Visiting Taipei & Taiwan in September 2024

Looking into the courtyard and inner hall of Confucius Temple in Taipei, with some angular shadows in the foreground

September is the final month of summer in Taiwan, but with average temperatures a few degrees lower than July and August, it is definitely more bearable. By the end of September, I would even call it pleasantly warm, and one of the best times to visit Taiwan of the whole year.

The Mid-Autumn Festival (popularly known as the “Moon Festival” in English) usually happens in September (Sept. 17 in 2024). Even though it’s called “Mid-Autumn”, it actually happens around the tail end of summer or very beginning of the autumn season in Taiwan.

With everyone back to school and work, September usually sees the lowest number of visitors of any month of the year in Taiwan. So for those looking to escape the crowds and enjoy some sightseeing in summer-like conditions (hello beaches!), September may be for you. Also, water lovers can’t miss the chance to participate in the Sun Moon Lake Mass Swim, one of the top September events in Taiwan!

The only thing to be careful with is that September, along with August, is the month you are most likely to encounter a typhoon in Taiwan. It is also the rainiest month of the year in Taipei by volume, thanks in no small part to those typhoons, though cities in the center and south of Taiwan see far less rain in September. Despite the high volume of rain, which usually comes in short but intense bursts, most of September is actually very sunny.

For more general information on visiting Taiwan, also see these Taiwan travel FAQs.

Taiwan travel planning group

Taipei in September: Best Things to Do

With temperatures finally abating slightly in September, it becomes less of a struggle to do a lot of sightseeing in Taipei in the daytime. Consult my Taipei city guide, Taipei itinerary or guide to what to do in Taipei for loads of ideas.

Making day trips from Taipei in September also becomes easier, with reduced crowds, especially during the week. See my dedicated articles to Jiufen and Shifen Waterfall.

Shifen Waterfall, one of the best things to do in Taiwan in September
Extra rain means that waterfalls like Shifen are even more beautiful

Even though the sights are less crowded, Taipei’s famous night markets are never anything but crowded…check them out right when they are opening (5-7 PM) for the best experience. From 7-10 PM, they can still be unbearably hot and packed.

The Taipei Fringe Festival usually goes from late August to early September. In 2024, the dates are August 24 to September 8.

Even though it’s still so hot outside, the Taipei Water Park (suitable for young children only) is closed in September. They only open it in July and August. Head to one of the beaches around Taipei to cool off.

Moon Cakes, which are eaten during Moon Festival, one of the biggest Taiwan September events
Moon Cakes, a staple of the Moon Festival in Taiwan

The Mid-Autumn Festival (中秋節 or zhong qiu jie, also known as the Moon Festival) will take place on Tuesday, September 17 in 2024. Unlike in previous years, this will NOT result in a long weekend. It will just be one Tuesday off and that’s it. Thus, it won’t have any major impact on travel – only some day trip places around major cities (like Yangmingshan, Tamsui, Jiufen, etc) will be busier than usual.

Mainly a family-oriented festival, locals celebrate it by having barbecue gatherings right on the alleys and streets in front of their homes.

You can also take part in the festival by trying a moon cake, a rich, round pastry filled (traditionally) with things like bean paste, salted duck egg yolk, taro, meat floss or (in modern versions) anything from mochi to ice cream. Boxes of them are often gifted at the time, and local expats seem to either love or hate them, while most young local locals nowadays find them too sweet and calorie-dense.

Confucian tablets
Tablets in the Taipei Confucius Temple

September 28 is the birthday of Confucius, one of the most prominent philosophers and teachers in Chinese history. The day also honors teachers in Taiwan.

Confucius’ birthday is normally celebrated with an early morning (6 AM) performance at Taipei Confucius Temple. You can get a ticket by dropping in to the temple a few days before; the attendants there are always very helpful and speak English.

To read more about this and other temples, read my guide to the 30 best temples in Taipei.

Other Taipei events to watch for in September include Taipei Jazz Festival (the whole month) and Songyanland, which will feature various artworks and performances at Songshan Cultural and Creative Park from September 20 to 29.

Taiwan in September: Best Places to Visit

Keep an eye on the forecast in Taiwan in September; while Taipei and Yilan in Northern Taiwan surely see lots of rain, when it’s not raining, it’s a great time to head to the beach. Crowds are way down, but the weather is ideal. Here’s my guide to the best beaches in Taiwan.

The free Gongliao International Music Festival (貢寮海洋音樂祭, also called Hohaiyan Rock Music Festival) on Fulong Beach took place in September in 2023, but the 2024 dates haven’t been announced yet.

Mass Swim at Sun Moon Lake in September
The annual Sun Moon Lake Mass swim is usually held in September

The Sun Moon Lake Mass Swim, one of the largest mass swims in the world, usually takes place in Nantou county in late September, and online registration for the event begins around July. It is the one time of the year you can swim in Sun Moon Lake, so make sure to register on time. The 2024 event will take place on Sunday, September 15.

Read my guide to Sun Moon Lake, the best Sun Moon Lake tours, and how to take advantage of the Sun Moon Lake Pass.

Lingering summer weather means it’s also a great time to hit the beach in Taitung (try Dulan), Kenting National Park, or on the offshore islands such as Green Island, Orchid Island, Penghu, or Xiaoliuqiu. Both domestic and foreign crowds will be down, but the weather will be fine.

Just keep a close eye on possible typhoons. Once, my family and I had to leave Green Island one day ahead of schedule because a typhoon was coming and the authorities asked all the tourists to go back to the mainland.

Three people snorkelling right above a sea turtle
Me and my kids snorkeling with giant sea turtles on Xiaoliuqiu

Fun activities to try on the islands include scuba diving on Green Island or on Orchid Island, island hopping on Penghu, and turtle watching on Xiaoliuqiu. Get your ferry tickets for Green Island and Orchid Island here.

If the cities or lowlands areas are still too hot for you in September, high mountain areas like Alishan (see my detailed guide to getting to Alishan) and Qingjing Farm are the a perfect getaway. It remains to be seen whether Taroko Gorge will have reopened yet by September of 2024, following the devastating earthquake in April. Here are other things you can still do in Hualien.

The Confucius Temples of Taichung, Kaohsiung, and Tainan may have activities on Confucius’ birthday (September 28); it’s worth checking in advance.

A whole boat on fire on top of a mound of burning things
Donggang Boat Burning Festival will take place this year.

The Burning of the Wang Yeh Boats in Donggang, Pingtung County happens once every three years, usually in October. The event will be taking place this year! Festivities go from September 28 to October 5.

Earthfest, a small, underground pystrance music festival, usually takes places somewhere remote in Miaoli or Nantou County twice per year, in May and late September. Keep an eye on their Facebook for upcoming events.

Taipei Weather in September

View from Taipei 101 with decent September weather in Taipei
View of Taipei City from Taipei 101

If you’ve already spend the whole summer in Taipei, by September, you may start wondering, “Is this ever going to end?” Taipei in early September can remain as hot as the peak of summer, but by the end of the month is has usually subsided by a few degrees. The average high and low for the month are 31°C (89°F) and 24°C (75°F), respectively, two degrees lower than August.

Don’t forget about the humidity, often around 75% at this time, which makes things feel a lot hotter and sweatier than the numbers indicate.

The muggy weather in Taipei in September is accompanied by more rain than any other month of the year: 360mm. Although there are still an average of 5 hours of sunshine per day in September, this is interspersed with regular heavy rains, not to mention the huge amount of rain that comes with the typhoon or two that usually strike.

While this combo of intense heat and lots of rain may sound pretty bleak, I personally would rather spend September in Taipei than July or August; those few degrees do make a difference, crowds are down, and the rain is often a welcome reprieve. If you do happen to face full days of rain, then see my guide to what to do on rainy days in Taipei.

Typhoons in Taiwan in September

My son standing in front of a tree that fell over during Typhoon Megi in Taiwan in September 2016
My son in front of a fallen tree after Typhoon Megi (Sept 2016) hit our neighborhood

While the typhoon season runs from July to October, with occasional typhoons coming as early as June or as late as November, August and September are the most common months they strike. There is also a common belief that the typhoons which come later in the season tend to be more powerful.

While this is not always the case, one example was Typhoon Megi, which struck Taiwan in the last week of September in 2016. The typhoon left nearly 4 million households without power, caused NT$3.36 billion, rolled over tour buses, and killed 8.

In our own New Taipei City neighborhood, my kids and I took a stroll once the typhoon had passed, and we found scooters with seats bent in half or ripped right off, trees uprooted, and signs of a river that had nearly flooded to the top of the flood protection walls.

I’m not trying to scare you off from visiting Taiwan in September but only to stress the importance of taking typhoons seriously. If a typhoon is going to strike during your trip, you will surely hear people talking about it or see it on the news.

Scooters damaged by Typhoon Megi in Taipei in 2016
Damage in our neighborhood from Typhoon Megi (2016)

While typhoons sometimes veer away from Taiwan days before, if one is really going to hit then you’ll want to get away from high mountain areas (for example Alishan National Scenic Area in Chiayi), landslide-prone areas (Taroko Gorge in Hualien), anywhere close to the sea on the east coast, or the offshore islands such as Green Island or Orchid Island.

If you’re unsure whether you need to adjust your Taiwan travel itinerary at the last minute, ask locals for advice!

On the evening before the typhoon strikes, every major city or county in Taiwan will decide whether to call a mandatory day off for students and most workers (7-11, the MRT, and essential services remain open). If this happens, make sure to stock up on food (and beer!) that night, then really stay in the whole next day.

Taipei is one of the safest places to be during a typhoon; the city’s infrastructure and concrete block apartments are well designed to withstand. The bulk of injuries and deaths happen in small villages in the mountains, near the coast, or to people who ignore the warnings not to go outside.

Waiting out a typhoon indoors can be an awesome experience; the powerful wind and rain can be deafening, especially if you are on a top floor or have a balcony to look out from. Just watch for falling debris, signs, pieces or roofs, etc!

But before you celebrate the experience, keep in mind that while some typhoons can seem rather tame in the big city, the same storms can take out entire villages in the countryside. The most brutal example is Tyhoon Morakot (August 2009), the deadliest typhoon in Taiwan’s history, which killed 465 people when a landslide covered an entire village in the south.

Likewise, Typhoon Soudelor (August 2015) was the most intense typhoon I’ve ever experienced in Taipei (see my articles on Taipei in July and Taipei in August for some photos of the damage in my neighborhood).

What to Wear in Taipei in September

Not much different than summer, in September you should dress is clothing that is light, comfy, and protects your skin.

While most of the population is back to school and work, it is still perfectly acceptable to wear shorts, tank tops, and sandals (for men), or short shorts/skirts and tank tops for women, even if you’re planning to visit some of the temples in Taipei. Taiwan is not a super formal country.

With a practically guaranteed chance of getting wet from sweat or rain, opt for clothing that dries quickly and make sure to bring some extra pairs. An umbrella is an essential item, but you can buy them easily and cheaply all over Taiwan. Cheap plastic ponchos are also available from any 7-Eleven.

Taiwan Weather in September

Temples back by clouds at Lion's Head Mountain in September in Taiwan
Cloudy but beautiful weather at Lion’s Head Mountain in Miaoli

Other parts of Taiwan are not as rainy as Taipei in September. While the whole country can be impacted by typhoons, Northern Taiwan (including Taipei), Yilan County, Hualien County, and Taitung Cunty tend to be the most seriously hit.

Cities and counties on the central west coast, including Taoyuan, Hsinchu, Miaoli, Taichung, Changhua, Yunlin, and Chiayi are protected by the Central Mountain Range and tend to be less affected, and they see significantly less precipitation than Taipei in September. For example, Taichung only gets about 100mm of rain in September.

Likewise, the south of Taiwan is much drier than Taipei in September. Tainan only sees 180mm of precipitation, while Kaohsiung gets a moderate 240mm.

The average temperatures in the major cities and lowland areas of Taiwan in September are virtually the same as in Taipei; it’s only in the milder seasons that the differences between the tropical south and sub-tropical north become more apparent.

With heavier rain than usual, be especially cautious and avoid visiting Taroko Gorge during (or shortly after) any typhoon or heavy rain.

September can be a great time to visit Sun Moon Lake in Nantou, with fewer tourists and slightly milder temperatures than elsewhere due to the elevation (748 meters). Alishan can be pleasantly warm in the daytime, with an average 23°C (73°F), while in the early morning it can go down to a chilly 16°C (61°F).

What to wear in Taiwan in September

You can pretty much dress for summer when spending September in Taiwan. Away from Taipei and Northern Taiwan, while you can expect less rain, it is still quite likely that you will encounter some heavy downpours or even a typhoon. Think light clothing that dries quickly, and carry or purchase an umbrella, even if the day starts out totally clear.

Don’t forget that while casual clothing is normal and acceptable, Taiwanese never go barefoot anywhere but the beach, and going shirtless for men is also guaranteed to get a lot of stares.

If you’re heading to high mountain areas like Alishan or Qingjing Farm, you’ll want to bring a jacket for those chilly early mornings.

Here’s my detailed guide to where to stay in Taipei and the best hostels in Taipei.

Conclusion: Is September a Good Time to Visit Taiwan?

If you like to avoid the crowds, September may be one of the best months of the year to visit Taiwan. True, Taipei is often muggy and/or rainy, but other parts of the country are less so.

The Sun Moon Lake Mass Swim and Ghost Month festivities are two offbeat experiences to add some spice to your trip, while enduring summer-like weather around the island can make for a great holiday.

Just keep an eye on approaching typhoons and take necessary precautions, even if that means making some last-minute changes to your itinerary.

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