The cool guide to Taipei’s winter wonderland

There are many sides to Taipei but none as charming as in the winter months. Here’s your ultimate guide to the coolest things to do in the coldest months of the year.

Ximending, Taipei
  • Serene Lim
  • January 2019

The best thing about winter in Taipei opens in new window is that it never gets blisteringly cold. With average low temperatures of 14 to 15 degree Celsius, it’s perfect weather to take on day trips and hikes comfortably. Here, we’ve put together a list of activities for you to conquer.

1. Head to the hot springs

No more than an hour’s drive out of the city lies an afternoon of long soaks and complete rejuvenation. Here are three hot spots to try out.

The Gaia Hotel, Beitou
The Gaia Hotel, a modern stunner with sleek, luxurious touches, offers a more exclusive experience. And, you don’t have to stay there to use its public and individual hot spring rooms.


The nearest — and most famous — of the lot, a plethora of hot spring options await you at Beitou. For a cheap and cheery fix, Millennium Hot Spring (6 Zhongshan Road) is a public bath house frequented by locals. Tucked away in Beitou’s countryside and open 24 hours, Emperor Spa opens in new window has public or private rooms for you to choose from. The in-house restaurant serves up some exceptional dishes so make sure you stay on to have the seafood porridge.


North of Taipei is another hot spring destination that boasts four kinds of spring water — oceanic sandy, sulfuric, carbonic acid and iron. Check into the Governor-General Hot Spring opens in new window where there are open-air public spring pools on its top floor, overlooking the ocean. The facility also offers day tours such as the Cycling and Hot Spring tour, where you can bike along the scenic coasts before indulging in a well-deserved meal and soak.

Volando Urai Spring Spa and Resort, Wulai
Take in views of Nanshi River and the surrounding mountains at Volando Urai Spring Spa and Resort.


This pretty small town, known for its street food and waterfall, is fast becoming a popular alternative to Beitou. For the ultimate soak, Volando Urai Spring Spa & Resort opens in new window offers the Lake Suite, with a private hot spring, complete with views of Nanshi River and the surrounding mountains.

2. Go sakura hunting

Wuji Tianyuan Temple, Taipei
Get your cherry blossom fix in Taipei even before Japan and Korea.

From late January, you can see these delicate beauties in the city itself at Pingjing Street Lane 42, in the Shihlin District. The Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall also sees a flowering of different varietals, including kanhizakura and yoshino, usually in early February. If you’re visiting from late February, head to Wuji Tianyuan Temple in Danshui (a 50-minute train ride from Taipei) or Yangminshan National Park.

3. Take a hike

Cooler temperatures, less crowds, better pictures — need we say more?

Elephant Mountain, Taipei
Elephant Mountain is usually packed with tourists during summer but come winter especially in the early morning, you can actually enjoy the view in peace.

For the ’gram: Elephant Mountain

This easy, straightforward hike (great for less-than-fit types) begins at Xiangshan metro station. From there, simply follow the signs up to the viewing deck and Insta-worthy boulder for a bird’s eye view of the city.

For family memories: Teapot Mountain

This is perfect for adventurous families. Starting from the Gold Ecological Museum, it’s relatively easy at first with smoothened dirt trails and stone steps before the hike opens up to rockier cliffs as you continue climbing the mountain. Don’t worry, there are accompanying safety ropes in place for greater support. An amazing family photo opportunity, with views of the ocean and coastal area, awaits at the end.

For bragging rights: Wuliaojian

If you’re fit and raring to go, go forth and conquer this peak at Sanxia district (30 minutes by train from Taipei). Make sure you have fluids, gloves and proper shoes on-hand. The hike — which has been described as “hardcore” and “epic” —kicks into high gear immediately, with a steep climb with ropes, before it levels out for ridge walking (this hike is not for people scared of heights). There is even an exhilaratingly long rope descent at the end.

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