The weather around Taiwan tends to be warm year-round, with long and hot summers and short, only slightly cooler winters. That said, there’s a considerable variance between north to south—unusual for an island that’s only 13,855 square miles (35,883 sq km) in size, or slightly larger than the U.S. state of Maryland. The best time to visit is between October and April when the weather is the best
In the sub-tropical north, the winter months of November to February see increased rainfall, while the warmer, tropical south feels perceptibly drier and hotter.
The summer months of June to September bring heat and humidity throughout Taiwan, ramping up to typhoon season from July to October bringing storms that batter the east coast.
Read on to find out about Taiwan’s weather, its top holidays and things to do in Taiwan from season to season.
Weather in Major Regions of Taiwan
Taiwan straddles the Tropic of Cancer, cutting the island into two distinct eco-regions. The capital Taipei and most of the island falls under a subtropical climate, creating the evergreen forests and the temperate highlands that make Taiwan such an exciting adventure destination in the autumn months.
The southern third of Taiwan is classified as a tropical eco-region, covered in tropical rainforest and marked by warm weather that goes down no further than 72 degrees F (22 degrees C) even in the winter months.
Northern Taiwan: Taipei
Taiwan’s capital Taipei sits at the northwest end of the island, and experiences some of the north’s climate extremes.
The temperature in Taipei ranges from 57 degrees F (14 degrees C) in January to 91 degrees F (33 degrees C) in the peak of summer. Humidity remains relatively constant at an average of 76 percent, barely dipping or rising throughout the year. Sea temperatures offer pleasant swimming between May and October.
Taipei and the north experiences some 95 inches of rainfall yearly, reaching a peak in the summer months between June to September, with as many as 14.2 inches falling in September alone
Southern Taiwan: Kaohsiung
Kaohsiung’s temperatures hit a peak between April and November, with temperatures reaching 97 degrees F (36 degrees C) in July. The months of December to March see Kaohsiung at its coolest, with lows of 59 degrees F(15 degrees C) recorded in January.
The southern city enjoys a relative humidity falling between 71 and 81 percent, with 13 inches of rain falling between June to August.
Visitors to the higher reaches of the island’s mountainous interior—including Alishan National Scenic Area and Taroko National Park—enjoy temperature highs of 55 degrees F (13 degrees C) in July and August, and wintry lows of around 23 degrees F (-5 degrees C) in January.
Snowfall in the winter months can be experienced by hikers ascending the slopes of Mount Guanshan and Mount Hehuanshan.
Peak Season in Taiwan
Most foreign tourists know to avoid the hottest, wettest months in and surrounding the summer season. From October to April—the best time to visit Taiwan—the island’s weather feels comfortably (not oppressively) warm, and rainfall drops to an acceptable minimum.
These months also include some of the most crowded times to visit—Chinese New Year and “Double 10” (Oct. 10, National Day) bring out locals traveling long distances home to visit family; expect to have a more difficult time booking transportation and accommodations on these dates.
Summer is considered peak tourist season in Taiwan—another good reason to avoid visiting Taiwan in July and August! Better to come during low season from November to March, where travel costs are 50 percent lower than in the summer months.
What to Pack for your Taiwan Trip
Given the shirt-sleeve weather that lowland Taiwan experiences all year round, you don’t need to pack any heavy clothing (unless you’re planning to trek in the highlands in the winter months).
The most useful clothes for a trip to Taiwan include:
- Light cotton or perspiration-wicking clothing for a summer visit.
- Warmer clothing, like long-sleeved shirts and jeans for spring or autumn visits.
- Umbrellas or lightweight waterproof jackets, to protect against the rain.
- Swimwear, if you’re planning on visiting beaches or hot springs.
- Sturdy shoes to match your purpose: hiking shoes for trekking Taiwan’s mountains, or just casual but comfortable trainers for walking around in the cities.
Avoid wearing skimpy clothing if you’re planning to visit a local temple; at the minimum, cover up most of your legs and shoulders if a temple is part of your itinerary.
Winter in Taiwan
The shortest season on the island, winter occurs between December and February. Tropical southern Taiwan experiences pleasant temperatures in winter, reaching highs of 73 degrees F (23 degrees C) in January, while the subtropical sections of the island experience slightly cooler maximum temperatures of 64 degrees F (18 degrees C).
Occasional cold fronts can see temperatures drop between 5.5-9 degrees F (3-5 degrees C), causing havoc when they catch locals by surprise. A 2016 cold snap killed 85 and stranded some 60,000 tourists.
Events to check out:
- Taiwan celebrates Chinese New Year during the winter months—one of Taiwan’s two biggest annual festivals (the other, National Day, takes place in October).
- The Lantern Festival ends the official Chinese New Year season 15 days later, with individual cities putting their own unique stamp on the festivities. Taipei Lantern Festival fills the Taipei Expo Park with both traditional and modern lanterns. Kaohsiung Lantern Festival is a lantern-themed party held along Love River, spilling out into major roads along the celebration venue. Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival sees. the biggest release of sky lanterns in the world, taking place at Pingxi near Keelung
Spring in Taiwan
The spring months (March to May) see a slow movement from cool to warm in Taiwan. Expect average high temperatures of 73°F (23°C) in the daytime. Temperatures in the highlands will start to come down to reasonable levels; hikers hit the trekking trails around Taiwan’s mountains in these months.
At the latter half of spring, the beaches in southern Taiwan start to warm up enough for swimmers. This is perhaps the ideal time to see both extremes of the island: the cherry blossoms opening up in the highlands, and the warm (but not sweltering) welcome of the lowlands.
Events to check out:
- Yangmingshan cherry blossom viewing: Visit Yangmingshan National Park near Taipei between mid-February and early April to watch the red cherry trees in full bloom. Official site.
- Mazu International Festival: A week-long festival in March that promotes the worship of the Goddess of the Sea Mazu, who has many devotees in Taichung. Southern Taiwan.
- Fulong Sand Sculpting Festival: Fulong Beach in northern Taiwan has golden sand whose consistency is perfect for sand sculptures; you’ll find these aggregates put to their best use come April, when beautiful sand sculptures sprout up all over the area.
Summer in Taiwan
The months of June to August finds Taiwan at its hottest and wettest, with average temperatures rising to 95 degrees F (35 degrees C) and humidity rising to a sweltering 92 percent in the south, and a more manageable 86 degrees F (30 degrees C) in the north.
Events to check out:
- Computex Taipei: The largest IT fair in Asia takes place right in Taiwan’s capital in June
- Taiwan International Balloon Festival: Held between June and August, this multi-week balloon festival takes off from Taitung county, filling the air with unusual hot air balloons.
- Keelung Mid-Summer Ghost Festival: This Taiwanese city takes the opportunity to celebrate Ghost Month not just for the departed ancestors, but also for the casualties of a long-ago war.
Autumn in Taiwan
The autumn months from September to November find the heat and humidity receding to a tolerable level, with average temperatures of 75 degrees F (24 degrees C). It’s a good time to go back into the cities: enjoy Taiwan’s awesome street food in Kaohsiung and Taipei!
Events to check out:
- Visit Yangmingshan National Park to see the trees’ foliage in full autumnal bloom.
- Yunlin International Puppet Arts Festival: Yunlin County celebrates traditional Chinese puppetry with performances, classes and other celebrations held throughout the month of October.