Visiting Taipei & Taiwan in November 2020

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November is one of my personal favorite months of the year to visit Taiwan. It almost never rains, and the weather in Taipei gradually transforms from warm to crisp and cool, while the south remains pleasantly warm.

November is the peak of autumn in Taiwan, and you know what that means? Gorgeous autumn foliage in forests all over the island. I’ll tell you the best places to see autumn colors in Taiwan in November below!

A few other natural spectacles occur in November in Taiwan, namely the blooming of silvergrass and the arrival of hordes of butterflies at Maolin Scenic Area, making the month one of the best for lovers of the outdoors. If you prefer mild weather to intense summer heat, but also want to avoid damp and chilly winters, then November may be the best month for you to visit Taiwan!

 

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Taipei Weather in November

November is the most characteristically autumn month in Taipei. November weather in Taipei usually starts out warm, and by mid-month it starts becoming cool (I remember, because it always happens around my birthday on November 16!) The average high temperature in Taipei in November is 24°C (75°F), while the average low is 18°C (64°F). The occasional hot day (30°C/86°F) is not unheard of in November.

On the plus side, November is one of the least rainy months of the year in Taipei, with only 85mm of rain, similar to December and January. This also means a higher than usual frequency of blue skies.

For the above reasons, November is one of my favorite months of the year in Taipei weather-wise, and you may love it too if you prefer slightly cool, crisp, autumn weather to overly hot and humid summer weather.

While October is usually the end of the typhoon season, on rare occasion, a typhoon can strike Taiwan as late as November.

See here for more details on the best time to visit Taipei.

 

 

What to Wear in Taipei in November

For most of November, I’m usually still wearing shorts and a T-shirt, but starting around mid-month, I may start wearing jeans & a long-sleeved shirt or hoodie when I head out in the evening.

Most locals start dressing like it’s winter in November, though, so if you come from somewhere with a similar climate to Taiwan (for example Hong Kong or Southeast Asia), you will probably do the same.

If you come from somewhere with a dry climate, keep in mind that 18°C (64°F) may sound quite warm, but it feels several degrees cooler when you factor in Taipei’s high levels of humidity.

 

Taiwan Weather in November

Japanese building in Taichung, a great place to visit in November in Taiwan
Enjoy the mild weather across Taiwan in November

 

Across Northern Taiwan, including Yilan County and Taroko Gorge in Hualien County, the temperatures will be almost identical to Taipei in November. Coastal areas can feel slightly cooler due to the wind, though, and Hualien receives an average of 170mm of rain, about twice as much rain as Taipei in November. To beat the chills, consider seeking out this secret hot spring in Taroko Gorge.

If you head further south from Hualien to Taitung, the temperature will rise by a few degrees, and people surf year-round at Dulan. Taichung is also usually a few degrees warmer than Taipei in November, while in Tainan and Kaohsiung the average high in November is 28°C (82°F), with virtually no rain. In Kenting, the weather can still be suitable for swimming at the beach in November.

Head up into the mountains anywhere in Taiwan in November, though, and you’ll feel that fall has truly arrived. Sun Moon Lake can be cold at night. Similarly, high altitude mountain resorts like Cingjing Farm and Alishan can be surprisingly sunny and warm in the daytime, but outright cold at night (especially in the early morning around sunrise).

November is the start of the off-season on the offshore islands, such as Green Island, Orchid Island, and Penghu. The first two can still be warm or even hot at this time, but Penghu is unpleasantly windy from November until the end of winter.

What to wear in Taiwan in November

As the weather is going to vary quite a bit across Taiwan, it’s going to depend of where you plan to visit. For the far south, you’ll still be dressing like it’s summer, but in the north and for visiting the high mountains, you’ll need warmer clothes.

One of the best parts of visiting Taiwan in November is that it’s one of the least rainy months of the year. For example, Tainan only gets 15mm (2 days) of rain in November (compared to nearly 400mm per month in summer). This means you hardly need to bring rain gear, but it still never hurts.

 

Taipei in November: Best Things to Do

With such mild, often lovely (and seldom rainy) weather in the capital, there are loads of great things to do in Taipei in November, and it is one of my personal favorite months for all types of sightseeing, exploration, and night market hopping.

To navigate the top sights, consult my recommended Taipei itinerary for 5 days, and find more things to do in my list of top 50 Taipei activities. On a clear day, hike up Elephant Mountain or visit the Taipei 101 Observatory for panoramic city views.

 

Silvergrass on Yangmingshan
Silvergrass on Yangming Mountain in Taipei

 

For the best fall colors around Taipei, you can’t beat Yangmingshan National Park, which is half in Taipei City and half in New Taipei City. November is also special on Yangming Mountain because you can witness the blooming of silvergrass, making hillsides turn white.

Another great choice for fall foliage in Taipei is Maokong, where you can even observe the explosion of colors through a glass-bottom gondola (make sure to get in the line that says “Crystal Cabins” when boarding!) While you’re in that part of town, the mild weather also makes it a pleasant month to stop in at the Taipei Zoo.

 

My wife and kids riding the Maokong Gondola in Taipei in November
See the forests from above on the Maokong Gondola (my wife and kids pictured)

 

Flower lovers also can’t miss the Shilin Residence Chrysanthemum Show, held in the former residence of Chiang Kai-Shek, slated for November 1 to December 15 in 2020. Meanwhile, roses make their appearance at the Autumn Rose Exhibition in Xinsheng Park from November 9 to 23, 2020. Get off at Yuanshan MRT and combine your visit with Maji Square, known for its excellent semi-outdoor food court.

As the weather starts getting cooler in November, you’re probably simultaneously going to start daydreaming about soaking in hot springs. Beitou Hot Spring is THE place to enjoy the thermal waters in Taipei; see my detailed guide to Beitou for my personal recommendations. Beitou Hot Spring Museum also holds its anniversary event from October 16 to November 15 in 2020, which various activities planed, especially on weekends.

 

Taiwan in November: Best Places to Visit

One unique November experience you can’t miss in Taiwan is seeing hillsides blanketed in blooming silvergrass, which seems to flow in waves as the wind blows. The most popular way to experience this is by hiking the Caoling Historic Trail in the first half of November, but try for a weekday to avoid insane crowds (see image below).

 

Silvergrass and crowds of hikers on Caoling Historic Trail in Autumn (november) in Taiwan
Crowds of people flocking to Caoling Historic Trail to see the silvergrass

 

The only place in Taiwan I would suggest not visiting in November is the offshore islands. Green Island could be OK, but on Orchid Island most travel services shut down for the winter so it is not a good time to visit. Meanwhile, Penghu becomes incredibly windy from November on; people who have visited at that time say it is quite unpleasant.

Besides that everywhere else in Taiwan is perfectly fine to visit in November. The north of the country, including Yilan County, will start getting a little cool like Taipei, so it’s time to check out the best hot spring in Yilan. Beach season in the north is well past it’s prime, but it’s time to start hitting Yilan’s famous hot springs, such as Jiaoxi Hot Spring. Taroko Gorge is perfectly fine to visit; just make sure not to go during or shortly after heavy rain.

Taichung is great to explore in November, as it is usually a few degrees warmer than Taipei, and has very little chance of rain. See here for my detailed Taichung itinerary. Flower lovers can also check out the Xinshe Flower Festival in November and December, easily done as a day trip from Taichung.

The weather gets even warmer if you venture further south, including Taitung, Tainan and Kaohsiung. In the far south, such as Kenting National Park, you can still go swimming on the beach in November.

November is usually the first month of the year that huge numbers of Taiwanese Purple Crow Butterflies appear at Maolin National Scenic Area (茂林國家風景區) in Kaohsiung and Pingtung, lasting through to March.

 

Maolin National Scenic Area in November
Maolin National Scenic area, famous for both butterflies and autumn foliage

 

November is, along with December, the best month to observe autumn foliage in Taiwan. In Taoyuan, the best spots include Bade Bald Cypress Forest (八德落羽松森林), Shimen Reservoir (石門水庫), and Lalashan (拉拉山).

Over in Yilan County, the lake at Mingchi Forest Recreation Area (明池森林遊樂區) is an incredibly beautiful spot, but will require your own wheels to reach. The forest paths and “Bong Bong Train” at the peak of Taipingshan (太平山) are also an ideal spot for autumn foliage viewing.

In Taichung, Wuling Farm (武陵農場) has the best foliage viewing opportunities; keep in mind that Wuling Farm is in the far east of Taichung, so it is actually easier to access from Yilan on the east coast than from central Taichung City on the west coast. Another option near Wuling Farm but further up the highway is Fushoushan Farm (福壽山農場), but it’s not super easy to get there.

 

Wuling Farm, one of the best places to see fall colors in November
Beautiful Wuling Farm in November

 

Autumn foliage also starts showing at Alishan Forest Recreation Area in November; consult my guide to getting to Alishan to find out how to experience the foliage from the Alishan Forest Railway.

Meanwhile, Aowanda (奧萬大) National Forest Recreation Area in Nantou County is one of the country’s most famous autumn foliage spots; if you make it that far, you should also visit Cingjing Farm. Xitou Nature Education Area (溪頭自然教育園區) is another prime spot for fall colors, and you definitely can’t miss Xitou Monster Village right next to it.

Down in Tainan, Hongye Park (紅葉公園) is the most well-known place to see beautiful fall colors. It is located adjacent to Guanziling (關子嶺), famous for its mud hot springs.

Sun Moon Lake is not really famous as an autumn foliage viewing spot, but it is still gorgeous to visit in November and you may still spot some colors. Consider getting a Sun Moon Lake Pass, and see my recommendations for the best Sun Moon Lake tours from Taipei or Taichung.

 

Conclusion: Is November a Good Time to Visit Taiwan?

As you can see, November in Taiwan has a lot going for it, especially for outdoors enthusiasts. Come witness the forests explode with fall colors, or even just tour the classic Taiwan sights while you enjoy the mild weather.

November is personally one of my favorite months of the year to be in Taiwan, probably a close second behind October, when it is still quite warm even in Taipei. But factor in the higher risk of typhoons in October, and the two months are practically a tie.

 

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