The summers in Taiwan are hot and humid and although it’s often perfect weather for lazing around on the beach, there are a lot of other things to do during the hottest months of the year. From music festivals to celebrations designed to appease the spirits, summer in Taiwan is anything but boring. Here are some of the most notable events you should try to attend during your time in the land they call Formosa.
Taiwan International Balloon Festival
End of June – Early August
Head down to Taidong during the month of July and you’ll see hot air balloons filling the sky. The international balloon festival has grown in stature in recent years and now attracts a huge number of foreign visitors and teams of hot-air balloonists. It’s a real sight to see and if you’re lucky (and brave enough) you can go for a ride in one yourself.
Fulong Sand Sculpting Art Festival
May – July
Fulong Beach is one of the most popular beaches in the north of Taiwan and with good reason. Its golden sands and warm waters make for an ideal day and it’s also a popular surfing location. But from May to July there’s another reason to head here. The sand sculpting festival is one of the most popular in Asia and you’ll find some incredible creations here on the beach.
Ho Hai Yan Gongliao Rock Festival
Late July or Early August
Once the sand sculpting festival is over, it’s time for Fulong to play host to one of the country’s biggest music festivals. The Ho-Hai-Yan Rock Festival is a weekend of live music and entertainment that features live acts from Taiwan and across the globe. It’s a great event that is most popular with lovers of non-commercial and indie music. If you like your music then it’s well worth a visit.
Dragon Boat Festival
The fifth day of the fifth month of the lunar calendar
Now a major festival celebrated the world over, Dragon Boat Festival in Taiwan is one of the most enjoyable traditional celebrations of the year. A festival dating back centuries, it’s a time when everyone eats Zhongzi and enjoys the boat races. Every locality has its own event and some attract race teams from across the globe making it one of those rare traditional festivals that transcends cultures. You don’t have to take part in the races but you simply have to go see one.
Keelung mid-summer Ghost Festival
Starting on the first day of the seventh lunar month
Ghost Month is a very important time of the year for Taiwanese people. There are so many things that must be done to appease the spirits that walk the earth during this time and an even greater list of things that cannot be done. But the most famous festival that takes place during this month is the one in Keelung. This festival is held not only to appease ghosts but also honor the dead of a conflict that took place centuries ago. There are so many things going on throughout the month that you can drop by anytime and witness some of the local traditions and customs. However, if you had to choose one day to attend, the 14th day of the month is when they hold the water lantern procession by the shore. An unforgettable experience.
Hengchun Pole Climbing Festival
15th day of the seventh lunar month
Yes you guessed right, the pole climbing festival involves climbing poles, and while it might not sound like the most exciting of events, it really is a must-see. 36 poles greased with oil are set up with a silk banner at their tops. Then teams of locals try to be the first to claim their banner. Over a century old, this festival begins with a number of customs and practices that people believe drives ghosts (which happen to be roaming the earth at this time) away from the area. Not everyone makes it to the top and it’s an interesting spectacle that you’re unlikely to witness elsewhere.