Taiwan: weather & when to go
When is the best time to visit Taiwan?
In general the best time of year to visit Taiwan is considered to be from October to April, when weather conditions are typically dry and warm across most of the country. The temperature and rainfall increases during the summer months of June through to September, with typhoon season traditionally occuring during the month of September. The beginning of March marks the start of cherry blossom season, with the mountain town of Alishan being one of the best places to enjoy it.
When you see the words ‘tropical’ and ‘subtropical’ in the description of a country’s climate, it conjures up images of palm trees, white sandy beaches and year-round blue skies. Taiwan offers both of these alluring climates, split between the south and north of the island. It may be only 250 miles from Keelung in the north to Kenting at its southernmost tip, but the Tropic of Cancer cuts through the middle of Taiwan, which leads to a climatic difference between the subtropical north and the tropical south.
The climatic split between north and south can mean several degrees difference to the average temperatures, but essentially the whole island of Taiwan experiences hot, humid summers between June and August, when average temperatures in Taipei range between 30-33°C. Winters are short and mild across the whole country, with typical temperatures between December and February remaining as high as 18-20°C. Only the temperate Central Mountain Range and the highlands of Alishan and Taroko National Park escape the sultry heat throughout the year due to their altitude.
The key difference in the weather between the north and south of the island is brought about by the north east monsoon (a weather system that blows in from Mongolia and Siberia) and the south east monsoon (determined by the high pressure system over the Pacific). This latter system brings typhoons to Taiwan between June and October – during the steamy summer season – which mostly affects the south west coastal stretch between Kenting and Taichung and the Central Mountain Range. The north east monsoon runs from October to March, chiefly affecting coastal Keelung and the north east coast of the island including Yilan and Hualien.
Another climatic quirk to note: the annual ‘plum rain’ season can bring rain to any part of the island during spring and early summer, though like much of Taiwan’s rainfall, it tends to come in short intense bursts, freshening the air before the blue skies return.
The subtropical north
Northern Taiwan is typically several degrees cooler than the south. The temperature averages 29°C in Taipei during the summer months of June, July and August, when the humidity is also high, and it drops to a comfortable average of 17°C in winter.
When you’re travelling to Taiwan, it isn’t just the temperature you need to consider, but also the potential for rain. The north east monsoon that occurs between December and March can make Keelung and the north cloudy, wet and stormy during these months.
The climate of the central highlands is temperate due to their altitude, making trekking possible away from the heat and humidity of the cities and coastal plains – though in summer months it’s worth noting that the mountains do not escape the rain.
The tropical south
The tropical south of Taiwan is more hot and humid than the north, with average temperatures in the southernmost city of Kaohsiung ranging between 15°C in winter and a sultry 32°C during the summer months.
In contrast to Taiwan’s north east monsoon, the south west monsoon lasts from May until September with rainfall centred on the south west coast – though typically this rain falls in heavy afternoon downpours.
Sunny and warm weather can typically be expected between October and March in the south, during the time of the north east monsoon, making these months a popular time to visit southern Taiwan to escape the European winter.
In the most southerly areas of Taiwan it is pretty much perpetual summer, give or take the intense afternoon storms during the summer months. On beaches within the spectacular Kenting National Park, the winter low temperature in January is still a very attractive 22°C.
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Our recommended journeys
Our Compact Taiwan holiday incorporates the essential highlights, offering a tantalising teaser of what the island has to offer. Travel from Taipei’s modern metropolis, along dramatic coastal cliffs into the world’s deepest marble gorge at Taroko National Park, descending through tea plantations to the glimmering Sun Moon Lake.
Discover your Taiwan
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Key Festivals & Religious Ceremonies
Chinese New Year
12th February 2021
Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival
8th February 2020
Mazu Holy Pilgrimage
April. Dates TBC
Dragon Boat Festival
25th June 2020
Traditional Aboriginal Festivals
July & August
A.k.a Moon Festival. 1st October 2020
Taiwan National Day
10th October 2020
Double Ninth Festival
25th October 2020