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A visit to Shifen and Juifen

Our hosts in Taipei are absolutely amazing. Sarah is from South Korea and Ken is from Taiwan and they would do anything to make our stay more enjoyable. We regularly meet for a coffee or a meal and this time they took us to Shifen which is located in Pingxi District of New Taipei City.

To be more precise, we went to Shifen Old Street, which is the most famous stop along Pingxi Branch Line. It is a picturesque street with shops, cafés and restaurants on both sides and a railway in the middle. This street is especially known for sky lanterns – you come here, you write a wish on a waist-high lantern and you launch it in the air right in the middle of that railway. It’s really funny actually – every so often a train appears and everyone has to move from the tracks to let the train pass by.

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You can choose a different colour for your lantern bearing in mind that every colour has a special meaning.

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You are then given a brush, a pot of ink and a black apron to protect your clothes from any stains.

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You can also buy smaller lanterns as a souvenir…

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Once you finish writing your wishes, they will ask you to stand in the middle of that railway and launch your lantern in the air.

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It’s all about sky lanterns here – I even saw some doors and windows in the shape of lanterns…

And you can find wishes attached to the fences and gates…

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After Shifen Old Street, we visited the famous Shifen Waterfall. The waterfall is Taiwan’s broadest waterfall with a total height of 20 meters and 40 meters in width, located on the upper reaches of the Keelung River.

And then we headed off to Juifen which used to be a gold mining mountain town during the Japanese occupation in 1893. Many buildings in the town remain unchanged to this day, reflecting the Japanese influence on both architecture and culture on the island.

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Juifen was very charming but packed with people.

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This little squirrel had a clever way to avoid the crowds although it was perhaps a bit dangerous…

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But the views from there were breathtaking…

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And we could also see the tombs on the top of the mountains…

Thank you Sarah and Ken for such a wonderful day!

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