Understand the basics:
Rainfall, Temperature, Humidity, Typhoons
When people ask me: "Why have you been living in Taiwan for so long?" my answer usually mentions Taiwan's climate. The warm weather typical to our beautiful Formosa means you can wear shorts and sandals almost year-round.
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If you're from a place like Florida, or Spain that won't impress you too much. But you see, I was born in Montreal, Canada, where winters are lonnnnggg and extremely cold, so it is a big deal for me.
The Climate of Taiwan - Like a Woman?
A local proverb compares Taiwan's climate to a woman's temper. I don't know about that, but I surely know that the island's weather conditions can be as variable and unequal as the topography: semi-tropical in the north and in altitude, and clearly tropical in the plains of the south.
Taiwan has two seasons: the hot season (may to october) and the cold season (november to mars). However, weather can change at any time and it's not uncommon to have a heat wave in the middle of winter. Also, it's not surprising to alternatively get both blue skies and thunderstorms in the same day. Always pack a rain jacket or an umbrella in your bag or under your scooter seat.
Humidity in Taiwan
These seasonal variations are amplified by humidity. So even if the temperature rarely exceeds 33 degree Celsius in summer, the humidity level (usually around 80%) can make the island feel like a steam room. In Taiwan, 10 deg. Cel. in winter can feel like -10 in North America.
Precipitation - Monsoons - Typhoons
Be warned, it rains a lot on this island! Why? Because Taiwan's climate is influenced by two monsoons:
The northeast monsoon (october to march) affects mostly the northeast side of the island. If you intend to visit Keelung, Ilan or Hualien during this period, be prepared for dark skies and long (real long and real dark) rainy days.
At that time of the year, the rest of the country enjoys clear blue skies and comfortable temperature.
The southwest monsoon (may to september) affects mostly the southern and central regions of Taiwan. It's that time of the year when typhoons hit the island. On average, we get three to five typhoons a year.
The southwest monsoon affects mainly Kenting, Kaohsiung, Tainan, Taichung as well as the Central Mountain Range.
Does it Snow in Taiwan
Yes, it does snow in Taiwan, but only up in the high mountains deep in the Central Mountain Range. The two most popular places to see snow are Mt. Hehuan, in Nantou County, and Mt. Guanshan, in Taidong County.
Consider Taiwan's Climate Before You Schedule Your Visit
When should I visit Taiwan? When is the best time to visit Taipei? These are two common questions I get all the time. The answer is simple: Taiwan is a place you can visit year-round!
But there are some seasons better suited for different types of activities...
Hikers and mountain climbers will be happy to wander in the hills during the clear months of spring and fall when the air is crisp and the weather is cooler.
Museum fanatics and shoppers don't have to worry too much about the long rainy days of summer.
Surfers can enjoy big waves along the east coast in winter or after a typhoon in summer.
Beach lovers can lie down and chill out on one of Taiwan's many awesome stretches of sand for at least 9 months a year!
Now... do you understand why Taiwan's climate and weather are some real reasons why many expats stay here forever...
Want to know more about Taiwan?
Check out the following links:
Geography of Taiwan
Hiking in Taiwan
Return from Taiwan Climate to Facts about Taiwan.