CK Travels

The Pingxi Rail Line – a day trip from Taipei, Taiwan

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The Pingxi rail line is a journey into the past and a perfect day trip from either Taipei City or Jiufen.

A 13km stretch of railway that goes through some of Taiwan’s most beautiful landscapes, the Pingxi Rail Line celebrated its 100th anniversary recently (in 2021).

Pingxi Line train pass tickets Taiwan

We’ve jumped aboard the Pingxi Line several times, first in 2019 during the Chinese / Lunar New Year festivities and more recently paid a revisit in summer 2023 and there are some noticeable differences.

With several villages and towns to explore along the way – there are many things to do along the Pingxi Line.

So jump aboard a local train on the Pingxi Line and exploree a few places along the 8-mile long ‘verdant valley’.

From starting your Pingxi Line adventure in Ruifang and through to taking in waterfalls, floating sky lanterns and a quirky cat village along the way, here is our guide to the Pingxi train line in 2023:

Pingxi Line train

Starting your journey on the Pingxi Line

Your trip along the Pingxi rail line will likely start (and end) in a town called Ruifang, which is easy to reach from both Taipei and nearby Jiufen.

Although Riufang is not the most picturesque Taiwan town we had encountered, our main purpose was to start our train journey from here. As one tourism website puts it, Ruifang is mainly a ‘quaint transit town’.

Ruifang Train Station

How to reach Ruifang / the Pingxi Line from Taipei

Taiwan’s Pingxi line is easily accessible by train from Taipei – or if you are staying in nearby Jiufen, there is a regular bus service from Jiufen to Ruifang.

To get to Ruifang from Taipei you can take a northbound train from Taipei Main Station to Ruifang Station. The journey takes 30 minutes for express trains or 50 minutes for local trains (train costs included in the next section).

Train from Taipei station to Ruifang station

How to reach Ruifang / the Pingxi Line from Jiufen

To reach Ruifang from Jiufen, take the number 827 or 788 bus number – the journey takes 15 minutes. Note during peak season times like Chinese New Year and public holidays, the small buses can get full very quickly so if you don’t want to queue, leave Juifen early.

The bus from Jiufen to Ruifang costs 15 TWD each way.

Looking for cheap Taipei day-trips, attractions or group/private tours? We recommend visiting Viator, GetYourGuide, and Klook!

Taipei to the Pingxi Line Costs and Prices

We’ve done the Taipei to the Pingxi Line day trip several times and have always done this independently as the journey is so easy to do and the train cost is cheap.

As of summer 2023, the cost of the trip is 49 TWD from Taipei Station to Ruifang Station.

The cost of an all day Pingxi Line train pass (unlimited hop-on and hop-off) is 80 TWD (around £2 / $2.60 USD / 2.40 Euros) as of June 2023.

Pingxi Line train
Pingxi Line train
Pingxi Line train
Pingxi Line train

Purchasing a Pingxi Line Pass

You can purchase your Pingxi line day tickets from Ruifang Railway Station for 80 TWD. The pass allows you to hop on and hop off at any of the towns on the Pingxi line, and also a couple of towns on the Shenao Line.

Pingxi Line train pass tickets Taiwan

When we last visited Ruifang station, the electronic ticket terminals were not able to sell Pingxi line train day passes so we purchased ours from the Ruifang station ticket counter. This was easy to do as they have signs on the counter in English that you can point to.

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Pingxi Line Timetable

Note that the Pingxi line trains do not run that regularly (around every hour give or take), so make sure you take a photo of the timetable at the station so you can plan your day well (alternatively use Google Maps or Taiwan Railway’s website).

Also try and plan to visit the towns on the Pingxi line on a weekday rather than a weekend to avoid large crowds of locals.

Based on our own experiences, if you only have a day to explore the Pingxi Line, we would recommend the four most interesting stops to visit as: Houtong, Shifen, Pingxi and Jingtong.

Timetable at Ruifang station for trains heading towards Jingtong Pingxi line
Timetable at Ruifang station for trains heading towards Jingtong

Ruifang Old Street/ Starting your Pingxi Line Train Journey

Ruifang Station is likely where you’ll start your Pingxi line train journey, if you’re arriving from either Taipei or Jiufen.

There isn’t much to see in Ruifang other than a small old street area so unless you have a lot of time to kill before the next Pingxi Line train, we’d recommend just starting on the Pingxi Line.

We visited Ruifang Old Street early one morning as we had a while to wait until the next Pingxi Line train heading towards Houtong Cat Village, our first destination.

Ruifang Old Street

Ruifang Old Street is just a short three minute walk from Ruifang Station – you can access it via the railway underpass. Here, you’ll find few Taiwanese restaurants and dessert stalls, lots of residential apartments and other old fashioned shops dating from around the 1920s.

There is also an OK Mart convenience store here if you want to stock up on goodies before jumping on the Pingxi Line. That said, there is also a large convenience right out front the Ruifang station in the more modern town section.

Once you are ready to leave Ruifang Station and jump on the train, make sure you get on the Pingxi Line train that is going towards Jingtong, NOT the Shenao Line towards Badouzi. The first stop will be Houtong Cat Village (just to make sure you are going in the correct direction).

Platform at Ruifang station with floor markings to guide you towards Pingxi Line and Shenao Line waiting areas

Pingxi Line Stops

There are 9 train stops and stations on the Pingxi Line and 2 on the Shenao Line. To note we’d recommend stopping at the four highlighted stations:

These Pingxi Line stops are :

  • Ruifang – features Ruifang Old Street and where you will arrive at from Taipei / Juifen
  • Houtong – Cat Village and the Cat bridge, old mines
  • Sandiaoling – Mountain Trail
  • Dahua – Pot Holes
  • Shifen – Shifen Old Street, Shifen Waterfall and Jingan Suspension Bridge
  • Wanggu – Waterfall (a short 8 minute hiking trail to a waterfall)
  • Lingjiao – Lingjiao waterfall and the Tsai Family Red House
  • Pingxi – Pingxi Old Street
  • Jingtong – Jingtong Old Street

The Shenao Line stops are:

  • Badouzi – famous for its fishing harbour and coastal scenery
  • Haikeguan – features a fishing harbour, parks and the National Museum of Marine Science and Technology

First Recommended Stop on the Pingxi line – Houtong (Cat Village)

Our first recommended stop along the Pingxi Line is Houtong (AKA Houtong Cat Village), a gorgeous riverside town that was once famous for its mines (which can still be visited) and cave of monkeys (!) – Houtong’ translates as ‘monkey cave’.

Houtong Cat Village Pingxi Line Taiwan
Houtong Cat Village Pingxi Line Taiwan

The monkeys have since gone and this beautiful riverside village is now home to dozens of cats and kitties that outnumber the human residents hence the nick-name Houtong Cat Village.

You know you are going to be in for something very different when you arrive at Houtong Cat Village – one of the first things you see as you arrive at the station is a massive metal footbridge, shaped like a cat plus various kitties taking cat naps in and around the station.

We loved our experience so much that we wrote a dedicated Houtong Cat Village blog post >

Houtong Cat Village Pingxi Line Taiwan
Houtong Cat Village Pingxi Line Taiwan
Houtong Station
Houtong Cat Village Pingxi Line Taiwan

Houtong Cat Village May 2023 update

We revisited Houtong Cat Village near Taipei in Taiwan in May 2023 (we wrote the original article in 2019).

Whilst Houtong Cat Village is still worth a visit, post COVID and travel restrictions, the cat village is now quite faded and forlorn with a few shops and themed cafes boarded up.

Houtong Cat Village Pingxi Line Taiwan

The Houtong Cat Village illustrations, signs and cat models are also in a state of disrepair. The cats are still well looked after so hopefully tourism and good times will return to Houtong soon.

If you are already doing all the main stops along the Pingxi Line like Shifen and Pingxi, Houtong Cat Village is still worth doing as part of your train day pass – but if you are short on time, stick with Pingxi and Shifen.

YOU MIGHT LIKE: Guide to Jiufen in Taiwan

Shifen / Releasing Lanterns

Shifen is one of the most popular places to visit on the Pingxi line as it is famous for people releasing their own decorated, brightly-coloured lanterns on the railway tracks. This is especially true of our very first trip to Shifen, as it coincided with Chinese New Year which takes place every February in Taiwan.

To note Shifen is worth visiting any time of the year as the lantern releasing takes place all year around.

Even if you don’t decorate and release a lantern yourself, it is fun to watch others doing it and very photogenic (especially when the Pingxi Line trains comes through so everyone has to flee the tracks en masses very quickly).

It was a sight to behold as everyone had congregated on the railway lines to release their lanterns. It was also a beautifully bizarre sight to see everyone scuttling for safety as the trains drew close, honking their horns, not letting a few hundred people on the line deter the train drivers from continuing their Pingxi Line rail journey.

Shifen Taiwan Pingxi Line
Shifen lanterns Pingxi line Taiwan
Shifen lanterns Pingxi line Taiwan

We loved watching lots of families, friends and couples choose their paper lanterns from one of the many Shifen sky lantern vendors on the railway tracks, write their own good wishes directly onto the paper, and then fire them up to release them into the air.

Shifen lanterns Pingxi line Taiwan

Actually, half of the fun was watching Shifen lanterns that didn’t quite take off as expected (if you release the lanterns too early with not enough hot air inside, they sometimes crash down in a fiery mess – make sure you have travel insurance, eh!).

Small lantern Souvenirs in Shifen
Souvenir shop in Shifen

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Shifen lantern release price

There are dozens of lantern painting stalls in Shifen so competition is rife which means the cost is pretty much the same throughout Shifen.

Shifen lantern Pingxi Line Taiwan

To paint and release a lantern in Shifen, most of the stalls charge 200 TWD per lantern (around £5 per lantern or $6.50 USD / 6 Euros) – Shifen lantern prices correct as of summer 2023.

The lantern pricing also includes the help of the stall-holder who will light the lantern for you, take pictures on your phone and ensure the safe release of the lantern (well, 9 times out of 10 anyway…)

Shifen lantern Pingxi Line Taiwan
Shifen lantern Pingxi Line Taiwan

Shifen Street food

If you are done with releasing your lantern or fancy a snack, there are lots of good street-food options in Shifen. This is also the biggest and busiest town along the Pingxi Line (other than Ruifang) so it your best bet for Taiwanese street-food.

Generally, the further away you walk from Shifen station, the lower the prices are.

Shifen Street food Pingxi Line

This is also an excellent place to try the famous Taiwan ice-cream rolls / ice-cream burritos which consist of ice-cream with a healthy covering of chopped peanuts and coriander, served in a wrap. These cost 50 TWD and are delicious, plus a great way to cool down in the summer heat.

Personally, we much preferred the second ice-cream wrap stall as you walk away from Shifen station on the left-hand side.

Taiwan Peanut Ice Cream Roll
Taiwan Peanut Ice Cream Roll

Shifen Waterfall

After exploring Shifen’s old town streets, head on over to the magnificent Shifen Waterfall, often described as the most beautiful in all of Taiwan.

A day trip along the Pingxi Line in Taipei, Taiwan | travel guide | blog post

Standing at 40 metres in height and free to visit, the initial walk takes you along a gorge and the banks of a river before walking over a massive footbridge to reach the waterfall.

A day trip along the Pingxi Line in Taipei, Taiwan | travel guide | blog post

Once at the Shifen Waterfall, we were amazed how scenic it was but also a little perturbed about how this amazing natural wonder had succumbed to a series of naff food courts and shops, practically at the waterfall’s edge – less is more sometimes.


Pingxi, the penultimate station on the line, has a lush setting on the banks of the Keelung River.

The Guanyin Temple sits atop the hill here, looking down over all the narrow and ancient streets.

On our very first visit to Pingxi in 2019 during Chinese New Year, the food options in Pingxi were some of the best we had seen along the whole of the Pingxi line, and some of the local street food stalls had incredibly long lines of hungry locals.

A day trip along the Pingxi Line in Taipei, Taiwan | travel guide | blog post

However, on our most recent revisit to Pingxi in summer 2023, times seemed to have unfortunately changed – we visited on a weekday and found it surprisingly quiet with only a handful of shops and restaurants open – clearly the lack of tourism in recent years due to COVID has hit Pingxi hard.

We only found a couple of shops offering the lantern release and in terms of street-food, one sausage stall was open and a couple of noodle and dumpling stalls too.

That said, Pingxi is a cute and charming riverside town, and if you want to avoid the tourist crowds that Shifen has, Pingxi is a perfect place to potter around and release a lantern on the railway line. The locals would also likely really appreciate your support. It is much easier to wander around here freely than it is in Shifen.

To note the Pingxi pictures included here were all taken during Chinese New Year in 2019.

A day trip along the Pingxi Line in Taipei, Taiwan | travel guide | blog post
A day trip along the Pingxi Line in Taipei, Taiwan | travel guide | blog post
A day trip along the Pingxi Line in Taipei, Taiwan | travel guide | blog post
A day trip along the Pingxi Line in Taipei, Taiwan | travel guide | blog post

Jingtong (Old Street)

The last train stop on the Pingxi Line is Jingtong, most famous for its massive collection of ‘bamboo wishes’. Love, life and good fortune – these are the ‘bamboo wishes’ of Jingtong.

They are found in every imaginable space in this old mining town, and convey the hopes, dreams, prayers and wishes of the people passing through. Locals come to Jingtong to ask for good fortune and luck at work and at school, in love and in life.

2023 update – these bamboo wishes seem to be rather thin on the ground now.

A day trip along the Pingxi Line in Taipei, Taiwan | travel guide | blog post
Bamboo wishes at Jingtong (Old Street) on the Pingxi Rail Line Taiwan

The main Jingtong old street is actually right next to Jingtong station so this is a fairly easy town to explore, with a few street food vendors and gift shops congregating around the station.

Bar at Jingtong (Old Street) on the Pingxi Rail Line Taiwan

One of the most random tourist attractions and things to do along the Pingxi Line can also be found in Jingtong – a police station that is shaped like a lantern. A bit of fun and quite naff!

Jingtong (Old Street) police station on the Pingxi Rail Line Taiwan

Jingtong Old Town is quite small with a few souvenir shops and some fun (albeit rather moldy) cartoon character statues outside. There is also a Jingtong Coal Memorial Park.

Jingtong (Old Street) station on the Pingxi Rail Line Taiwan
Jingtong (Old Street) station on the Pingxi Rail Line Taiwan

The final stop on the Pingxi Line, the journey from Jingtong back to Ruifeng takes about 45 minutes.

Getting a train back from Jingtong is also a good way to guarantee a seat for the journey back on the Pingxi line as once it reaches Shifen, all the seats will have been taken.

A day trip along the Pingxi Line in Taipei, Taiwan | travel guide | blog post
Waiting for the train at Jingtong

Returning to Riufang on the Pingxi Line

Upon our return to Ruifang we checked out the night market but it wasn’t that interesting compared to others we had visited in Taiwan.

Also note that the bus back to Jiufen at night can get EXTREMELY busy, so you may have to either clamour aboard to guarantee a space, or consider taking one of the taxis, who frequently vie for trade at the main bus stop.

When we set our very own sky lantern free during our Pingxi line visit, our wish was to return to Taiwan again in the near future and we really hope this comes true!

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Tours to Shifen on the Pingxi Line

There are lots of tours available to the town of Shifen if you do not fancy getting around by train. Here are some examples:

Pocket WIFI rental in Taiwan

Having a pocket WIFI device was super handy during our trip. We pre-ordered one online with Klook and collected the device at Taipei airport and dropped it off at Kaohsiung’s airport.

The rental cost was pretty cheap at only £1.25 per day, and we were both able to connect our phones to it. 

Taipei accommodation

There is a huge range of accommodation options in Taipei which are very affordable and highly rated! Here are some suggestions for all types of budget in Taipei:


Some hostel accommodations that come highly rated include:

Meander Taipei hostel / Formosa 101 hostel 

Mid range

If you are looking for something mid range then these hotels are in excellent locations with great reviews:

CityInn Hotel Plus – Ximending Branch / Just Sleep Ximending / Ambience Hotel

Treat yourself!

Alternatively if you are looking for something more special then treat yourself to a stay at one of these beautiful hotels in Taipei:

Shangri-La’s Far Eastern Plaza Hotel WTaipei 

Other Taiwan blog posts

Did you enjoy our Pingxi line, Taipei blog post? Let us know in the comments or by sharing it on social media.

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Pingxi line, Taipei – add to Pinterest!

A day trip along the Pingxi Line in Taipei, Taiwan | travel guide | blog post

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  • Reply
    January 12, 2023 at 11:10 pm

    We are literally just about to head to Taipei Main Station for a day out on the Pingxi line! Thank you so much for your blog posts, they’ve been so helpful ☀️

    • Reply
      CK Travels
      January 14, 2023 at 12:08 am

      Glad you have found our guides useful – have a great time! We love Taiwan so much! 🙂

  • Reply
    January 23, 2023 at 3:11 pm

    When you had recommendations for Taipei-you mentioned Taichung, did you mean Taipei?

    • Reply
      CK Travels
      January 24, 2023 at 1:54 pm

      Well spotted! We did indeed mean Taipei – we will change that now, thanks for the heads up

  • Reply
    Carlos lopez
    March 9, 2024 at 6:05 pm

    not safe to sit on the rim of the the platform. But exemple.

    • Reply
      CK Travels
      March 10, 2024 at 2:00 am

      Hi Carlos, we’ve rode along the Pingxi Line multiple times and can assure you this is safe. People are encouraged to stand on the train tracks and release lanterns if you refer to the earlier part of the article. Trains are very infrequent and staff make sure the area is clear when the train pulls in.

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