Sky Lantern Festivals are becoming a popular attraction that's rapidly spreading in America - hence RiSE Festival. Before its inception in America, Sky Lantern Festival has been an ongoing Chinese tradition celebrated on the first full moon night in the Chinese lunar year.
In Taipei, Sky Lantern Festival is held at Pingxi, a small mountainous town an hour from the city.
Here are some tips to help you prepare for your trip.
#1 Research and Google
Google is your best friend, so research the festival as it gets closer to the actual day. There's usually three dates the tourism board provides in case the actual day of Lantern Festival doesn't work for you.
#2 Earlier the Better
If you want to launch a lantern during the festival, you'll need to sign-up online (in Chinese) or day of event. Sign-ups are available in person, but you need to get to Pingxi in the morning (usually before 9am). Then wait until the festival starts around 6pm to launch the lantern.
You can always launch lanterns anytime of the day along the railroad tracks, if you don't like having a huge time gap before an event.
#3 Explore Pingxi and Surrounding Areas
Ride the Pingxi railroad line and it'll take you to areas such as: Shifen (hike to the stunning waterfall), Ruifang, Houtong (cat village) or Jiufen. Make sure that your EasyCard is loaded up.
#4 Food Vendors
All along the railroad track are food vendors that you can try.
Perfect way to kill some time and have some snackage.
#5 Prepare to Wait in Line
This festival is popular amongst locals and tourists, so prepare to wait in line for food, transportation and launching a lantern.
Bus lines going to Pingxi from Taipei Zoo is manageable as long as you arrive early. However, bus lines going back to Taipei is horrendous. Just imagine waiting in line at an amusement park - very similar. Just be wary that it's a standing bus ride on the way back to Taipei. You can get a seat on the bus, but there's a fee and there's still a line.