I’m so excited about today’s post, because it’s all about one of my favorite activities we did, while we were in Taiwan: building and releasing a sky lantern! I know it’s extremely touristy and cheesy, but sometimes those types of actives are the most enjoyable.
Our trip to Pingxi was part of the day tour we took to see the Golden Waterfall and the Yin Yang Sea, which I posted about previously. Pingxi was our last stop on that tour and it was where we spent the most time. It was such a unique experience to be a part of and it is definitely one we will never forget!
It’s no surprise that this town makes it’s money from the tourism industry. People flock from all over Asia and beyond, to come to Pingxi and release a lantern. It’s an especially popular place to be, when they are hosting the Sky Lantern Festival, that happens annually. The town itself is unique, because the train track runs directly down the middle, with shops and restaurants on both sides. Most of the shops date back to the 1930s and 1940s. There are plenty of places to eat and shop, so you will want to dedicate enough time to walk around the town and of course build and release your sky lantern. Just be sure to step off the tracks, when you hear the train. The locals know when it’s coming and if you stay for awhile you will start to recognize the alarm that sounds ahead of time.
Building the Sky Lantern
There are plenty of shops in Pingxi to choose from, when it comes to building your own sky lantern. Some offer them already made, but I suggest giving it a go yourself. Building it is part of the fun! The shop we used was already chosen by the tour company, which was great for us, because the decision would have been difficult for sure!
They started by instructing us on how to build. The shop owners did not speak much English, so our tour guide did the translating, while we payed close attention to the lantern-building process. It was fairly simple. We were given different colors of crepe paper (aka tissue paper), a special glue that they make (it doesn’t melt under extreme heat), and the wooden loop (that is used to frame the bottom of the lantern. Then, we went to work!
Make A Wish
After you have completed the lantern construction, it’s time to decide what to write on it. It’s customary to write down a wish, fortune, or dream that you have. Some, draw pictures and get really creative with it. Justin and I are not strong in our painting skills, so we just decided to simply list the names of our family members, as a way of bringing them on the adventure, with us.
Please, excuse the messy lettering! It’s actually very difficult to paint words on a hanging, paper, lantern!
Releasing the Lantern
We are finally at the best part! After, we allowed the paint some time to dry, it was time to load our lantern up with fuel and push it toward the sky! Speaking of the fuel, it is simply some scrunched up newspaper, dipped in oil. It is placed in the center of the wire frame, that is inside of the wooden loop.
After we were fueled up and ready to go, we stepped out on the train track and one of the shop owners helped us light the fuel and ease our lantern into the sky. Thankfully, our tour guide was able to video the release!
Check it out!
Did I mention how much I LOVED this adventure?! It was such a cool and unique activity and I am so thankful that I had the opportunity to do it. I know sky lanterns have become very popular recently. So much so, that there is now a sky lantern festival, that travels around the U.S. However, it can’t compare to the experience we had in the little mountain town of Pingxi!
Does this look like something you would like to do? Or do you find it too touristy? Let me know what you think!
Until next time!