Visiting Taipei & Taiwan in July 2020

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Ready for some serious heat? July in Taiwan is the hottest and sunniest month of the year. Be prepared to sweat, and to duck into every 7-Eleven you pass for an air-conditioned moment of respite.

Although most Taiwanese fear the sun (“fear” is the word they really use), the Taiwanese summer is still the time when many locals get out to enjoy the sights and beaches around the country, not to mention the increase of foreign visitors in summer, so you can expect crowds in Taiwan in July, despite the heat. In July 2020, Taiwan will host some awesome events, including the Taitung Hot Air Balloon Festival and Penghu Fireworks Festival, provided these aren’t affected by current global travel bans.

July is also the start of typhoon season in Taiwan. Usually the first typhoon of the year strikes in July, but in the last few years the first one hasn’t come until August or later, so you may still be in luck. I’ll cover in detail below everything you need to know about getting through your first typhoon in Taiwan.

Whether you’re coming because summer is your only choice or because you love tropical heat, traveling Taiwan in July is surely an experience to remember. See here to find out what the best month of the year to visit Taiwan is, according to me 🙂

 

Also read:

 

Taiwan travel planning group

 

Will a Taipei Fun Pass save you money? Find out in my Taipei Fun Pass guide, and you can get a discount on the pass and other travel deals if you sign up for Klook using my referral link!

 

Is Taiwan Safe to Visit in July 2020?

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

Taiwan Center for Disease Control
Taiwan Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Non-citizens and non-residents are barred from entering Taiwan as of March 19, 2020. If you are not a citizen or ARC (Alien Resident Card) holder, you will not be able to enter Taiwan. Most major attractions in Taiwan remain open, but it’s best to double check. For all major events I mention in this article, there is a chance they could be postponed or cancelled. Things change quickly and I can’t always keep up with updates, so do proper research before planning a trip. We can only hope that by July 2021, this situation will have vastly improved. If any changes come before then, I will update this space immediately.

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

The first typhoon of the year usually comes in July. Keep an eye on forecasts and stay inside if it is advised to do so. Do not travel to Taroko Gorge or mountainous areas during or shortly after a typhoon, when landslides are extremely common, and avoid going near the beach at this time, especially on the east coast. Green Island and Orchid Island may become inaccessible, and any tourists there could be asked to leave, during a typhoon.

 

Taipei Weather in July

Confucius Temple in Taipei in summer
See that beautiful shade on the sides? That’s where you’ll want to be.

 

Also read: The Best Time to Go to Taipei

July is the hottest month of the year in Taipei, with a daytime average high of 34°C (93°F). And while 34 is the average, it really doesn’t vary much from that number; it’s pretty much 34 degrees every single day, give or take 1-2 degrees (the highest temperature ever recorded in Taipei was 39.3°C (102.7°F)). The last few summers in Taiwan have been some of the hottest on record, like in many other parts of the world, with several days in a row of 35°C or higher temperatures.

Please keep in mind that the intense humidity characteristic of Taipei means that the temperature generally “feels” 5-10 degrees hotter than the number indicates. You can expect a “feels like” in the low- to mid-40s (mid- to high 100s) every day.

While some people live for this kind of weather, including several of my non-Taiwanese friends in Taipei, I personally hate it and never got used to it in my 10+ years of living in the city. Instead of getting more used to it over time, every summer I spent in the city seemed to be harder to bear than the last.

I can only compare stepping outside in the middle of the day in Taipei in July to entering a steam room or sauna. The heat forces me into submission, and I can only think about how many meters I have to walk until I reach the next heavily air-conditioned 7-Eleven or MRT station. Like the locals, I stand several meters back from crosswalks to enjoy a few extra seconds in the strip of shade provided by a building, but I still haven’t gone as far as carrying an umbrella for shade like many locals do.

In the evening after the torturous sun sets, the city still gives off heat absorbed during the day. The average low temperature in Taipei in July is 26°C (79°F), but it’s often still pushing 30 (86) around the time I go to bed. Evenings are my favorite time to be out in Taipei in July, though; without the sun, the warmth of the city is perfect for drinking beer anywhere outside; try the LGBT-friendly bar patios beside Red Theater in Ximending.

July receives fewer days of rain (an average of 12) than preceding months. The spring plum rains are long finished by July. Along with August, it is the sunniest month of the year, with an average of 6 hours of sunshine per day. It may be ******* hot, but at least it’s not gloomy.

Taipei does still see 245mm of rain in July, the fourth highest month of the year, and most of that comes in the form of late afternoon downpours after the humidity builds up throughout the day in the basin that is Taipei.

 

Find the best hostels, hotels, and other accommodations in my detailed guide to where to stay in Taipei.

 

Typhoons in Taiwan in July

Damage in Taipei from Typhoon Soudelor (2015)
Damage on my street from Typhoon Soudelor (formed late July and struck Taiwan in early August 2015)

 

July to October is typhoon season in Taiwan. Rarely, a typhoon can strike as early as June, or as late as November, and generally the ones that come later in the season are the most powerful. Around 3-4 major typhoons usually strike Taiwan per summer, and the first one often comes in July.

This can vary, though; in 2018 virtually no typhoons hit Taiwan straight on, and in 2019, the first direct hit by a typhoon didn’t come until August. Therefore, you have a decent chance of not experiencing a typhoon during your July trip to Taiwan; in August and September, the odds are higher.

If you happen to be in Taipei when a typhoon strikes, you will surely hear about it for days before, as it will be the talk of the town and all over the news. The days leading up to a typhoon tend to be clear but extra hot and muggy. Sometimes people think one is coming, and talk about it a lot, only to find out that its course changed at the last minute and missed Taiwan altogether.

If a typhoon is really going to hit Taiwan, the government of each city or county in Taiwan will decide the evening before whether or not to have a mandatory stay-at-home day for all students (yes, many kids in Taiwan have cram school classes in summer) and most workers.

Sometimes in Taipei the government calls a day off to be safe, but the typhoon doesn’t hit the city directly and the storm isn’t bad at all. People rejoice in getting a day off, and locals flock to KTV bars or feast on instant noodles (the go-to typhoon snack) on their couch at home. Don’t celebrate too soon, though; often developed Taipei escapes the worst of it, while small villages in the mountains or near the coast get completely destroyed.

 

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

 

No matter what it seems like outside, is very important to stay in when the government says to; I have vivid memories of Typhoon Soudelor (August 2015), one of the few I’ve ever seen strike Taipei dead on, and my neighborhood was ravaged. Scooters and huge trees were knocked over, shops signs littered the streets, and large metal roofs were ripped off houses (one landed right in front of our apartment, covering our street, and we don’t even know where it came from).

Also, let us never forget, Typhoon Morakot (August 2009) the deadliest typhoon in Taiwan’s recorded history, killing 673 in Taiwan, most of whom died when a small village in the south was covered by a landslide.

These pictures and stories  are not meant to scare you; of the 10+ years I spent living in Taipei, there were only a couple typhoons that caused this level of damage in the city, and even at their worst, I felt perfectly safe inside my house. It was quite a spectacle to watch from my balcony, though, and I can’t say I got much sleep those nights!

Still, the threat of typhoons is not something that should cause you to avoid visiting Taipei or Taiwan in July. Taipei is probably the safest place you could be in Taiwan during a typhoon, so long as you stay inside when it is advised to do so. Most of the damage and deaths that occur from typhoons in Taiwan happen on the coast, in small mountain villages, or to people who ignore the warnings not to go outside.

If you are visiting the high mountains, the east coast of Taiwan, or an offshore island and learn that a big typhoon is approaching, it is best to head back to the big city. If in doubt, ask locals for advice. We once experienced this on Green Island, and all the tourists were sent back to the mainland a few days ahead of the storm.

If you know you will need to stay in for a day, just buy enough food (and beer) the evening before, then stay in and wait it out. It can be an awesome experience to hear (or observe from a balcony) the intense rain and wind as it lashes the streets and the roof of your building. And be aware that the rain and wind come in waves; just because  they die down for a few minutes, doesn’t mean there isn’t more coming. When Soudelor hit Taipei, we even experience a period of bizarre calm, which was actually the eye of the storm passing over the city.

 

What to Wear in Taipei in July

Considering the extreme heat of July, you’ll want to dress in the lightest, loosest, and most breathable clothing you’ve got. There’s no shame in wearing flip flops, shorts, or a tank top in Taipei, and you can even step into a temple in this attire; the locals do!

For women, super short shorts or skirts are commonly worn by locals, but they tend to be slightly less risqué above the waist. It is not really acceptable for men to go shirtless in the city (you may see construction workers doing it), but you could always try the Taiwanese old men’s trick of roll your shirt up above your belly (you WILL get stared at it if you do). But for the love of God, please never go barefoot anywhere in Taipei or Taiwan other than the beach (this is not my personal opinion; Taiwanese people will think you are disgusting).

To avoid getting sunburned, dehydrated, or heatstroke, drinks tons of water, take breaks from the sun regularly (there’s always a cool 7-Eleven you can duck into for a while), and wear sunglasses, a hat, sunscreen, and protective clothing. A thin scarf or sarong can be perfect for covering your shoulders. Visitors traveling to Taiwan with children should take special care to protect their little ones.

Even though it’s not the rainiest month of the year, when it does rain in July (usually the late afternoon), it comes down all at once. Without an umbrella you can be drenched in seconds. Luckily, umbrellas are cheap and available everywhere.

You can also find ponchos, which are an essential item for cycling, but I personally find that for daily use, they trap heat and sweat moisture, so they are kind of icky to wear when it’s so hot out.

 

Taiwan Weather in July

High mountain tea field at Alishan, one of the best places to visit in Taiwn in July
Escape the city heat by enjoying some misty, cool summer weather on the high elevation tea farms of Alishan

 

The weather in every major city and lowland area of Taiwan is pretty much going to match that of Taipei in July, but it may feel just a hint less intense away from Taipei City, where the heat and humidity really seem to get trapped by the city, and other major urban centers.

Tainan City in the south of Taiwan has an average daily temperature of 33°C (91°F), one degree lower than Taipei, while the average nighttime low is 26°C (79°F), the same as Taipei.

While July is the sunniest month of the year in Tainan (average 7 hours of sunshine per day), it is also one of the rainiest, and one of the few months per year when the south of Taiwan gets more rain than Taipei (along with August and September). Tainan sees 370mm of rain in July, compared to 245mm in Taipei. In other words, you can expect any summer trip to the south of Taiwan to include a combination of hot sun and heavy rain.

If you aren’t a fan of the heat, head to the high mountains. Alishan is a pleasant 24°C (75°F) in the daytime in July, and in the early morning can even be a little chilly.

Most typhoons hit Taiwan from the east, so the east coast is of course more prone to them, including Yilan, Hualien, and Taitung counties. Cities and counties on the central west coast, such as Taichung, Miaoli, Changhua, and Tainan, are shielded by the Central Mountain Range and therefore aren’t usually as badly affected.

 

What to wear in Taiwan in July

Besides the summer attire I recommended above in the “What to wear in Taipei in July” section, I would only here add an extra reminder to prepare for both intense sun and heavy rain, especially if you plan to travel away from the city where such things may not be easily available. Obviously, don’t forget your swimwear!

If you’re got some beach time scheduled on your Taiwan itinerary, it is absolutely essential that you apply (and reapply) sunscreen, and avoid the peak of the day if possible. The sun on the beach in Taiwan in July is especially fierce, and going into the water often can make you forget. Most beaches in Taiwan provided large umbrellas or tarp-covered cubicles for a small fee. Beware of the sand, too, which can get so hot that it can burn your feet.

 

Taipei in July: Best Things to Do

Taipei 101, also cool indoor, even in July
Taipei 101 and other major malls in Taiwan are fully air-conditioned in July.

 

With soaring daytime temperatures, you may want to avoid doing much (or any) outdoor sightseeing in the midday. Get out early and follow one of my Taipei itineraries or recommended day trips from Taipei, then rest or do indoor activities in the midday. Choose one of those super hot but clear days to enjoy epic (and air conditioned!) views of Taipei from the Taipei 101 Observatory (book your tickets online here!)

The major convenience stores in Taiwan such as t-Eleven and FamilyMart usually have delicious soft serve ice cream cones in summer, with flavors changing every week. Another great summer treat is chua bing (剉冰 or shaved ice), which is sold all over the city. Head to Yongkang Street near Da’An Forest park for the best mango shaved ice in Taipei (mangos being in season in summer).

As the sun sets, the temperatures become bearable again, perfect for exploring Taipei’s plethora of night markets. I find 5-6 PM is the perfect time to go, when they are just getting started, but from 7-10 PM they become a sweaty, clogged mass of people.

On the 13th day of the 5th month of the lunar calendar (July 3, 2020 or June 22, 2021), the Xia Hai City God Temple in Dadaocheng holds a wild, noisy parade in honor of the city god’s birthday. Find all the details here and here, and learn more about Taipei’s temples here.

The Taipei Film Festival continues from late June until July 11, while you can keep an eye out for activities related to the Taipei Children’s Art Festival.

 

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)

 

Despite the super hot weather, there are surprisingly few outdoor waterparks in Taipei. Water Country Park (Taipei Water Park or 自來水園區) in Gongguan is a children’s outdoor spray park suitable for toddlers and young children. It’s cheap but very popular, and only open in July and August (even though other months are hot enough for it). See more information in my detailed guide to visiting Taipei with kids.

Nearby, 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 bring your own beer in, discreetly, to enjoy on the lawn, and epic pool parties are hosted here regularly in the summer. The W Hotel also hosts some more upscale pool parties in summer.

A better option may be to get out of the city and head to one of the many beaches that are within easy reach of Taipei. Budget 1-2 hours on the train or local bus to get to most of them. The Fulong International Sand Sculpture Art Festival continues throughout July; the enormous sand sculptures on display were more impressive than we could have imagined.

The free Hohaiyan Rock Music Festival on Fulong Beach usually takes place in July or August; stay tuned for more details.

 

Taiwan in July: Best Places to Visit

Fulong Beach, one of the best places to visit in July in Taiwan
July: time to hit the beach in Taiwan (my friends at Fulong beach)

 

If you find the cities overbearing in the July heat, cool down by heading to the beach. Here are the best beaches in Northern Taiwan, while in the south you can try Dulan, popular for surfing, or Kenting National Park on the southern tip of Taiwan (see the cover photo of this article).

Be careful, though. The midday sun is a killer, and going into the water frequently will only make you forget. Try the early morning or late afternoon for the most pleasant beach experience. Higher altitude areas around Taipei, such as Yangminshan or Jiufen, also offer slightly lower temperatures.

One of the best water parks in Taiwan is at Leofoo Village Theme Park in Hsinchu County (an hour south of Taipei). Make sure to buy your tickets in advance online for a sweet discount, with the option to add a transfer from Taipei with this deal.

Others include Jumbo Wave Water Park at Window on China Theme Park in Taoyuan, Mala Bay at Lihpao Village in Taichung (see more info in my guide to the best day trips from Taichung), Dongshan River Water Park in Yilan (see more info in my guide to Yilan County), and Vicky the Waterpark at Janfusun in Yunlin County (tickets available online here).

 

Man jumping off a waterfall at the Golden Grotto, a famous river tracing spot in Hualien, one of the best July things to do in Taiwan
River tracing at the Golden Grotto in Hualien

 

A more adventurous way to cool down in the summer is try river tracing, an increasingly popular summer sport in Taiwan that involves walking up rivers, boulder diving, and sliding down waterfalls. It’s important to wear felt shoes to avoid slipping (try any outdoors shop in Taipei) and a life jacket if you aren’t a strong swimmer (helmets are also worn in narrower canyons).

The best places to go river tracing are Wulai in New Taipei City, Yilan County, Hualien County, and Taitung County (see the river tracing section in my East Coast of Taiwan article for lots of pictures). Never go alone, and first timers should consider going on an organized river tracing trip such as this one in Yilan, this one in Hualien, or this one in Taitung.

One of the most impressive events of the year in Taiwan, the International Balloon Festival in Luye, Taitung, will take place from July 11 to August 30. You can sign up here to ride a hot air balloon in Taitung, or head up to the Luye Highland to watch the hot air balloons taking off in the early morning or late afternoon for free.

 

Huge balloons at the hot air balloon festival at Luye, Taitung, one of the best July in Taiwan activities
My kids at the Taitung Hot Air Balloon Festival

 

Taroko Gorge is blistering hot just like the rest of Taiwan in July, but a slight breeze may make it slightly more tolerable than Taipei. Sun Moon Lake is usually a few degrees cooler due to the elevation (unfortunately swimming in the lake is not permitted), while high mountain retreats such as Alishan and Qingjing Farm offer the perfect escape from the heat.

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, and you may find that little to no shade exists on these islands. Scuba diving is a popular activity on Green Island and on Orchid Island, sailing or island hopping on Penghu, and turtle watching on Xiaoliuqiu. Book your Orchid Island ferry tickets here or Green Island ferry tickets 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.

Yet another way to beat the hot weather in July in Taiwan is to dig in to some chua bing (剉冰), or traditional Taiwanese shaved ice. It’s super refreshing and available everywhere!

 

Dulan Fish and Chips (Taitung Tea House), Dulan, one of the best things to eat in July in Taiwan
Chua bing (shaved ice) shaped like a wave on the sea (shot in Dulan, Taitung)

 

Conclusion: Is July a Good Time to Visit Taiwan?

Visit Taiwan in July and you will get a real dose of the elements: fierce sun and some intense bouts of rain (possibly including a typhoon). Prepare to get a little sticky, but to be very satisfied when you jump into the sea, retire to your air-conditioned hotel, or dig into a heaping mound of chua bing.

Don’t let the chance of a typhoon prevent you from enjoying Taiwan in July; take basic precautions and you will be fine. Thrilling water sports, some pretty awesome events, tropical summer vibes, and pleasantly cool high mountain retreats make this a one of the most enjoyable, if intense, times to visit Taiwan.

 

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