A Guide to Pingxi Railway Line — A Short Day Trip from Taipei

Taipei Day Trip: Hop Aboard The Pingxi Railway Line

Combine a trip to Pingxi, Houtong Cat Village and Jiufen – all in a day from Taipei. Just follow this itinerary and hop on the Pingxi Line.

Taipei is an exciting city full of never-ending things to do, so boredom won’t be part of a traveller’s itinerary. But at times, you might feel like getting away from all the crazy hustle and bustle. Luckily, there are plenty of fun day trips that you can make from the capital city! Let’s talk about one of the locals’ favourite: the Pingxi Railway.

Image credit: James Chou

The Pingxi Line is one of the three narrow-gauge railways that has remained open from the Japanese era when it was originally built to transport coal. Stretching across the verdant mountainous area of Northern Taiwan, it currently goes through seven stations in total, the more well-known among which are Ruifang, Houtong, and Pingxi.

Here is a recommended itinerary for your getaway:

First stop: Pingxi for sky lanterns

Image credit: Nan-Cheng Tsai   

Fly a sky lantern on the railway tracks! Once a year, there is a huge festival in Pingxi where hundreds of lanterns fill up the sky like little fireflies. But don’t worry – you can do it any time of the year! You also get to write your wishes on the lantern and fly it up yourself.

Second stop: Houtong Cat Village for feline therapy

Image credit: travel oriented

To all the cat lovers out there, this is a purr-idise you do not want to miss. Houtong is an old mining village and the home to literally hundreds of (nice and tame) cats. To top it off, it has beautiful scenery of mountains and rivers. There are a few village shops where you can bring back cat-related souvenirs from cat socks to cat phone covers or even cat-shaped pineapple cakes!  

Last stop: Jiufen for amazing views

pingxi railway

Image credit: cotaro70s

Probably the biggest tourist attraction outside of Taipei, Jiufen is a small town up in the mountains. It’s best known for its breathtaking ocean and sunset views, old streets, and perhaps most importantly, its movie fame: it is said that Jiufen inspired Japanese producer Hayao Miyazaki for his famous movie, Spirited Away! Take your time to try all the traditional snacks and food along the old streets. For instance, both Grandma Lai’s Taro Balls and A-zhu Peanut Ice Cream Roll are a must!

Also read: I Spent A Day Eating My Way Through the Real-Life Town of ‘Spirited Away’

Transport for the day trip

Buy a Pingxi Day Pass at Taipei Main Train Station. It costs 80NT (US$2.70) and comes with unlimited rides along the line. Take the train to Ruifang station and from there get on the Pingxi Line. Start from the end of the line at Pingxi, and slowly make your way back, through Houtong and finally Ruifang, where you need to take a taxi or bus no.788/1062 to reach Jiufen (it won’t take more than 15 minutes).


About Author

Skye Hsiao
Skye Hsiao

From a small beautiful island called Taiwan, Skye is a 23 years old full-time travel addict and sucker for anything blue. She grew up in 4 different countries and have been to more than 30 so far, still chasing stories to tell when she’s old. Follow her steps on Instagram @ballerina12111


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