Best time to visit Taiwan

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The island state of Taiwan has a subtropical monsoon climate, with wet, humid summers and short, relatively mild winters. Choosing when to go to Taiwan doesn’t have to be difficult. We’ve done the weather research for you, so you can find the ideal conditions to explore this fascinating destination and enjoy your visit.

Weather in Taiwan

Because of its location on the Tropic of Cancer, Taiwan’s weather is mostly subtropical, with pockets of tropical climate in the south. This means that the weather is warm and humid – but rain is common throughout the year. After all, that’s one of the reasons why Taiwan’s natural landscapes are so lush!

Taiwan has two rainy seasons that arrive at different times of the year and affect different areas. The southern part of the island is the first to experience the monsoon, with heavy rains hitting between May and September. Monsoon rains then move onto the north and northeast.

In addition to the monsoon, the country has a “plum rain” season, which typically runs between May and June. Plum rains are short and intense and come in fronts, which means it can rain for a few days or even weeks at the time, or not rain at all. These fronts are reliably forecast by the country’s Weather Bureau, so keep an eye on English-language newspapers for the latest updates.

When is the best time to visit Taiwan?

To decide when is the best time to travel to Taiwan, first you should consider your itinerary. Tourists travel to Taiwan all year round, so it all depends on what you plan to see and do.

For general travel, September, October, and November are the best months to visit. The summer is ideal for those interested in tropical beaches and island hopping. For culture and nature, visit during the spring. But winter is great for visiting Taipei also. In fact, there is no wrong time to visit Taiwan: you’ll find great food, spectacular nature, and vibrant city life throughout the year.

When to visit Taiwan in winter

Despite its subtropical climate, Taiwan’s winters can be colder than what most travellers expect. Average temperatures range between 15°C and 20°C - a big difference when compared to the 30°C+ temperatures at other times of the year. But winters here are not severe, and are definitely not as cold as they get in nearby Japan.

Winter weather in Taiwan can bring fog, cloudy skies, and cool temperatures, especially in the north. However, winter can also be the best time to visit Taiwan if you plan on exploring the country’s top urban destinations. There are plenty of things to see and do indoors in cities like Taipei, Kaohsiung, and Taichung. To sum up, winter in Taiwan can be chilly, but there’s nothing that a few layers of clothing can’t fix.

Visiting Taiwan in December — February

Winter weather varies across Taiwan. The further south you go, the warmer it will get, and vice versa. Average temperatures in Taipei and other areas of northern Taiwan hover around 15°C, but are lower during cold spells, which usually hit in January. On the other hand, winter temperatures rarely go below 20°C in southern areas like those surrounding Kenting National Park.

The winter months are great to discover Taipei’s top landmarks. Tourist numbers are low, so it’s easier to experience the city’s most relaxed side. While in the area, make sure to set a day aside to visit the Beitou hot springs. The springs can be easily reached by public transport, and they’re guaranteed to be a hit among both children and adults. If you’re after something similar but with an upscale touch, the cosy mountain retreats and resorts of central Taiwan will fit the bill. In total, there are more than 150 hot springs all over Taiwan.

Cherry blossom trees are in full bloom in January and February. The season attracts thousands of visitors to Taiwan every year. The photo opportunities are fabulous, and this may well be one of the highlights of your trip. Blooming dates are slightly different every year, but you can find online forecasts - hardly surprising, considering that this is super-efficient Taiwan! The best places to admire the colourful display of cherry blossom trees in or near Taipei are, Tianyuan Temple, Wulai, and Yangmingshan National Park.

If warm weather is what you’re after, southern Taiwan will not disappoint. Even in January, which is the coldest month of the year, temperatures stay balmy. This may be a good time to explore Kaohsiung, the country’s southernmost city and the gateway to tropical Taiwan.

When to visit Taiwan in spring

Spring is the ideal time to discover Taiwan’s natural and cultural heritage. Although the temperatures get gradually warmer between March and May, it will still be too cold to go for a swim. But there are other things that will keep you entertained: festivals, hikes, tea picking tours, and cycling trips are only some of them. One thing to remember: temperatures rise steadily between March and May, but so do the chances of rain, so make sure you have waterproof clothing when you head out.

Visiting Taiwan in March-May

During March, you can still catch the end of the cherry blossom season in central and southern Taiwan. Other exotic flowers will start to cover the hills and valleys surrounding Hualien, in eastern Taiwan. The botanical parks and gardens in Taipei, Chiayi, and Taichung are great places to spend a spring day out. And so is the Ta Shee Blooming Oasis, near Taoyuan.

Spring is also a fantastic time to visit the East Coast National Scenic Area. Stretching over 170 kilometres (over 100 miles) south of Hualien, this area offers impressive coastal views and a chance to learn about the country’s aboriginal cultures. This is the perfect destination for an active holiday or cycling adventure.

Alishan Mountain is another top spring destination in Taiwan. Tea culture is strong all over the country, but especially so in the highlands of central Taiwan. The weather here is perfect for tea plantations to thrive – and for tourists to sample the delicate flavours of local Oolong teas. There are other tea farms in the Wuhe plateau, near Hualien, and in the outskirts of Taipei.

The festival calendar is packed with interesting events during March and April. Some of the most eye-catching events include the International Fireworks Festival in Penghu, Baosheng Cultural Festival, and Bunun’s Ear Shooting Festival, one of Taiwan’s biggest indigenous ceremonies.

When to visit Taiwan in summer

Summer is considered the peak tourist season in Taiwan. The summer school break begins in July, so many local families will be on holiday at this time of the year. The same applies to travellers from nearby countries. Advance bookings are recommended if you visit Taiwan in the summer.

Taiwanese summers are hot and humid. Average temperatures are in the 30s, but it may feel hotter due to the humidity. If you find it hard to cope with subtropical summers, you may want to consider destinations in the mountain areas.

Prepare for wet monsoon weather if you visit during the summer. Rainfall is especially heavy in southern Taiwan. Moreover, summer storms in the form of tropical cyclones hit at least twice a year, and are more likely in late August and September. A packable rain jacket, umbrella, or waterproof poncho are a must-have for Taiwan travel!

Despite the rain, summer is beach time in Taiwan. The warm season is ideal for beach hopping trips and relaxing island holidays. And if you’re into watersports, this is the best time to travel to Taiwan.

Visiting Taiwan in June — August

Looking for a break from Taiwan’s humid summers? Then head to higher altitude areas. At 3,500 metres or nearly 13,000 feet, Jade Mountain is the island’s highest peak. The mountain is located in Yushan National Park, which is crisscrossed by hiking trails. If you come here, get ready for spectacular views of the park’s valleys, which quite literally become seas of clouds.

Another suggestion is visiting Puli, some 60 kilometres (37 miles) north of Yushan National Park. The town is a great base to explore the many attractions nearby, such as the impressive Chung Tai Chan monastery or Cinjing Farm. Puli is also the homeland of Taiwanese rice wine. The city’s wine museum and winery make for an interesting day trip.

If you’re more of a beach person, you’ll fall in love with the white sand beaches of Taiwan’s tropical south. Make sure to include Taimali and Fenghuisha in your itinerary! And if you have your own wheels, you’ll find breathtaking coves and bays all along the coast between Hualien and Taitung. With that said, the beaches in northern Taiwan are better for swimming, especially in late summer, when there’s a higher chance of typhoons hitting the south coast.

Still in beach mood? Then you may want to explore Taiwan’s tropical islands. Here are some destination suggestions:

  • Orchid Island, also known as Lanyu. Connected to Taichung by plane and ferry, the island is home to some of Taiwan’s most stunning coastal scenery. And it’s also a scuba diving and snorkelling paradise!
  • Turtle Island, which gets its name from its unusual shape. Turtle Island’s main draw is its active volcano – the only one in Taiwan. Low in population but rich in wildlife and natural beauty, Turtle Island is a great place to go on a dolphin or whale watching tour.
  • Ludao, off the coast of Taitung. Sometimes called Green Island, Ludao is another volcanic island that offers an interesting mix of activities: hot spring baths, snorkelling, swimming, and hiking.
  • The Kinmen archipelago, which is mostly known for its historical and architectural value. You could easily spend a few days exploring the island’s temples, museums, cultural villages, and of course sampling its distinctive cuisine.

When to visit Taiwan in fall

Weather-wise, September to November is considered the best time of the year to visit Taiwan. This season offers the perfect combination of cool and dry weather. During most of September, the south stays warm, but temperatures begin to cool down in northern Taiwan, although they’re still pleasant. Milder temperatures and less rain mean that this is a great time of the year for travellers who enjoy outdoor activities.

Visiting Taiwan in September — November

September and October are among the most photogenic months in Taiwan – at least where nature is concerned. In northern Taiwan, tree leaves start to change colour in mid-September, and the process gradually extends to southern areas over the following months. Some of the best places to spot this beautiful natural display include:

  • Taroko Gorge, which can be visited as a day trip from Hualien.
  • Aowanda Forest Recreational Area and its incredibly picturesque Maple Trail.
  • Dasyueshan National Forest, which is also a great spot for bird watching.

Sun Moon Lake is always a great choice for anyone looking to enjoy some peace and quiet. But the magical charm of this site is even more powerful at this time of the year. Things to do here include taking boat trips, visiting traditional villages, or simply renting a scooter to see where the scenic roads will take you.

Our last suggestion for a fun day out at this time of the year is taking the Jiji Line. This is scenic train trip runs between the rustic village of Checheng and Ershui, located in the mountains south of Taichung. Along the way, you can stop at old logging towns, plum wine breweries, and historical tea houses.

And if you’re in Taiwan during the Mid Autumn Moon Festival, don’t forget to try the famous Taiwanese mooncakes -you’ll probably want to take some home with you! If you love exotic food and don’t know when to go to Taiwan, book your trip around this festival and you won’t be disappointed.

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Rough Guides Editors
8/29/2020
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