Lantern-raising was originally a wish-granting activity during Taiwanese festivals, but tento-raising can now be enjoyed all year round, even during non-festival times.
It only takes about an hour and a half to get to Shifen by train from Taipei, so if you are visiting Taipei, you may want to take a trip to Suffolk as well.
This time, I actually went there to investigate the lantern-raising hours and prices, as well as tourist information such as the cafes and souvenir shops on Shifen Old Street!
You can raise lanterns every day, even in the rain!
If you haven’t booked a trip to Taiwan yet, it’s easy to choose a tour with HIS that will take you to Shifen and Jiufen.
- What is Shifen in Taiwan?
- Basic Information on Lantern Raising
- We actually tried raising lanterns in Suvarnabhumi! More impressive than I imagined…!
- How to get to Shifen
- Sightseeing Plan for a One-Day Tour of Jioumin and Suquan
- There are restaurants in Shifen
- Souvenir shops can be found both along the tracks and at the train station
- There is also a cat village near Shifen
- Shifen’s lantern raising is worth it!
What is Shifen in Taiwan?
Suquan is only an hour and a half by train from Taipei. In Jiuquan, you can raise lanterns every day from 10am to around 7pm.
The lantern-raising can be done even on rainy days. Don’t worry if the weather is bad.
There are many stores along the railroad tracks, and you can raise lanterns on the tracks.
Only when a train passes by every hour, everyone waits at the edge of the tracks for the train to pass by.
Except for when the trains were coming, we were free to spend time on the tracks, enjoying the lantern raising and taking pictures.
Basic Information on Lantern Raising
Originally, people flew lanterns to pray for good health during the New Year’s holidays, and the Pingxi Lantern Festival held every year in Pingxi (two stops away from Suomen Station) is still famous for its 200 lanterns flying at once.
However, air tickets and hotels are very expensive at this time of the year, and if you can’t get a numbered ticket, you can’t fly, making it a very difficult event. However, if you just want to make a wish and fly the lantern, you can do so at any time in Shifen, Taiwan.
Where you can raise lanterns
After getting off the train at Shifen Station, walk for about 5 minutes towards Ruifang, and you will see a lot of sky lantern stores on both sides of the train tracks.
There are many food stalls, cafes, souvenir shops, etc. on the way to the lantern-raising stores, so you can enjoy yourself while going there.
Lantern-raising prices and times
The prices and color meanings are for the actual stores we used, but all the stores were basically the same price.
・1 color: 150 yuan ($5.55)
・4 colors: 200 yuan ($7.40)
・8 colors 350 yuan ($12.95)
The price depends on the number of colors of the lanterns.
・10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Lantern raising has an image of being a nighttime event, but in fact most stores close around 19:00.
Also note that if you want to return to Taipei on a day trip, you will need to take the train around 18:30.
The meaning of lantern colors
The colorful lanterns actually have a meaning. The colors change depending on what you wish for.
You can also choose a set of four lanterns with different colors on each side.
・Yellow: good luck with money
・Green: For dreams to come true
・Red: Prayers for health and longevity, family safety, traffic safety
・Purple: Prayers for academic success and success in school
・Dark pink: friendship, popularity
・Blue: Prayers for success in business
・Orange: Prayers for success in love and marriage
・Pink: Prayers for happiness in all aspects of life
Lantern-raising can be done even in the rain
Like JiuHun, Shifen is a mountain town with changeable weather, and it often rains suddenly. However, you don’t have to worry about raising lanterns.
The paper used for the paper lanterns (which I actually touched) seemed to be quite water-resistant, so unless it rains heavily, they can be flown.
When we were there, it was sometimes raining hard, but the paper lanterns were still up all over the place.
When it’s windy, there seems to be more restrictions because of the danger of fire.
By the way, I recommend a raincoat rather than an umbrella as a precaution against rain. You will get wet when you take pictures or raise the sky lanterns.
Normally you can use it as a parka, but when it rains, it can take the place of a raincoat!
We actually tried raising lanterns in Suvarnabhumi! More impressive than I imagined…!
Choose the color of the lantern according to your wish
The first step is to choose the color of the lantern. The color of the lantern depends on the wish you want to make, so choose the one that matches your wish.
Tell the shopkeeper and he will bring you a big lantern.
Write your wish on the big lantern
They will hold the lantern in place for you, and you can write your wish in large letters with a brush.
I put my heart and soul into it and wrote my wishes on all four sides.
I hope that I will be able to go around the world safely.
Getting the lantern lit
After writing down your wishes, have a staff member light the lantern for you. When it’s time to fly the lantern, I’m very excited.
Finally flying the lantern
Finally, it was time to fly the lantern.
Before we flew the lantern, a staff member took our picture. It was a lot of fun because they were very excited when they took the pictures.
We had a video taken of the moment it flew.
When I let go of my hand, the lantern flew safely
When I let go of my hand, the lantern flew away safely. It was only for a moment, but it was a fun and exciting time.
The moment the lanterns flew away with our wishes, we felt happy.
▼ Click here for the actual travelogue of our visit .
Jiufen, Cat Village, and raising lanterns in Shifen! 4 Days Women’s Trip (Part 2)
How to get to Shifen
There is a way to get to Shifen by train on your own, but it was quite hard when I actually went there…
First of all, I’ll show you how you can take a tour to get there.
Recommended for those who want to go easy. Tour with enough sightseeing
If you want to go easy, book a tour that includes sightseeing in enough time.
If you want to go easy, book a tour that includes enough sightseeing in advance.
H.I.S. has a tour to Jiufen and Shifen that includes airfare, hotel, and 6 meals for $448.
You can also book local tours from Taipei
Since Shifen is a famous tourist destination, there are many tours available from Taipei.
In particular, KKday, a website that offers tours to over 80 countries around the world, has many tours that will take you from Taipei to Shifen.
I can’t find such a cheap tour on any other website.
I often join KKday’s tours when I am overseas.
Getting to Shifen from Taipei on your own
The most common way to get to Juquan from Taipei is by train. It costs only $3.50 to take the express train.
From Taipei Main Station, take the Taiwan National Railways to Ruifang Station, change to the Pingxi Line, and get off at Sufficient Station.
From Taipei, you only need to change trains once, so it’s not that difficult. As soon as you get off at Suffolk Station, you can enjoy the lantern raising.
About 1 hour and 20 minutes, 68 TWD ($2.50)
(Taipei to Ruifang 49TWD, Ruifang to Suffolk 19TWD)
About 1 hour, 95 TWD ($3.50)
(Taipei→ Ruifang 76TWD, Ruifang→ Sufficient 19TWD)
Not including transfer time.
It is recommended to estimate about 1.5 to 2 hours including transfers.
There is only one train an hour from Ruifang to Suquan, so please check the schedule on the following website before you go.
Reference: Taiwan Railway.
※How to search the timetable
・Enter “Taipei area” as the departure area, and select “Taipei Station”.
・Enter “Taipei area” for the departure area and select “Taipei Station” for the arrival area.
・Select the date and time from 0:00 to 23:59 to get the timetable for the whole day.
・If you want to see the timetable for the day, select “0:00-23:59” for the time.
It takes about 60 minutes from the center of Taipei. It costs about 1200 TWD ($44.40).
It’s more expensive than the train, but if you have more than one person, you can split the cost, so I think it’s easy to take a cab.
If you want to go back to Taipei, there were many shared cabs with flat rates.
350 TWD ($12.95) per person
How to get to Shifen from Jiufen
Suffolk is located in the same area as Jiufen, the famous model for Spirited Away. (Reference: 7 things to do in Jiufen! How to get to the famous filming spots for the first time)
It only takes about an hour to get there from Jiufen, so if you visit both Jiufen and Shifen on the same day, you will be able to get around more efficiently.
To get to Shifen from Jiufen, take a bus to Ruifang Station, then transfer to the Pingxi Line and get off at Shifen Station.
Jioufen to bus→Ruifang to train→Shifen
First, take a bus from Jiufen to Ruifang, the nearest train station. The bus leaves every 15 to 20 minutes.
There are only a few trains from Ruifang station, so it is recommended to check before you go.
Pingxi Line Round Trip Ticket.
There is also a one-day pass for the Pingxi Line that you can take from Ruifang Station. This is a good deal for those who get off at more than three places along the Pingxi Line.
For example, if you get off at the Cat Village, Ho Hoekwon Station, Jiuquan Station and Pingxi Station
・The ticket price is TWD80 ($2.96) for adults and TWD40 ($1.48) for children.
・Stations: Pingxi Line: Banqiao, Taipei, Songshan, Keelung, Badu, Ruifang, Ho Chi Minh City, Yilan, Luodong, Pingxi, Jingtong, and Sufficient.
・Even if you don’t get off at more than three stations, you can take the ticket home as a souvenir.
Shared cabs to Jiufen are also available (uniform)
There was also a shared cab from Suquan to Jiufen for 250 TWD/person.
Probably the same price can be paid to go from Jiuquan to Jiuquan.
If you have large luggage, you can leave it at Ruifang Station
If you have large luggage, it is recommended to leave it in a locker at Ruifang. There are no lockers in Suifang. If you have large luggage, it is difficult to walk around Suifang because you have to walk up the stairs and on the train tracks.
If you take the train, you will have to change trains at Ruifang, so you can pick up your luggage at Ruifang on your way back.
Sightseeing Plan for a One-Day Tour of Jioumin and Suquan
If you want to visit Jiouquan and Suquan in one day, you should leave Taipei in the early afternoon at the latest. If you want to visit the Cat Village, you should leave in the morning. If you want to visit the cat village, leave in the morning.
Should I go to the Jiufen or Shifen first? I think it depends on which night you want to enjoy. I think it depends on which night you want to enjoy.
If you go to the lantern-raising after it gets a little dark, you can see the beautiful lanterns glowing.
If you are going to Jiufen at night
・See the glowing red lanterns.
・You can take a picture that looks like a nine-minute walk.
・Crowded in the evening.
・Crowded on the way back. In some cases, you may not be able to take the bus and have to take a cab.
In that case, if you take a cab to Ruifang Station and then take a train back, the fare will not be that expensive.
When going to Suvarnabhumi at night
・You can see the beautiful lanterns after dark.
・It is not as crowded on the way back as it is in Gwent.
・You can enjoy the less crowded part of the city because you can go to Jiufen before evening.
・You will not be able to see the red lanterns light up the streets.
Plan to go to Jioumin first and then go to Suffolk at night
・Leave Taipei at 11:20 a.m.
・Arrive in Jiufen around 13:00
<3 hours stay in Jiufen>
・16:00 Take the bus to Ruifang from Jioumin after
・17:00 Take the train from Ruifang
・17:27 Arrive at Jiuquan Station
・18:35 Take the train from Suifang to Ruifang Station.
・19:10 Take a train from Ruifang Station to Taipei Station
・20:05 Arrive at Taipei Station
The train time is subject to change, so please check in advance.
(Reference: other train times)
・ Taipei → Ruifang
Local train 11:20→12:09 Express train 11:54→12:35 Rapid train 12:09→12:51 Local train 12:32→13:21
Local train 19:26→20:28
Plan to go to Shifen first, then go to Jiufen at night
Depart Taipei Station at 12:32. Take the train to Ruifang Station.
14:00 Take the Pingxi Line from Ruifang Station to Shifen Station.
14:27 Arrive at Shifen Station
・ 16:40 Take the train back to Ruifang Station.
・ 17:13 Arrive at Ruifang Station and take the bus to Jiufeng.
・19:30 . Take the bus from Jiufen to Ruifang Station.
・20:07 Take the train from Ruifang Station to Taipei
・21:04 Arrive at Taipei
(Reference: other train times)
・Taipei → Ruifang
Express 13:07→1339 $76
There are restaurants in Shifen
Many of you may be wondering if there are places to eat or rest when you go to Shifen.
But don’t worry! As a place that attracts a lot of tourists, there are plenty of places to eat and drink. We’ve compiled a list for your reference.
Clean and cute “Platform Cafe” 11:00 – 20:00
This is the most recommended place for a beautiful cafe, closest to the station. The illustrations with enough and lantern raising are also cute.
The brown sugar tapioca milk tea is especially excellent, so you can use it for a break.
Brown sugar tapioca milk tea: 90 TWD ($3.33)
Rice with braised beef in soy sauce: 180TWD ($6.66)
Other items included ham sandwich (120TWD: $4.44) and spaghetti with meat sauce (180TWD: $6.66).
The kind of restaurant that looks like a Taiwanese diner
If you are looking for local Taiwanese food, this may be a good place to start.
There were still enough cafes to go around.
Stalls where you can eat
In Shifen, there were many food stalls along the railroad tracks. Most of them are open until around 6pm, some until around 7pm.
Stalls we found
Deep fried ice cream, doll pancakes, peanut crepes, oyster crepes, fried chicken, taro balls, American dogs, fried squid, hamburgers, frankfurters, and drinks.
Souvenir shops can be found both along the tracks and at the train station
If you want to buy something to take home with you in Shifen, don’t worry. There were many souvenir shops along the railroad tracks.
There were also stores at the train station in Shifen.
Most things can be bought at the stores at this station, so if you don’t have much time, you can check here.
There is also a cat village near Shifen
Near Shifen there is Taiwan’s Cat Village, where you can find many cute cats.
Jiufen, Cat Village, and Shifen are close together, so it is recommended to visit them together.
Cat-village’s cat cafe is very cute…!
▼ For more information about Cat-village, click here.
Shifen’s lantern raising is worth it!
Raising the lanterns in Shifen was more fun and memorable than I ever imagined!
It’s a bit far from Taipei, but I think it’s a spot worth visiting.
It’s a bit far from Taipei, but I think it’s worth a visit. Make a wish and enjoy the lantern raising.
Have a great trip!
Credit cards are recommended for shopping in Taiwan
When shopping in Taiwan, we recommend using credit cards rather than cash.
The reason for this is that when you get pickpocketed, having a lot of cash on you will cause more damage.
You can stop a credit card right away with a phone call, so it is better to pay with a card basically. There are many stores in Taiwan that accept payment by card.
When traveling in Taiwan, it is safer to be connected to the Internet
While traveling in Taiwan, it is recommended that you connect to the Internet so that you can do your research.
If you don’t have internet access, you may not be able to get to the restaurant you want to go to, or you may not be able to understand the words on the menu… There are many WiFi services in Taiwan that Japanese people cannot connect to.
But if you have pocket wifi, you can connect to the Internet at any time and travel comfortably.
Top Travel Articles about Taiwan
▼ I have written the following travelogue about Taiwan. If you are planning a trip to Taiwan, please refer to it.
▼ Check before you leave! Click here for a list of things to bring on your trip to Taiwan.
▼ Click here for a Taiwan travel guide that includes model courses and travel costs.