Visiting Taipei & Taiwan in January 2024

Some covered hot spring baths in Tai'an, Miaoli

Following one of the busiest weekends of the year in Taiwan (New Year’s Eve weekend), January is actually one of the quietest months of the year for tourism in Taiwan.

Historically, January is the second least popular month of the year to visit Taiwan, but it comes right after the most popular month, December, according to pre-COVID tourist arrival numbers.

Part of the reason is that January is kind of a lull between Christmas/New Year’s Eve celebrations in December, and the traditional Lunar New Year holiday, which often takes place in February. In 2024, Lunar New Year won’t be until February 10.

In terms of weather, January is the first true month of winter in Taiwan, as December is more of a transitional month from autumn to winter. Along with February, it is the coldest month of the year and you might even be able to see snow in the high mountains.

One fun aspect of visiting Taiwan in January is that you can observe locals beginning to prepare for the most important holiday of the year, the Lunar New Year. Cherry blossoms also start making an appearance in a few places in Taipei in January, and it’s also the perfect time for visiting hot springs in Taiwan.

See how January compares to other months of the year in my guide to the best times to visit Taiwan. Also find more general travel info in this list of FAQs about visiting Taiwan.

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Taipei in January: Best Things to Do

Start by perusing my Taipei city guide for planning out your trip.

Despite the chilly weather, you can still take in all the main attractions or off-the-beaten-track ones as you would during any other month.

See my Taipei 3-day itinerary for more info on how to plan your time in the capital, things to do in Taipei with kids, and my guide to where to stay in Taipei for the best neighborhoods and accommodations.

January is particularly suitable for visiting Beitou Hot Spring village in Taipei, not only for soaking in the thermal springs but also for exploring the various Japanese-era buildings in the area. See my guide to Beitou for all the information.

Taipei’s famous night markets are a good way to stay warm, with their bustling crowds and steaming hot dishes.

In Ximending, watch for some cool new decorations as a part of the “Play and Buy” event.

Eating hot spring eggs and hot spring ramen in Beitou, one of the best things to do in Taipei in January
Hot spring tofu and hot spring eggs in Beitou

New Year’s Day and Republic Day (both celebrated on January 1) are a national holiday in Taiwan. Depending on the year and which day it falls on, the government usually makes it into a long weekend. In 2024, January 1 is a Monday, so it will be a 3-day long weekend.

This is one of the busiest weekends of the year in Taiwan, and it will be the busiest one since 2019 (before COVID killed foreign tourism in Taiwan). Expect all hotels and trains to be sold out weeks in advance for that weekend.

After the long weekend, the crowds will taper off quickly as people go back home or back to school/work. All the Christmas decorations, including those at Christmasland in Banqiao, will come down after Jan. 1.

Book your hotels in Taiwan early if traveling around the Lunar New Year!

In January, students are wrapping up their fall school semesters. They usually begin their winter break 2-3 weeks before the Lunar New Year. In 2024, that means students will be off for the last week of January.

Meanwhile, workers are beginning to prepare for the (traditional) year’s end by attending company weiya parties in the weeks leading up to the Lunar New Year. Neither of these will have a big impact on your travel plans.

In the weeks leading up to Lunar New Year, including the last week or two of January in 2024, you can visit Dihua Street or Nanmen Market in Taipei to observe flocks of locals shopping for New Year’s goodies.

These markets can get VERY BUSY and crowded, especially on the 2-3 weekends before the LNY holiday begins. Note that after undergoing renovations for a few years, Nanmen market is finally back in its original location (click the link above).

See more info in my guide to spending Lunar New Year in Taipei.

Dihua Street at Chinese New Year, one of the biggest Taipei January events
Lively Dihua Street, Taipei during New Year’s preparations

Cherry blossoms usually first start appearing in parts of Taipei and New Taipei City in late January. The best places to try in late January are Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall, Pingjing Street Lane 42 on Yangmingshan and Wulai Hot Spring village in New Taipei City, near Wulai Waterfall.

Other famous cherry blossoms viewing locations won’t have blooming flowers until February and March. See my list of cherry blossom locations around Taiwan and their blooming times.

Throughout January, you can also see fields of various flowers at Guting Riverside Park.

Close up of bare tree branches, and some of them have pink cherry blossoms, with a gray background
Cherry blossoms start appearing in a few spots in late January

Besides New Year’s Day (Jan 1), preparations for Lunar New Year, and cherry blossoms starting at the end of the month, there are no major holidays or events in January.

Taiwan in January: Best Places to Visit

For planning your trip around Taiwan, begin by consulting my suggested Taiwan itineraries and things to do in Taiwan with kids. You can also find more activity suggestions in my list of 50 Taiwan attractions.

Chilly weather in the north means that natural attractions such as Yehliu Geopark, Shifen Waterfall, and Taroko Gorge are less enticing to visit, but you shouldn’t let that stop you – just dress warm.

Guanziling mud hot spring, one of the best things to do in Taiwan in January
Mud hot spring at Guanziling, southern Taiwan

If you love hot springs, then some of the best ones to check out around Taipei include Wulai in New Taipei City, Jiaoxi in Yilan, or the more remote and difficult to reach Jianshi in Hsinchu.

See more information in my guide to the best day trips from Taipei. For a fancy spa stay that is also kid-friendly, try Tienlai Hot Spring Resort in Jishan district.

Beyond the greater Taipei region, some other great hot spring areas around Taiwan include Ruisui in Hualien, Zhiben in Taitung, Tai’an in Miaoli, or Guanziling mud hot springs in Tainan. Here are my 20 favorite Taiwanese hot springs.

In cities & counties in central and southern Taiwan, including Taichung, Taitung, Tainan, Kaohsiung, and Pingtung, the pleasant, mild weather in January makes for great exploring.

Sicao Green Tunnel with ropes holding up some of the branches.
Sicao Green Tunnel is popular to visit in winter

Taichung’s Gaomei Wetlands and Anping‘s Sicao Green Tunnel offer the chance to see rare migratory bird such as the black faced-spoonbill in winter, so this is a good time to visit either destination.

Strawberry picking in Miaoli is also popular in January, while at the Maolin National Scenic Area, millions of Taiwanese Purple Crow butterflies can be seen in at this time.

Picking strawberries in Dahu Miaoli
January is the peak of the strawberry season in Taiwan

Sun Moon Lake in Nantou can be a little chilly out on the water, but is still fine to visit. Also be sure to read about the various Sun Moon Lake passes, and consider one my recommended Sun Moon Lake tours if you are short on time.

Hiking Snow Mountain, one of the best January activities in Taiwan
Locals hiking up Snow Mountain in winter

If you want a chance of seeing snow in Taiwan, you’ll need to travel up past Cingjing Farm to the country’s highest navigable pass at Hehuanshan.

This is not a trip to be taken lightly. The road can become dangerous with snow on it, not to mention super crowded as many Taiwanese try to drive up and see the snow. It is usually required to have special chains on your tires. Try to book a room at Songsyue Lodge if you can!

You can also usually see snow by doing a multi-day trek to Yushan (Jade Mountain) or Xueshan (Snow Mountain).

It’s sometimes possible to see snow at Alishan in Chiayi, but this is quite rare (I only saw frost on the ground when I went in winter). If you do go up there, and especially if you plan to rise early for the famous sunrise, you need to dress very warmly.

On the plus side, your chances of seeing the famed sea of clouds phenomenon at sunrise are higher in winter. Also read my guide to getting to Alishan from anywhere in Taiwan.

I don’t recommend visiting the small islands of Taiwan in winter. Orchid Island‘s hotels and restaurants will mostly be closed, while Penghu gets extremely windy in winter.

Taipei Weather in January

January is the coldest month of the year in Taipei. The average high temperature is 19°C (66°F), while the average low is 10°C (50°F).

While this may not seem that low if you are coming from somewhere with a drier climate, 10°C can feel surprisingly cold in humid, subtropical Taipei. It’s the kind of damp cold that gets under your skin. What’s more, most homes and even hotels don’t have internal heating, so it can feel just as cool indoors.

On the plus side, January is more favorable than February purely in terms of weather, as the latter has the same temperatures but twice as much chances of rain. Taipei only receives an average of 85mm of rain in January, one of the lowest of the year. When it does come, though, it is the kind of light, drizzling rain that seems to go on and on, making it feel even colder, and the sky seems to be gray more often than not.

If you do encounter any rain on your trip, see my guide to the best indoor activities in Taipei.

What to Wear in Taipei in January

For visiting Taipei in January, you’re going to want to wear long pants and a few layers on your upper half, including a jacket. For people who are used to very cold weather, a light jacket or hoodie will suffice. You may even want to still pack a pair of shorts for unexpectedly warm days.

But for those who come from regions with warmer climates such as Southeast Asia, then you’ll probably want to bring a good winter jacket. Many local Taiwanese even wear winter hats, gloves, and scarves on colder days in January. Choosing a waterproof jacket is a good idea, too, because things take forever to dry in Taipei.

Taiwan Weather in January

Alishan covered in snow, showing just how cold the January weather in Taiwan can be
Alishan covered in a blanket of snow

In January, other parts of Northern Taiwan, including Yilan county, experience the same weather as Taipei. If you’re going near the coast, such as Yehliu Geopark or Jiufen Old Street, the wind can make it feel even cooler.

Hualien County, including Taroko Gorge, is usually a couple degrees warmer than Taipei in January. The same can be said about Taichung City on the west coast, but Taichung has even less chances of rain, with an average of only 35mm per month in January.

Heading to the far south of Taiwan, the average high temperature in Tainan, Kaohsiung, and Pingtung is a pleasant 23-24°C (73-75°F). Meanwhile, Sun Moon Lake in Nantou can be cooler like Taipei due to the elevation, while high mountain resorts like Cingjing Farm and Alishan can drop to near freezing.

It’s even possible to see snow in Taiwan in January; see my detailed guide to winter in Taiwan for the best places to see snow in Taiwan. Despite the photo of Alishan covered in snow above, it is extremely rare to see snow there in winter.

What to wear in Taiwan in January

How to dress in Taiwan in January is going to highly depend on where you are going. Assuming your are covering different parts of the country, you’ll probably want to bring a combination of winter clothes (jeans, jacket, warm hat) and summer clothes for warmer days in the south.

You can still go to the beach and swim at Kenting or go surfing in Dulan in January, or you may want to visit hot springs in the north, so make sure to bring a bathing suit as well.

If you’re heading to the high mountains, you’ll want to bring full-on winter gear. Winter hats and gloves can be purchased at the Alishan tourist village if you forget.

Conclusion: Is January a Good Time to Visit Taiwan?

Cold weather in Taiwan in January, particularly in Taipei, seems to turn off a lot of tourists. It’s also kind of a limbo period between New Year’s Eve and Lunar New Year with few notable events.

However, if you don’t mind the cool weather, love hot springs, have an adventurous spirit, are escaping a much colder winter or equatorial heat in your own country, or you want to avoid the crowds of more popular months, then January might just be the month for you.

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