Note: The order of appearance of the following festivals and events is according to the time of the year when they usually occur. Dates can change however over time. We try to update the info frequently, but some of it might be outdated. The year in the bracket […] indicates when the info was last updated.
ALISHAN SUNRISE IMPRESSION CONCERT January 1 / Chiayi County
Where do you want to see the first rays of the sun in the year 2021? How about at one of the most famous sunrise-viewing spots in Taiwan? Visitors take the Alishan Forest Railway to the Zhushan sunrise-viewing platform inside the Alishan National Forest Recreation Area each day of the year, but perhaps the best day to go is January 1. To celebrate the occasion, and to warm up the visitors who go on this most likely cold predawn outing, a live classical-music concert has been staged each year since 2002.
Alishan National Scenic Area
TAICHUNG CITY MAZU INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL
Among the main deities worshipped in Taiwan, Mazu, the Goddess of the Sea, is arguably the most important. There are hundreds of temples on the island dedicated to the goddess, and elaborate festivals are held to celebrate her birthday (23rd day of 3rd lunar month; April 15th in 2020). The biggest and best-known Mazu event is the annual Mazu Pilgrimage in central Taiwan, starting at Taichung’s Zhenlan Temple in Dajia District. Before and during the pilgrimage, endless fascinating religious ceremonies and rituals can be witnessed as part of the Taichung City Mazu International Festival.
Taichung Tourism and Travel Bureau
Zhenlan Temple (Chinese)
LANTERN FESTIVAL EVENTS
Among the numerous Lantern Festival events staged each year, the Taiwan Lantern Festival is the largest in scale and the most important. Each year a different city or county serves as host, the honors going to Hsinchu City in 2021. The cities of Taipei and Kaohsiung have their own grand annual Lantern Festival events. For the 2020 edition, the venues in Taipei were the Ximending/North Gate area in the city’s west and the area around Nangang Station in the east. The Kaohsiung event has traditionally been staged on the banks of the Love River, with lanterns displayed beside the riverside paths that are popular with romance-seeking visitors throughout the year. The small town of Yanshui (old name: Yuejin), in Tainan City, is best known for its annual beehive fireworks festival. The Yuejin Lantern Festival, lesser known but equally attractive, is a beautiful and much more peaceful affair. You can go on romantic walks through a park and marvel at colorful and beautifully shaped lanterns floating peacefully on the waters of the town’s river. February / New Taipei City
PINGXI SKY LANTERN FESTIVAL
Releasing paper lanterns into the sky is a very popular activity for tourists who visit the scenic Pingxi Valley in New Taipei City. While sky lanterns are released throughout the year, during the time of the Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival (two weeks after the Lunar New Year) the atmosphere is especially enchanting. Thousands of revelers gather and hundreds of lanterns are released at the same time in succession, turning the night sky into a sea of orange lights. Write your wishes on your lantern and send it to the heavens!
New Taipei City Travel
YANSHUI BEEHIVE FIREWORKS FESTIVAL
While the Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival is a very peaceful and heartwarming festival, the Yanshui Beehive Fireworks Festival is definitely not. And it’s not meant to be. The origin of the beehive fireworks goes back to the late 19th century, when the people of the town of Yanshui were plagued by a cholera epidemic. Turning to the gods for help, they carried a palanquin with Guan Di, the God of War, through the streets and set off firecrackers to scare away the evil spirits responsible for the plague. This approach apparently worked, and the faithful people of Yanshui have been organizing the beehive fireworks event annually ever since.
Beehive Fireworks Festival
MIAOLI BOMBING THE DRAGON
This is another festive event organized during the time of the annual lantern festival period. It takes place at the Yuqing Temple in Miaoli City, and activities last from the first day of the lunar month to the 15th. The “bombing of the dragon” tradition (the “dragon” is a long paper dragon carried by several men) is carried out in several stages during this period: the creation of the dragon, painting its eyes (to bring it to life), welcoming of the dragon, walking with the dragon, and finally bombing it (setting off firecrackers around it and in the end burning it).
Miaoli Travel Net
THE BOMBING MASTER HANDAN CELEBRATION
YANGMINGSHAN FLOWER SEASON
When the weather in northern Taiwan is at its coolest in February and March each year, the cherry trees of Yangmingshan National Park burst into bloom, bringing bright red and pink colors to the otherwise grayish-green mountainsides. Azaleas and camellias and a large bouquet of other flower types also join in the fun, to the delight of flower lovers, who flock to the park in large number. Among the favorite locations to enjoy the floral beauty are Yangming Park and the Floriculture Experiment Center.
Yangmingshan National Park
TAIPEI INTERNATIONAL BOOK EXHIBITION
The Taipei International Book Exhibition (TIBE) is an important annual event for publishing professionals and book lovers in Taiwan and throughout East Asia. In 2018, 600 publishers from 60 different countries and territories participated, more than 1,000 events were held, and 530,000 visitors came. In 2019, Germany was featured as the “Guest of Honor.”
Taipei International Book Exhibition
SHILIN RESIDENCE TULIP SHOW
SONG-JIANG BATTLE ARRAY IN NEIMEN, KAOHSIUNG
Not much of tourist interest goes on in Kaohsiung’s quiet rural district of Neimen for most of the year, but there is one exception, the annual Song-Jiang Battle Array event. This week-long festival, a mix of religious rituals and sports-like competition, brings together groups of young performers from around Taiwan, who converge on Neimen to show off their troupe-array martial-arts skills and compete against each other. The festival is a fantastic spectacle, packed with exciting and at times highly acrobatic performances that are accompanied by the sound of drums and other traditional instruments.
Neimen Song Jiang Battle Ritual (Chinese)
TAIWAN INTERNATIONAL ORCHID SHOW
Orchids have been cultivated in Taiwan for more than a hundred years, and over the last two decades the local production has been increased significantly, making the island one of the most important orchid exporters in the world. More than 90% of Taiwan-grown flowers shipped abroad are orchids, with moth orchids being the most important. This orchid show is not only an important event for international orchid buyers, but also a great exhibition of all types of orchids for the common flower lover.
Taiwan International Orchid Show
THE HAKKA TUNG BLOSSOM FESTIVAL
While tung trees are to be found predominantly in northwest Taiwan (Taoyuan/Hsinchu/Miaoli), this festival celebrating the annual bloom of the trees includes activities in almost all counties and cities around the island. This is the time to walk along forest trails and take pictures of the blossoms, with the trees (and also the ground) appearing as though covered in snow. The festival is also a celebration of Hakka culture; the tung blossom is a widely used floral symbol of the Hakka people.
The Hakka Tung Blossom Festival
ALISHAN SAKURA SEASON
During February to April the Alishan Forest Recreation Area, a popular tourist attraction throughout the year, becomes even more attractive despite high-mountain winter weather that can be quite cold. The area boasts different types of cherry trees with slightly differing blooming times, including Formosan, Yoshino, Fuji, and Yaebenishidare cherry. The Yoshino cherry trees are the most numerous, and their large pink-petal blossoms are especially photogenic. Another treat for photographers is the old steam locomotives of the Alishan Forest Railway that can be seen running during this time of the year.
Alishan National Scenic Area
NEW TAIPEI CITY WAN JIN SHI MARATHON
This road race is different from the many other running events staged throughout the year in Taiwan in that it has been recognized as a Silver Label race by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF). As such, the marathon has joined the ranks of elite road races around the world, and attracts a significant number of top marathon runners from abroad each year.
Wan Jin Shi Marathon
ZHUZIHU CALLA LILY FESTIVAL
While some withered blossoms on Yangmingshan National Park’s cherry trees and azalea bushes still hang on to branches after the early-spring bloom, in March and April flower lovers turn their attention to a different type of floral beauty in this mountainous area. Their pure-white petals and elegant shape make calla lilies a favorite among flower aficionados and sweetheart couples. Many visitors flock to the flower fields of Zhuzihu, a small basin area within the national park used for agriculture, to pick their own flowers, take photos, and enjoy the enchanting scenery.
Calla Lily & Hydrangea Festival
YILAN GREEN EXPO
The year 2019 marked the 20th anniversary of the Yilan Green Expo, a fair that is focused on preservation of the natural environment, green energy, green industries, and eco-education. While being highly educational, there is also fun to be had at the expo, which is staged at the Dongshan River Ecoark Park and around the Dongshan Railway Station in Yilan County. In addition to the informative exhibitions, visitors can also visit interesting buildings, join DIY sessions, enjoy a rich program of cultural stage performances, and even go on a riverboat cruise. Yilan Green Expo (Chinese) April 5 ~ June 28 / Taipei City
BAOSHENG CULTURAL FESTIVAL
If you have time for just one temple visit during your next trip to Taipei, consider making it the Dalongdong Bao’an Temple. The main deity worshipped in this complex, which received a UNESCO Award for Culture Heritage Conservation in 2003, is the Baosheng Emperor, also known as the God of Medicine. The Baosheng Cultural Festival, held each year around the deity’s birthday (15th day of 3rd lunar month; April 7th this year), includes many interesting events and activities over a span of several weeks, including street parades and martial-arts performances.
PINGTUNG BLUEFIN CULTURAL TUNA FESTIVAL
For lovers of fresh seafood, the fishing-harbor town of Donggang in Pingtung County is a place not to be missed. The season for bluefin tuna is April to June, and during this time of the year you can not only sample the best and freshest of melt-in-your-mouth sashimi, but also enjoy a wide variety of cultural activities. Apart from tuna, Donggang is also famed for sakura prawns and oil fish roe. From the harbor, the mainland area of Dapeng Bay National Scenic Area can be reached by a quick drive, and you can take a ferry to Little Liuqiu (Xiaoliuqiu) island, also part of the scenic area, which is known for its coral rock formations and sea turtles.
Dapeng Bay National Scenic Area
SPRING WAVE MUSIC & ART FESTIVALpring Wave Music & Art Festival
After being staged the last two years at Taipei’s Dajia Riverside Park, this year the annual Spring Wave Music & Art Festival returns to Kenting National Park this year  in the far south of Taiwan. The line-up of performers includes some of the big names of Taiwan’s pop and rock scenes, including Van Ness Wu, Sandee Chan, Miss Ko, MJ116, Julia Wu, Auntie Roxy, and Leon Zheng. Kenting National Park is a wonderful natural playground featuring sandy beaches, stretches of upraised coral-rock coastline, tropical forest, and a busy tourist-oriented village (Kending) offering scores of shops, restaurants, and hotels.
Spring Wave Music & Art Festival
 May 30 ~ June 28 / Changhua County
LUGANG DRAGON BOAT FESTIVAL
One of the big three annual traditional festivals in Taiwan, the Dragon Boat Festival is best known for dragon-boat races. These are staged on rivers and lakes in various locations around the island, including Taipei’s Keelung River and Kaohsiung’s Love River. In recent years the competition at Lugang, a historic town in central Taiwan, has emerged as perhaps the most attractive dragon-boat race event. Making it special is the fact that the races take place in the late afternoon and evening with boats, bridges, and riverbanks colorfully illuminated. Many streets are also lavishly decorated for the occasion. Lugang is a history-rich old town, once a thriving port, that is great for nostalgia trips for those who want to experience the Taiwan of old.
Changhua County Government
FULONG INTERNATIONAL SAND SCULPTURE ART FESTIVAL
This is a very popular happening on a very popular beach on Taiwan’s Northeast Coast. The fine sand found at Fulong Beach is said to be perfect for creating sand castles, and that might explain why during each year’s festival incredible large, life-like, intricate, and highly creative sand sculptures wow the crowds. The themes in 2020 were in line with the year being the Year of Mountain Tourism and 2021 being the Year of Cycling in Taiwan. Expect to see large sculptures featuring high mountains and creations showing people exploring Taiwan on two wheels. Those concerned about strong sun exposure during daytime will be delighted to know that the sand sculptures can also be enjoyed in the evening, colorfully illuminated.
Northeast and Yilan Coast National Scenic Area
TAIWAN EAST COAST LAND ARTS FESTIVAL
The Taiwan East Coast Land Arts Festival combines the beauty of Taiwan’s East Coast region with the beauty of outdoor installation art and music. Each year, the organizer invites artists from Taiwan and abroad to create installation artworks that blend nicely with the natural environment of the East Coast National Scenic Area. Onsite creation and local participation are emphasized, with the aim of creating dialogues around art, nature, and culture. A central element of the festival is the romantic Moonlight Sea Concert series, featuring well-known musicians from around Taiwan. As the concerts are timed to coincide with days around the full moon, spectators can (weather permitting) see the moon rise and the moonlight reflection on the waters of the Pacific Ocean.
TEC Land Arts Festival
East Coast National Scenic Area
TAIWAN KOM – SUMMER
Who will be the King of the Mountains (KOM) in 2021? Or better, who will be the “kings,” because there will be more than one opportunity to snatch a winner’s crown in grueling bicycle races up steep mountain slopes this year. While the main Taiwan KOM Challenge bicycle race, from the Pacific shore in Hualien City to the dizzying central mountain heights at Wuling, the highest highway point in Taiwan, will take place at the end of October, additional KOM races have been added to the calendar. A spring race in late March and a summer race in late June, both following the same route as the main race, are giving ambitious riders even more opportunity to test their mettle. There are numerous other, less challenging, cycling events this year as well.
Taiwan Cyclist Federation (Chinese)
Taiwan Cycling Web (Chinese)
GLIMMERS IN MATSU
PENGHU INTERNATIONAL FIREWORKS FESTIVAL
Fireworks shows are usually one-time annual events to celebrate an occasion such as New Year’s Eve or National Day – but not this festival. For more than two months, the sky over Magong Harbor in Penghu is “set on fire,” colorfully and spectacularly, each Monday and Thursday. Happening prior to the hot-summer peak season on these tourist-friendly islands, the festival is like a welcoming gift for early birds who come to spend some time in Penghu in the late spring/early summer. Making the fireworks especially memorable are the beautifully illuminated Rainbow Bridge and the colorful reflections on the sea water.
Penghu Fireworks Festival (Chinese)
Penghu National Scenic Area,
SALT AND& SAND SCULPTURE ART FESTIVAL
The well-known sand-sculpture festival at Fulong is not the only such festival in Taiwan. In the southwest of the island, in Tainan City, another annual festival is held that not only showcases sand sculptures but also works made with salt. The sand sculptures can be seen at Mashagou Beach, just to the north of Jiangjun Fishing Harbor. The salt sculptures are presented inside an exhibition hall at the Qigu Salt Mountain in Qigu District, a well-known tourist attraction that resembles a large snow-covered hill.
Southwest Coast National Scenic Area
TAIWAN CYCLING FESTIVAL
Held annually since 2011, the Taiwan Cycling Festival is an important event promoting bicycling in Taiwan. The festival is comprised of a host of cycling events, including the Taiwan KOM (King of Mountain) Challenge, a bike ride from Qixingtan Beach just north of Hualien City to the Wuling pass (3,275m above sea level) in the Mt. Hehuan area; the Come!Bikeday event at Sun Moon Lake; the Formosa 900 round-island bike ride; the Light up Taiwan Lighthouse Cycling Tour; and the Taichung Bicycle Carnival.
Taipei Cycle Festival Portal
SUN MOON LAKE CYCLING, MUSIC & FIREWORKS FESTIVAL
This festival combines active fun (bicycling and road running) with passive enjoyments (music concerts and a fireworks show), all happening on the shores of Sun Moon Lake. The bicycling event, named Come!Bikeday, is a relaxed ride around the lake made by hundreds of cyclists, while the road run is a marathon race following the same route. The musical entertainment features popular, indigenous, and classical music. Accompanied by the classical music, the fireworks show lights up the lake with vibrant colors reflecting off the water’s surface.
Sun Moon Lake National Scenic Area
TERN-WATCHING TOUR, MATSU
The many uninhabited smaller islands and surrounding waters of the Matsu island group provide perfect nesting and feeding grounds for a large variety of seabirds. For bird lovers, the best time to go and see these birds, including the Bridled Tern, Black-napped Tern, Roseate Tern, Crested Tern, Black-tailed Tern, Reef Egret, and Fork-tailed Swift, is June through September. Boat trips to the islands are available from Fu’ao Harbor on the island of Nan’gan. There are no landings, and boats will keep a distance from the birds, so bringing binoculars and a telephoto lens for your camera is advisable.
Matsu National Scenic Area
TAIWAN INTERNATIONAL BALLOON FESTIVAL
This is one of the biggest and best events during the summer months in Taiwan. The venue is the Luye Highland in Taitung County, about 20km north of Taitung City, a site with perfect conditions for air sports such as paragliding. Last year the festival celebrated its 10th anniversary amidst difficult circumstances. While most balloon festivals around the world had to be canceled due to the global pandemic, the organizers in Taitung were able to stage the event as planned thanks to Taiwan’s effective response to the challenge of fighting the spread of the virus. The attractiveness of the festival, not only to tourists but to participating balloon crews as well, was evidenced in the fact that 20 pilots from abroad came despite the difficulties of traveling internationally and having to go through a lengthy quarantine period.
Taiwan International Balloon Festival
TAIWAN INTERNATIONAL BALLOON FESTIVAL
Luye Highland in southeast Taiwan’s Taitung County used to be a place known mostly to paragliding enthusiasts. This has changed significantly since this hot-air balloon festival was first held in 2011. Images of colorful balloons hovering over the highland have now become representative of Taitung’s beautiful scenery. One reason why this festival enjoys high popularity is its duration, a whopping seven weeks. This allows the organizer to invite a large number of balloonists, from Taiwan and overseas, who fly their giant balloons during different stages of the event. Repeat visitors can thus enjoy different balloons each time they come. Note that most festival activities take place during the early morning and evening hours.
Let’s Go Flying! Taiwan BALLOON FESTIVAL in Taitung
Taiwan International Balloon Festival
YILAN INTERNATIONAL CHILDREN’S FOLKLORE AND FOLKGAME FESTIVAL
Each year, when the summer gets intensely hot, this festival helps everyone, especially children, to cool down and have fun in a large pool-facility area. This event, taking place in Yilan County’s Dongshan Township, provides more than just refreshing water, water slides, and water cannon to play with. It is an international happening with many exciting stage performances by troupes from Taiwan and abroad presenting entertaining and educational shows. There is also a wide range of classes and DIY sessions available, giving children myriad opportunities to gain knowledge. Side activities include dragon-boat paddling, sailing, and kayaking on the Dongshan River, adjacent to the festival venue. In the evening you can watch a mesmerizing water and light show.
Yilan Int’l Children’s Folklore and Folkgame Festival
HO-HAI-YAN GONGLIAO ROCK FESTIVAL
The second large summer event on Fulong Beach each year (for the first, see the Fulong Int’l Sand Sculpture Art Festival entry), this three-day music event allows you to sit in soft golden sand and listen to tunes by leading Taiwanese indie rock bands, pop bands, and DJs, as well as international acts. Last year there were more than 80 performances on three stages. Fulong can be easily reached by taking an eastbound train from Taipei. Apart from visiting the sand-sculpture and music festivals, many visitors will also go on bicycle rides through the old Caoling railway tunnel. Visiting Fulong can also be combined with exploration tours along the Northeast Coast, including visits to Bitou Cape and Nanya’s strange rock formations.
New Taipei City Travel
AMIS HARVEST FESTIVAL
HUALIEN DAYLILY BLOOMING SEASON
Among the most enchanting scenes of the East Rift Valley in eastern Taiwan are the fields of blooming daylilies in late summer/early autumn. There are two main areas where you can take in the floral beauty: Mt. Chike in Yuli Township and Sixty Stone Mountain in Fuli Township. Both mountain areas present visitors with amazing vistas over the East Rift Valley, the daylilies adding orange hues to the mountain slopes. Access to both locations is via steep and narrow roads; if you don’t have your own means of transport, note that shuttle-bus services are offered from central Yuli and Fuli during the blooming season.
East Rift Valley National Scenic Area
KEELUNG GHOST FESTIVAL
This event, lasting a full month, is one of Taiwan’s major festivals. It takes place during the 7th lunar month, in Taiwan referred to as “Ghost Month.” According to folk belief, this is the time of year when the gates separating the realms of the living and the dead open and ghosts return to wander the earth. In order to appease these wandering souls, lavish offerings are made in front of temples in Keelung and a plethora of rituals and ceremonies is celebrated. Among the numerous highlights of the festival are the Door-Opening Ceremony at Laodagong Temple on Day 1 and the Water Lantern Parade and Releasing of Water Lantern on Day 14 of the lunar month.
Keelung Ghost Festival
TOUCHENG “QIANGGU” – GRAPPLING WITH THE GHOST POLE-CLIMBING COMPETITION
Taking place at the end of the annual Ghost Festival period, the Toucheng “Qianggu” ghost-grappling competition is a fun event to watch – and to participate in (if you’re one of the brave local lads that take part). Groups of young men compete against each other climbing up greasy poles made of China fir, soaring 11m high, to reach a platform from which they climb 7-8m higher up on a bamboo trestlework to snatch the winner’s flag. The event at the town of Toucheng in Yilan County is the largest such competition in Taiwan. A similar pole-climbing challenge is held in Hengchun, Pingtung County, close to a well-known preserved section of the town’s old protective wall. Both events include many other cultural activities, such as religious ceremonies, cultural performances, and food markets.
Yilan County Government
TAIWAN CULINARY EXHIBITION
Since its first edition almost 30 years ago, the annual Taiwan Culinary Exhibition, held at the Taipei World Trade Center, has presented food lovers with the best of local cuisine. The event has grown significantly over the years, and so has the scope of food-related themes featured along with the number of exhibitors and visitors. Last year more than 200 restaurants and food-related businesses occupied more than 800 booths during the four-day event, and more than 160,000 visitors passed through the doors. Among the topics covered, besides local cuisine, were international cuisine, kitchenware and utensils, local produce and ingredients, culinary arts, food-centered travel and souvenirs, and culinary education.
Taiwan Culinary Exhibition (Chinese)
 August 12 ~ September 12 / Hsinchu County
NATIONAL YIMIN FESTIVAL
The ceremonies and other rituals of this Hakka festival take place during the seventh month of the lunar calendar in 15 village districts located in Taoyuan and Hsinchu, northwestern Taiwan. The festival, which is organized along with Ghost Festival traditions, commemorates the bravery of over 200 men who sacrificed their lives fighting against rebels in the late Qing dynasty. The brave men are revered as Yimin Ye in the temples of Hakka communities, the most important of which is Xinpu Yimin Temple. For visitors, the festival is a great occasion to see Hakka culture at its liveliest, with many exciting cultural performances taking place on the plaza in front of the temple in Xinpu.
Hsinchu County Government
HENGCHUN POLE CLIMB FESTIVAL
Like the Keelung Mid-Summer Ghost Festival, this traditional event, which takes place in the southern Taiwan town of Hengchun in Pingtung County, is part of the annual Ghost Month activities. According to legend, the idea of climbing greasy poles came about in the late 19th century when the rich people of town thought about ways to avoid fights and injuries among the poor people who received their offerings. Today, climbing the poles is all about pride and team spirit, and the activity has become a great spectator event, drawing thousands of onlookers each year.
TAIWAN BRAISED PORK ON RICE FESTIVAL
If you want to eat like the locals in Taiwan, braised pork on rice is definitely a dish you should try on your next visit. This simple dish is widely available, from small eateries to big restaurants and from night-market stands to food courts in modern department stores and malls. Made with ground pork marinated and boiled in soy sauce, it is usually served in a small bowl. Other small dishes are also usually ordered to make a full meal. The goal behind this festival, held for the first time last year, is not only to promote the humble dish itself but also Taiwan’s local food culture. A group of Taiwan’s best eateries selling braised pork on rice in different variations is selected by the organizer, their chefs going on a tour of six cities to present their yummy creations to salivating crowds.
Taiwan Braised Pork on Rice Festival
DAPENG BAY YACHT & REGATTA FESTIVAL
Usually held in April each year, the Dapeng Bay Yacht & Regatta Festival has been moved to the fall in 2020. The event brings together sporting enthusiasts who prefer to stay on water’s surface, doing yachting, windsurfing, sailboating, SUPing, kayaking, jet-skiing, and flyboarding. Most of the activities take place inside the large lagoon in the Dapeng Bay National Scenic Area. Sheltered from the sea but receiving strong winds, the lagoon is perfect for watersports such as windsurfing and sailing.
Dapeng Bay National Scenic Area
SUN MOON LAKE INTERNATIONAL SWIMMING CARNIVAL
Sun Moon Lake is the largest freshwater lake in Taiwan, and one of the island’s best-known tourist destinations. Swimming in the lake is prohibited, but there is one major exception, the annual Sun Moon Lake Swimming Carnival. In 2019, the 37th edition of the event, well over 20,000 swimmers from more than 30 countries took to the water to complete the 3km swim from Zhaowu Wharf on the northern shore of the lake to Ita Thao Wharf on its southeast side. The swim is not a competition, but a relaxed affair with a party atmosphere.
Sun Moon Lake International Swimming Carnival
YEHLIU NIGHT TOURS October 1 ~ 4 / Kaohsiung City
KAOHSIUNG ZUOYING WANNIAN FOLKLORE FESTIVAL
The modern Wannian Folklore Festival dates from 2001, when the Kaohsiung City Government’s Civil Affairs Bureau began coordinating and sponsoring traditional events in Zuoying District. Since 2005 the Taiwan Tourism Bureau has been lending a hand, and the festival has grown steadily in popularity. The star of the event is the Great Wannian Fire Lion, a cute yet dignified effigy far larger than a real lion. This lion will tour temples in the district for eight days, accompanied by lion dancers, drum and gong musicians, and constant firecracker explosions beneath and around it. On the final day the lion will arrive at Lotus Pond, where it will be set ablaze in spectacular fashion. The festival allows you to experience Taiwan folk religion up close, and witness the passion of the people of Kaohsiung for their customs and traditions.
2019 NPM ASIAN ART FESTIVAL
In 2017 ago the Southern Branch of the National Palace Museum, located in Chiayi County, launched the first NPM Asian Art Festival, a month-long happening that showcases a different country each year. After shining a spotlight on the art of India in the first edition, and of Singapore in 2018, in 2019 it was all about Thailand. Exhibitions, stage performances, lectures, and guided tours will bedazzle visitors with the wonderful cultural wonders that Thailand has to offer.
Southern Branch of the National Palace Museum
SANYI INTERNATIONAL WOOD CARVING ART FESTIVAL
The town of Sanyi in Miaoli County is known for mostly one thing, wood sculpture art, and there is perhaps no better time to visit than during this festival. While the Sanyi Wood Sculpture Museum, the festival’s main venue, can be visited year round, the festival has numerous attractive activities at other sites that allow you to see master carvers at work and even do some woodcarving yourself. While in the area, be sure to go on an unforgettable rail-bike ride on a decommissioned railway line starting at quaint Shengxing Railway Station.
Sanyi Wood Sculpture Museum
YUNLIN INTERNATIONAL PUPPET THEATER FESTIVAL
Staged annually since 1999, the Yunlin International Puppet Theater Festival is a great gathering of puppet-theater lovers young and old. The festival takes place in Yunlin County’s Huwei Township, known as Taiwan’s center of puppet theater, and neighboring Douliu Township. Last year, local and foreign troupes conducted around 100 puppet performances, entertaining the crowds with a wide range of puppet drama. Apart from the performances, visitors can enjoy a host of other activities, including exhibitions and DIY workshops.
Yunlin International Puppet Theater Art Festival
MIAOBEI ARTS FESTIVAL
NUIT BLANCHE TAIPEI
The annual nighttime arts festival Nuit Blanche was first staged in Taipei City in 2016 after the city government was invited to host the event by the Bureau Français de Taipei, which represents France’s interests in Taiwan. Since the first-ever Nuit Blanche (2001 in Paris, France), similar events have been organized in well over 100 cities around the world. Last year, the venues for Taipei’s annual “White Night” party were in the districts of Zhongshan and Neihu, with 20 performances and 18 art installations drawing big crowds.
TAICHUNG JAZZ FESTIVAL
Taichung in central Taiwan, the island’s second-largest city, is justifiably called by many a city of culture. It is known for its excellent museums, such as the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts, and premier venues for cultural performances, such as the world-class National Taichung Theater. For more than a decade the annual Taichung Jazz Festival has been setting the tone for the city’s cultural vibe. The main stage is set up in Civic Square in the center of the city, a large square-shaped park surrounded by modern high-rises. Music lovers flock here to take in open-air performances by local jazz troupes and well-known jazz artists from abroad. The Calligraphy Greenway, a popular pedestrian area connected to Civic Square, is the festival’s other key performance venue.
Taichung Jazz Festival
NANTOU GLOBAL TEA EXPO
Nantou County in central Taiwan is an important tea-growing region, with tea plantations covering large areas of land and tea farmers producing a wide variety of excellent teas. The annual Nantou Global Tea Expo is the perfect event for learning more about this local industry and sampling the best teas available. The expo has been staged 10 times to date, attracting many a tea lover eager to find and buy new selections just to his or her liking. Having tea farmers showcasing their products in one place at the same time makes the tea purchase convenient, educational, and highly enjoyable. For travelers that do not necessarily intend to buy anything, there is also a rich cultural program with tea-themed performances put on for entertainment. Nantou Global Tea Expo (Chinese) October 18 ~ 20 / Taipei City
WORLD MUSIC FESTIVAL
Art Taipei is an important annual event for art lovers in East Asia. Held for the first time in 1992, the fair is organized by Taiwan’s Ministry of Culture and the Taiwan Art Gallery Association. In 2018, works from 135 galleries in 13 countries, including outstanding examples of contemporary art, were presented to professional buyers and the general public. Each year the event also includes themed exhibitions, art salons, lectures, and guided tours.
Taoyuan Flower Festival
Website: www.2020tff.com.tw October 24~25 / Miaoli County
Kite Culture and Hakka Food Festival
GAILLARDIA ISLANDS PENGHU CROSS-SEA MARATHON
Offering mostly flat terrain, but strong winds and strong sunshine; the conditions for road running on the islands of Penghu are a mixed bag. Taking on a challenge is a matter of course for marathon runners, and a unique route intrigues many, making the annual Penghu Cross-Sea Marathon one of the most attractive runs on Taiwan’s tightly packed road run calendar. The “Cross-Sea” part of the name refers to the traverse of three sea-crossing bridges that connect Penghu’s main islands. The race starts close to the southwestern tip of Xiyu Island and ends in Magong City on Penghu Main Island, on the way traversing the islands of Baisha and Zhongtun. Penghu National Scenic Area November 1 ~ 30 / Taipei City
LOVING IN GUANDU – FLOWERING YOUR HAPPINESS
The Taipei City Government is cooperating with businesses in the Guandu Plain area on the northern bank of the Keelung River, staging a flower festival during the month of November. During this time of the year, flower lovers come here to enjoy fields filled with strikingly colorful flowers, including the garden cosmos, sulfur cosmos, zinnia, and sunflower. You can also see the beautiful Guanyin Mountain and the magnificent Datun and Qixing mountains in the far distance. With the bikeway along the Keelung River passing right by the fields, combining flower gazing with a YouBike bicycle jaunt is highly recommended. During the time of the festival you can also take advantage of a shuttle bus service between MRT Qilian Station and the flower fields. November 7~29 / New Taipei City
THE SILVER GRASS FESTIVAL OF CAOLING HISTORIC TRAIL
KUNSHEN WANGYE’S SALT FOR PEACE FESTIVAL
For more than 300 years, producing salt from seawater was an important industry in the southwest of Taiwan. The industry ceased to exist in 2002, after Taiwan’s WTO entry, but the Jingzaijiao Tile-paved Salt Fields in Tainan City’s Beimen District remain in place as a popular tourist attraction. In 2004, the annual Kunshen Wangye’s Salt for Peace Festival was organized for the first time by the Southwest Coast National Scenic Area Administration to celebrate the old industry and to highlight traditional beliefs and rituals related to salt. Activities take place at the salt fields and at the Nankunshen Daitian Temple (about 5km away), including a procession between the two places, captivating dragon dances, and the giveaway of thousands of auspicious sachets filled with salt.
Southwest Coast National Scenic Area
XINSHE FLOWER FESTIVAL
Large fields of flowers are commonly described in Taiwan as “seas of flowers,” and there are many locations where you can enjoy these feasts for the eye around the island throughout the seasons. Perhaps the best flower-theme event featuring seas of flowers in Taiwan is the Xinshe Flower Festival in Taichung, held at the end of each year on a 40-hectare farm operated by the Taiwan Seed Improvement and Propagation Station. The vast colorful fields of numerous types of flowers are perfect backdrops for photo taking. Visitors also have ample opportunity to get to know other types of Xinshe produce as well, try local specialties, and visit other tourist attractions in the area.
Xinshe Flower Festival Facebook
KAOHSIUNG LION DANCE FESTIVAL
This exciting event, which takes place once every two years, brings together the best lion dance performers from Taiwan and Chinese communities abroad. In 2017, 10 groups from Malaysia, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Mainland China, and Taiwan competed against each other. The competition takes place at two separate venues, the Kaohsiung International Swimming Pool and the Kaohsiung Arena, the participants performing acrobatic moves on high poles placed in the swimming pool and above the arena floor, respectively.
TAIWAN OPEN OF SURFING
In recent years, the tiny fishing harbor at Jinzun in Taitung County has become an international traveler hotspot. It’s not the harbor itself that draws – mostly young – people from around the world, but the pebble beach and sea area just to the north of it, where surfers find perfect conditions for riding the waves. In autumn and winter, ideal surfing swells are created outside the harbor’s dyke thanks to the northeast monsoon. The Taiwan Open of Surfing will be held for the tenth time at Jinzun this year, with highly talented surfers expected to put on a marvelous show once again.
Taiwan Open of Surfing
ROAR NOW! BANGKAH November 21 ~ 22/ Taipei City
EXIT MUSIC FESTIVAL
SHILIN RESIDENCE CHRYSANTHEMUM SHOW
CHRISTMASLAND IN NEW TAIPEI CITY
Where can you experience a happy big dose of Christmas spirit in Taipei come December? While in Western countries Christmas is for many the most important festival of the year, in Taiwan, where followers of the Christian faith make up only about 4.5% of the population, it is naturally of lesser importance. There is, however, one big-time Christmas-themed event, Christmasland in Banqiao District, New Taipei City. The center of attention each year is a giant artificial Christmas tree, illuminated with a sophisticated light and imagery show. Last year the façade of the New Taipei City government building also served as a gigantic canvas for an entertaining animation show.
New Taipei City Travel
PINGTUNG WANJIN CHRISTMAS FESTIVAL
Located in the deep countryside of Pingtung County in southern Taiwan, Wanchin Church would not look out of place in a Mexican village. The first edition was built in 1863 by monks of the Dominican Order, and it was rebuilt in 1870 in Spanish fortress architectural style after the original structure was destroyed in an earthquake. In the days leading up to Christmas each year, the church is colorfully illuminated and the street and plaza in front of it beautifully decorated, attracting large numbers of visitors in search of a unique Christmas atmosphere. When visiting the township where the church is located, be sure to try the famous Wanluan pig trotters, a specialty of the area.
Pingtung County Government
QINGSHAN KING FESTIVAL
CHIAYI CITY INTERNATIONAL BAND FESTIVAL
A new world record was set during the festival in 2017, when 200 musicians gathered to play simultaneously on French horns. Lead by Zhuang Si-yuan, known as “Taiwan’s French horn godfather,” the ensemble performed three pieces in front of a thrilled crowd. Each year the city of Chiayi, which is located in southwestern Taiwan, resounds with music created by an impressive number of musicians (48 bands from Taiwan and abroad, with more than 5,000 musicians performing in 2017). Highlights of the week-long event are a grand street parade with marching bands and captivating band performances on the playing field at the Chiayi City Municipal Stadium.
Just a few days before Christmas, which in Taipei means mild temperatures that are perfect for road running, the Taipei Marathon takes place in the heart of the capital. This is for many local athletes the highlight of the annual race calendar, and entry slots can be hard to come by, with the number of participants in the full marathon limited to 8,000 runners; 20,000 are allowed to run the half-marathon. The races start and end at Taipei City Hall, with the route following along some of the city’s main thoroughfares.
NEW YEAR’S EVE CELEBRATION
Around the world, the New Year’s Eve end of the year is celebrated with a countdown and fireworks, and Taiwan is no exception. The most spectacular of these pyrotechnic shows on the island is without a doubt the one that makes the sky-reaching Taipei 101 tower erupt in a sea of sparkling and exploding lights. The fireworks display is accompanied by a high-tech LED display on one of the giant faces of the city’s towering landmark. Throughout the evening lead-up to the spectacular, the crowds are entertained by some of the best-known and most popular local music artists.