Once an important coal-mining region, Pingxi District sprawls around the Keelung River to the east of New Taipei City. It’s famed for its annual Lantern Festival that sees participants write their wishes on sky lanterns before releasing them into the air.
Things to do
One of Pingxi District’s most impressive natural wonders is the Shifen Waterfall, which cascades into a turquoise pool along the upper reaches of the Keelung River. At 40 metres in width, it’s the broadest waterfall in Taiwan and has been nicknamed “Little Niagara" due to its horseshoe shape. From Shifen Station, the waterfall can be accessed along a picturesque walk that crosses two suspension bridges and can be combined with a visit to Shifen Old Street.
If you’re interested in the industrial heritage of Pingxi District, don’t miss a visit to the Jingtong Mining Industry Building, which occupies a former residential house for railway employees. On the ground floor, you can learn about the development of coal mining in the region before browsing artefacts detailing the local culture on the upper floor.
To experience one of the old coal mines first hand, head to the Taiwan Coal Mine Museum, which was in use between 1967 and 1997. Large-scale mining machinery and an old locomotive are on display, together with pictorial signboards illustrating the difficult life of the miners. A highlight of any visit is a ride on the coal mine train.
Pingxi District is just under an hour’s drive from the centre of New Taipei City and around 1.5 hours from Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport. Trains travelling along the Pingxi Line stop at railway stations throughout the district while buses serve most of the area’s other attractions.