Pingxi Old Street has the second largest old street in Pingxi district, and is full of delicious food, souvenirs, and opportunities to light off sky lanterns. From Pingxi station you can walk down to the historic streets in the small town, and take selfies with the train tracks and bridges that cross the two rivers passing through the town. It is definitely a must see stop along the Pingxi Railway.
Pingxi station was completed in 1929 to transport coal out of the area. Currently it has an average of 844 passengers per day.
Pingxi is the third busiest stop on the Pingxi Railway after Shifen and Jingtong.
Pingxi is also a popular spot for setting off Sky Lanterns. The practice of lighting off sky lanterns in Taiwan began in Shifen, when during the Qing Dynasty local villagers would flee into the mountains during raids from bandits. Once the bandits had left, the remaining villagers sent sky lanterns into the air to let the fleeing villagers know that it was safe to come down from the mountains.
The people of Pingxi send off sky lanterns as a symbol of peace, and celebrate every year during Lantern Festival (元宵節), a Chinese holiday.
Setting off sky lanterns as a tourist attraction began in the 1990's and you can find people lighting off lanterns every day from Pingxi.
You can also enjoy the mining hamlet feel of the town, which has characteristic sloping streets and bridges, that all have views of the passing trains.
How to get there:
By Train: Take the TRA to Ruifang Station, and then switch to the Pingxi Railway line. Get off at Pingxi Station, and then walk west down the tracks and you have arrived!
By Car/Scooter: Take provincial highway 2 east toward Pinglin, then get off the main highway once you reach Shifen. Then turn right and go west on county road 106 until you reach the Pingxi Village. After that, you can park your scooter on the street, or if you have a car there is a parking lot nearby that charges 100 NT per stay.
Please see below:
I have been to Pingxi Old Street about four times. It is definitely worth a stop along the Pingxi Railway. It has tons of food and shopping, and it is the second biggest old street along the railway line.
If you don't come via train there is also parking on the side of the road, but don't count on a spot if you are driving a car and its a weekend or holiday.
Pingxi village has two rivers that flow right through it.
The main part of the village is on the north side of the river.
The eats pretty much begin from the first shop. Everyone is selling snacks.
Stinky tofu and noodle shops.
Pingxi Story Sausage 平溪故事香腸
The most popular shop I saw on this day was Pingxi Story Sausage (平溪故事香腸).
Some of these people are lined up for the sausage stand on the other side.
The main street goes further up the mountain where the shops slowly disappear.
Post office and further shops down another alley.
Abandoned mining era house down one of the streets.
Guanyinyan Temple 觀音巖
To the northwest of the old street is Guanyinyan Temple, which has some cool WWII era tunnels next to it. The temple was completed in 1949 and is the religious center of Pingxi.
Cave of the Eight Immortals 八仙洞
The cave of the eight immortals was completed in 1983 and features multiple rooms with religious statues and symbols. For a full view of this cave, click here.
WWII Air Raid Shelters 二戰時期防空洞
On the other side of Guanyinyan Temple are some Japanese made air raid shelters. They aren't very big inside, but I guess they were big enough to fit the Japanese soldiers and some villagers.
The wording on the sign is totally illegible. But you can make out the Chinese in this earlier blog.
Map of WWII era relics around Pingxi Village.
Bamboo wishing sticks hung up along the river, another popular activity for tourists.
The busiest part of the street just below the train station.
Part of the street cuts under the railway bridge.
You can walk along the train tracks at your own risk to get to the other side of the village.
Bridge across the river with more snacks.
The main railroad bridge across the river.
The Guabao place on the right is pretty good. It's actually the first place in Taiwan that I had Guabao.
Souvenir shops near the main station.
Crowds of people and sky lantern setting off nearer to the station.
Some people taking photos next to the tracks.
Panorama of Pingxi.
More lantern and clothing shops.
Lantern memorabilia shop.
Hakka and Chinese traditional clothing for sale.
More lantern souvenirs.
View of the main river that passes through the old street.
More lines for sausage near the only 7-11 in town.
Toys and ice cream for sale.
Random stuff and lantern souvenirs.
A lone stinky tofu stand near the beginning of the main street.
Pingxi Crags 平溪六尖：孝子山
Near Pingxi Old Street is the trail to Pingxi Crags, a series of peaks south of Pingxi with some amazing views but somewhat technical hikes and rope climbs. For our full blog on Pingxi Crags, clickhere.
I hope you have enjoyed this walk with us through Pingxi. It's not the best Old Street but not the worst either. You will be able to find some good food and souvenirs, surrounded by classic Pingxi scenery.
Stay tuned for the rest of our posts on Pingxi Railway soon to come!
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.