Map from Google - Taiwan
Taiwan, formerly Formosa, is an island having a tropical climate
, with hot and rainy summers and mild winters. Throughout the country, the period May-September is very rainy due to the summer monsoon
, while in other seasons the intensity of precipitation depends on latitude and slope exposure. However, winter is the least rainy season everywhere.
, in the south, the temperature is pleasant, so that highs are about 22 °C in January, and the sun often shines, while in the north the climate is cooler and cloudy, with an average maximum temperature of 17/18 °C. Due to the maritime influence and the low latitude, the night-time temperatures are rarely cold and never drop below freezing.
, in April and early May, early thunderstorms begins to occur in the afternoon, starting from the north and the interior. The monsoon
arrives in the island from May 10 to 20, coming from the south. It brings heavy rains throughout the island, but especially along the southwest coast, from Tainan to Hengchun, as well as in the highlands of the interior.
is hot, humid and rainy, with more frequent rains (unlike in winter) along the southern coast. The temperatures are uniform from north to south: the daily average in the plains hovers around 28/29 °C. The north-west coast, from Taichung to Taoyuan, experiences a relative decrease in rainfall in July. The amount of sunshine in summer is acceptable, because the tropical rains are usually intense but short-lived, however, the sultry heat makes the stay unpleasant in this season.
During summer, the island is often affected by typhoons
, tropical cyclones that bring strong winds and torrential rains; they typically cause heavier damage along the east coast. The period in which they are most frequent is from August to early October.
After the monsoon, in autumn
from October to December the rains decrease and the muggy heat gives way to a more pleasant weather. The only area which remains fairly rainy is the east coast, where more than 100 millimetres of rain per month still fall even in autumn (see Hualien).
The capital Taipei
is located in the northern part of the island, the rainiest together with the north-east. Here 2,000 mm of rain per year fall. The rains are frequent from February to September, and very abundant from May to August. However, there is no dry season, and in winter the sky is often cloudy, because the winter monsoon, which is originally dry as it comes from the Asian mainland, picks up moisture from the sea and brings clouds, mist and some rain in the northern part of the island.
Here is the average precipitation.
Average precipitation - Taipei
The average temperature in the capital goes from 15 °C in January, to 29 °C in July and August. In summer, the "urban heat island effect", generated in the big city, makes the heat even more unpleasant, but fortunately the buildings are equipped with air-conditioning.
Here are the average temperatures of Taipei.
Average temperatures - Taipei
As mentioned, in the south the winter is sunnier but also warmer, as we can see from the average temperatures of Tainan.
Average temperatures - Tainan
In Tainan, on the south-west coast, the winter is dry and mostly sunny. Here the average rainfall. Here is the average precipitation.
Average precipitation - Tainan
of the island is occupied by mountains, which reach their highest point in Yushan
, 3,952 metres high, whose name means "Jade Mountain", due to the contrast given in winter by the snow-capped peak with the sky in the background. Above 2,000 metres, winter is quite cold, and there's some chance of frost and snow, while summer is cool but very rainy. On top of Yushan, in the winter months the average temperature is around freezing, while in summer it's around 8 °C. On average, even 3,000 mm of rain or snow per year fall, with a remarkable monsoonal maximum in summer, while in winter the snow is frequent. Here are the average temperatures.
Average temperatures - Yushan
The Penghu islands (called Pescadores
in the Portuguese era), located in the Taiwan Strait, are less rainy than the main island, since they receive about 1,000 mm of rain per year.
is warm enough for swimming all year round along the south coast, and from May to October along the north coast. In winter, however, the air temperature, though mild, is a bit low for beach life even in the south.
Sea temperature - Tainan
On the north coast, near Taipei, the sea temperature drops to 18 °C in January and February, and to 20 °C in the Pengchu islands.
When to go
The best time to visit Taiwan runs from November to March
, being the mildest, and outside of the monsoon rains and typhoons. The east coast, however, is very rainy still in November.
What to pack
: spring/autumn clothes, sweatshirt or sweater, light jacket, raincoat or umbrella. For the high mountains, down jacket, rain jacket, hat, gloves, scarf.
: tropics-friendly, loose fitting clothing, a light sweatshirt and pashmina for air-conditioned places, light raincoat or umbrella.
For the reef, equipment for snorkeling, water shoes or rubber soled shoes.
For the high mountains, warm jacket, rain jacket, hiking boots.