Taiwan: Releasing Sky Lantern in Hualien Bay

Travel Period : 30th Oct – 6th Nov 2012

Day 7

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Arrival at Hualien Bay Minsu



The minsu was a detached house and looked really huge. There was a long driveway with a big garden in front and behind it. Mr Chen was at the entrance to welcome us.

After thanking Mr Li for his excellent guide the whole day, we followed him into the dining / lobby area to do our check-in. Mrs Chen was there with their grandson who happens to be of the same age as Dar. We had booked a double room but on seeing Dar, Mrs Chen decided to let us take a big room on the upper level instead. She felt that we would be more comfortable with two big beds. We settled down for a while before going down to the dining area to write on our sky lantern. (For more details on the accommodation, read this post.)

Preparing the Sky Lantern

Before releasing the sky lantern, we are supposed to write some wishes or blessings for our family on it. After we wrote things like, ‘hope our wishes come true’, ‘three people must always be happy’ etc, we told Dar to write our names on one side so he can contribute too. He gladly wrote ‘Daddy’, ‘Mummy’ and his own name. We couldn’t think of important wishes to write and ended up with these few about happiness. Guess we are very contented people. 🙂


For me, I drew our faces on it instead to symbolise that it was our lantern. Though I later realised after the trip that it might not be so ‘auspicious’ to do that since we are releasing it into the sky. Erm, means the three of us are ‘going to heavens’? choy…choy…*touch wood. Mr Chen didn’t say anything though but instead was praising me for the resemblance and Dar’s ability to spell the words.


A family photo before it goes up...
A family photo before it goes up…

Scary Release

We then took the lantern outside while Mr Chen helped us to light the bottom. We held the lantern together while the hot air fills up and finally let go. A gust of wind blew it instead and the lantern got seriously swayed to its side! We gasped as Mr Chen skillfully brought it back upright again after some maneuver. We were really worried it would catch fire then.

He decided to walk a bit more down the sidewalk at the side of the building instead. I help him hold the lantern while Vin handled the cam. This time, we launched it successfully but the windy conditions blew it towards the windows of the house instead of straight up! Again, we panicked as we followed the path of the lantern and finally, it escaped the building and went up towards the sky! We had a good laugh and looked fondly at the lantern becoming a tiny dot in the sky. It was a fun and memorable experience due to the two incidents…ha. As an afterthought, I did wonder where it would land later.

Much much later after we came back from the trip, I learnt that these sky lanterns causes pollution on the environment especially in Pingxi as they weren’t fully burnt and drop all over the sides of the grounds/mountains/sea with no one to collect. Oh dear…all these just for fun. We really didn’t know.


This is the video of the ‘Sky Lantern in Action’.

Our Lovely Sky Lantern bearing our well-wishes...
Our Lovely Sky Lantern bearing our well-wishes…

Fireworks Time!

After that, we took out the bunch of fireworks we bought earlier and started lighting it with the help of Mr Chen.

Learning how to light it from Mr Chen
Learning how to light it from Mr Chen

This one was the hand-held type where several splutters of fireworks would come out until it finishes.

Off it goes!
Off it goes!
Dar having a go at it too.
Dar having a go at it too.
Huge display of fireworks from a big one we bought
Huge display of fireworks from a big one we bought

We had a great time lighting the fireworks while the two kids run screaming from them and chasing each other. Their grandson was really cute.


Check out the Video of our fireworks play (note: there’s music and fireworks sound). It was so fun and memorable to celebrate our last night in Taiwan!

After we finished all the big ones, we lighted the ‘Sparklers Fireworks’ for Dar and Mr Chen’s grandson to play with. These are also available back in Singapore but Dar had always refused to play with it. We also didn’t trust him holding it by himself. This time, he didn’t mind holding it and kept smiling at the sparks generated.

His first time playing this (cos he's always too afraid to do it before)
His first time playing this (cos he’s always too afraid to do it before)

That’s Why We Don’t Trust him…

Alas, just when I pulled my eyes away from him for a second, he gave a little shout. I quickly looked down and realised that he had just touched the core of the hot stick after it burned out! Argh! I was quite upset with him and scolded him for doing something so dangerous. At the same time, my heart almost leaped out thinking he had gotten a serious burn! This boy is too curious for his own good!

In the dim light, we quickly examined his palm while he wrenched in pain from the burn. It looked fine with only a slight tinge of red but Mr Chen suggested to bring him to wash under cold water with a hose nearby. He said he felt fine after that.

Our mood was dampened but we still had a lot of sticks to play with as we had just started. After checking with him that he was alright, we proceeded with lighting up the rest. He joined in a while later to write his own name with the ‘light’ as he moved his hand up and down. We were glad that he was enjoying and not in pain anymore.

As we were still worried about his injury, we finished the batch very quickly and went back to the room. The moment we put him down on the floor, he started crying in terrible pain again! This time, it seemed really serious because he couldn’t stop crying. He seldom cries due to injury so he must be in pain a lot! Vin quickly ran downstairs to borrow ointment for burns from Mr Chen. He gave it to us generously. Poor Dar cried all the way in the shower and to sleep holding his palm. We really didn’t know it was so serious because he was still playing happily after getting burned just now! Why the sudden surge of pain?

Fortunately, he woke up the next day and said it was not painful anymore. All thanks to the ointment. We were relieved.

{ Next Post: Morning Sea View At Hualien Bay }

  1. Juliet August 14, 2013 at 2:40 pm

    Aiyoh … you can draw SO WELL!!! Ha ha .. the sketch you drew on the lantern really looked like the 3 of you!!! Anyway, just a short note here to let you know I do enjoy reading your trip reports .. my family is travelling to Taiwan in Oct, so you’ve given me lots of ideas !!

    1. Cat August 14, 2013 at 3:51 pm

      Thanks Juliet for the compliments!
      I’m so happy to hear you like the reports…doing my best to churn them out now.
      Taiwan is such a lovely country that I would want to go back someday again to explore the other parts such as Kaohsiung and Kenting. Where are you heading to?

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