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Is autumn a good time to visit Taiwan? I would say that it’s not just good. In fact, it is my favorite season of the year to be in Taiwan.
Fall is Taiwan is characterized by pleasant, warm to cool weather and blue skies. There is little chance of rain, and it’s the perfect time to go hiking.
As a subtropical country, Taiwan isn’t as famous for its fall colors as other countries with cooler climates. Still, you can still see some great autumn foliage in Taiwan if you’re willing to make the journey to one of the countries excellent forest parks.
A variety of holidays and cultural events in autumn in Taipei and across Taiwan round out the season. Relatively low crowds in October and November are yet another plus, but December (perhaps surprisingly) is the most popular month of the year to visit Taiwan according to tourist arrival numbers.
When is Autumn in Taiwan?
While many countries in the Northern Hemisphere would consider September to November autumn, September is more like a summer month in Taiwan. Thus, Autumn is from October to December in Taiwan.
Autumn colors don’t really even begin until late October, and October is also the time when temperatures begin to cool somewhat. November is the most characteristically “autumn” month in Taiwan.
December can be a wild card, or transitional month between fall and winter. Some days can be sunny and surprisingly warm, while others can start to feel more like winter.
Taipei Autumn Weather
The weather in autumn in Taipei is (in my opinion) the most pleasant of the entire year. The average high temperature ranges from 27°C (81°F) in October to 21°C (70°F) in December. The average low temperature is 22°C (72°F) in October and 15°C (59°F) in December.
October, November, and December are also some of the driest months of the year in Taiwan. While small bouts of rain are possible at any time of the year in Taipei, you are least likely to encounter rain in autumn compared to other seasons. You will also have the highest chance of blue skies.
It’s important to note that October is the tail end of the typhoon season in Taiwan. What’s more, late season typhoons have a history of being some of the most destructive. Also, in some very rare cases, typhoons have struck as late as November in Taiwan. It’s not really reason to cancel your autumn trip to Taiwan, but just a possibility to be aware of. For more information on traveling in Taiwan during a typhoon, see my guide to visiting Taiwan in August, the most typhoon-prone month.
Taiwan Autumn Weather
Like other seasons in Taiwan, though, the further south you head in Taiwan, the warmer the temperatures will be. For example, in Tainan, the average high in autumn ranges from 31°C (89°F) in October to 24°C (75°F) in December. In other words, it can still feel like summer in southern Taiwan in October.
The exception is of course if you head to higher altitudes. Sun Moon Lake, which has an elevation of 748 meters, can be a couple degrees cooler than nearby Taichung, while high altitude mountain resorts like Qingjing Farm and Alishan can be 5-10 degrees cooler than coastal areas.
On Taiwan’s offshore islands, autumn brings stronger winds, especially on Penghu, starting in October. This only gets worse leading into winter. Besides the wind, though, the weather can be quite pleasant on the islands, much like the rest of Taiwan.
What to Wear in Taiwan in Autumn
How to dress in fall in Taiwan is going to depend quite a bit on exactly which month you choose and where in Taiwan you plan to go. If you’re visiting in October, you may find yourself dressing in summer attire most of the time.
I find that mid-November is usually when the weather starts to get noticeably cooler. My birthday, which is in the middle of November, is usually around when I start to wear a sweater or light jacket for heading outside, especially at night.
The same goes for December, but there can be surprisingly warm days even in that month. Therefore, if you’re visiting Taiwan in mid to late autumn, I would suggest bringing a combination of summery clothes and warmer ones, such as jeans a warm top.
Don’t forget your bathing suit, as you may be heading to the beach in early autumn, or hot springs in late autumn. And if you’re heading to the high mountains, you’ll want to dress for winter-like weather, especially for seeing the sunrise at Alishan.
Things to Do in Taipei in Autumn
With such pleasant weather in fall in Taipei, it’s a great time to be outside, either exploring the city, or hiking on the many trails in and around the city. For planning your Taipei stay, consult my suggested Taipei itinerary, where to stay in Taipei, and favorite things to do in Taipei.
The fall season in Taiwan usually kicks off with the Mid-Autumn Festival (中秋節 or zhongqiu jie, also known as the Moon Festival). Don’t be fooled by the name; while it may already be “mid” autumn in Beijing, this holiday usually falls in late September or early October, which is just the beginning of autumn in Taiwan.
To celebrate the Moon Festival, families across Taiwan gather on the street in front of their homes to have barbecues. You can also taste rich, filing moon cakes at this time.
October 10 is also the National Day of the Republic of China (aka Taiwan), which is also an official holiday. There is usually a raising the flag ceremony in front of the Presidential Building in Taipei.
Other Taipei events to look out for in early autumn include Nuit Blanche, Hakken Yimin Festival, Halloween (try the Taipei Zoo for kids or night clubs in Taipei for party people), the Shilin Residence Chrysanthemum Show, and the Autumn Rose Exhibition.
In November, silvergrass paints the hills around Taipei. The best places to see it are at Yangmingshan and the Caoling Historic Trail.
In the late autumn, check out the Qing Shan King’s noisy birthday parade (22rd day of the tenth lunar month – December 6 in 2020) around Qingshan Temple, one of the most important temples in Taipei, and the annual Tapei Marathon. See here for more details on Christmas and New Year’s Eve activities in Taipei.
In early autumn, the weather may still be warm enough to visit beaches around Taipei, likely with very few other people on them. Autumn is also the start of hot spring season in Taipei. Learn more in my detailed guides to Beitou Hot Spring and Wulai Hot Spring.
Where to See Autumn Foliage in Taipei
If you want to see fall leaf colors in and around Taipei, November is the best month. The best place to see autumn foliage in Taipei is Yangminshan National Park.
Another good choice is Maokong, which can be accessed on the Maokong Gondola. Still, don’t expect the colorful foliage to be quite as amazing as what you would see in countries with cooler climates, such as Japan (for example, see these amazing fall colors in Kyoto in autumn).
Things to Do in Taiwan in Autumn
Autumn is a fabulous time to get out of the city. For loads of ideas outside of Taipei, see my 40 Taipei day trip recommendations.
As the whether cools off across Taiwan, it’s the perfect time to start visiting hot springs. Besides the ones I mentioned above in Taipei, I also recommend Jiaoxi Hot Spring in Yilan County and secret Wenshan Hot Spring.
Autumn is a lovely time for exploring the famed natural attractions of Taiwan, such as Taroko Gorge, Alishan National Scenic Area, and Sun Moon Lake. The Sun Moon Lake International Fireworks Festival usually takes place in October or November.
Alishan can get quite chilly in autumn, but with the cold weather, the chance of seeing the sunrise above a sea of clouds phenomenon also increases, so the resort remains popular.
Autumn is not a popular time to visit the offshore islands (and winter is even less popular) because it gets increasingly windy, but if you can handle the winds, you will also enjoy a crowd-free experience. On Orchid Island, many services start closing for the winter season beginning in autumn, so this can have a big impact on your trip.
Best Autumn Foliage Spots in Taiwan
If you’re hoping to see autumn colors in Taiwan, there are better spots if you are willing to travel further from Taipei and into the mountains. November and early December are the best months to see autumn foliage, depending on where you go (generally, further south will come later).
In Taoyuan, the best autumn foliage can be seen at Bade Bald Cypress Forest (八德落羽松森林), Shimen Reservoir (石門水庫), and Lalashan (拉拉山). In Yilan, try Mingchi Forest Recreation Area (明池森林遊樂區) and Taipingshan (太平山).
Two of the most famous fall foliage spots in Taiwan is Wuling Farm in Taichung (accessed from the east coast) and Aowanda in Nantou County. Alishan National Scenic Area is also a decent option, as is Xitou Nature Education Area (溪頭自然教育園區) next to Monster Village. In Tainan, you can also try Hongye Park (紅葉公園).
Conclusion: Is Fall a Good Time to Visit Taiwan?
As you can see, there are many reasons to spend autumn in Taiwan. Great hiking, silvergrass, fall foliage, and numerous holidays and events are but a few. Bring some warm clothes just in case, and have a great trip!