The Pingxi Railway in New Taipei has some of the most popular attractions in Northern Taiwan. With a total of 7 stations (plus 2 if you count Ruifang and Houtong), there are endless places to explore, eat, hike, and enjoy Taiwan's history, culture, and natural beauty all in one place.
Before the Pingxi Railway was built, during the Qing Dynasty a section of the Danlan Old Trail ran through roughly the same area, connecting Yilan to Tamsui. The Japanese completed the Pingxi Railway in 1921 in order to transport coal from the area. Most all of the stations and villages along the line were economically reliant on the coal industry until its downfall in the late 1990s.
The coal industry remained strong after the ROC took over Taiwan after WWII, but slowly waned in the 1980s and 1990s due to the decrease in global coal prices.
In the year 2000, Sanxia’s Lifeng Mine shut down operations, and Taiwan’s mining company closed, and thus all coal mining in Taiwan effectively stopped.
The Pingxi Railway is a single track that is 12.9 KM long with 7 stations.
Recently the government has offered many plans to connect the Pingxi Railway to the Taipei MRT via Jingtong to Jingmei, however due to many factors these plans have never been approved.
The area around Pingxi and Ruifang is made up of sedimentary rock which easily erodes, creating many large waterfalls such as Shifen Falls, and pointy jagged peaks like the Pingxi Crags.
Popular activities along the Pingxi Railway include hiking, river tracing, eating at one of the many old streets, setting off sky lanterns, and exploring the many historical coal mining sites.
The first train reaches Sandiaoling daily at 5:25 AM and the last train leaves Jingtong at 8:33 PM.
80 NT per person for a one day pass
When to go:
Any time of year is great. However, waterfalls are most enjoyable during the hot summer, and you may want to come for lantern festival when hundreds of sky lanterns are set off at once.
To avoid crowds and packed trains, do not go on weekends or holidays.
How to get there:
By Train: Take the TRA to Ruifang Station, buy the Pingxi Railway line one day pass, and then switch to the Pingxi Railway line. Get off at any station!
By Car/Scooter: Take provincial highway 2 east toward Pinglin, then get off the main highway once you reach Shifen. You can drive right or left to reach all of the stations on the Pingxi Railway line. But please know there is limited car parking around the stations.
Please see below:
Disclaimer: We are not affiliated with any camp ground or camping products in Taiwan. The following FAQ is only based on our opinion after years of camping in Taiwan, and should not be considered absolute fact. If in doubt, make sure you check with the local police station or other government office to make sure you are following local regulations while camping in Taiwan.
With two thirds of the island covered in mountains, Taiwan has some of the most beautiful scenery in the world. One of the best ways to experience the natural beauty of Taiwan is via camping. Below is a very basic level FAQ on camping in Taiwan for foreigners that have never experienced it.
Bishan Campground (aka Bishan Camping Area) in Neihu District of Taipei City is the only free campground run by Taipei City. Near the campground is Bishan Temple, which has one of the best views of Taipei. Besides camping and temple worship, the area is also a popular hiking spot, and there are multiple tourist farms and tea shops to explore.
How to apply for a camping spot:
You can apply using this online form (it's in English!):
You must apply at least 7 days in advance, but no more than 30 days in advance.
You must enter your passport ID or Taiwan ID.
You can check the status of the application online as well.
For more info, check here (Chinese): https://www.geo.gov.taipei/mp10504b/
Camping time starts at 2 PM and ends at 1 PM the next day.
You can only stay for two nights at a time.
How to get there:
By Bus: You can take a bus to about 1 KM away from the campsite, but then you have to walk with all of that gear. If that's not what you want then you should take a taxi or your own vehicle.
By Scooter/Car: From East Neihu, drive up Bishan Raod (碧山路) until you see the campground. It's hard to miss.
Please see below:
Disclaimer: We are not affiliated with any hotel or hostel in Taiwan. The following FAQ is only based on our opinion after years of booking accommodation in Taiwan, and should not be considered absolute fact.
What is the best website for hotel booking in Taiwan?
Agoda. From my own experience, they are the cheapest, provide the best quality listings, and have incredible customer service. They once gave me my money back for a hostel (which did not have free cancellation) just because there was an earthquake in Hualien the day before. Also, they gave my money back on a room that had a shared bathroom because it wasn’t obvious from the listing.
What is the average price of a hotel in Taiwan?
According to Hikersbay.com, the average price of a hotel in Taiwan is 2,197 TWD.
In our experience, a fair price for a hotel in Taiwan that I like to stick to is around 1,500 TWD (about 45 USD).
What is the average price range for hotels in Taiwan?
The following prices are from personal experience booking over tens of hotels in Taiwan over 5 years (Please note 1000 NT is roughly equal to 31 USD):
Typically, the cheapest of the cheap hotels will go from 700-1000 NT
Lower range Hotels will go from 1000-1700 NT
Mid Range Hotels will go from 1500-2500 NT
High Class Hotels will go from 2500-5000 NT
Super Fancy Hotels will go from 5000-30,000+ NT per night!
Please note these prices also vary by location.
We are US Expats that have extensive experience living and working in Taiwan. In our day, we had to learn many things about Taiwan the hard way. But we have come to learn that Taiwan is one of the best places in the world for Foreigners to live. Our blog does not represent the opinions of every foreigner in Taiwan. We are just trying to help others learn more about this beautiful country.