September 30, 2013
The End of Summer
It's finally officially the end of the summer here in Taiwan, and things should start to cool down soon. Actually in the lunar calendar it is already mid-autumn (hence the Mid-Autumn/Moon Festival just past). Autumn in Taiwan is fleeting, but it can the most beautiful time to visit the island. In fact, waking up to the crisp fresh mountain air in Taroko Gorge at this time of year is perhaps my favourite travel experience anywhere (especially when staying here: http://taroko.silksplace.com.tw/en/aboutus.html).
I am often asked about the weather and climate in Taiwan, so with the changing of the season I think it's a good time for a reminder of the Central Weather Bureau website (there's a link to the English site on the top of this page): http://www.cwb.gov.tw/V7/index.htm
It really is an excellent resource for current observations, forecasts, weather warnings including typhoons, general climate information and much more. So if you are planning a trip to Taiwan I highly recommend checking the site.
Another positive as we wave goodbye to summer is that there shouldn't be many more, if any, typhoons this year. Which brings me back to the Central Weather Bureau website, as their forecasts of any extreme weather tend to be spot on. I learned this the hard way last month when I assumed that two days after a typhoon had passed the weather would be great. This has almost always been the case in Taipei at least, but apparently this storm had a tail which snapped off and became trapped over Taiwan, and especially the centre and south. The rain was biblical as well as strong gusts of wind, meaning that all ferries were cancelled to the island I had been hoping to visit. Of course had I checked the CWB website I would have known and not discovered the fact while on the high speed train heading into the stormy weather.
Still, one positive is that I got to visit the Tourist Information booth in Zuoying Station, and if you are in need of a hotel in Kaohsiung they were really helpful and very patient. I would also recommend heading to the Sizihwan area of Kaohsiung where you can get a hotel by the harbour with great views (well I saw the view once in a gap between the rain and wind, but it looked good). And this is a good time to head to the harbour if you are a fan of the giant yellow duck which has been a huge hit in Taiwan (http://focustaiwan.tw/search/201309220013.aspx?q=duck). It will be in Kaohsiung until October 20th and a duck will be showing up in Taichung and Keelung later in the year.
Another question I am frequently asked through the site is about travel itineraries. Although the Tourism Bureau does not organise itineraries, there is a list of companies that do on the website: http://go2taiwan.net/inbound_agent.php
These companies have English speaking staff and should be able to help with your plans. There are some good deals to be had as well if you want to travel with a group, such as a five day / four night trip around the island staying at 5 star hotels for around NT$16,000 per person. You get an English speaking tour guide for that price as well (contact me through the website if you'd like more details).
And finally for this round up, the National Day holiday is on Thursday October 10th.
It's a great time to visit Taiwan, just remember to check the weather first!
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