Winter in Taiwan is not the snowy wonderland you might find elsewhere. In fact, you’ll have to trek up the mountains just to find a bit of frost in the mornings. Having said that though, it does get relatively cold and you may need a scarf or even a pair of gloves if you venture out in the evenings. However, despite the chill in the air, it’s a season packed with events and festivals. Here are some of the best.
How could we forget Taiwan’s most notable feat of modern engineering, Taipei 101. The former tallest building in the world is ripe with Instagrammable spots, from the large damper to the massive ‘LOVE’ artwork out in front.
Butterfly Beauty Festival
November-March During the winter, millions of Euploea butterflies migrate to Taiwan for the colder months and head for the Maolin National Scenic Area. It’s one of only two migratory butterfly gorges in the world, making a trip to this festival a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Locals call the area the Purple Butterfly Valley and it truly is a breathtaking sight to see so many of these amazing butterflies covering the landscape.
Taiwan Lantern Festival
Fifteenth day of the first month of the lunar calendar
The Taiwan Lantern Festival is an event organised by the government in order to encourage younger generations to take more interest in their cultural heritage. It takes place in a different city each year and runs for about a week prior to the the actual lantern festival itself. Here, you’ll find a huge range of floats created by local businesses, charities and groups, some of which are pretty creative.
24 November-1 January Although only a small percentage of the population actually celebrate the festive season, locals are still fascinated by Christmas. And to satisfy the citizens’ thirst for all things Christmas (or to at least give people a taste of the commercial side of the holiday) the local government holds a Christmasland event each year in Banqiao.Here they decorate the streets and a central park area right by Banqiao Train Station. Kids and adults can enjoy some scheduled performances and take in all the creative displays or enjoy some festive treats. It’s an incredibly popular event that runs the whole month of December.
Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival
Fifteenth day of the first month of the lunar calendar Anyone who has visited Taiwan will have heard about the sky lanterns of Pingxi and perhaps even set one off into the night sky. But during the festival itself, it’s an incredible sight to see thousands of lanterns taking to the sky. Locals write messages to the gods and their ancestors on the lanterns and release them into the sky hoping that their wishes and prayers will be answered. If you can handle the crowds then this is a great experience and a good opportunity for some photos.
Yanshui Beehive Fireworks Festival
Fifteenth day of the first month of the lunar calendar Ranked as the third largest folk celebration in the world, this festival is incredibly popular but also ever so slightly dangerous. In fact, only the bravest souls take part in what can only be described as fireworks madness. Several beehive-like structures are packed with fireworks and locals actually walk between them as the fireworks are set off. It’s a religious celebration to thank a local god who protected the area during a plague. This baptism of fireworks is certainly a celebration that those faint of heart might want to avoid.
The Lunar New Year
First week of the first month of the Lunar Calendar
And so we come to the most important festival of them all, Lunar New Year or as many call it, Chinese New Year. It’s the most anticipated holiday in the region and a time when the entire island takes time to celebrate the new year with their family.
Although there are some events that take place during this time, to truly understand the meaning of the holiday, you’ll need to spend it with a local family. The house will be packed with traditional foods (each one significant for a particular reason) and you’ll get to experience some local traditions in action.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.