Visiting Taipei & Taiwan in August 2020

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August in Taiwan is characterized by hot & sweaty days. Along with July, it is the peak of summer in Taiwan, but if you’ve been in the county since then, you may feel more used to it by August. By the end of the month, the temperatures finally start to drop by a few degrees.

August is also one of the rainiest months of the year in Taiwan by volume, with a lot of that coming in the form of at least one major typhoon. It’s important to be aware of what to do if a typhoon strikes during your trip, which I will cover below, but it’s also not a reason to cancel your August trip to Taiwan.

With plenty of summer events and activities taking place, August is still a fun time to visit, especially for lovers of the elements and subtropical summer heat.

Ghost Month, and the unique restrictions it comes with (which you don’t actually have to follow), also adds a hint of mystique to travels to Taiwan in August.

If extreme heat and possible typhoons is not your cup of tea, find out the best month of the year to visit Taiwan here.

 

Also read:

 

Taiwan travel planning group

 

Is Taiwan Safe to Visit in August 2020?

Essential resources for the latest news about travel restrictions to Taiwan:

Taiwan Center for Disease Control
Taiwan Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Due to the current global situation, no foreigners are currently allowed to enter Taiwan unless they have an ARC (alien resident card). Let’s just hope that by the time August 2020 actually rolls around, this situation will be dramatically different.

Under normal conditions (and even, arguably, right now), Taiwan is one of the safest countries in the world to visit. August is the second hottest month of the year in Taiwan, so it is essential to stay properly hydrated, cover your skin, and avoid spending too much time outside in the midday sun.

August is also the middle of the typhoon season in Taiwan and, along with September, the month in which you are most likely to encounter a typhoon. See more information below in the section “Typhoons in Taiwan in August”.

 

To save money on your trip to Taiwan, sign up for Klook with this link and get TW$100 off your first booking. We highly recommend the app and use it all the time.

Will a Taipei Fun Pass save you money on your trip? Find out in my detailed guide.

 

Taipei Weather in August

Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall; some of the best things to do in Taipei in August should be done in the early morning to escape the heat
Where are all the people? Avoiding the sun…

 

Also read: When to Travel to Taipei City

July and August are the peak of summer in Taiwan and the hottest months of the year. The average temperature in Taipei in August is 33°C (91°F), only 1 degree lower than the July average. Essentially this means that in early August, the weather is still at its hottest of the year, but by the end of August, the temperature is (just barely) beginning to drop.

Combined with the intense, sub-tropical humidity that seems to get trapped in the geographical depression in which Taipei sits, the “feels like” temperature is usually 5-10 degrees hotter than what the temperature indicates. This means the weather in Taipei in August usually feels like something in the low to mid-40s.

If you’ve already been in Taipei since July or earlier, you may find August more bearable simply because you’ve gotten a little more used to it. But if you’re just arriving in Taipei in August, and you’re not accustomed to tropical or sub-tropical weather, then you may be in for a shock.

Summer is my least favorite season in Taipei. Stepping outside in the Taipei feels like stepping into a furnace. I sweat constantly and have to bring an extra T-shirt everywhere I go. After the sun sets, the city continues giving off heat absorbed during the day, so the temperature only drops a few degrees. The average low temperature in Taipei in August is 26°C (79°F), but that low isn’t reached until the early morning.

Besides the crushing heat, August is also the second rainiest month of the year in Taiwan, with an average 320mm in precipitation (September is first with 360mm). But that doesn’t mean it’s raining all the time in August; August is actually (along with July) the sunniest month of the year in Taipei, with an average 6 hours of sunshine per day.

Most of that precipitation comes all at once in the form of a typhoon or two (see below). Besides typhoons, it is also fairly normal for Taipei to receive a late afternoon downpour, although these seldom last long, and help to cool off the city a little.

 

Typhoons in Taiwan in August

Damage in Taipei from Typhoon Soudelor in August 2015 in Taiwan
When someone’s roof landed on my street during Typhoon Soudelor (August 2015)

 

A big chunk of the rainfall that falls in Taiwan in August comes in the form of typhoons. Normally about 3-4 major typhoons hit Taiwan per typhoon season (July to October), with August and September being the most common months they strike. So if you are planning to spend August in Taiwan, there is a decent chance you will be there when a typhoon hits.

While typhoons are something to be aware of, they should not prevent you from visiting Taiwan. The infrastructure of the major cities in Taiwan, especially Taipei, is built to withstand typhoons. While deaths and injuries do occur, they almost always happen in small villages in the mountains, near the coast, or to people who ignore the warnings to stay inside.

Generally speaking, the cities and counties on the central west coast of Taiwan, including Hsinchu, Miaoli, Taichung, Changhua, and Yunlin, receive a less severe impact from typhoons because they are shielded by the Central Mountain Range.

The east coast, including Yilan, Hualien, and Taitung counties, are more severely impacted because the typhoons always hit Taiwan from the east. If you happen to be in that part of Taiwan when a typhoon is coming, you will have several days notice, and you may want to either head back to Taipei and check into a sturdy hotel that isn’t too close to the water or anywhere near the mountains and just wait it out. If in doubt, ask locals for advice.

Likewise, traveling to Taroko Gorge, any high mountain area such as Alishan, or anywhere close to the sea on the east coast should be avoided during and shortly after a typhoon. To cite the most serious example, Typhoon Morakot (August 2009), the deadliest typhoon in Taiwan’s recorded history, killed 673 people in Taiwan, most of whom died when a small village in the mountains in the south of Taiwan was covered by a landslide.

If a typhoon is really going to strike, though, every city and county across Taiwan will decide the evening before whether to call a no-school (yes, most Taiwanese kids are still taking some kind of classes in August)/no-work day. If this happens, you should prepare any food (and beer!) you need that evening, and stay in the entire next day.

I have personally experienced dozens of typhoons over the last 10+ years in Taipei. The capital city almost always seems to escape the worst of the damage; sometimes we get a day off from work and the storm that hits seems like nothing, only to find out that entire roads or villages were taken out in rural parts of the country.

 

Damage in Taipei from Typhoon Soudelor (August 2015)
Damage on my street from Typhoon Soudelor (August 2015)

 

However, in August of 2015, Typhoon Soudelor hit Taipei dead on, and it was the craziest typhoon experience I’ve ever had. Roofs were literally ripped off a few buildings in my neighborhood, trees uprooted, and scooters blown over everywhere. But even then, I still felt safe in my concrete apartment block.

My point is not to scare you off from visiting Taiwan in August, but instead to remind you of the importance of taking typhoons seriously and staying in or avoiding risky areas if you are advised to.

The worst case scenario is that you may have to make a last minute change in your plans; for example, one year my family and I were on Green Island, and we had to leave the island one day ahead of schedule because a typhoon was approaching and the authorities asked all tourists to go back to the mainland.

The best case (and most likely) scenario is that you’ll have to spend a day inside when the typhoon hits, listening to the wild wind and rain outside, or observing it from your balcony, which can actually be pretty awesome. Only once in my 10+ years in Taipei have I seen two days in a row of mandatory no-school/no-work due to typhoon, so it is unlikely to affect many days of your trip.

 

What to Wear in Taipei in August

Because the weather in Taipei in August is super hot and humid, you’ll want to dress as lightly and comfortably as possible. Wear clothing that covers lots of skin to avoid direct sunlight, but is breathable and dries quickly when you sweat. Also don’t forget good shades, a hat, and sunscreen. I find a sarong or thin scarf perfect for wearing over my shoulders as well, either to prevent getting sunburned, or protect my skin after being burned.

Taipei is super lax when it comes to dress code; shorts and flip flops for men are fine even in the big city and budget- to mid-range restaurants. Going shirtless on the street for men is not acceptable, though (unless you are a construction worker), and never, ever walk around barefoot unless you are on the beach (and even there, the sand may be too hot for that); the locals would think you’ve lost your mind.

For women short shorts/skirts and tank tops are super common among locals, even for entering the major temples of Taipei, and catcalling is rare in Taiwan.

It’s good to prepare for rain, of course, but even if you don’t want to pack the gear, you can easily pick up a cheap umbrella in Taiwan. Cheap, thin, pull-over ponchos are widely available as well, but I find them sticky to wear in the heat/humidity of August; for cycling, they are a must.

 

Here’s my guide to the best neighborhoods and hotels in Taipei, or you can search here for the best hotel deals in Taipei and best Airbnbs in Taiwan. (As an Airbnb associate, I earn a small commission if you book through this link, at no extra cost to you. Join Airbnb here and you’ll get up to $50 off your first stay!)

 

Taiwan Weather in August

Just like in Taipei, the weather in all the major cities and lowland areas in Taiwan in August is about as hot as it gets, with the temperatures finally starting to ease up (but still very hot) by the end of the month.

Tainan City in the south of Taiwan has an average temperature of 32°C (90°F) in August, only one degree lower than that of July, and the average low temperature remains 26°C (79°F), the same as in July.

In August, Tainan receives an average of 395mm of rain, higher than any other month. This is a combination of short but very intense periods of rain during typhoons and regular late-afternoon showers that occur after the heat and humidity build up in the daytime.

In other words, if you are planning to visit the south of Taiwan in August, you can expect to have some very hot, sunny, and steamy days, but you are also practically guaranteed to experience periods of heavy rain as well, and that may or may not include a typhoon.

Taichung in central Taiwan will be as hot as anywhere else in Taiwan but less likely to be severely impacted by typhoons, so it’s always a safe bet. Taroko Gorge is very hot as well, but usually not quite as bad as Taipei. Sun Moon Lake is slightly less hot because it is at a higher elevation, but it can still be uncomfortably hot. High mountain resorts like Alishan and Cingjing Farm provide the perfect escapes; Alishan is a pleasant 23°C (73°F) in the daytime, falling to an average low of 15°C (59°F) at night.

The offshore islands are also (no big surprise) also hot AF in August, and you won’t find much shade on them, either.

 

What to wear in Taiwan in August

My advice here is no different than for Taipei: wear light, comfortable clothing and protect your skin if you spend any amount of time outdoors in the midday.

If you’re planning to hit the beach in Kenting or one of the offshore islands, be extra careful as the sun can be unbelievably powerful, and going into the water frequently only makes you forget.

Don’t forget to bring rain gear especially if traveling a ways from the city; even though there are 7-Elevens everywhere, even in the countryside, sometimes the rain clouds rolls in incredibly fast and you can get completely drenched in seconds.

If you plan to ride a scooter for a long distance, then definitely opt for one of the long, thick raincoats worn by all Taiwanese when they ride, which are available from any scooter supply store.

 

Taipei in August: Best Things to Do

Depending on what kind of weather you are used to, you may find it pleasant or insufferable to try to visit the main attractions of Taipei during the day in August. Hit the main outdoors sights like Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall and Longshan Temple as early as possible; follow my Taipei itinerary to plan your activities efficiently.

Fortunately, there are loads of (fully air-conditioned) indoor things to do in Taipei as well. Considering taking a day trip from Taipei; many of the options I recommend are in elevated areas that aren’t as hot as the Taipei city center, including Jiufen Old Street and Shifen Waterfall.

 

My wife and kids riding the Maokong Gondola in Taipei in August
Ride the Maokong Gondola to gain a little elevation and escape the heat of the city.

 

If the heats sucks out all of your energy (or will to live), spend the afternoon in your hotel or an air conditioned café, then head out around dusk when the sun sets and hit the city’s night markets; they are best around 5-7 PM, but after that they become a sweaty, clogged mass of people.

In the end, though, if you are anything like me, you will spend the entire month of August in Taipei wondering how and when you can get yourself into some water.

There are disappointingly few waterparks in Taipei. Water Country Park (Taipei Water Park or 自來水園區) in Gongguan district is a children’s outdoor spray park best for toddlers and young children. It’s cheap but very popular among locals. Read more in my guide to visiting Taipei with kids.

In August 2020, the Taipei Riverside Children’s Fun Carnival will also take place at the Taipei Water Park, with inflatable slides, shows, and more.

 

Taipei Waterpark in Gongguan, one of the best things to do with kids in Taipei in July
One of the few outdoor water play areas in Taipei. Image from Taipei Waterpark Website

 

Walking distance from Water Country Park, Road Castle is an outdoor swimming pool with a few waterslides. There’s a small children’s section, but it’s more popular among adults. You can even bring your own liquor from 7-Eleven in, discreetly, to enjoy on the lawn chairs, and some pretty wild pool parties are thrown at the pool on some weekends in August.

 

Hot August day idea: take a cooking class in Taipei and learn how to make traditional Taiwanese dishes!

 

Another great way to beat the heat is to dig in to a heaping mound of shaved ice; try Ximending for loads of shaved ice shops, Ice Monster for some unique modern varieties, or Yongkang Street for the best mango shaved ice.

 

Yongkang street mango shaved ice, one of the best ways to beat the heat in Taipei in August
My son enjoying some mango shaved ice on Yongkang Street in Taipei

 

August 8 is Father’s Day in Taiwan, because 8/8 is pronounced ba/ba in Mandarun, similar to the word for ‘father’. Most locals take their father’s out for dinner on or around that day, so you can expect most restaurants in Taipei to be fully booked.

For performance lovers, the Taipei Fringe Festival will take place from August 22 to September 6, 2020 at locations throughout the city.

The seventh month of the Lunar Calendar is called Ghost Month or 中元節 (zhong yuan jie) in Taiwan, and this usually coincides roughly with August. This is a time when the locals believe that the spirits of the deceased return to the world and must be honored with all manner of offerings.

Throughout the month, and especially on certain days, you may notice that nearly every shop in Taipei has a table of offerings set up in front of it, and people burn even more incense and joss paper (or “ghost money”) than usual. Having hot smoke blow in your face on your way to work when it is already insanely hot outside is a special experience that all long-term expats in Taipei look forward to every August (excuse my sarcasm…)

 

A hand putting some ghost money into a fire, part of the rituals that take place during Ghost Month in August in Taipei
Burning “ghost money” for the Ghost Festival

 

Ghost Month comes with a long list of restrictions and things you shouldn’t do, including swimming in the sea (right in the hottest month of the year, sure…), walking alone at night, or whistling. These are very traditional beliefs and most locals don’t actually pay much attention to them (so of course, you don’t have to, either), but be aware that the vast majority of Taiwanese DO believe in ghosts (ancestral spirits), so definitely refrain from making jokes about or mocking the Ghost Festival and its associated beliefs. My Taiwanese wife even holds her breath every time we ride past a cemetery on our scooter.

In 2020, Ghost Month starts on August 19, a little later than usual. The most important event of Ghost Month, the 15th day of the seventh month on the lunar calendar, won’t come until September 2 this year, so you can read my guide to visiting Taiwan in September for more details about that.

The seventh day of the seventh lunar month (August 25, 2020) is Qixi Festival, also sometimes called “Chinese Valentine’s Day.” On the weekend before it (2020 date tentatively set for August 22 or 23), a huge fireworks display is set off from Dadaocheng Wharf, with all manner of food and other activities making it an event not to be missed.

 

Taiwan in August: Best Places to Visit

If the city is just too hot for you in August, then heading to the beach may seem like the only logical solution. Here’s my list of the best beaches in northern Taiwan, all within easy reach of Taipei.

The free Hohaiyan Rock Music Festival on Fulong Beach usually takes place in July or August; I’ll share the dates here when they become available. The Fulong International Sand Sculpture Festival usually wraps up sometime in August, so it’s your last chance to see this truly impressive display right on one of the best beaches in Taiwan.

 

Surfing at Dulan, one of the best places to visit in Taiwan in August
Dulan surfing beach in southern Taiwan

 

In the south of Taiwan, the best beaches are at Dulan in Taitung (for surfing especially), Kenting National Park, or on the offshore islands. Just remember to be careful with that extreme midday sun; head to the beach in the early morning, or the late afternoon leading up to sunset is especially pleasant.

July and August are the most popular time for Taiwanese to head to the offshore islands such as Green Island, Orchid Island, Penghu, and Xiaoliuqiu but these are also the hottest (I personally think late spring or early autumn are way better). Green Island has the most “tropical island” feel to it, in my opinion. Scuba diving on Green Island and on Orchid Island are popular activities, as are sailing or island hopping on Penghu, and turtle watching on Xiaoliuqiu. Get your island ferry tickets here or flights to Penghu here.

The Penghu International Fireworks Festival, which usually takes place earlier in the year, has been postponed this year and is slated to take place from July 6 to September 3, 2020. One of the most awesome ways to take in the festival is by Stand-Up Paddleboarding.

If waterparks are more your thing, head to Leofoo Village Theme Park in Hsinchu County (an hour south of Taipei). Make sure to buy your tickets in advance online for a huge discount.

Other decent waterparks in Taiwan include Jumbo Wave Water Park at Window on China in Taoyuan, Mala Bay at Lihpao Village in Taichung (see more details in my Taichung day trips article), Dongshan River Water Park in Yilan (see more details in my Yilan guide), and Vicky the Waterpark at Janfusun in Yunlin County.

Another awesome way to cool down in August in Taiwan is river tracing, a popular outdoor activity in Taiwan that involves walking up rivers, cliff diving, and sliding down waterfalls. Wear felt shoes to avoid slipping (they aren’t too expensive; try any outdoor shop in Taipei) and a life jacket if you aren’t a strong swimmer (helmets should also be worn on more dangerous runs).

 

A person river tracing, one of the best things to do in August in Taiwan
River tracing in Hualien County

 

The best places to go river tracing are at Jiajiuliao Stream in Wulai in New Taipei City, Yilan County, Hualien County, and Taitung County (read about one of the craziest river traces in Taiwan in my guide to the east coast). Never go alone, and first timers should consider going on an organized river tracing trip, such as these ones in Yilan, Hualien, or Taitung.

The International Balloon Festival in Luye, Taitung, will take place from July 11 to August 30 in 2020. I took my kids a few years ago and we had a fantastic experience (read all about it in my guide to Luye and the Taitung Hot Air Balloon Festival and my guide to travel around Taiwan with kids). You can sign up to ride a hot air balloon in Taitung here, or head up to the Luye Highland to watch the hot air balloons taking off in the early morning or late afternoon for free.

Taroko Gorge is fine to visit in August so long as there isn’t any heavy rain, which can cause serious (and sometimes deadly) landslides. Sun Moon Lake should be a few degrees cooler due to the elevation (but unfortunately swimming in the lake is not allowed), while high mountain retreats such as Alishan and Qingjing Farm are ideal places to visit in August due to the mild weather.

See more great trip ideas in this list of my 50 favorite things to do in Taiwan.

 

Conclusion: Is August a Good Time to Visit Taiwan?

Like any month of the year, there are ups and downs to visiting Taiwan in August. Love it or hate it, summer is still in full swing in August. Plan less sightseeing and more time by the water in your Taiwan travel itinerary and you may just love it.

There are also plenty of summer-related events and activities to enjoy in August. Just come with a little patience, plan your days to avoid the heat, and follow all the recommendations from locals if you happen to encounter a typhoon during your trip.

 

 

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