Taoyuan (桃園) - [Taiwan Day 917: 2016 Taiwan Lantern Festival (臺灣燈會) - March 5, 2016] | luomujie blogspot

Taoyuan (桃園) - [Taiwan Day 917: 2016 Taiwan Lantern Festival (臺灣燈會) - March 5, 2016]

Fly high Taoyuan! This year's Taiwan Lantern Festival was hosted by the island's airport province – Taoyuan. Taiwan's gateway to the world became a shining paradise of colorful lanterns from Feb. 22 to March 6. I really wanted to visit during the opening day of the festival but I have to review for my Qualifying Exam. Nevertheless, viewing the lanterns after my exams was so much fun. 

The Taiwan Lantern Festival stage

The lantern festival was more organized this year. 32 hectares of land was allotted for staging the different lanterns in various shapes and sizes. This 2016 edition was the biggest in terms of the land area. It also had the tallest main lantern in the whole history of the festival. A 26 meter high lantern was set up in the form of the Monkey King from the story 'Journey to the West' to symbolize the Year of the Monkey. I went to last year's Taiwan Lantern Festival in Taichung and I can really say that this year's main lantern was so tall. All the visitors almost have to look to the sky just to see the peach that the Monkey King was holding. 

Taoyuan Taiwan High Speed Rail Station (Taoyuan THSR)

outside the Taoyuan THSR Station

The Taiwan Lantern Festival is a prestigious event and hosting the festivity is such an honor for the selected province. It is usually held in a large and spacious area and usually beside a Taiwan High Speed Rail Station making it more convenient to participate in the lantern viewing. Just board a Shinkansen 700T bullet train from Taipei Main Station and it will take you directly to the lantern festival site. Buying the tickets was also easy. I have the option to reserve my tickets online but I just opted to buy non-reserved tickets at the Ticket Vending Machines in Taipei Main Station and paid the fare using my ATM Debit Card. The non-reserved tickets does not guarantee a seat at Cars 10,11 and 12 but it was not really a problem. The travel time from Taipei to Taoyuan was only 20 minutes so standing was pretty easy.

Tower of the Universe
The Tower of the Universe was guarded by Clone Troopers.

There were also beautiful flowers during the lantern festival.

The whole festival area was divided into six sections with each area having its own theme. I didn't focus too much on what the areas were all about. I just wanted to take pictures. I arrived at the festival grounds at around 4pm where it was still bright enough to see the lanterns in its unlighted beauty. A glass funnel-shaped lantern symbolizing the universe caught my attention. Surrounding it were Clone Troopers from the movie 'Star Wars' and visitors had a chance to take photos with them. A harmonic orchestra was also playing some music to the delight of local tourists.

Taoyuan didn't forgot to showcase its tourism factories. Who would ever forget my visit to the Republic of Chocolate (ROC) in Taiwan Day 862? Hunya Foods Corporation presented its ROC lantern as wells some of its subsidiaries like Rivon. Taiwan's favorite pudding dessert was also there. Their representatives wore attractive hats in the shape of a golden pudding. They led the visitors to follow a queue where they would take their photos with the company's lantern.


toy bidding

Wandering a 32 hectare festival area was really tiring. I easily got hungry but I felt so lucky when I saw a night market inside the festival. The common sausages and ice cream were there. There were also noodles and the classic fried chicken steak. The variety of barbeque and finger foods would really make your mouth water. I also could not forget the colorful baozi with faces on it. They look funny as they lay on the steamer. Another interesting sight in the night market was the toy bidding. It was my first my time to witness such event. Just like any other bidding the prices go up as people vie for the toy. Even kids tried to bid for toys with their parents disagreeing with them by saying “Wu bu yao” which means “I don't want”. Haha!

Religious Blessings Area

A group of people performing an aboriginal dance at a Christian praise and worship session in the "Blessings" area of the lantern festival.

It was an amazing night as the Monkey King became the center of attraction of the festival. It suddenly shines into different colors and becomes accompanied with a loud music. It turns around while holding a peach and its crystal eyes sparkle in the middle of the night. How beautiful it was! And how alluring was the whole lantern festival! Congratulations Taoyuan for a successful 2016 Taiwan Lantern Festival.

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