Dusk was settling as we walked through a quiet neighborhood in Shifen. A red giant lantern, scrawled haphazardly with unintelligible words and doodles, suddenly bobbed above the roofline, swayed slightly with the wind, before finally flying off into the twilight. A few steps later, the narrow road opened into a rail track. Vibrant shops filled both its sides, with crowds of tourists milling around the sidewalk and the single train track running in the middle. Most of them were holding a similar sky lantern, lit, poised, and ready to take their wishes into the darkening sky.
|THE SHIFEN TRAIN STATION IS NOT CONNECTED TO THE MRT|
Shifen has been elusive to us. Located at the Pingxi District in New Taipei, it’s about an hour away by bus from Taipei’s MRT Brown Line. Near as it was, it still took us several hours to finally reach this place. Shifen is a popular daytrip destination for Taipei tourists and is usually paired with tours at Pingxi, Yehliu Geopark and Jiufen.