Taiwan may be a small, unknown country for some, but the island has charmed me more than once during my trip. And celebrating the festive season there is an experience like no other. So without further ado, let’s immerse ourselves in the warm, festive atmosphere of New Year’s Eve in Taipei.

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Christmas and New Year in Taiwan?

I’d like to remind you that, as in most Asian countries, Christmas and New Year are generally celebrated differently. You’ll still see streets lit up and big trees everywhere, proving that the Christmas spirit is alive and well, but don’t expect snow, as temperatures will be closer to 15°C (59°F).

The Taiwanese aren’t in the habit of exchanging gifts, but they’ll give you free hugs!

The reason is simply that Christians are not as widespread as in Western countries. But that doesn’t mean this part of the world doesn’t celebrate at all. On the contrary, they have another, more important celebration called the “Lunar New Year”, which is actually a huge festival that lasts several days and is in fact the most important holiday.

If you’re in the area during this period, I urge you to stay and enjoy the festivities!

Taipei 101 Fireworks

Taipei 101 fireworks during New Year

Taipei’s fireworks displays are among the most famous in the world, and there’s nothing better than the Taipei 101 tower to kick off the countdown to the New Year. The streets are filled with the excitement of thousands of people gathered there, waiting for the special moment to begin.

And what a spectacle it is! Whether you’re on a rooftop or in one of the Tower’s streets, you won’t be disappointed, as the fireworks display is one of the most beautiful I’ve seen, and the photos don’t do it justice.

Oh, and you know what, the show actually lasts 6 minutes!

Here’s an excerpt from my experience. It was foggy and rainy that day, but the experience was extraordinary nonetheless:


1. Arrive early

As with any major event, you need to bear in mind that many people, locals and tourists alike, have traveled to the event. The trick is to arrive at least two hours before the countdown begins, so you can reserve a prime seat. That is, if you haven’t reserved a table in one of the rooftop bars or restaurants.

Don’t worry about getting bored, as there are plenty of events taking place that night. From musical performances in Taipei City Hall Square to food and drink stalls, there’s plenty to keep you busy until it’s time to shout Happy New Year or 新年快樂 (Xin nian kuai le).

Busy convenience store in Taipei during New Year
Even convenience stores get super busy on the 31st but everybody queues and wait for his or her turn

2. Best places to see the fireworks

As a reminder, Taipei 101 is the tallest building in Taiwan, so you can’t miss it wherever you are. The best places to see the fireworks are as follows:

  • Anywhere in the Xinyi district, as the streets surrounding the tower will all be closed during the event. Choose a place that’s not too close to Taipei 101, as you don’t want to get a stiff neck after the event and have to see an osteopath
  • Taipei City Hall Plaza: where the performances take place
  • Sun Yat Memorial Hall
  • Elephant Mountain
  • Ankang Park
  • Neihu Sports Park
  • Rainbow Riverside Park

3. How to get home after the show

Illuminated street In Taipei during New Year

The MRT (subway) will probably be crowded and it may take you some time to get on one. The best choice is to take the bus, as it’s cheap and all you need is your EasyCard.

I won’t recommend taking a taxi or Uber as they will be difficult to get in the first place and I won’t talk about Uber fares on nights like this. I’ll just say that this option is very expensive.

Another solution is to take a YouBike, as there are many in the city, it’s cheap and reliable. What’s more, you won’t be dependent on other passengers getting on and off the bus, for example.

Where to sleep on a budget

With so many choices available, it can be difficult to select a place to sleep. So I’ve selected two different places for you, both affordable and with nice facilities:

  • May Rooms Taipei Main Station: cozy, comfortable, friendly staff and free breakfast (not to be overlooked after a crazy night). There are only 4 people in the dormitory. What’s more, it’s right next to the main station, so it’s easily accessible and perfect for day trips out of town.
  • We Come Hostel: no breakfast here, but the location in the Datong district will delight history buffs. Comfortable, friendly staff and with the Beimen MRT station just 350 m away and the Ningxia night market less than a kilometer away, it was the ideal place to rest after a hectic few days.

Lunar New Year

Red Lanterns in a temple

Bigger and more traditional than the Western festivities, here’s some more information on this event if you’re lucky enough to be around at this time.

Also known as Spring Festival, because it represents the arrival of spring, this event lasts around 16 days in Taiwan. Family gatherings, food symbolizing good luck and prosperity, red everywhere…, many traditions take place with one objective: to spend as much time as possible with loved ones.
Sounds like Christmas in the West, doesn’t it? Except that here, the festivities last longer.

Oh, and don’t forget the famous dragon dances and the Lantern Festival, which marks the end of the Lunar New Year!

In a nutshell

In Taipei during the New Year, you’re in luck! Prepare to be amazed by the superb fireworks display and experience an unforgettable night! Taiwan is a unique place to celebrate the end of the year and start the new one on the right foot! So now you know where to go for the next festivities!

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