If you ask a local when is the best time to visit Taiwan, you won’t get a straight answer.
Each season offers different activities and landscapes, unique festivals and weather patterns, and distinct pluses and minuses. The best time to visit Taiwan ends up depending on what you want, and so knowing that is key to deciding what you want to do.
There are so many things you can do in Taiwan that are dependent on the different seasons. To truly answer the best time to visit Taiwan, you just have to basically know what you want to do so that you can select the perfect season to book that trip.
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If you want to see turquoise water, white sand beaches, and pristine seascapes, then summer is the perfect time to visit. If you like long walks and hiking amongst a kaleidoscope of rust-colored trees, then autumn will be best. If soaking in warm hot springs is something you enjoy, then winter (which is rather mild in Taiwan) will be a delight for you. And if you’re rabid for cherry blossoms, then you can’t miss visiting in spring.
As you can see, every season offers a memorable experience, so it’s more of a matter of picking the experience that most resonates with your interests and travel style. To further narrow down when to visit Taiwan, I have listed some key information about each season that can help you plan your trip.
Summer (June – August)
As an island, many people would think that Taiwan is a perfect island getaway and thus perfect to visit during the summer. However, there are pros and cons to this.
Budget travelers will enjoy slightly cheaper flights and accommodation in Taiwan during the summer season; however, this is for a reason, as this is also the time of the year when it can be very hot and humid! In fact, now and then, there are strong typhoons which hit the country in the summer.
Be sure to check online weather forecasts before booking that Taiwan trip and be sure to bring proper rain gear (I always bring my Marmot PreCip jacket and a compact travel umbrella). It is better to be prepared because raincoats and umbrellas can be quite expensive!
The temperature can rise up to around 97°F (around 36°C), though temperatures around 93°F (around 34°C) are more common. However, that doesn’t factor for the punishing humidity, which can push the heat index into the 100s°F (nearly 40°C!).
If you visit Taiwan in summer, you should bring lightweight and comfortable clothes (I have more suggestions on my Taiwan packing list here). Quick-drying fabrics like linen and silk will do better than clothing that stays damp like cotton. Whatever you do — get ready to sweat from the heat! Think of it as a free sauna that you can never escape from.
However, if you can brave the high temperatures, the warm weather just tells you that it is the perfect time to visit Taiwan’s beaches!
If possible, try to go during a weekday so that you will not encounter a big crowd, but regardless of the day of the week, expect a lot of local students because they are on summer break from July until August.
Kenting National Park in the very far south of Taiwan is a fantastic option. One of the most popular beaches there is Little Bay (Xiaowan) but frankly, you can barely go wrong with anywhere in Kenting!
The nearest beach you can go from Taipei Main Station is Fulong Beach. It is only a quick ride on the TRA (Taiwan Railways Administration). You will be surprised once the ocean waves hit you with the refreshingly cold (but not freezing) water!
There is an entrance fee to the beach, approximately $NTD 100 (around $3.50 USD). If you’re visiting sometime between mid-April and mid-July, there is the Fulong International Sand Sculpture Festival going on that you may want to check. Make sure to bring food or try the popular Fulong Bento, as there is only one café once you enter the premises.
If you are the type of person who loves serene views of nature and lovely beaches, then I would strongly recommend getting out of Taipei and heading to one of the beautiful islands of Taiwan. The most gorgeous islands are Xiao Liuqiu, Lanyu Island (Orchid Island), Matsu Island, and the Penghu Islands.
The most interesting of the bunch is perhaps Penghu, an archipelago of islands. One of its townships is Qimei Island, which is popular for the Twin-Heart Stone Weir, which is actually a fish trap. It’s a popular spot for Instagram lovers!
Virtually all of these beautiful islands will make you feel like you are in a time capsule away from the city. The culture is well-preserved and not a lot of tourists are there, due to the limited capacity of people these small islands can accommodate.
Lastly, who says you can’t enjoy springs during the summer? While Taiwan is famous for its ubiquitous hot springs, cold springs are also a thing in Taiwan! There are a few ones like the Su’ao Cold Spring in Yilan and the Sishierfeng Cold Spring in Miaoli.
Fall (September – November)
If pressed, Taiwanese people might say that this is the best time of the year to visit Taiwan. The weather starts to cool down and it is perfect for trekking or hiking. Temperatures can go from 68-79°F (around 20-26°C).
Flights and accommodation costs can skyrocket rather high during this season, and September is generally considered the most expensive time to visit. Budget travelers should veer away during this season. There is also less rainfall when compared to summer and spring.
Landscapes start to flourish, with leaves turning to beautiful shades of red, brown and yellow. A significant holiday during this season is the Moon Festival or the Mid-Autumn Festival. Moon cakes and Taiwanese BBQ treats will be served under the full moon!
My selection of day trips from Taipei is perfect for this season, as the weather isn’t too hot to base yourself out of the capital and Taiwan’s lush countryside isn’t a far ride away. Plus, it’s finally not too hot to explore!
I asked a Taiwanese local what was the best place to go to during this season, and he recommended the Aowanda National Forest Recreation Area. I personally have not been there (yet), but it just looks amazing in photos!
Winter (December – February)
December is when the temperatures start to drop. It can go as low as 50°F (around 10°C). The coldest month of the year is January; however, I spent two weeks in January in Taiwan, and I found the weather rather lovely. Taiwan is not as cold as the winter in most western countries, and it is definitely warmer than other East Asian countries such as China, Japan, and South Korea!
If you are from North America, and you want to experience a warmer winter (but not stifling heat and humidity the way you would in Southeast Asia), then it will be a good idea to travel to Taiwan at this time of the year. Snow is rare, and when it does snow, it’s only in some mountainous areas.
This is the perfect time to get your cozy and warm clothing ready! It is important to wear the right clothing so you can enjoy walking around. Again, I’ve covered winter in Taiwan clothing recommendations on my Taiwan packing list.
However, while December and January are more affordable months to travel, keep in mind that flights and accommodation inflate like crazy in February due to the Chinese Lunar New Year. This holiday is very festive and unique, so it’s definitely worth visiting if you don’t mind paying higher prices! The famous Pingxi Lantern Festival takes place on the last day of Lunar New Year, and it’s a truly once-in-a-lifetime experience.
If you’re on a budget, aim for December or January. Shopaholics will love the latter part of January, where stores will showcase a ton of overwhelming discounts. However, during the Lunar New Year holidays (which can last for a week around early February), stores are mostly closed.
The Lunar New Year is the best time to visit Elephant Mountain – thank me because you will be amazed by a view of Taipei 101 complemented by fireworks!
There are a ton of hot springs, especially in Beitou, where you have the unique opportunity to stay at a hot spring hotel — many with your own personal hot spring!
Upon arrival at the Beitou MRT station, a monument with the hot spring spirits will welcome you. Local people will flock to several hot springs, so expect a crowd at the public ones. You can try to pre-book online (I recommend this day package at the best hot spring hotel in Beitou, designed by the architect of the Taipei 101!) to avoid long lines, or even worse, not being able to enjoy a good hot spring.
Spring (March – May)
Spring marks the season when the flora of Taiwan are gorgeously blooming! This means you can enjoy having Instagram-worthy pictures with stunning pink cherry blossoms and hydrangeas.
Yangmingshan National Park is one of the best places to find cherry blossoms, but there are other national parks and scenic areas such as Alishan, Wulai, and Wuling Farm as well where you might be able to find them. Another popular spot that’s easy to get to from Taipei is the Tian Yuan Temple in Danshui, which is beautiful when the cherry blossoms erupt.
If you are planning to have a less expensive trip while enjoying the weather, then this is the perfect time to visit, although the peak cherry blossom season can be a bit more expensive than the rest of spring. Spring is not as warm and humid as the summer season and not as rainy as well, though May is when the rainy season starts to kick in.
Generally, temperatures can go around 75°F (around 24°C) and some national parks in mountainous areas can have temperatures going around 68°F (around 20°C).
In terms of festivals, the Swimming Carnival of Sun Moon Lake takes place during this season, and it brings accommodations near the park in high demand. I would strongly suggest planning everything beforehand should you wish to attend this event!
Strolling around Jiufen and Shifen Old Streets will be a spectacular choice during this time of year — not too hot, nor too cold, nor too many tourists! You can check my article about traveling Shifen and Jiufen here.
General Notes about Festivals and Holidays in Taiwan
Taiwan has two calendars: the national calendar and the lunar calendar. While most of the time they follow the national calendar, for most holidays and festivals they follow the Chinese lunar calendar.
The holidays and festivities are sure to give you a taste of Taiwan’s culture at its finest, but keep in mind that there is a cost equivalent to this experience!