Visiting Taipei & Taiwan in February 2023

Two large Taiwan Lantern Festival lanterns shaped like an elderly man and woman riding a boat and lit up at night

Visiting Taiwan in February can be a little complicated because it is the month when the Lunar New Year holiday usually takes place. However, because of an earlier start to the year on the 2023 lunar calendar, this year’s holiday will end before February begins. For more information, see my guide to planning a trip to Taiwan during Chinese New Year.

The weather in Taipei in February is arguably the worst of the year. It’s cold, it’s wet, and the sky is always gray. Despite Chinese New Year being called the “Spring Festival”, January and February are the peak months of winter in Taiwan. See here for what I think are the best times of the year to visit Taiwan.

On the plus side, spending February in Taiwan will give you the chance to experience the Lantern Festival, one of the most magical events of the year. The Yanshui Fireworks Festival, one of the most dangerous festivals in the world, takes place on the same night (see cover photo).

What’s more, you can see cherry blossoms, soak in these awesome hot springs, and enjoy mild/warm weather in the south of Taiwan in February.

For more general Taiwan travel questions, see these common FAQs asked in my Facebook group.

Taiwan travel planning group

Taipei in February: Best Things to Do

To begin with, consult my recommended Taipei travel guide, 5-day itinerary, and off-the-beaten-track things to do in Taipei.

You are especially going to want to include Beitou Hot Spring in your February itinerary; you can easily spend half or even a full day there by following my Beitou hot spring guide.

Beitou Hot Spring, one of the best things to do in February in Taipei
Steamy Beitou Thermal Valley

If the weather is poor during your visit, consider taking one of these excellent cooking courses in Taipei, visiting the National Palace Museum, or seeing a traditional performance at TaipeiEye. You could also visit one of Taipei’s many cat cafes!

One event you can’t miss in Taipei in February 2023 is the Lantern Festival. This traditional holiday is celebrated on the 15th day of the Lunar New Year, or February 5 in 2022. Normally every city in Taiwan has the own lantern display for the event, plus there’s a main national even in one city of the country every year. In 2023, for the first time in 23 years, Taipei will host the national event!

The Taipei Lantern Festival will last from Feb. 5 to Feb. 19, 2023. During this time, you can see impressive lantern displays, lights, and decorations at various locations in the city, including  around Taipei 101, 44 South Village, Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall, and Taipei Arena.

Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival, one of the top Taiwan February events
The Pingxi Mass Lantern Release

Another Lantern Festival event you are sure to be tempted by is the Mass Sky Lantern Release, or Pingxi Lantern Festival. This is the one where people actually release lanterns to the sky (which is actually said to be terrible for the environment).

Pingxi is a tiny village in a remote area of New Taipei City. Thousands of people ride the Pingxi Railway there to see the timed lanterns releases, or to release their own lanterns with wishes written on them. It’s such a popular even that it is spread out over a few weeks, with two major mass release dates (usually the two Saturdays closest to the Lantern Festival date).

In 2023, the Pingxi Lantern Festival main dates and locations will be Feb. 5 at Pingxi Junior High School (平溪國中) near Pingxi train station and Feb. 11 at Shifen Plaza (十分天燈廣場) near Shifen station, from around 7 to 9 pm. Be warned that the events are EXTREMELY busy and crowded, and it can take a few hours to get there, with long lines and a very crowded bus or train ride.

Tianyuan temple, where you can sometimes see cherry blossoms during Chinese New Year
Cherry blossoms at Tiayuan temple in Tamsui

You can see cherry blossoms at various spots in Taipei in February. Tianyuan Temple in Tamsui, New Taipei City usually has its first round of cherry blossoms in February (a second wave of different ones come in March). See more details about this and other temples in my Taipei temples guide.

Other spots to see cherry blossoms in Taipei in February include Yangmingshan, LOHAS park (MRT Donghu station) and the Shenzhang Bridge bus stop south of Xindian (hop on the bus toward Wulai to get there, and continue on to Wulai Hot Spring if you get cold!) You can even seen a few cherry trees blooming at Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall in the city center.

There is also a tulip show at Chian Kai-Shek Residence Park in Shilin. The 2023 Shilin Residence Tulip festival will be from Feb. 9 to 19.

Taiwan in February: Best Places to Visit

Keeping in mind that there are certain days you’ll want to avoid traveling around Taiwan due to Lunar New Year crowds, you can follow my suggested Taiwan travel itinerary for planning your trip around the island.

Enjoy the thermal hot springs and aboriginal culture at Wulai in New Taipei City.

In Yilan, head straight to Jiaoxi hot spring, my favorite hot spring village in Taiwan.

I also love remote Tai’an hot spring in Miaoli. You can combine Tai’an with a visit to nearby Dahu, where strawberries are at their peak growing season in February and there are numerous U-Pick farms in town.

Yet another hot spring to consider is the unique mud hot spring of Guanziling in Tainan.

Taichung in Central Taiwan is slightly warmer and drier than Taipei, so it’s a decent time to explore. Here are the best things to do in Taichung, my recommended Taichung itinerary, and top Taichung day trips. Don’t miss Rainbow Village, the city’s most colorful attraction!

February is the last month you can spot rare migratory birds such as the black-faced spoonbill at Sicao Green Tunnel in Anping and Gaomei Wetland in Taichung.

Cyclist riding past cherry blossoms at Wuling Farm, one of the best places to see cherry blossoms in February in Taiwan
Cherry blossoms at Wuling Farm in Taichung

Wuling Farm in Taichung is one of the best places to see cherry blossoms in Taiwan in February. Keep in mind that although it is located in Taichung (a city on the west coast of Taiwan), it is more easily accessed from the east coast.

Sun Moon Lake in Nantou can be cold in February due to the higher elevation. If you go, make sure to consider getting a Sun Moon Lake pass, and here are my recommended Sun Moon Lake day tours.

Cherry blossoms usually start appearing at Formosan Aboriginal Culture Village beside Sun Moon Lake in the last week of February, as well as at the Tainan Police Station in Tainan City.

All major cities (and many smaller towns) in Taiwan host their own Lantern Festivals (for displaying lanterns, not sky lantern releases). Some of the best ones are in Taichung, Tainan, and Kaohsiung. Here I’ve compiled the dates for the Lantern Festivals in every city in Taiwan (skip to the “Lantern Festivals in other Cities” section).

Lanterns at Foguangshan at night
Beautiful lights and lanterns at Foguangshan

The enormous Fo Guang Shan Temple complex in Kaohsiung also holds a Festival of Light and Peace starting on Lunar New Year Day (Jan. 22, 2023) and lasting for about a month.

For something truly insane, head to Yanshui, a district of Tainan City, on the same night as the Lantern Festival. There you can participate in one of the world’s most dangerous festivals, the Yanshui Beehive Fireworks Festival.

Click the link to read about how my father and I endured the festival with relatively few injuries, and all the info you need for attending.

Snow on Xueshan (Snow Mountain) in February in Taiwan
Me on the peak of Snow Mountain in February

It is possible to see snow in Taiwan in February, but you’ll need to head to the high mountains, such as Hehuanshan, Yushan, or Xueshan.

See more information in my article on where to see snow in Taiwan. Snow at Alishan is rare but possible, and your chances of seeing the famous “sea of clouds” phenomenon at Alishan are higher in winter.

You’ll want to avoid visiting the offshore islands of Taiwan in February; Penghu is insanely windy, while most services on Orchid Island close for the season.

Taipei Weather in February

I’m not going to lie: February weather in Taipei kind of sucks. It’s the coldest month of the year (along with January), with an average high temperature of 20°C (68°F) and low temperature of 14°C (57°F). But compared to January, it rains twice as much (average 170mm).

What this means that the sky is almost always gray in Taipei in February, and drizzling rain on more than half the days of the month makes the cold weather really get under your skin. The silver lining is that the hot springs in and around Taipei never feel better than they do in February.

Also see here for more things to do inside when it’s raining in Taipei.

What to Wear in Taipei in February

For sightseeing in Taipei in February, you’re going to want to wear long pants plus a few layers on top, including a jacket. For people who come from countries with colder climates, a light jacket or thick hoodie will likely suffice. You may even want to still pack a pair of shorts for unexpectedly warmer days, which can happen.

But for those who come from regions with climates similar to or more tropical than Taipei, then you’ll probably want to bring a winter jacket. Many locals even wear winter hats, gloves, and scarves on colder days in February.

Because rain is practically guaranteed during your trip, a rainproof outer layer is a smart idea, as is a collapsible umbrella (but those can easily be purchased at any convenience store in Taiwan).

Taiwan Weather in February

Once you get out of Taipei, the weather around Taiwan in February isn’t so bleak. Other parts of Northern Taiwan, including Yilan County, will have similar temperatures but not quite as much rain.

Hualian and Taroko Gorge get less than 100mm in February, so your odds of dry weather are better, but there’s still a chance of getting wet.

To avoid the cool weather and rain, your best bet is to head further south. Taichung City is usually a few degrees warmer than Taipei and receives half the amount of rain that Taipei does in February.

In the far south, in cities like Tainan, Kaohsiung, Pingtung, and Taitung, there’s a very low chance of rain in February (for example, only 30mm in Tainan), and the average high temperature in February is a mild/slightly warm 24°C (75°F)

If you’re heading up to the high mountains of Nantou, though, the temperature can plummet to freezing, and early February is one of the best times of the year to see snow on mountain peaks in Taiwan. Here are my suggestions on where to see snow in Taiwan.

What to wear in Taiwan in February

Even in the far south of Taiwan, it can still get quite cool at night, so you’ll want to bring some pants and warm outer layers. In the daytime, shorts and a T-shirt are usually enough for me. In Kenting, it’s possible to swim in the sea on fine days in February, not to mention the hot springs of the north, so definitely still bring your bathing suit if you plan to do either.

If you’re heading up to a high mountain area such as Cingjing Farm or Alishan National Scenic Area, you’ll want to prepare full-on winter gear, including a good jacket, winter hat, and gloves. You can also purchase these at Alishan village if you have to.

If you’re visiting Taiwan during the Lunar New Year, make sure to book your hotel well in advance.

Conclusion: Is February a Good Time to Visit Taiwan?

While Taiwan’s weather in February are uninspiring, it’s a great month to see cherry blossoms or visit some of the country’s many hot springs. On top of that, the Lantern Festival is one of the top events of the year in Taiwan.

Whatever you do, just make sure to plan your trip carefully around the Lunar New Year holiday, when travel can become difficult and many things close on certain days.

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