Visiting Taipei & Taiwan in December 2024

Taipei 101 fireworks display

According to the tourist arrival numbers, December is the most popular month of the year to visit Taiwan. Does that surprise you?

Some of the reasons people may want to spend December in Taiwan include taking their Christmas holidays abroad, escaping from cold weather in Europe/North America, escaping hot weather in Southeast Asia, soaking in Taiwan’s amazing hot springs, or seeing autumn foliage in the mountains of Taiwan.

Christmas activities and one of the world’s most epic New Year’s Eve fireworks displays are the finishing touches that make December one of the best months to visit Taiwan.

Because it is the most popular month, and December 2024 should be the busiest December since before COVID, expect serious crowds and sold-out hotels/trains. Book ASAP! New Year’s Eve long weekend is the busiest weekend of the year in Taiwan.

December is a transitional month between autumn and winter in Taiwan. Chilly winter weather usually arrives in Taipei around November and December, while the south of Taiwan remains pleasantly warm and dry in December.

For more general information, see these common FAQs about Taiwan.

Taiwan travel planning group

Taipei in December: Best Things to Do

While Taipei may start to get fairly chilly in December, it surely won’t stop you from visiting any of the main Taipei attractions or night markets. Start planning your trip with my general Taipei city guide.

By far the best antidote to the cool weather is taking a dip in a thermal hot spring. Beitou hot spring is Taipei’s very own hot spring resort, first developed by the Japanese when they colonized Taiwan.

Read my guide to Beitou to find out the best hot spring spas and hot spring related attractions to explore in Beitou.

Two kids walking along a hot creek in Beitou, one of the best things to do in Taipei in December
My kids running along the hot creek in Beitou Hot Spring Park. See here for more info on visiting Taipei with kids

Another good way to warm up is by spending an evening enjoying all-you-can-eat hot pot with friends; most places have a two-hour time limit.

The Shilin Residence Chrysanthemum Show, which starts on November 29, 2024, will continue until December 15.

The annual Taipei Marathon usually takes place in mid December. The 2024 date is December 15. It is a popular event for foreign participants to take part in. Recent years have seen over 100,000 runner takes part!

In December, you can still some autumn foliage at Yangmingshan National Park (click the link to see my recommended viewing spots). But the park is usually a few degrees colder than Taipei and it is common to experience fog or rain up there, so dress especially warm!

Christmas Markets and Events in Taipei City

Giant Christmas tree and Santa Claus in Taipei at the Regent Hotel, one of the best Christmas activities in Taipei
Christmas tree and Santa Claus at the Regent Hotel in Taipei

While Taiwanese families don’t celebrate Christmas, and Christmas is not public holiday, there are many places you can see Christmas lights (the biggest is Christmasland – see the next section).

If you’re traveling to Taiwan with kids, you can sit on Santa’s lap at the Regent Taipei. Santa usually sets up beside the largest Christmas tree in Taipei, inside the hotel. The tree is 15 meters tall and has over 27,000 bulbs! I’ll add his specific sitting times when the hotel announces them in December.

A little girl sitting on a ledge with wall of Christmas lights behind her
My daughter with Christmas lights in Regent Taipei

Xinzhongshan Christmas Market (心中山聖誕市集) usually takes place on weekends from Dec 1 to 31 at Zhongshan Linear Park (between Zhongshan and Shuanglian MRT stations).

The annual European Christmas Market usually takes place in early December. Last year, it was held on from Nov 30 to Dec 3 at Xiangti Avenue Plaza in Xinyi district.

You can usually see lots of Christmas lights around Taipei 101 shopping area in Xinyi District and at major department stores in the city.

Two kids looking at a blue and silver Christmas tree with a Formosan black bear statue in front of it and fake snow falling all around
Christmas tree and fake snow we found at Xinbeitou MRT one year

The Christmas Fair at Gongguan Water Park will take place from November 30 to December 31, featuring lights and other activities. The main activity days are usually Saturdays during that time period.

If you’re looking for Christmas dinner in Taipei, here are some bars, restaurants, and hotels that offer Christmas dinner in Taipei.

I’ll add any other Christmas events in Taipei that I can find when it’s closer to December.

Christmasland in New Taipei City

Christmasland in Banqiao
Christmasland, the biggest Christmas event in Taiwan (image by Taipei tourism)

For the best of the best Christmas events in Taipei, you simply can’t miss Christmasland in Banqiao, New Taipei City. It usually starts in mid-November and goes every day until the end of December.

There you’ll find yourself in the midst of completely over-the-top Christmas lights display, including tunnels of lights, Christmas concerts, and more.

The event takes place on the north and south sides of Banqiao train/MRT station plus a small area at Fuzhong MRT station (the next stop after Banqiao).

They usually make a whole brand new website for every year’s event, so I’ll link to the 2024 website when it goes live. The website usually shows a good map, activity times, and more.

My kids seeing the Christmas lights in Banqiao, New Taipei City in December
My kids at “Christmasland” in Banqiao, New Taipei City
Christmasland Taipei tunnel of lights
Tunnel of lights at Christmasland (image by Taipei tourism)

Beware that this event can be extremely crowded and noisy, with very long lines for activities. To avoid the worst crowds try to come on a weekday, and ideally not right around the festival begins, or on weekends closest to Christmas Day.

I’ve also covered Christmas events in other cities across Taiwan in my guide to spending winter in Taiwan.

New Year’s Eve in Taipei

New Year's Eve fireworks in Taipei at Taipei 101
The famous New Year’s Eve fireworks display at Taipei 101 (note all the people at the bottom!)

In 2024, New Year’s Eve will be on a Tuesday. This means Wednesday, January 1, 2025 will be a national holiday. Unlike in the past, the government most likely won’t make this into a long weekend. It will just be one day off in the middle of the week, so it won’t have such a huge impact on travel.

However, any weekends around Christmas and NYE are usually some of the busiest weekends in the year in Taiwan. Expect trains to be sold out and hotels everywhere to be more expensive than usual or sold out, too.

There are ususually 3 major fireworks events in Taipei area. The earliest one will be the Tamsui Fisherman’s Wharf fireworks around 8 or 9 PM. At midnight, besides the Taipei 101 fireworks, there’s also fireworks art Miramar Mall (the one with the large Ferris wheel).

The Taipei 101 fireworks and LED lights display on New Year’s Eve surely ranks as one of the world’s greatest. You’ll need to arrive in Xinyi District hours in advance to secure a decent spot (dress warm!) among the hundreds of thousands of spectators.

Find the best (and least crowded) spots to watch the Taipei 101 fireworks here. Also read my guide to visiting Taipei 101 itself.

For many Taiwanese youths, the best place to take in the fireworks is the New Year’s Eve Bash held and Taipei City Hall Square, north of Taipei 101, which features concerts from some of the country’s top pop stars, and of course a view of the fireworks.

New Year’s Eve is a super busy and expensive night to party in Taipei. Most night clubs have steep cover charges, and you’ll need to get a ticket in advance or wait in a long line.

I’ve covered other New Year’s Eve events across Taiwan in my guide to visiting Taiwan in winter.

Welcoming the Near Year on the Coast

Every year, masses of people gather on the east coast of Taiwan to watch the first sunrise of the year. The most popular spot to do this is at Fulong, called the Fulong Welcome Sunrise Festival (福隆迎曙光).

Usually the beach will have some special lights, concerts, and additional late-night trains running from Taipei to Fulong for the event. Here’s my guide to Fulong and other beaches around Taipei.

Other popular places to watch the first sunrise of the year are Qixingtan beach in Hualien and Sanxiantai in Taitung.

Search for cooking classes in Taiwan for a fun winter activity. There are lots of different choices!

Taiwan in December: Best Places to Visit

If you’re planning to do a full tour around the country in December, then begin by consulting my recommended Taiwan itinerary for 1-3 weeks, and find more ideas on my list of the 50 best things to do in Taiwan.

Will cooler weather, you may want to consider day trips from Taipei that involve soaking in hot water, including Wulai or Jinshan in New Taipei City and Jiaoxi Hot Springs in Yilan County.

Taroko Gorge in Hualien should be partially reopened by December 2024, following the huge earthquake that heavily damaged it in April. However, it’s likely that some trails or parts of it will still be closed. Here are other places to visit in Hualien besides Taroko.

Further afield, hot spring lovers can also try Tai’an hot spring in Miaoli and Guanziling mud hot spring in Tainan.

For other awesome hot springs around Taiwan, see here!

Jiaoxi Art Spa Hotel, on of the best places to visit in Taiwan in December
Jiaoxi Hot Spring in Yilan

Art & food lovers should dedicate a few days to Taichung during their trip; here’s my recommended Taichung itinerary, including of course Rainbow Village.

At Gaomei Wetland in Taichung and Sicao Green Tunnel in Anping, Tainan, it is possible to spot flocks of migratory birds from December to February.

Flower lovers should also consider checking out the Xinshe Flower Festival, held in Taichung in November and December. The 2023 dates for the event are November 11 to December 3 and the event featured a huge “floating” castle.

If you plan to be in Taichung for NYE, the city usually holds its main celebration and fireworks at Lihpao Village; see my article on the best Taichung Day trips for more information. Sun Moon Lake can be slightly chilly in December, but skies are often clear.

A boy kneeling down and harvesting a strawberry by cutting the stem with scissors
December is the start of strawberry picking season in Taiwan.

December is the start of the strawberry season in Taiwan. You can visit these strawberry farms in Dahu to try picking them yourself. After, head to nearby Taian hot spring to stay in one of its excellent hot spring hotels.

Tainan, Kaohsiung, Pingtung, and Taitung are lovely to explore in December, with warm weather and almost no rain. To observe flocks of Taiwanese Purple Crow butterflies, head to Maolin Scenic Area. Kaohsiung hosts two major New Year’s Eve celebrations and fireworks displays, at Dream Mall and E-Da.

December is, along with November, 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).

In Yilan, try Mingchi National Scenic Area (明池國家森林遊樂區), but you’ll need to drive to get there. The forest paths and “Bong Bong Train” at the peak of Taipingshan (太平山) are also gorgeous spots for autumn foliage viewing.

Wuling Farm, one of the best places to see fall colors in December in Taiwan
Beautiful Wuling Farm in late Autumn

In Taichung, Wuling Farm (武陵農場) has the best fall foliage, but remember that Wuling Farm is in the far east of Taichung, so it is actually more convenient 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).

Autumn foliage can also be seen at Alishan Forest Recreation Area in December; 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, also stop in at Cingjing Farm. Xitou Nature Education Area (溪頭自然教育園區) is yet another prime spot for fall colors, and don’t miss Xitou Monster Village right next to it.

Xitou Monster Village, one of the best places to visit in Taiwan in December
Bizarre Xitou Monster Village, beside Xitou Nature Recreation Area

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 unique mud hot springs; taking a dip in the mud-colored water or rubbing the skin-smoothing mud on your face is an experience you can’t miss in Taiwan in December!

Taipei Weather in December

After the last few months of crisp, autumn weather, December officially marks the start of winter in Taipei. The average high temperature in Taipei in December is 21°C (70°F), while the average low is 15°C (59°F), which can be coolder than it sounds if you’re used to a dry climate.

While December can be cool, it is also the least rainy month of the year in Taipei, with only 75mm of rain (12 days with spots of rain, on average).

For this reason, purely in terms of weather, December is the most pleasant of the winter months in Taipei; January is noticeably colder, while February tends to be both rainy and cold. If you face rain during your December visit, here’s my are my suggested Taipei indoor activities.

In recent years, there have even been some freakishly warm (or even hot) days in Taipei in December, but that is not the norm.

What to Wear in Taipei in December

If you’re mainly staying in Taipei, then jeans plus a few layers on top are ideal. When the sun pokes out, you may find a T-shirt will suffice, but most of the time, you’ll probably want to have a hoodie or light jacket on as well, especially for going out in the evening. An thin outer layer which is both wind and waterproof is ideal.

Visitors from countries with tropical climates such as the Philippines or Southeast Asia may want to bring more winter-like attire, as Taipei in December may be quite a bit chillier than what you are used to.

– Find out where to stay in Taipei.

– Read my tips and making the best use of the Taipei Unlimited Fun Pass.

Taiwan Weather in December

Yehliu Geopark, showing the weather in Taiwan in December
Yehliu Geopark on a brisk winter day.

Most of Northern Taiwan has similar weather to Taipei in December, including Yilan and Taroko Gorge in Hualien County. What’s more, anywhere near the coast, including Yehliu Geopark and Jiufen, can be quite windy, making it feel even cooler.

If you intend to go autumn foliage viewing in the mountains, or to high mountain resorts such as Cingjing Farm or Alishan, then it’s going to be even colder. For example, Alishan can go down to 10°C (50°F) or lower in the early morning while you’re waiting for the famous sunrise.

The further south you head from Taipei, the warmer it will get. Taichung is usually a few degrees warmer than Taipei, while cities further south such as Tainan, Kaohsiung, and Taitung can be a few degrees warmer still.

In Kenting National Park, it is still possible to swim on the beach in December. If you love mild/warm weather, then December is one of the best times of the year to visit these parts of Taiwan. Here’s where to stay in Kenting.

What to wear in Taiwan in December

Shorts and a T-shirt are enough to get by in the far south of Taiwan in December, but for Taipei and especially for visiting any forests or high mountain areas, you’ll want full-length pants/jeans, and multiple layers to keep your body warm.

For watching the sunrise at Alishan, you’ll even want to have gloves and a winter hat. But if you forget to bring them, they do sell them there.

Conclusion: Is December a Good Time to Visit Taiwan?

Well the weather can be a little chilly in Taipei and the north of Taiwan in December, the sheer number of events in December in Taiwan can more than make up for it. What’s more, there’s hardly any rain across Taiwan in December, which makes it the best winter month in terms of weather.

From flowers and autumn foliage viewing in the mountains to some of the best Christmas and New Year’s Eve celebrations in Asia, it’s no wonder December is the most popular month of the year to visit Taiwan!

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