After exploring Pingxi and deciding to fly lanterns elsewhere, we made our way to Shifen (十分 / shi fen). The trip was a short 8 minute drive between the two.
You can see more of that drive including the lead up to launching our own balloons in this video I compiled. I’m still surprised by just how close the train comes to people and just how quickly people resume business as normal. This was the first time I used my gimbal extensively, hope you like it on a side note.
Like Pingxi, you can purchase any number of configuration of floating lanterns (天燈 / tian deng) to release into the sky.
Want better health? There’s a red lantern for this. What about fortune? There’s a blue lantern for this.
You can even launch four and eight colored lanterns to cover your bases. Some lanterns are also built specifically to spin in the air.
Not really knowing what we wanted, we went with a four colored lantern (one color per side). After we got our lantern we also took some time to figure out what to write.
If you’re planning on doing this, I would recommend you know what you want to wish for to expedite the process.
After launching our lantern, we made our way by foot to check out Shifen Falls (十分瀑布 / shi fen pu bu). Normally, I would have walked directly to the falls, but as we were with older folks, we ended up getting into the car and parking closer to Yangjingdong Falls (眼鏡洞瀑布 / yang jing dong pu bu).
After we parked, we made our way through a building that included a shop and fresh fruit.
You know you’re going the right way if you pass a small man-made waterfall (Yangjingdong Falls) on the way to a pedestrian bridge.
Once we crossed the bridge, we entered the Shifen Scenic Area (十分風景區 / shi fen feng jing ou). This area is filled with bronze statues, small fruit and food stands, nicely landscaped gardens, and these cool benches that sway.
Proceed forth to get to Shifen Falls.
There are two main views of the falls: above and below. I personally enjoyed the lower view though it took a little longer to get to.
The lower observation area also has a restroom. While waiting nearby, I found this little creature trying to take shelter.
Though maybe a little touristy, it was fun to experience launching a sky lantern and taking a slight detour to see what makes Shifen Falls such a favored destination.
Went to Shifen again on a tour. This tour had a special discount for getting lanterns from this one shop across the tracks to the right part of the small town.
In the front of the lantern shop, there were a bunch of these welcoming cat trinkets for sale.
Here is a listing of the different lanterns available for launch. You can purchase a single color lantern. There are also four color lanterns in eight different arrangements, and a lantern with all eight colors available.
The colors all correspond to different wishes and fortunes. Which would you pick?
The shop has all of the lanterns neatly organized by color in their shop.
The opposite end of the shop is lined with people eager to write their wishes on their lanterns. The wall looks intense with the writings of what I can imagine are thousands of customers over the years.
After painting our lantern and launching it into the sky, we wandered around while waiting for our snack to be ready. Walking around, I caught glimpse of these wishes written on bamboo sticks. The way they clanked together in the wind was really magical.
One thing that you should try while in Shifen is this little treat.
It’s a chicken wing with the bone removed. In its place is rice. Our tour guide let us know that most Taiwanese people never even try stuffed chicken wing (雞翅包飯 / ji chi bao fan) because it’s more time intensive to make.
This is what the inside looks like. We almost forgot to take a picture of the chicken wing because of how soft and delicious it was.
Here’s another view of Shifen Waterfall. This time around, the falls looked much more alive with water streaming down almost every nook and cranny of the falls.