Disclosure: This post is sponsored by the Taiwan Tourism Board All opinions are my own. Special thanks to the Taiwan Tourism Board for providing images for this post.
Ever since I first saw Disney’s Tangled #dontjudgeme, I’ve dreamed of attending a lantern festival. I even put it on my bucket list earlier this year. The closest I ever came to fulfilling my dream was when I attended the mid-Autumn festival in Singapore earlier this year, but there weren’t any floating lanterns in sight.
I’d always known that there was a lantern festival in Thailand. However, I’ve heard that in recent years it has become incredibly crowded and overrun with tourists. Sad times.
But, don’t fret, guys. Taiwan has been low-key holding its own lantern festival this whole time! How did I not know this?
So if you’re anything like me, you’re probably throwing a little happy dance and asking yourself what the details are so you can attend. Well never fear, I’ve done all the research for you! Keep reading to learn all about the Taiwan Lantern Festival and why you should attend in 2017!
What is it?
The Lantern Festival takes place every year on the first full moon of the Lunar New Year and is considered one of the most important festivals in Taiwan. There are many origin stories to the festival, but the most well-known version is that it originates from farmers celebrating the coming of spring and longer daylight hours. I definitely consider the end of cold weather something worth celebrating!
Although there are many smaller lantern festivals celebrated throughout Taiwan, the main one is held in a different area of Taiwan each year. Yunlin County in Western Taiwan has been selected to host in 2017 from February 11th – 19th. What I love about the 2017 location is that it’s relatively undiscovered by tourists. This gives us travelers an excellent
excuse opportunity to get off the beaten path. How cool is that?
The county in charge of the main lantern festival really goes all out. 2017 will be the year of the rooster, so Yunlin County will have a gigantic rooster lantern on display. Of course, there will also be tons of other light displays, lanterns, and firecrackers to celebrate the New Year. And guys, those light displays are seriously SO spectacular. They’re huge, they light up and they make the entire area look magical. I included a video of last year’s lantern show because pictures just don’t do it justice.
It’s not a festival without entertainment, so the Lantern Festival also includes fun events like live performances, arts and crafts, and lots of delicious snacks. This is SO my kind of party.
The Pingxi Flying Lanterns:
So, along with the amazing display that is The Lantern Festival in Yunlin, there’s another small town that specializes solely in sky lanterns. Cue happy dance. While the Lantern Festival in Yunlin is a full, week-long celebration, the Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival is only a few hours on the evening of February 11th. They obviously do this so you can attend both festivals!
Pingxi is actually closer to Taipei (about an hour outside the city) and can be accessed by a special shuttle bus that will take you to and from the festival. At this festival, the main activity is to write your wishes for the next year on a lantern and launch it into the sky. The lantern launch happens nine times throughout the night, giving everyone ample opportunity to both launch a lantern and take photos. Win-win. You can find out more information about the Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival here.
How to get there:
The best way to get to Yunlin is to fly into Taipei then take the high-speed rail directly from Taipei Railway Station to Yunlin Station. It runs every hour and takes around 90 minutes.
For the Pingxi Festival, you can take a shuttle on the day of or take the bus or train. More info on that at the bottom of this page.
Although I won’t be able to attend in 2017, I am definitely adding it to the bucket list for the future. I got a bit of a sneak peek on what a lantern festival looks like earlier this year, and was absolutely blown away by the intricacy of the displays. Plus, there’s the added bonus of good food, fireworks, and cool crafts. If you haven’t been to this Lantern Festival, then make 2017 your year to go! You can find out all the information you need on Taiwan’s Tourism website. PLUS, flights (at the time of writing) are really inexpensive. What are you waiting for? Get to booking!
Tell me: is attending a lantern festival on your bucket list?
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