Pingxi Paper Lanterns

Like something out of Tangled; The Fifth Mountain, or 五分山 in Chinese, towered overhead as our train snaked along. An arm pressed into my side, the train was packed full of people all wanting to see the paper lanterns in the sky. Pushing my way past the people, I caught a glimpse of Shifen Waterfall.

Abigail and I stepped off the train in the small town of Pingxi(Ping she). Groups of people were lined up along the tracks, with big paper lanterns hanging. They were painting their wishes on the side of the lanterns. It is believed if you write a wish on a lantern here, it will come true.

We chose a red one, which stood for good health. Other colors had different meanings: green for wealth and pink for relationships as an example. We hung up our lantern and wrote down our wishes. I wished to meet more people from different cultures; Abigail wished to be a better person every day.

The nice man at the lantern shop took this video for us.

We picked up some food and walked around the road. Many of the buildings in this area are run down; but they have a lot of character. This area of Taiwan is more similar to a jungle, with large ferns and big green canopies.


Abigail was telling me how she didn’t like the new buildings made in Taiwan. They lacked character she told me. As we neared the waterfall we came across an old red building. At least 100 years old, this was the type of building people in Taiwan used to live in.


We pressed on; walking down a narrowing trail with many stairs. As we rounded the corner I finally saw Shifen.


We spent some time at the initial entrance before walking around to the side of the falls. I told Abigail about my experiences at Niagara Falls, and how disappointed I was because it was built into a giant tourist trap. Shifen really should be a natural wonder of the world, not Niagara. It is absolutely breathtaking. I ended up sitting here listening to the falls for a long time.

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