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2018 Taiwan Lantern Festival kicks off in Chiayi — largest ever held in Taiwan

Photo courtesy Taiwan Tourism Bureau showing the main lantern

The Eye on Taiwan news staff

The 2018 Taiwan Lantern Festival officially opened in Chiayi County on Friday in what the organizer described as the unprecedentedly large-scale lantern event ever held in Taiwan.

Tens of thousands of visitors took part in the opening ceremony marked by lighting shows and a variety of lantern displays in a venue spanning over 50 hectares of open space, with illumination from a bank of lights installed in water, land, and air.

During the opening ceremony, Chiayi County Magistrate Chang Hua-kuan said the lantern festival this year has “five mosts” — the longest period of time from February 16 to March 11 (24 days altogether),  the largest venue, and the best entertainments (from 2 dimensions to 3 dimensions, and from water to land and to air), the most sensational and the latest high-tech.

Photo courtesy of Taiwan Tourism Bureau
Photo courtesy of Taiwan Tourism Bureau
Photo courtesy of Taiwan Tourism Bureau
Photo courtesy of Taiwan Tourism Bureau

With the new technologies, skills, and materials used, as well as changing light and shades, she said visitors would find this year’s event in Chiayi worth visiting.

She called on visitors to experience a 360-degree interactive view of the display area through virtual reality (VR) technology available at the site. Visitors can also install a Taiwan Lantern Festival app on their smartphones for travel guide and special effects.

President Tsai Ing-wen was invited to the ceremony to lit a 21-meter-high main lantern “Loyal Auspiciousness” which features a smiling indigenous child with a canine companion standing on top of Alishan — the major scenic spot in Chiayi — overlooking a sea of clouds.

Photo courtesy of Taiwan Tourism Bureau

The child has a moving hand that waves to visitors and say “hello” when the lantern is operating.

“The image represents looking back, standing firm in the present, viewing the future, and letting the world see Taiwan,” according to organizer Taiwan Tourism Bureau.

Designed by JFA Artwork, the main lantern features 4D visual effects with a special refraction cover to improve light penetration by 70%. More than 20,000 circuits enable LED lights in the lantern to show images made up of at least 12 million pixels.

According to the bureau, regardless of where the viewers stand, they are able to enjoy a magical optical scene of the lantern.

Photo courtesy of Taiwan Tourism Bureau
Photo courtesy of Taiwan Tourism Bureau

In addition to the main lantern, there are two “supporting lanterns” — “Station of Happiness” which shows a horse pulling a musical chariot, and “Rays of the Sun” that depicts the sunrise of Alishan, the bureau said, adding the display area is divided into water, land and air zones, featuring different elements of traditional art, LED lights and modern design to represent the beauty of Taiwan and Chiayi culture.

Photo courtesy of Taiwan Tourism Bureau

The lanterns at the Southern Branch of National Palace Museum give visitors a glimpse of mysterious Asia, according to the bureau.

Photo courtesy of Taiwan Tourism Bureau
Photo courtesy of Taiwan Tourism Bureau
Photo courtesy of Taiwan Tourism Bureau

For public transport

Taiwan Highspeed Railway
Passengers taking THSR please get off at Chiayi Station. From there, take a shuttle bus to go to the festival site.
The shuttle buses are available during the following hours:
Weekdays: 15:00~23:00 Weekends and holidays: 14:00~23:00
Taiwan Railways
Passengers taking express trains please get off at Chiayi Train Station. At the back of the station – a bus terminal, take a shuttle bus that goes to the festival site.
Passengers taking city trains please get off at Nanjing Train Station. From Nanjing Sugar Factory, take a shuttle bus that goes to the festival site.
The shuttle buses are available during the following hours:
Weekdays: 15:00~23:00 Weekends and holidays: 14:00~23:00
National Highway 1 —> Shuishang Interchange —> County Road 168 —> Gugong Blvd. —> Lantern festival site
National Highway 3 —> Shuishang Interchange —> Provincial Highway 82 (Lucao Interchange) —> Provincial Highway 37 —> Gugong Blvd. —> Lantern festival site
Provincial Highway 18 —> Chiayi County Road 58 —> Lantern festival site
Provincial Highway 61 —> Provincial Highway 62 (Xianghe Interchange) —> Xuefu Road —> Lantern festival site
Provincial Highway 19 —> County Road 168 —> Xiaokanglang 5th Road —> Gugong Blvd. —> Lantern festival site
County Road 157 —> Chiayi County Road 58 —> Lantern festival site
Chiayi County Road 57 —> Chiayi County Road 58 —> Lantern festival site

Chiayi iTour app

The app has three language versions, Mandarin, English, and Japanese. It provides user-friendly services and comprehensive info on Chiayi’s food, shopping, accommodation, transport, learning and entertainment to visitors from all over the world. To learn about a local shop’s marketing events or special offers, simply use the app to scan the shop’s sign.

During the festival period, the app will also provide useful information such as overall lantern zone intro, sitemap, special lantern zone reports, food recommendations, live streams, LED push notifications, AR experiences, 360-degree previews, traffic updates, parking tips and online shop tours.

Videos from Taiwan Tourism Bureau

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