The Best Time to Visit Taiwan: An Insider’s Guide

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So you’ve got your sights set on Taiwan, and now you’re wondering what the best time to go to Taiwan is. Well, I’ve just spent the last several weeks typing up guides to visiting Taiwan in every season and month of the year, and all of that information is summarized right here on this page. If you’re just heading to the capital, I’ve also got this Taipei-specific post on when to visit Taipei City. My recommendations come from 10+ years of living in, traveling around, and writing about the beautiful island nation that I consider my second home.

The short answer is that there is no single best time to travel to Taiwan. It’s hard to even narrow it down to a season or a few months, because each of them will appeal to people with different interests and different preferences when it comes to the weather.

 

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There is no distinct high, low, or shoulder season in Taiwan. Visitor numbers bounce up and down by the month, and you must consider when the locals are traveling (Lunar New Year, weekends, summer) because there are so many of them. Summer gets more rain by volume, thanks in part to typhoons, while winter often brings chilly drizzle and spring has a mini rain season of its own. Summers can be brutally hot, but some love (or are just used to) that kind of heat. Traditional festivals and cultural events are spread throughout the year and can fall in different months each year because they are tied to the lunar calendar.

For all these reasons, it’s hard to really declare a best time to visit Taiwan, and I think that websites that do this are oversimplifying things. Therefore, I’m going to walk you through what each season and month of the year is like in Taiwan so that you can decide for yourself. At the end, I’ll reveal my personal favorite! Hopefully this helps you decide when to visit Taiwan.

 

2020 Note: International travelers are currently banned from visiting Taiwan, and please bear in mind that any activities or events I mention in this article may be cancelled or postponed. I have written this article for travelers preparing for the time when things open up and we can all travel again. 

 

When Is the Best Season to Visit Taiwan?

When deciding which season to visit Taiwan, start by considering what you want to do during your trip. Winter is best for hot springs and flower viewing, spring and autumn are great for hiking or cycling, while summer is best for beaches and water-based activities.

Rain can fall in virtually any season in Taiwan, so its always good to have some possible indoor activities lined up, such as taking one of the great cooking courses in Taiwan!

 

Heavy clouds in Taipei in winter; it's important to consider the weather when deciding when to visit Taiwan
Overcast weather typical of Taipei in winter

 

Taiwan in Winter (December to March)

In Taipei City and the subtropical north of Taiwan, winters are chilly and damp. Hazy, overcast skies (from both clouds and air pollution) and drizzling rain are common. Taipei’s night markets are open every day of the year, helping you to keep warm with steamy foods in winter.

In the tropical south of Taiwan, winter is much drier, and temperatures are a few degrees warmer. In the far south, the sea is warm enough to swim in year round.

Winter is the perfect time to enjoy Taiwan’s vast array of thermal hot springs, such as Beitou, Jiaoxi, and Wenshan. If you’re prepared to do some serious hiking or driving up into the high mountains, you can even see snow in Taiwan. You can still visit high mountain resorts like Alishan and Cingjing Farm in winter, but prepare for near freezing temperatures. You’ll want to avoid the offshore islands, which can be cold, windy, and many services are closed.

I put December as both a winter and autumn month, because the month is unpredictable and can show traits of both seasons.

The Lunar New Year comes in winter (late January to late February) but can make travel a little tough. The Lantern Festival, on the 15th day of the Lunar New Year, is an event to remember. Winter also offers the chance to see cherry blossoms in Taiwan.

See here for my detailed guide to going to Taiwan in winter.

 

Taiwan in Spring (April to June)

From April until June, the weather across Taiwan seems to get hotter by the day, but remains pleasantly bearable compared to what’s to come in summer. A mini rain season, called the Plum Rain or East Asian Monsoon, begins affecting Taipei around May, then travels south in June.

The warm weather makes spring a great time for visiting just about any corner of Taiwan, including the offshore islands, where the weather is fine but summer crowds have yet to arrive.

April is one of the most popular most of the year by tourist arrival numbers, while June is one of the lowest, possibly due to the increased chance of rain and summer holidays just around the corner.

 

A person paragliding over Wanli beach in Taiwan in summer
Paragliding on Wanli beach in summer

 

Taiwan in Summer (July to September)

If you want to face mother nature head on see what you’re made of, come to Taiwan in summer. Soaring temperatures combined with crushing humidity result in sauna-like conditions that people seem to love or hate (most locals hate it, myself included).

Summer is also typhoon season in Taiwan, with 3-4 major typhoons striking per year, often causing extensive damage and deaths. Historically, August and September have the highest number of typhoons. It is still safe to visit Taiwan during typhoon season, but you’ll need to follow some precautions if one does strike during your trip (see my articles on July, August, or September for more information).

One great thing about summer in Taiwan is the plethora of beaches, water-based activities, and summer-related festivals. If you enjoy tropical heat, you may love summer in Taiwan, but if you aren’t used to the climate, traveling around in it can be exhausting. High mountain resorts like Alishan offer the perfect escape from the lowland heat.

See here for my detailed guide to going to Taiwan in summer.

 

Taiwan in Autumn (October to December)

By late September, the intense heat finally gives way to pleasant, warm autumn days. By mid-November you’ll need a sweater or light jacket. True “winter” doesn’t usually hit until mid- to late-December.

Autumn is also the driest and season of the year. The mild and relatively clear weather makes it the perfect season for hiking or other outdoor activities. While it is possible to enjoy some autumn foliage in Taiwan, you will have to travel to some national parks or national scenic areas, which are not always super accessible or easy to get to on public transportation.

 

 

When Is the Best Month to Visit Taiwan?

Taiwan can really vary by the month, and depending hugely on where you are in the country. I hope the below details help you to decide which month is the best to visit Taiwan for you!

 

January in Taiwan

January can be outright chilly in Taipei, with skies that seem to always gray. It’s the perfect time for visiting hot springs. The south of Taiwan is drier and a few degrees warmer than Taipei in January. In 2020, Lunar New Year fell on January 25, but on most years it comes in February.

Cherry blossoms first start blooming in some parts of the country around mid-January.

See here for my detailed guide to spending January in Taiwan and how to travel around Taiwan during Chinese New Year.

 

February in Taiwan

January’s damp, chilly weather continues throughout February. Lunar New Year most commonly falls in February (Feb. 12, 2021, Feb. 1, 2022). Lunar New Year is primarily a family-focused holiday, so much of the country shuts down for the roughly week-long holiday, all traveling can be tough with locals filling up the highways and hotels.

The Lantern Festival, on the 15th day of the Lunar new Year, along with several associated events and activities (including the wild Yanshui Fireworks Festival), is much more interesting for visitors. This usually falls in February, but in some months can be in early March.

See here for my detailed guide to spending February in Taiwan and how to travel around Taiwan during Chinese New Year.

 

Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival, which happens in winter in Taiwan
The Pingxi Lantern Festival, on the 15th day of the lunar year

 

March in Taiwan

In Taipei, the uninspiring weather often drags on into March, but usually starts warming up by the end of the month. Weather in the south can already be quite warm in March, but the offshore islands remain too windy or chilly for comfort.

Several types of flower, including cherry blossoms, bloom in March, with a particularly inspiring display at Tianyuan Temple in New Taipei City, one of the most impressive temples in Greater Taipei. March is likely the last month you’ll  think about seeking out hot springs in Taiwan.

See here for my detailed guide to spending March in Taiwan.

 

April in Taiwan

Spring has officially arrived in Taiwan, and this is kick started with Spring Scream, the country’s most notorious long weekend of parties and music festivals in Kenting National Park, on the country’s southern tip.

The warm weather and relatively dry weather (with plum rains and summer typhoons just around the corner) make April one of the most popular months of the year to visit Taiwan.

See here for my detailed guide to spending April in Taiwan.

 

May in Taiwan

Warm usually turns to hot in May, with ideal weather for visiting many corners of Taiwan. May is, in my opinion, the best month to visit offshore islands such as Green Island, Penghu, Xiaoliuqiu, or Orchid Island, before they get too hot and loaded with domestic tourists in summer.

The plum rains usually start falling in Taipei and northern Taiwan in May, which can result several days in a row of constant rain. The center and south of the country remain comparatively dry.

See here for my detailed guide to spending May in Taiwan.

 

Grassland on Orchid Island, Taiwan in May
Visiting Orchid Island in May

 

June in Taiwan

June is usually the first month of the year when I feel too hot. The plum rains bring heavy rain to the south of the island in June, not to mention the near daily late-afternoon downpours that result after the heat and humidity build up in the daytime. Taipei gets hotter and hotter by the day.

Still, it’s not a bad month to visit Taiwan; you can enjoy summer-like conditions minus the crowds (and typhoons) of actual summer. It’s also one of the least busy months in terms of tourist numbers; people are either scared off by the rains or waiting for their time off in July. The Dragon Boat Festival is an event worth checking out.

See here for my detailed guide to spending June in Taiwan.

 

July in Taiwan

Taiwan is July is characterized by crushing heat, and humidity that makes it feel even more intense. It’s the hottest month of the year in Taiwan. Get our early (or in the evening to explore the night markets and nightlife), and try not to plan too much sightseeing for the daytime; you’ll just wear yourself out. Dress in thin, light clothing and stay hydrated.

Some ways to beat the heat include water parks, beaches (here are my favorite beaches near Taipei), river tracing, and icy deserts. Also don’t miss the Fulong International Sand Sculpture Festival and Taitung International Hot Air Balloon Festival.

The first typhoon of the year often arrives in July.

See here for my detailed guide to spending July in Taiwan.

 

August in Taiwan

July’s intense heat persists in August, and the month has a higher probability of typhoons. Still, many summer festivals and events take place, including Ghost Month, when locals believe the spirits of the deceased return to the earth and need to be appeased with offerings.

See here for my detailed guide to spending August in Taiwan.

 

Taitung Hot Air Balloon Festival in Luye, Taitung in summer
The Taitung Hot Air Balloon Festival, taking place in July and August

 

September in Taiwan

Summer heat and humidity continues well into September; some find it still too hot, while others love it. Along with August, September has the highest probability of typhoons. With everyone back to work or school, though, September is one of the least crowded months of the year, making travel easier and beaches practically empty.

The Mid-Autumn Festival (or “Moon Festival”) usually falls in September, but in 2020 it is on October 1. Locals celebrate by having family barbecues on the street in front of their homes and by eating moon cakes.

See here for my detailed guide to spending September in Taiwan.

 

October in Taiwan

October weather in Taiwan is warm, clear, and relatively dry, making it ideal for hiking, cycling, and general sightseeing. Double 10 Day, the National Day, is a national holiday celebrated with a ceremony at the Presidential Building in Taipei (don’t go out of your way for it).

Halloween isn’t much of a thing unless you’re teaching kindergarten kids in Taiwan, but it can be a wild weekend to dress up and hit the night clubs in Taipei.

See here for my detailed guide to spending October in Taiwan.

 

My friends sitting on the edge of cliff while hiking in Taiwan in October
October, the perfect hiking season in Taiwan

 

November in Taiwan

The same thing happens every year; the weather remains lovely until around November 16, my birthday, when it suddenly becomes cold in Taipei. It’s easy to remember, because my birthday gathering often coincides with the first time of the year I have to wear long pants and a hoodie.

Still, like October, November tends to have mild and dry weather, so it is also a great time for hiking. Beach season is officially over in the north, though. You’ll also probably want to avoid the offshore islands from this month on, too.

See here for my detailed guide to spending November in Taiwan.

 

December in Taiwan

December can be a wild card in terms of weather. Often it feels like a continuation of autumn, and in recent years, we’ve even had strange bouts of unusually hot, shorts-and-T-shirt weather in December.

Christmas has sort of caught on in Taiwan, in terms of decorations, but the actual day is still a normal working day. Young people may exchange gifts or go out for a meal with friends, but it’s not a family event like in the West. Banqiao, a district of New Taipei City (where I happened to live for 5 years), puts on an over-the-top Christmas lights display; it’s worth battling the crowds just to see it once. An Asian Santa Claus even makes an appearance at some 5-star hotels in Taipei.

At some point in December it does usually start getting cold, though, and hundreds of thousands of people freeze their buns off while standing in the streets around Taipei 101 for the epic fireworks display on New Year’s Eve. Expect long lines and a steep cover charge to party anywhere that night.

See here for my detailed guide to spending December in Taiwan.

 

My Personal Favorite Season and Month in Taiwan

As someone who has lived in Taiwan for many years, I look forward to each season of the year for different reasons. I really love hot springs, and look forward to that aspect of winter. I also enjoy the break from hot weather, and as a multi-cultural family, I love that we get to celebrate both Christmas and Lunar New Year within a few months.

Warming weather in spring is always nice, and while I struggle with the heat and humidity in summer, nothing is more satisfying than a cold beer, or jumping into a cold river, in the middle of summer. Enduring a summer in Taiwan (typhoons included) is, in my opinion, the quintessential Taiwan experience.

But if I have to choose a single season that I love most, it is autumn, and October would have the be my personal favorite month of the year, thanks to those warm days and clear skies. It’s one of the few months of the year when I feel 100% comfortable outside and it is perfect for hiking and city explorations, my favorite activities.

 

Me on a scooter with my two kids enjoy one of the best months to visit Taiwan
Me riding a scooter with my two kids in Taitung, where you can wear shorts all year.

 

Conclusion: When Is the Best Time to Visit Taiwan?

As you can see, there is no clear answer to the question “When is the best time to travel to Taiwan?” Many websites make claims or automatically generate a best month to go to Taiwan based on the least rain and middle-ground temperatures. But as I’m sure you can see after reading this article, the reality is more complex than that, and I personally believe each month of the year can be a perfect month to visit Taiwan for certain traveler types.

Just choose one that stands out for you, book it, and make the best of your trip. I’m sure you will love Taiwan; I’ve never met a traveler who didn’t.

 

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