Delicious street food, awe-inspiring scenery and warm friendly people – Taiwan is a favourite destination for many Singaporeans no matter the time of the year. But unlike Singapore which is pretty much hot and wet throughout the year, Taiwan’s subtropical climate can differ vastly depending on where you are and the season you are there. To help you pack well and plan your trip, we’ve prepared this guide on the best time to visit Taiwan with tips on where to go and what to see in each season.
What’s in this guide:
- Best months to visit Taiwan
- Spring in Taiwan: March to May
- Summer in Taiwan: June to August
- Autumn in Taiwan: September to November
- Winter in Taiwan: December to February
What are the best months to visit Taiwan?
For those trying to escape the Singaporean humidity, book your Taiwan holidays in spring (March – May) and autumn (September – November) where the weather typically ranges around a comfortably cool low-mid 20ºC. This is the best time for outdoor trekking and flower viewing, so expect it to be quite busy in popular spots, especially on the weekends.
For those looking to save money, winters in Taiwan (December – February) are a nice option as it is low season and prices are generally cheaper. Winters in Taiwan are pretty mild and it really never gets too cold, with an average minimum temperature of about 15ºC unless you’re up in the central mountain region where you’d be extremely lucky to catch a glimpse of snow. But prices will shoot up in late January and early February around the Lunar New Year, so make advanced plans if travelling during that period.
Summers in Taiwan (June – August) tend to be quite sweltering, especially if you are in the south of Taiwan, which tends to be warmer than its northern half at any time of the year. While it’s perfect beach weather on a good summer day, July to August is also Taiwan’s typhoon season that can be a major downer if you are caught unprepared.
Spring in Taiwan: March to May
Taiwan spring weather and what to pack
Spring is a great time to be outdoors in Taiwan with the perfect ‘air-con temperature’ ranging from 20ºC to 25ºC on average during the day time. Throw on a light jacket when the sun goes down, and carry around an umbrella in the event of what the locals call ‘Plum Blossom Rain’ – sudden and short afternoon rain showers that typically happen at the tail-end of spring.
Things to do in spring in Taiwan
Flower viewing is a popular springtime activity that draws crowds of locals and visitors alike. Wulai and Alishan are hotspots for perennial favourites cherry blossoms that start blooming in March, while the hills in Miaoli are covered in small white Tung Blossoms from April onwards. New Taipei City’s Yangmingshan is perpetually busy all spring long as it rotates from Azaleas to Calla Lilies and Hydrangeas.
Rent a car and drive yourself around to easily reach lesser-known out of the way spots in Taiwan – here’s a handy guide.
Spring in Taiwan is an excellent time to hit the trails and explore Taiwan’s great outdoors. An easy trek for those in Taipei is the short hike up Elephant Mountain that overlooks Taipei 101, but really, Taiwan has plenty of mountains and trails for visitors of any level – Hualien’s Taroko Gorge and Sun Moon Lake in Nantou are two popular spots famed for their beauty. Visiting Taiwan’s offshore islands is ideal towards the end of spring when the seas are calm and boat rides and flights are less likely to be cancelled due to bad weather – Penghu off the west coast is a favourite for its annual Fireworks Festival.
An underrated Taiwanese custom worth checking out is the Dajia Mazu pilgrimage that typically takes place around May, which celebrates the birthday of the sea goddess Mazu (23rd day of the 3rd Lunar Month). This annual event is Taiwan’s own Camino de Santiago, which sees tens of thousands of devotees walk with a Mazu statue along a 400km path from Miaoli down to Chiayi and back again. Pilgrims who make the journey are often given free food and souvenirs when they pass through the small towns on the route, which might be a fun alternative way to get a glimpse into Taiwan’s local culture.
Summer in Taiwan: June to August
Taiwan summer weather and what to pack
Be prepared to sweat as July and August are the hottest months in Taiwan, with temperatures soaring above 30ºC. Those looking to escape the heat typically head north or up into the mountains where it is generally a little cooler, or stay in larger cities where you can duck into air-conditioned buildings.
Rain gear is a must in Taiwan’s summer, especially in the event of unexpected typhoons – keep a close eye on the weather reports during this period and make some wet-weather plans just in case. Typhoons are more than just strong winds and rainfall, they can cause disasters like landslides and transport and services get shut down if things get too hairy.
Things to do in summer in Taiwan
While typhoons can be a real concern, they do provide splendid surfing conditions for avid surfers, particularly on the eastern and southern shores of Taiwan. The summer heat has Kenting’s beaches bustling with water sports like parasailing and snorkelling, and Fulong Beach along the north coast hosts an annual festival filled with giant sand sculptures. The tiny town of Luye along the east coast is also home to the annual Taitung Balloon Festival that sees hundreds of hot-air balloons take to the skies in July and August.
Summer is great for checking out Taiwan’s adventure scene and outdoor experiences. Here’s a look at the thrills that Taiwan has to offer.
The Dragon Boat Festival that takes place around June (5th day of the 5th Lunar Month) is one of Taiwan’s three major traditional festivals and when you can eat rice dumplings and watch teams race striking dragon boats down rivers throughout the country. Closer to August, you might notice the temples getting busier due to Hungry Ghost Month activities (7th Lunar Month), with peak festivities taking place on the 15th day. Head to Toucheng in Yilan for an odd tradition known as Ghost Grappling that sees people scaling oil-covered poles in a competition.
You can get fresh fruits in Taiwan all year round, but summer is the season for favourites like mangoes, lychees, dragonfruits and watermelons. Lotus flowers are also in full bloom – head to Taoyuan’s Guanyin village or Baihe village in Tainan to admire entire lakes covered with lotus blooms.
Autumn in Taiwan: September to November
Taiwan autumn weather and what to pack
As the summer heat dissipates and typhoon season blows over, it’s optimal jumper weather and great for outdoor activities as it tends to be less wet than spring. The Northeast monsoon brings overcast days and rain to the northeastern part of the island – you’re likely to get drier and sunnier days in autumn in southwestern parts of Taiwan like Taichung, Tainan and Chiayi which are blocked from the monsoon by the central mountain range.
Things to do in autumn in Taiwan
One of the biggest festivals that takes place in autumn is the Mid-Autumn Festival that happens around September or October (15th day of the 8th Lunar Month). Beyond the traditional fare of mooncake pastries and pomelos, the Taiwanese tradition is to have an outdoor barbecue communal meal – you’ll spot people grilling food on practically every corner as they sip tea and admire the full moon.
Autumn is the time when the leaves change colours and people hit the outdoors in droves for fall foliage viewing. The leaves typically start changing around mid October in the north, slowly moving down south over the next two months as temperatures drop, with the peak in late November to December. Here’s our detailed guide to autumn foliage viewing in Taiwan.
Other flower spectacles worth checking out are the day lilies in Hualien that cover the mountains of Liushishi and Chike in a blazing blanket of orange, and the annual Xinshe Sea of Flowers in Taichung that usually takes place end of November, marking the beginning of Taichung’s World Flora Expo season.
If you are travelling in Taiwan in October, do note that the 10th of October is Double Ten Day, Taiwan’s National Day that celebrates the Wuchang Uprising in China, which was the start of a string of events that ultimately led to the founding of the Republic of China back in 1912. It’s a national holiday for Taiwanese so expect higher prices and crowds in tourist spots all around the country. If you are lucky, you may see a military parade in Taipei, though in recent years this hasn’t been a regular feature.
Winter in Taiwan: December to February
Taiwan winter weather and what to pack
Winter is the coldest season in Taiwan with average temperatures dropping to the low tens in the north and mountainous regions, so have at least one good jacket as it can get chilly at night. You don’t have to worry about snow unless you are headed up to Yushan or Hehuanshan in the central mountain range.
If you aren’t a fan of the cold, head to southern Taiwan where temperatures don’t usually drop beyond 18ºC on average.
Things to do in winter in Taiwan
Winter is generally quieter and considered the low season in Taiwan so you might be able to get discounted prices during this period. The best thing to do in winter is Taiwan is indulge yourself in the country’s myriad hot springs that can be found all over the country, each with their own mineral content and benefits depending on the source. Beitou district is one of the easiest hot spring districts to access from Taipei, but other worthy spots around the country include Jiaoxi in Yilan, Guanziling in Chiayi, Sichongxi in Pingtung and Zhiben in Taitung. Look out for discounts and promotions under the Taiwan Hot Spring season promotions.
Christmas isn’t an official holiday in Taiwan and fairly lowkey, though you will see Christmas decorations up in shops. New Year’s Eve is a bigger affair, with the iconic Taipei 101 New Year’s Eve countdown party and fireworks display. Many Taiwanese will travel on New Year’s Eve to see the first sunrise of the new year – popular spots include the arched bridge of Sanxiantai in Taitung and Alishan’s annual Sunrise Impression Concert which welcomes the new year with an orchestra in the Alishan Recreation Forest.
The real highlight in Taiwan’s winter season is the Lunar New Year (1st day of the Lunar Calendar) that typically happens in late January or early February. Book your transport and hotels as early as you can during this peak travel period as Taiwanese head back to their hometowns for the celebrations and to enjoy the week-long national holiday. Expect shops and temples to be extra crowded in the weeks leading up to the Lunar New Year. This is also the period of Taiwan’s many spectacular lantern and fireworks festivals all across the country – Pingxi’s Lantern Festival that sees thousands of sky lanterns floating up into the night sky and the Yanshui Beehive Fireworks Festival in the south are the most well-known.