Visiting Taipei and Taiwan in June 2020

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June is the end of spring and beginning of summer in Taiwan. Temperatures and humidity soar to levels that you will either love or hate, depending on the person. Periods of intense sunlight are balanced with higher than average rainfall, often in the form of late afternoon downpours.

The event of the month in June in Taiwan is the Dragon Boat Festival, which in 2020 comes toward the end of the month and will be celebrated over a four-day long weekend. In 2020, the annual Matsu pilgrimage, one of the largest pilgrimages to a goddess in the world, took place on June 11-20 in Central Taiwan, after being postponed since March.

Overall, June in Taipei and across Taiwan is a great time to enjoy the subtropical summer vibes before the crowds and typhoons of July and August hit. Learn about other great months for your trip in my guide to the best time to go to Taiwan.

 

Also read:

 

Taiwan travel planning group

 

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Is Taiwan Safe to Visit in June 2020?

Due to the current global situation, 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. Taiwan is currently in phase 1 of a 3-phase plan to open up Taiwan to travel. It is expected that tourists will be allowed to enter the country again from October to December of 2020.

I have written this article assuming that everything is normal in Taiwan right now, which it is not. For every major event that I mention in this article, you should expect that it could be cancelled or postponed, and I would strongly suggest confirming before making any travel plans in Taiwan in June 2020.

Besides the current travel restrictions, Taiwan remains one of the safest countries in the world to visit. June is the start of summer in Taiwan, so it is important to stay properly hydrated, protect your skin, and avoid spending too much time outside in the midday. Although summer is the typhoon season in Taiwan, the first typhoon does not usually arrive until July.

 

Taipei Weather in June

National Palace Museum when the weather in Taipei in June is hot, but not as hot as July
Sunny skies and pre-summer lack of crowds at National Palace Museum

 

Also read: The Best Time to Travel to Taipei

As of the beginning of June, it is safe to say that summer has officially arrived in Taipei. Most years, the Dragon Boat Festival (which often results in a long weekend) marks the first weekend that I personally feel way too ******* hot in Taipei. This is even the case when the long weekend comes at the beginning of June, although on the 2020 calendar, the long weekend will actually come toward the end of June, so it is guaranteed to be sweltering.

In Taipei in June, expect a daytime average of 32°C (90°F), with thick humidity making the “feels like” temperature reach up to the low 40s (100s). Because Taipei sits in a kind of bowl, it seems to trap humidity, not to mention the additional heat absorbed and released by the concrete jungle itself. Early June shouldn’t be as stifling, but the temperatures will gradually increase as the days pass, leading up to July, the hottest month of the year.

If you’re coming from a tropical country like the Philippines or Singapore, you may be used to this kind of weather, but for someone from a dry, cold climate such as parts of North America or Northern Europe, the June weather in Taipei can be a shock. The daytime sun is fierce and oppressive, you WILL sweat a lot (bring extra shirts in your daypack if you’re prone to sweating), and the temperature only seems to drop by a few degrees at night (the average low temperature in June in Taipei is 25°C or 77°F).

June also has one of the highest volumes of rain of any month of the year in Taipei (325mm), even though the summer typhoons haven’t arrived yet. It is surpassed only by September (360mm). The main reasons are that the spring plum rains often spill into June, while the increase in heat and humidity in June often comes with heavy (although usually brief) late afternoon downpours.

If you enjoy hot summer weather, you will probably enjoy Taipei in June. Don’t let the volume of rain scare you off; the late afternoon showers help to cool the city off a little. It’s actually fun to watch pedestrians whip out their umbrellas (and scooter riders their long raincoats), and life goes on as normal. The rain is unlikely to have any major impact on your travel plans (unlike summer typhoons).

 

What to Wear in Taipei in June

Dress for summer when visiting Taipei in June. Think thin, loose, comfortable clothes. As a person who sweats a lot, I find that even regular cotton T-shirts can be too thick for me, and take forever to dry one they become saturated with sweat (which only takes a few minutes of walking under the sun). Aim for materials that are thinner and dry easily if you are like me.

Sandals are great because they allow your feet to breathe; half of the city seems to be in flip flops in summer in Taiwan, so you don’t have to feel unclassy for doing it. Just keep in mind that they aren’t the best for your feet if you plan to do a lot of walking. Going barefoot is never acceptable anywhere in Taiwan except on the beach. Shorts for men and tank tops and short shorts/skirts for women and perfectly acceptable in Taiwan, even for visiting temples.

Protecting your skin is very important in summer in Taiwan, so make sure to bring sunscreen, a hat, sunglasses, and perhaps a thin scarf or sarong to cover your arms and shoulders under the sun.

Since you are likely to face short periods of intense rain, an umbrella is pretty much essential, and can easily be purchased in Taiwan if you don’t want to bring one.

Rain ponchos are also widely available, but I personally can’t stand wearing them in hot months because they trap in heat and stick to my sweaty body, which I find quite uncomfortable. They are essential for anyone doing any cycling, though, while for scooter riders, you’ll want to get one of the high quality long raincoats available at any scooter supply store.

 

Taiwan Weather in June

View of Sun Moon Lake, Taiwan in June
Gorgeous Sun Moon Lake is a great place to visit in June.

 

The weather in the other major cities of Taiwan in June is almost identical to that of Taipei. Tainan has a daytime average high of 32°C (90°F), the same as Taipei, and an average low of 26°C (79°F), only one degree higher than Taipei.

Similarly, Tainan gets the second highest volume of rain in June compared to any other month. Mainly this is because the spring plum rains don’t usually affect the south of Taiwan until late May and early June, slightly later than in the north. This means you can surely expect some rain if traveling around Taiwan in June, but at least know that with such hot weather, the rain is often a welcome reprieve.

Personally, I find Taiwan’s summer heat and humidity to be less oppressive away from Taipei and other major city centers. This is especially true of the coast, where winds off the sea seem to help, while the high mountains with their lower temperatures offer the perfect retreat. Alishan has a lovely average high temperature of 23°C (73°F) in June, going down to an average 16°C (61°F) at night, which, in humid Taiwan, can feel borderline chilly.

 

What to wear in Taiwan in June

My advice here is no different than what I said for Taipei in June. Wear comfortable, breathable, summery clothes, protect your skin from the sun, and bring some extra changes in case you get wet (from sweat or rain). Only those visiting high mountain areas may want to consider bringing a light jacket. And, of course, don’t forget your bathing suit!

 

Taipei in June: Best Things to Do

Since June is the first month that you will have to really be careful about the extreme heat in Taipei, I personally advise starting early and doing your major outdoor sightseeing in the morning. Weather you go temple hopping in Taipei, strolling around funky Ximending and historic Dadaocheng neighborhoods, or hitting the major sights on my proposed 5 day Taipei itinerary, morning is the best time to do it.

Despite soaring temperatures in the midday and frequent rains in the late afternoon, the second half of the day doesn’t have to be a total write-off. Save you siesta time or indoor activities for the afternoon, then head out again around 5 PM to tour Taipei’s famed night markets and enjoy the city as it comes alive again in the early evening. At least the sun always sets early in Taipei!

 

Ningxia Night Market, a great place to visit after dark in June in Taipei
Wait until the early evening, then get out and enjoy the night markets!

 

In Yangmingshan National Park, the dormant volcano massif adjacent to Taipei, the blooming of the calla lilies comes to an end in mid- to late-June, so it’s your last chance to catch this annual spectacle.

The Taipei Film Festival will take place from June 25 to July 11 at Zhongshan Hall near Ximending.

The real event of the month in June in Taipei, however, is the Dragon Boat Festival (duan wu jie or 端午節). This annual event is one of the most important traditional Chinese festivals in Taiwan, along with Chinese New Year, Tomb Sweeping Festival (see my guide to Taiwan in April), and Mid-Autumn Festival.

The festival is popularly traced back to the story of Qu Yuan, a poet and minister in the Warring States period in China who committed suicide by jumping into a river. To try to save him, locals raced out in boats and threw rice into the river to dissuade the fish from eating his body.

This is the origin of the dragon boat races and the eating of zongzi (rice dumplings steamed in bamboo leaves) during the festival. To find zongzi in Taiwan, watch for bundles of them strung up at the fronts of simple local eateries; they need to be steamed before being eaten. Vegetarian versions (there’s normally a hunk of meat and salted duck egg inside) are often sold from Buddhist vegetarian buffet restaurants.

 

Zongzi, a traditional rice dumpling that people in Taiwan eat during the Dragon Boat Festival
Zongzi, the traditional food eaten during Dragon Boat Festival in Taiwan

 

The Dragon Boat Festival takes places on the 5th day of the 5th month on the lunar calendar (Thursday, June 25, 2020 or Monday, June 14, 2021), around the summer solstice. This will usually result in a 3- or 4-day long weekend in Taiwan; for example, because the 2020 date falls on a Thursday, the government also gives everyone in Taiwan the Friday off, and they have to go to school/work on Saturday, June 20 to “make up for it.”

The best place to watch the dragon boat races, which usually take place throughout the long weekend, is at Dajia Riverside Park (大佳河濱公園) in Taipei. This is where the country’s most famous races are held. Foreigners can even make or join teams and apply to participate in the races.

To get there, take the MRT to Dazhi Station on the brown line and walk across Dazhi Bridge. Besides the races, the festive atmosphere at the park usually includes some kids’ activities, and of course there are lots of food stalls to choose from. Watching the races probably won’t hold your attention for too long, but it’s a good excuse to get out and enjoy some daytime beers by the river in the sun with friends.

2020 note: The 2020 Dragon Boat Races will take place on June 25 and 26, but viewing the races from the riverside park will not be permitted. The preliminary and semi-final races can be viewed online, while the finals will be broadcast on live television in Taiwan. See more information on the event’s official website and see the government announcement here (Mandarin only).

 

Dragon boat racers photographed from above at Bitan, Xindian, New Taipei City in June
Dragon Boat Racers, which I shot from above on the Bitan Suspension Bridge in Xindian, New Taipei City

 

In New Taipei City, you can also see dragon boat racing at Bitan Riverside Park next to Xindian MRT station. Personally, I found the seating area and general vibe more enjoyable than at Dajia Riverside Park, not to mention the possibility of getting good shots of the boats from above on pedestrian-only Bitan Suspension Bridge. Given that the Taipei City event can only be viewed online and on television, I would assume that the 2020 Bitan races may be cancelled.

Here are loads more ideas for things to do in Taipei.

 

Taiwan in June: Best Places to Visit

As all major cities in Taiwan will be hot and humid in June, with a higher than average probability of afternoon showers, make sure to factor that into your travel plans, no matter which city in Taiwan you are exploring. Go sightseeing early, and plan to rest or enjoy indoor activities in the afternoon. Head out again to enjoy the local night markets and cooler temperatures in the evening.

June is a great month to hit the beach in Taiwan; head there in the morning or early afternoon to beat possible rain. At Fulong Beach, one of the best beaches in Taiwan, the Fulong International Sand Sculpture Art Festival continues for the whole month. The enormous sand sculptures are quite impressive, so I highly recommend paying a visit!

 

Fulong Sand Castle Festival
My kids at the Fulong Sand Sculpture Festival. See here for more details on visiting Taiwan with kids.

 

Besides Taipei, many other cities in Taiwan hold their own dragon boat festival races. Some of the best can be enjoyed in Lukang (Changhua County), Nantun (Taichung City) Zhunan (Miaoli County), Dongshan River Waterpark (Yilan County), Liyu Lake (Hualien County), Anping Canal (Tainan City), Donggang Harbor (Pingtung County), Magong Port (Penghu), and on the Love River in Kaohsiung City.

The Penghu International Fireworks Festival, normally held throughout spring and June, has been postponed this year to July 6 to September 3.

June is a great time to visit the other offshore islands of Taiwan, including Green Island and Orchid Island. Enjoy the summer weather before the flood of local visitors (and more extreme heat) of July and August come.

 

Orchid Island (Lanyu) Taiwan
Aboriginal culture at Orchid Island

 

With increasing heat and humidity on the lowlands, high mountain resorts like Alishan and Qingjing Farm become desirable escapes in the summer in Taiwan. Daytime temperatures are usually a pleasant 5-7 degrees cooler than in lowland areas of Taiwan, while at the night the temperatures can easily drop to the mid-teens.

Taroko Gorge is pleasant to visit in June; it doesn’t seem to be quite as hot as in Taipei. Just make sure not to visit during or immediately after heavy rains, as landslides are common and can take lives. Similarly, Sun Moon Lake isn’t quite as hot as the big cities due to the slightly higher elevation, making it a great time to visit.

See here for more ideas on things to do around Taiwan and how to plan your Taiwan itinerary.

 

Conclusion: Is June a Good Time to Visit Taiwan?

It is my personal opinion that no month is the best or worst to visit Taiwan. June will surely appeal to anyone who loves the heat and subtropical summer vibes, with the added advantage that you can beat the summer crowds and typhoons.

Dress for heat and come prepared to get a little wet, but keep in mind that the rain is unlikely to ruin your trip.

 

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