Spring is a great time to visit various parts of Taiwan, as temperatures in the north and south tend to be pleasantly warm, and if the timing is right can very photogenic, as flowers are in full bloom.
By Stuart Hill
It doesn’t seem to matter where you are in the world, spring seems to be the easiest time to visit. There’s a kind of frisky energy in the air. Summer tends to bring the holidaying crowds and irritating heat, while winter can be a bit of a lethargic hassle because of the cold and the extra clothes you need to carry.
Yet for Taiwan, most of the year is pretty hot by European or US standards, so cold is never much of a problem. To the contrary, summer can be the least pleasant time to visit due to the heat and sun. That makes Taiwan spring and autumn so much more to look forward to, mainly because these seasons tend to feel so short.
As Taiwan emerges from its coldest months in January and February and leaves the Chinese New Year celebrations behind, daily temperatures begin to rise and with it an abundance of seasonal flowers start to emerge. By the official spring solstice, plants and trees across Taiwan are in full reproductive swing.
If you like flowers, both naturally growing and cultivated, there are many places to visit. Changhua and Taichung have their own flower festivals, as does Taipei and New Taipei City governments. However, even local parks, riverside parks, lakes, mountain reserves, universities and some private residences will burst into color around February and March, extending into April and May, depending on the weather.
Flowers in Taiwan’s south can start to appear even before spring officially begins, but Taiwan’s north tends to follow the seasonal flow more closely. In any case, March is a pleasant time to travel to places like Tainan and Kaohsiung, while you can leave Taipei and Keelung until April.
Taiwanese are crazy about flowers like cherry blossoms – and who shouldn’t be? – but typically the few trees found in concentration make them less impressive than what you can easily find in Japan. The Taiwan Cherry Blossom is the official flower of the New Taipei City government, and these plants can be found in districts like Danshui, Pingxi, Banchiao, and others. Alternatively, a trip to Yangming Mountain or stretches of Neihu, and even areas of Mucha are worth checking out for their different cherry blossom varieties.
Luckily sakura are not the only species found throughout Taiwan, and there are many other places to see flowering plants and trees – both introduced and native. The “Hakka Tung Blossom” that is strongly associated with Taiwanese Hakka is another flower that is spectacular in abundance. Places like Miaoli, Keelung, and Taoyuan, as well as parts of WenShan district in Taipei, are great places to see the white carpets of fallen Tung blossoms.
Taiwan has a number of flower festivals and there is information about them that you can find online. A very good website is the TravelKing.com.tw which outlines various festivals according to each season. Information can be found under the English section of their site, though it is a bit slow to load and hasn’t been updated in a few years. There are also festivals promoted by various city governments, with information usually listed under News and Events sections. The English newspapers typically have stories about various flower festivals too, so look them up around March.
- Taipei City Government website for YangMingShan flower festival, GuTing riverside flower festival, and other ideas
- New Taipei City
- The Hakka Tung Blossom Festival
- Taiwan Travel King Flower Festivals