Visiting Taipei & Taiwan in May 2024

A group of hikers trekking up a wooden staircase through a bamboo forest in Taiwan

Is May a good time to visit Taiwan? For starters, May is the peak of spring in Taiwan, with rising temperatures foreshadowing the summer heat that is just around the corner. May is usually warm – not too hot, yet not too cold.

However, the Plum Rain monsoon usually arrives in Taipei in the first half of May, bringing moderate rain for days on end. The rains then move south, usually not reaching the far south of Taiwan until late May or early June. If you aren’t a fan or rain or gray sky days, you may want to avoid visiting Taiwan in May. If you have to come at this time, see my recommended things to do when it rains in Taipei.

Having said that, there are a decent number of Taipei events in May. It is even possible to see fireflies right in Taipei in May, while gorgeous early-summer weather in other parts of the country is ideal for taking in Taiwan’s top attractions. It is also one of the best months to visit the offshore islands, so consider adding Penghu or Orchid Island to your Taiwan itinerary, both which feature festivals in May.

To see how many compares to other months of the year, see my guide to the best months to visit Taiwan. Also find answers to the most common Taiwan FAQs.

Taiwan travel planning group

Taipei in May: Best Things to Do

With summer just around the corner, May is a great month for exploring Taipei on foot and soaking up the early summer vibes.

Here are some fun things to do in Taipei, my recommended Taipei itinerary, and my general Taipei city guide.

Taipei’s parks and biking trails come alive as people come out to enjoy the early summer sun. At Zhuzihu in Yangmingshan National Park, the calla lilies are mostly finished by May, but are replaced by hydrangea’s, which usually bloom from mid-May to mid-June.

Treausre Hill Artists Village, one of the best places to visit in Taipei in May
Treasure Hill Artist’s Village, which hosts an annual Light Festival

In the first week of May, head to Treasure Hill, a vibrant arts community housed in a military veterans’ village by the riverside, for the annual Treasure Hill Light Festival. The 2024 event will run until May 5.

On the 23rd day of the 3rd lunar month (May 1 in 2024), it is Matsu’s birthday. Matsu is the patron goddess of Taiwan and she looks over fishermen.

While the enormous pilgrimage in Central Taiwan for her birthday will take place in April, there will also be a pilgrimage /birthday parade in Taipei called Xikou festival – the festivities will start on May 1, but the main procession will actually be on May 3 and 4. It is run by Songshan Ciyou Temple, which is next to Raohe Night Market, and will tour through 13 different neighborhoods.

From April to June, Dalongdong Bao’an Temple in Taipei puts on a series of traditional street parades and other events in celebration of the Baosheng Emperor’s birthday. While the main birthday parade will take place in April this year, some other smaller events will happen at the temple throughout May. A list of their dates (first column) and times is here.

Dalongdong Bao'An Temple Taipei
Bao An Temple in Taipei

In late May, fireflies can be seen in Da’An Park, Muzha Park, and Rongxing Park. The best time to see them is from 6-8 p.m. on non-rainy days.

If the rain gets bad, there are plenty of things to do indoors in Taipei, such as the National Palace Museum, doing KTV (karaoke) or MTV in Ximending, visiting cat cafes, or checking one of the Taipei’s many excellent art galleries.

Taiwan in May: Best Places to Visit

Due to the enormous earthquake in Hualien on April 3, 2024, Taroko Gorge has suffered enormous damage and will be closed for an estimated full year. The road from Yilan to Hualien is only open three times per day, but trains to Hualien and still running.

You can still visit Hualien area – see my guide to things to do in Hualien besides Taroko Gorge. Contact Island Life Taiwan for arranging non-Taroko tours or private drivers on the east coast.

With a lower chance of rain in most places in Central and Southern Taiwan (compared to Taipei), pretty much anywhere in Taiwan is great to visit in May, including Sun Moon Lake in Nantou county.

Winter is over in the high mountain resorts such as Alishan and Qingjing Farm, but can still be quite cold in the early morning due to the elevation. In small villages between Chiayi city and Alishan, like Fenqihu and Ruili, it’s prime firefly watching season.

In southern Taiwan, the rice fields in rural regions like Meinong in Kaohsiung are beautiful golden yellow in May.

If the sun does come out, consider visiting one of these beaches in Taiwan. It’s usually warm enough already, but you’ll find the beaches almost totally empty, as most locals don’t even think about going to the beach until it is crazy hot out in summer.

Heading to the beach is one of the best things to do in Taiwan in May
Hardly anybody is on the beach in May, even though the weather is warm enough for it

In my opinion, May and June are the best months of the year to visit the offshore islands of Taiwan. My friends and I had a magnificent trip to Orchid Island in May. Regular flights from Taitung were up and running, the weather was perfect and hot enough to swim, but there were no almost no visitors there yet, Taiwanese or foreign.

What’s more, you might be lucky enough to catch some festivities related to the Flying Fish Festival on Orchid Island (there’s no set date for it, and different festivities happen at different times in every village).

The annual 9-day Matsu pilgrimage, one of the largest pilgrimages in the world, usually takes place in April or May. It celebrates Matsu’s birthday. Although Matsu’s birthday is on May 1 in 2023, this year’s pilgrimage will take place in late April (see my April guide for the details).

The pilgrimage starts at ends at Zhenlan Temple in Dajia District in Taichung, visiting dozens of temples in four different counties.

Matsu PilgrimA traditional parade in Taipeiage, one of the most popular events in Taiwan in mid-spring
Matsu Pilgrimage

The Penghu International Fireworks Festival will take place throughout the month of May in 2024 (May 2 to July 30). It will take place every Monday and Thursday in May and June and every Tuesday in July, at 9 PM. The impressive display takes place above Guanyinting Recreation Area and is about 50% lit up drone performance and 50% fireworks.

There will be an underground music and arts festival called WooHoo on May 10-12, put on by Earthfest, which usually does psytrance music festivals. On May 18 to 19, 2024, there will be a small music festival on the beach in Taitung called East Wave Music Festival. See their official page and event page.

Buddha’s Birthday will be celebrated on the 8th day of the 4th lunar month (May 15, 2024). While this is not a major celebration like it is in some neighboring countries (see my article on the Lantern Festival in South Korea), you can expect major Buddhist monasteries in Taiwan such as Foguangshan in Kaohsiung to have some kind of festivities or special decorations.

Taipei Weather in May

The cloudy Taipei weather in May
Overcast weather around Taipei 101

Summer is surely approaching in the month of May in Taipei, but the most intense heat has yet to arrive. The average high for May is 29°C (84°F), while the average low is 22°C (72°F).

The most important thing to note about the weather in Taipei in May is the arrival of the plum rain season. Named so because it coincides with the ripening of plums in Southern China, the East Asian Rainy Season usually hits Taipei sometime around the first half of May and can last into June.

When plum rains arrive, what usually happens is that it rains pretty much every day, sometimes for 1-2 weeks in a row. The rain tends to be heavier than winter drizzles in Taipei, but not as wild as a summer typhoon. The rains are not as intense or predictable as, for example, the Southeast Asian or Indian monsoons. I would call it a “mini-monsoon”. Some years, it’s barely even noticeable, but once in a while, the plum rains are heavy enough to cause minor flooding in some areas and can really disrupt travel plans.

It isn’t necessarily always raining in Taipei in May and June, and sometimes the rains come later than usual (for example in 2018 they didn’t arrive until June). According to the average numbers, there are still 16 days every May WITHOUT rain, so it is still very possible to have gorgeous sunny weather in Taipei in May.

It rains an average of 235mm in Taipei in May, which is a big jump from April (180mm) and the winter months, but still not as much as in June (325mm) or the summer typhoon season.

Like in most months in Taipei and Taiwan, late afternoon is the most common time for rain to fall. But don’t worry too much – there are many possible indoor activities in Taipei.

What to Wear in Taipei in May

Because Taipei is getting quite warm by May, you can pretty much pack summer clothes. However, due to the increased likelihood of rain, you’ll want to bring appropriate rain gear. Because of the higher temperatures, the plum rains don’t make you feel cold like winter rain in Taipei does; they are more like a mild annoyance than anything.

Umbrellas are a necessity at this time, but even if you don’t bring one from home, you can buy them from any convenience store for TWD 100-200 (USD3-6). Also, every time there’s a downpour, makeshift umbrella stands seem to magically appear all over the city.

Taiwan Weather in May

In the major cities & counties south of Taipei, such as Yilan, Taichung, Tainan, and Kaohsiung, summer has already arrived by May. It will still get a few degrees hotter in the coming months, but it’s practically there. In Tainan, the average high temperature in May is 31°C (88°F) and the average low is 24°C (75°F).

The plum rains don’t affect the south of Taiwan until later than in Taipei and the north. Usually the rain starts increasing in late May or early June. In Tainan the average precipitation in May is 175mm, which is more than double the figure from April (80mm), but still less than half what it will be in June (370mm).

What to wear in Taiwan in May

For traveling around the lowland areas and major cities of Taiwan in May, you can pretty much dress for summer. Think comfy shorts/skirts, T-shirts, a hat, sunglasses and lots of sunscreen.

If you’re coming toward the end of May, you might get some rain, but if you’re lucky, the plum rains won’t even arrive in the center and south of Taiwan until June. It’s still best to prepare for it just in case. A decent foldable umbrella is a smart thing to carry around, especially when venturing from the city, hiking, and so on.

Conclusion: Is May a Good Time to Visit Taiwan?

In my opinion, no month is a bad month to visit Taiwan. Don’t let the plum rains scare you off from visiting Taiwan in May (unless you really hate gray skies and occasional rain). People open their umbrellas, scooters riders throw on a rain jacket, and life goes on as normal. It’s part of the Taipei experience!

In Southern Taiwan Taiwan, May offers great early-summertime weather, but not as overwhelmingly hot as it will become in the coming months. So if May is the only time you can come, but you want to avoid the rain, consider focusing mainly on the south of Taiwan.

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