7 Amazing To-Dos for Lantern Festival 2017

Lantern Festival, the 15th day of the 1st month in the lunar calendar, is another frantically celebrated festival after Chinese New Year. In Chinese, Lantern Festival is called 元宵節 (Pinyin – yuán xiāo jiē) on which the whole family should gather together to eat “yuanxiao”, a kind of sweet rice-flour dumpling.

Thanks to the rich cultural diversity in Taiwan, Lantern Festival has evolved into a day on which many fun and exciting activities are going on in different places on this small island.

1 Fo Guang Shan Lantern Festival (佛光山平安燈會) Kaohsiung
2 Yanshui Beehive Firework (鹽水蜂炮) Tainan
3 Yuejing Riverbank Lantern Festival (月津港燈節) Tainan
4 Luermen Firework Festival (鹿耳門國際煙火節) Tainan
5 Bombarding the Handan (台東炸寒單爺) Taidong
6 Pinxi Sky Lantern Festival (平溪天燈節) Taipei
7 Local Lantern Exhibitions (台灣燈會) Everywhere

It is the largest Buddhist monastery in Taiwan. Right at the entrance, the solemn Buddha sculpture calm you down to peaceful emotions. An important ceremony is held here to help people seek for the inner and outer peace while celebrating this meaningful festival. The 2-week long celebration starts on the 1st day of Chinese New Year and ends with a sensational closing ceremony on Lantern Festival.

It has been dubbed as one of 10 World’s Best Parties 2015 by the Australian travel magzine – Get Lost. For it is a dangerously exciting activity to take part in. Around 200 Beehive Rocket Launchers, 1 million rockets, are served for the brave warriors’ challenge. The blind firecrackers can go any direction to bombard you. If you would like to join this special party, the strict dress code must be followed.



If you are looking for more quiet event, Yuejing in Tainan is a good choice. Taking a night stroll along the serene riverbank, you can see many exquisitely crafted lanterns by the local artists in Tainan. This sparkling exhibition opens for 1 month from 7 days before the Chinese New Year to 7 days after Lantern Festival.

Luermen Mazu Temple is said to be the first Mazu Temple in Taiwan. Every year many international firework teams gather here to light up the sky with splendid fireworks. For the high performance of this firework show, this has become an important event in the southern Taiwan. Please note this firework show falls normally on the closest weekend to Lantern Festival.


Handan is one of the 5 important Gods of Wealth. Legend has it that he chose to stay in Taidong and offered to march through the whole Taidong city to bring wealth to the citizens on Lantern Festival. Throughout the march, people throw firewcrackers to bombard Handan, acted by real human, to make him warm because he doesn’t like to feel cold.



Pinxi Sky Latern Festival is recommend as a must-go event before you die by CNN, Discovery and Fodor’s. Sky lantern was traditionally a way for farmers to signal a safe message. Today, you can lit a sky lantern anytime in Pinxi, but only on Lantern Festival can you see thousands of sky lantern fly up together.


Local Lantern Exhibitions – 台灣燈會

Many of the exciting and sensational events above are not easy to reach for foreigners. Don’t panic! You still have good ways to celebrate by going to the nearest lantern exhibition in your city. Most cities have their own lantern exhibitions and the main national lantern exhibition is held in different cities every year.

–  Yunlin Lantern Festival

2017.02.11 – 2017.02.19


– Kaohsiung Lantern Festival

2017.01.30 – 2017.02.12


– Taipei Lantern Festival

2017.02.04 – 2017.02.12



– Nantou Lantern Festival

2017.01.21 – 2017.02.19

2017 南投燈會.jpg

– Tainan Lantern Street

2017.01.22 – 2017.02.12

No matter how you plan to celebrate Lantern Festival in Taiwan, don’t forget to eat a bowl of yuanxiao with your good friends either in the night market or at street vendors to mark a sweet and smooth start for the new year.


【Event】Christmas Dinner Gathering

PM 7:00
2015.12.3 (Thu)
We’re gonna have the Christmas dinner in a great restaurant of the famous 18th lane near NCKU.
Let ‘s celebrate this special day together!

Green-Olive Pasta
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【Event】Radish Party (Tainan)

Traditional Radish Cake Workshop

PM 4:00 – PM 9:00
2015.12.3 (Thu)

16:00 Meet up (map)
16:00~19:00 Radish Cake Workshop
19:00~21:00 Radish Feast
21:00 Adios


We’ve harvested tons of radishes in our Mei-Nong trip so we decide to make a radish party.

Hands-on workshop will be very fun. If you can’t come at PM 4:00, you are still welcome for the dinner at PM 7:00.
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Chinese Schools in Taiwan

Taiwan has become the hot destination for learning Chinese due to its complete repertoire of Chinese culture, standard Chinese characters and the attractive tone. There are 47 government designated Chinese schools and numerous private Chinese institutes. Here we will give a general introduction of some good Chinese schools in Taiwan based on the living cost, tuition, location and lifestyle.

Chinese Schools in Taiwan.jpg


Monthly Rent: $550 (Single Bed with basic utilities, electricity, cable, gas, water and internet)
Monthly Expense: $500 – $600

For westerners, Taipei is the familiar western-style comfort zone and has the largest foreigner population in Taiwan. Living cost might still be affordable by western standards. So Taipei is the first choice for westerners.

The only 2 things which might make you uncomfortable are the overcrowded environment and the annoying weather, humid hot in summer and damp cold in winter.


Chinese Language Division (CLD, National Taiwan University)

CLD is one of the two Chinese institutes in the campus of National Taiwan University (NTU). Another one, ICLP, accepts students only from abroad sister universities. So ICLP is not listed here.
Class and Curriculum
  • Class size: 5-7 people
  • No summer short-term program
  • Cultural class holds every month for up to 30 students for free
Location and facilities
  • NTU campus connects 2 MRT (metro) stations and many bus lines
  • Surrounded by Gongguan night market, shopping streets, restaurants, bars and bookstores
  • Access to the library for free
  • Access to the gym, the swimming pool, squash courts, tennis courts, badminton courts, rock-climbing courts with student prices
  • No extra supplementary classes
  • CLD registration is limited and competitive that you shall register 4-5 months earlier
  • Rent for housing/apartment in this region is fairly high
  • Small sized class:NT$ 35,000 (USD$ 1,076) for 180 hours (Spring, Summer and Fall)
  • Small sized class:NT$ 29,100 (USD$ 895) for 150 hours (Winter)
  • Tuition will rise NT$ 5,000 (USD$ 154) to the original price from Fall Semester 2017 on
Comments & Useful Links:
  • It’s mostly popular with students from Japan and Korea, and tends to be more ‘serious’ than on holidays.

Mandarin Training Center (MTC, National Taiwan Normal University)

MTC of National Taiwan Normal University (NTNU, aka Shi-da) is the oldest Chinese institute in Taiwan and has the most language students every year.
Class and Curriculum
  • Class size: 6-10 people or individual class
  • 2-month summer program offered
  • Use the self-edited teaching material from Spring Semester 2016
  • Supplementary class (Large Language Class) offered for free
  • Cultural excursion offered on demand with price of NT$ 4,500 for 3 months
  • Elective courses offered (Taiwanese, Kongfu, Chinese Medicine, Chinese Movie, Poetry Appreciation)
Location and facilities
  • NTNU campus connects 1 MRT (metro) station and many bus lines
  • Close to the famous Shi-da night market, restaurants, bars and bistros
  • The nightlife is very dynamic in this area
  • Access to the library free
  • Access to the gym and the swimming pool with student prices
  • Too many foreigners in this area might shut your chance for Mandarin practices
  • Rent for housing/apartment in this region is fairly high
  • Small sized class:NT$ 32,400 (USD$ 997) for 180 hours per semester
  • Individual class:NT$ 84,000 (USD$ 2,585) for 180 hours per semester
Comments & Useful Links:
  • Mandarin Training Center at NTNU for Dummies
  • It’s worth noting that at MTC many of the beginner students are there more on holiday than to study, although that drops off outside summer and as you get to higher levels.

Mandarin Learning Center (MLC, Chinese Culture University)

MLC of Chinese Culture University (CCU) opens classes every month with relatively low price in Taipei. It operates more like a cram school with a flexible course schedule. So it is very popular among the foreign businessmen in Taiwan.
Class and Curriculum
  • Class size: 6-12 people or individual class
  • Special classes like Chinese singing or Chinese TV learning
Location and facilities
  • MLC has a bus stop and is 25 minutes walking distant from the MRT station
  • Close to the biggest park in Taipei
  • Access to the MLC multi-media Chinese learning system
  • Nearby homestay offered on demand
  • No cultural excursion offered
  • MLC is a single building without any facilities like the library or sport courts
  • Small sized class:NT$ 25,000 (USD$ 769) for 165 Hours
  • Individual class hourly fee:NT$ 500 – NT$ 1,000 (USD$ 15.4 – USD$ 30.8) depending on the teaching location. At least 20 hours must be booked.


Monthly Rent: $350 (Single Bed with basic utilities, electricity, cable, gas, water and internet)
Monthly Expense: $300 – $400

Taichung is located in the the central Taiwan. The climate is comfortable with little rain and less typhoon damages. In recent years, it has been developed so fast that the transportation and the living standard is fairly good.


FCU Chinese Language Center

Fengchia University (FCU) CLC is the oldest Chinese institute and has the most students in central Taiwan. In front of FCU is the famous Fengchia night market so eating, shopping and entertainment are very convenient.

Class and Curriculum
  • Seasonal small-sized class (numbers of students unclear)
  • 2-week summer program offered
  • Cultural excursion offered every semester for free
  • Chinese tutorial and advisory hours offered for free
  • FCU-CLC has the lowest tuition so it is very popular among the Southeast Asian students
  • Elective courses offered (Taiwanese, Simplified Characters, Business Chinese, Word Processing, Chinese Literature, Chinese Philosophy, Chinese History and Culture)

Location and facilities

  • FCU has a bus stop
  • Access to the library free
  • Access to the gym with student prices
  • On-campus housing is available (No private room offered)
  • FCU campus is relatively small and lacks many facilities
  • Besides bus, you need a scooter or bicycle to really cover all the city
  • English is not useful in Taichung so you have to speak Mandarin only
  • Small sized class:NT$ 23,500 (USD$ 732) for 180 Hours – the cheapest in Taiwan


Monthly Rent: $250 (Single Bed with basic utilities, electricity, cable, gas, water and internet)
Monthly Expense: $250 – $350

Tainan is a very popular touristic destination in Taiwan. It is always sunny with little rain. You can feel the life tempo here is comfortably slow. Plus Tainan is the cultural and cuisine capital of Taiwan. It is the best place for enjoying the life while studying Chinese in Taiwan.

NCKU Chinese Language Center

National Cheng Kung University (NCKU) CLC is very excellent in Chinese teaching. Thanks to the rich educational and extra-curriculum resources in NCKU campus, NCKU-CLC offers students a good learning and leisure environment.


Class and Curriculum
  • Class size: 6-12 people
  • 1-month summer course offered
  • Orientation event every semester
  • Systematic and whole-rounded Mandarin training (zero to master in 2 year)
  • Cultural excursion offered every month for free
  • Elective courses offered (Chinese Singing, Chinese Painting, Taichi, Hands-on Culinary, Poetry Appreciation, Chinese Idiom Stories, Chinese Theater, Simplified Characters, Chinese Calligraphy, Business Conversation)
Location and facilities
  • NCKU is right at Tainan train station and connects to many bus lines
  • Surrounded by food streets, one department store, shopping and entertainment choices
  • Access to the multi-media Chinese learning lab for free
  • Access to the language buddy system and the 1-1 discussion room for free
  • Access to the library for free
  • Access to the gym, the swimming pool, tennis courts, badminton courts, rock-climbing courts with student prices
  • Besides bus, you need a scooter or bicycle to really cover all the city
  • English is not useful in Tainan so you have to speak Mandarin only
  • Small sized class:NT$ 31,100 (USD$ 957) for 165 hours (Spring and Fall)
  • Small sized class:NT$ 28,300 (USD$ 870) for 150 hours (Summer and Winter)
  • Short-term summer class:NT$ 15,700 (USD$ 483) for 80 hours


Monthly Rent: $300 (Single Bed with basic utilities, electricity, cable, gas, water and internet)
Monthly Expense: $300 – $400

Kaohsiung is the second largest city in Taiwan. It has MRT (metro), bus system and bike rental so the transportation is easy for foreigners. The climate is warm all year round and the winter is comfortable with little rain. This warm climate also molds the personality so you can feel the Kaohsiung people are even more friendly.

Wenzao Chinese Language Center

Wenzao University of Language (WZU) is the best language university in Taiwan. Its professional linguistic pedagogy makes studying Chinese here a good choice.


Class and Curriculum
  • Class size: 5-10 people or individual class
  • Cultural speech offered every month for free
  • Cultural excursion offered every semester for free
  • Extra 1-1 Chinese assistance offered for free
  • Elective courses offered (Taichi, Kongfu, Taiwanese, Simplified Characters, Chinese Calligraphy)

Location and facilities

  • WZU has a bus stop
  • Access to the digital Chinese learning lab in WZU
  • Access to the library for free
  • Access to the gym and badminton courts with student prices
  • Nearby homestay offered on demand


  • WZU campus is relatively small and lacks many facilities
  • English is not useful in Kaohsiung so you have to speak Mandarin only
  • Small sized class:NT$ 27,225 (USD$ 837) for 165 hours
  • Individual class hourly fee:NT$ 500 (USD$ 15.4)

NSYSU Chinese Language Center

National Sun Yat-Sen University (NSYSU) has a very beautiful campus sitting besides the mountains and facing the ocean. Studying Chinese at NSYSU is really like a vacation.
Class and Curriculum
  • Class size: 4-10 people
  • 6-week summer course offered
  • Cultural excursion offered every semester for free
  • Extra supplementary course offered for free
  • Extra 1-1 Chinese assistance offered for free
  • Elective courses offered (Business Chinese, Taiwanese, Culture Exploration, Magazine Discussion)
Location and facilities
  • NSYSU campus connects 1 MRT station and many bus lines
  • Access to the library for free
  • Access to the language buddy system for free
  • On-campus housing is available (No private room offered)
  • NSYSU-CLC’s location is deep inside the huge campus and students have to take shuttle bus from the MRT station
  • English is not useful in Kaohsiung so you have to speak Mandarin only
  • Small sized class:NT$ 29,700 (USD$ 914) for 165 hours
  • 6-week summer class:NT$ 27,000 (USD$ 831) for 150 hours
  • Individual class hourly fee:NT$ 500 (USD$ 15.4)


Taipei and Kaohsiung are the only 2 cities having metro lines, so the transportation is easier for foreigners. However, the bus systems in Taichung and Tainan are now quite convenient. People in Taichung and Tainan are even encouraged to take bus by the 10-km free policy.

As far as budget is concerned, Taipei is almost double the cost of some cities like Tainan. You can really enjoy the urban life in Taipei, like clubbing, partying or shopping. For those who are looking for some Chinese culture experience, Tainan the early time capital of Taiwan, is the best pick. Taichung is between Taipei and Tainan. Kaohsiung is kinda combination of urban and suburban lifestyle.

For the sole purpose of Chinese learning, Tainan is recommended for the excellent Chinese school and the genuine cultural immersion.

Unit: USD City Monthly Cost Season Tuition Tuition down to hour Cultural Trip Elective Course Supplementary Assistance
Taipei $1,100 $1,076 $5.97 Every Semester
(Price depends)
No No
Taipei $1,100 $997 $5.53 Monthly
($136 per season)
Yes Yes
Taipei $1,100 $769 $4.66 No No No
Taichung $700 $732 $4.06 Every Semester
No Yes
Tainan $550 $957 $5.80 Monthly
Yes Yes
Kaohsiung $600 $837 $5.07 Every Semester
Yes Yes
Kaohsiung $600 $914 $5.53 Monthly
Yes Yes

What’s your opinion or personal experience about this topic? Did I miss some points or bash your favorite city? Please let me know in the comments below.

【Event】2015 Orientation Event

Get a Whole Picture of Taiwan in 1 Hour Seminar

All What You Must Know in Taiwan
 13:30 – 15:30
September 20 2015, EE Building, NCKU, Tainan
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Life Tips, Tasty Food, Fun People
13:30-14:00 Reception Making new friends English / 中文
14:00-15:00 Seminar Must-Known Life Tips in Taiwan English
15:00-15:10 Q&A Answers will be heard English
15:10-15:30 Tea Time Drinks, Snacks and Specialties English / 中文

What to do on Chinese Valentine’s Day?

The Chinese Valentine’s Day (qī xī 七夕) falls on August 20 2015. It is the 7th day of the 7th lunar month so it is also called Chinese Double Seven Festival. It is kind of like the Chinese Version of Romeo and Juliet. Niulang (niú láng 牛郎) and Zhinu ( zhī niú 織女) were forced to separate due to their different identities, which Zhinu was the 7th daughter of the Heaven Emperor and Niulang was just a poor orphaned cowherd.

There are many versions of this love story. Here is the most popular version.

It is also a popular festival for young people. For the married couple and people in love, this day is celebrated like the western Valentine’s Day. For singles, today is a good timing to pray for love luck by paying a visit to the Temple of Matchmaker (yuè xià lǎo rén 月下老人). He has the power to decide the love destiny of people so knowing the SOP when worshiping there is very important.


What to do?

1. Prepare fruit or flowers, which are numbered even like 2 apples or 6 roses. Normally, you could also buy the stuff from the vendors there.

2. Report your name, identity and address to the Matchmaker and then speak up your mind about your ideal type.

3. Ask for the divine answers by throwing the wooden pieces (Taiwanese: 擲筊, literally “throwing poe”). If you get 3 divine answers in a roll, it means you get the promise from the Matchmaker.

4. Put you donation, normally NTD$100, before you leave.


Where to go?

Here list the top 5 temples to worship the Matchmaker in Taiwan. Not only on the Chinese Valentine’s Day, those temples are almost full of love seekers everyday!

 1.Taipei Xia-Hia City God Temple (台北霞海城隍廟)

Due to the high number of residents and tourists in Taipei, this one is the most visited and popular in Taiwan. Even the visitors from Japan and Korea love to come here.

Address: No.61, Sec. 1, Dihua St., Datong Dist., Taipei City
Traffic: Bus 250 or 304 from Taipei Train Station and get off at Yianpin Station (延平一站(南京))
Tel:(02) 2558-0346
Website: http://tpecitygod.org/


2. Tainan Grand Matsu Temple (台南大天后宮)

It has lots of things to talk about this temple, but here we just focus on the role of its Matchmaker. Tainan Grand Matsu Temple has many gods, and Matchmaker is one of them. You will get a red line there and then put it in your pocket. When someday you find that the red line disappears, it is the time that your love comes.

Address: No. 18, Ln. 22, Sec. 2, Yongfu Rd., West Central Dist., Tainan
Traffic: Bus 3, 5, 88, 99 from Tainan Train Station and get off get at Fort Provintia (赤崁樓)
Tel: (06) 2211178
Website: http://www.tainanmazu.org.tw/


3. Tainan Temple of the Martial God (台南武廟)

Though the temple of Matchmaker just occupied a little corner of the whole temple here, it is famous for successful matching of up to 300 couples every year. You have many ways to speak up your mind here, writing a postcard, buying a wish bottle and even writing a letter direct to the Matchmaker.

Address: No. 229, Ln. 22, Sec. 2, Yongfu Rd., West Central Dist., Tainan
Traffic: Bus 3, 5, 88, 99 from Tainan Train Station and get off get at Fort Provintia (赤崁樓)
Tel: (06) 2202390


4. Tainan Chongqing Temple (台南重慶寺)

The Matchmaker here is noted for its ability to mediate love problems. There is a divine vinegar barrel, which helps to resolve love problems after people stir the vinegar in it.


Address: No. 2, Ln. 5, Zhongzheng Rd., West Central Dist., Tainan
Traffic: Bus 88, 99 from Tainan Train Station and get off get at Museum of Taiwan Literature (台南文學館)
Tel: (06) 2202390


5. Taipei Wanhua Longshan Temple (台北萬華龍山寺)

This temple has a long history of 300 years and famous for all the gods in it. The Matchmaker is seated at the left rare site. Due to its huge crowd everyday, every love seeker is asked to take only one red line after worshiping the Matchmaker.

Address: No. 211, Guangzhou St., Wanhua Dist., Taipei
Traffic: 5 mins walking northward from MRT Longshan Temple Station
Tel: (02) 23025162
Website: http://www.lungshan.org.tw/

Nankunshen Temple (Michelin 3 Star Attraction)

Tainan / Nankunshen Temple (南鯤鯓代天府 nán kūn shēn dài tiān fǔ )
(3 Michelin Stars Attraction)

Address:No. 976, Kunjiang, Beimen Dist., Tainan City 727, Taiwan
Hours:08:00 ~ 17:00
Tickets: 50 NTD for Grand Kun Garden (大鯤園 dà kūn yuán)
Traffic: No direct bus available. Better by cars or scooters.


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Magnificent Entrance

At the first sight of Nankunshen Temple, the spectacular Chinese entrance makes you quick understand why it is crown as a Michelin 3 Stars attraction. Grandiose buildings and spacious garden landscaping have numerous subtle ornaments and delicate handcrafting. It definitely a must-see temple in Taiwan.

Golden Palace

Nankunshen Temple took almost half a century to build and used 2,200 KG gold (USD$ 15 Millions worthy) for all the golden decorations and sculptures. The most significant golden building here is the  6.6 m high and 2.0 m wide golden monument, which weighs 405 KG of whole pure gold.
It is actually 2 temples together to compose the Nankunshen Temple or called Nankunshen Daitian Temple. Wufu Qiansui (五府千歲 wǔ fǔ qiān suì) and Wanshan Ye (萬善爺 wàn shàn yé ) are said to fight over the land when they both favored this location and both wanted build a temple here. Goddess of Mercy suggested they both build a temple here to help local people and so they did.

Annual Festival

Annual ritual festival falls on April 26 and 27 (lunar calendar) when the hundreds of thousands people gathers together. One of the most unique traditions is the “tangi” (Taiwanese, 乩童), it’s sort of like psychic. It is believed with spiritual training, the tangis are capable of allowing the god to posses their body protecting them from physical harm. So demonstrations of the “shielding from harm” often take place live during festivals, where the tangis physically pierce and cut themselves when the god possesses his body.



Grand Kun Garden (大鯤園 dà kūn yuán)

Another attraction here is the Grand Kun Garden of 6 hectares land. It took 20 years to build this garden. The architects were to resemble the royal garden of Ming Dynasty. Taking a walk in this garden is very relaxing. All the architectures and garden landscaping can bring you back 350 years earlier.


Old fashion bungalows on the stone stack create kind of scene of martial art movie. Visitors can also take a sip of tea there in the bungalows and imagine the scene of old time royals and heroes gathering at the same table.

Erliao Sunrise (二寮日出)

When it comes to sunrise in Taiwan, Alisan might be the best known. However, a rural site in Tainan has recently been stealing the thunder from Alisan. It’s Erliao (二寮) Tainan.

Time: AM 4:00 – AM 6:00 (Depending on the seasons)
Address: Village Erliao, Tainan City
Traffic: Only available with cars or scooters in the early morning. Foreigners are recommended to visit with local friends or tour guides.
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The best timing to see the sunrise in Erliao is spring. Erliao is a mountain village, which stands close to the Central Mountain Range (中央山脈). Plus the special landscapes of moon world, bald surface mountains resembling the moon surface, help gather clouds inside to reflect special light effects from the sunrise. Numerous cloud layers plus morning sunlight create a spectacular scene of stunning show of fancy sunlight and misty clouds.