When it’s just 2022 miles away from home… (A trip to Shifen, Taiwan)

By NoemiJay
Guest writing original post 

Hi guys! It’s been some time. Welcome back to another round of introduction on Taiwan. Let us take a break from Taipei and head out for abit. Let’s go to Shifen this round.
So where is Shifen and why it is named Shifen? Depending on the mode of transport, it is approximately 45 minutes to an hour away from Taipei either by train or by bus. It is famous for releasing sky lanterns for seeking good blessings. Not only that, the Shifen waterfall is another scenic place to go in Shifen too. It used to be a town where it houses ten families, along the Pingxi Branch Rail Line.
Shifen map
Shifen map
Shifen old street is another popular old street with a unique scene where the train track is along the shop houses and you can stand on the tracks to take a picture or two before the train arrives. The trains have a fixed time schedule, where the shop owners are very familiar with. They know when to signal everyone to get off the train tracks due to the approaching train.

Shifen view from the train track 
Photo taking on the train track

Choo Choo~ train coming
Clearing the track as the train is approaching
On the other side of the train station lies a mountain with beautiful scenic view and you can view it when you cross the bridge to the mountain side. The views gave a peaceful feel and you can really feel that you are on a holiday.

View from the train station

View of the mountains

View of the mountains
Let’s go to the other side through the bridge for more scenic views.

Start of the bridge
Let’s cross the bridge
Scenic view from the bridge
Scenic view from the bridge
Many of us are aware that releasing of sky lanterns are widely practiced in Taiwan. So here we are, to the place where we can make our wishes through releasing the lanterns and in hope that our wishes would come true.
Sky lantern shops
First, go to any of the shops along the train track and you will see many people crowding around penning wishes for their sky lanterns. The lanterns come in many different colours with various meanings. The most common sky lantern would be the multi-colour lantern for well wishes.
Sky lantern with incense papers in the middle
The sky lanterns are usually sold at an affordable price of TWD100.00. Not only the big lanterns, they made small lanterns with wishes printed on as souvenirs for sale too. Calligraphy brushes are provided for writing purposes. You can call the shop assistant once you are done with your messages and ready to send the lantern up to the sky.
Messages on the sky lantern
Messages on the sky lantern
Messages on the sky lantern
Messages on the sky lantern
Photos will be taken before the send-off as a memorial and there you go, release the sky lantern to the sky. Some lanterns might drop halfway if the fire finish burning the incense papers.
Sky lantern up to the sky
Smoke from the sky lantern 

You can also grab some dessert if you feel like having some sweet stuff. Here you go, mango shaved ice! As I visited Shifen in summer, where the heat is pretty unbearable at that point in time. The mango shaved ice saved the day somehow.
Mango shaved ice

At the train station, there is a store where they sell souvenir and postcards where you can pen messages and post them back home. Yes, I am not kidding. You can send them back to Singapore as a memento for yourself or your loved ones.
Shifen train station
Add caption
Mailbox at Shifen train station

To get to Shifen, you can take a train from Taipei Main Station to Ruifang station and thereafter, exit the station to purchase train tickets to Shifen (Pingxi Line). If you wish to take a bus, take bus no. 15 at Muzha MRT station. However, the traveling time might take approximately an hour by bus depending on the traffic condition too. Alternatively, you can take a taxi to Shifen at Ruifang station at an affordable rate of TWD240.00. It would be too pricey to take from Taipei itself. So enjoy the train ride to Ruifang and take taxi after that.
I hope you have enjoyed the walk through at Shifen. The one place to go in Shifen is the Shifen waterfall which we just touch and go during my trip due to insufficient time. Meanwhile, enjoy the breeze and the scenic views at Shifen!
Thank you for your time and stay tuned for the next introduction on other parts of Taiwan!
Till then, be happy, strong and healthy to travel and discover more corners of the world that would surprise you in a different way.


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