

  • Anabelle

    How and where do I register to be a part of the official launch on Feb. 22? Thanks!

  • candice

    Hi,

    Is there any information on the festival for 2017? We are filming around Asia and it would be great to capture this.

    From Shanghai we are heading to Taipei around the 4th- 11th of Feb 2017. We leave for Hong Kong on the 12th. Just checking to see whether we have to change our itinerary.

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