After watching ‘You are the apple of my eyes’, I have been wanting to visit Shifen (十分) and Pingxi (平溪), so they were definitely high on my list when I planned for a trip to Taiwan. It is a popular tourist destination, so there are a lot of visitors. It is close by to Jiufen and Keelung if you are keen on exploring the area.
The Pingxi line serves a few towns along the train line, so I got myself a day pass for unlimited ride to hope in and out from the stations. Do check the train schedule and time you spent in each place, because it is hourly train (if you miss, you need to wait for one more hour). It is a good day trip option from Taipei but I would recommend staying overnight at either Jiufen or Keelung (there are local buses which you can take). You can read more posts on Jiufen here.
One of the most popular thing to do is to buy a sky lantern, write down your wishes and watch it fly away to the sky (Or watch it burned down in horror – as happened to some visitors.) It is said that the sky lanterns act as the messenger and bring your wishes to the god above, so that your wishes will be granted. My only concern is the damage to the environment because the lanterns are made from plastic, so they won’t decomposed anytime soon and all the tourists are flying off the lanterns by hundreds. Having said that, if you are traveling with family or as a couple, it is a pretty sweet thing to do.
If you are a fan of the movie (like me), you should go to the spot where they lit up the lantern! (Instead of the railtrack). There are quite a few places to eat: from the small restaurants, food trolleys to peddlers; so finding food or drink wouldn’t be a problem.