Things to Do in Taiwan in August

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August is a festive month in Taiwan, both in this world and the afterworld. There are an array of events dedicated to Mother Nature as well as hungry ghosts, where convivial festivities and sombre celebrations can be expected all around the island. It is also the “ghost month.” Wandering spirits are believed to search for substitutes — you or me — to take their places in hell and entice the living into water, to drown, so tourism takes a hit as locals avoid the beach. The high temperatures and frequent rains in midsummer can be overwhelming sometimes, so make sure you pack wisely for the subtropical climate of Taiwan (see how to pack for heat and humidity here). 

A visit to the higher elevations can be a pleasant getaway from the subtropical climate down below, and Taiwan happens to boast more than 240 peaks soaring over 3,000 meters. If you are planning to visit Taiwan during its liveliest and most vibrant month of the year, check out our list to experience the best things to do in August!

Liushidanshan

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Midsummer can be sweltering, but not in Liushidanshan at the height of 960m. Get down to the east coast during the hot months (August and September are best) and see one of Taiwan’s most astounding annual sights: the blooming of the golden daylily plantations in Liushidanshan (Mt. Liushidan). It is not necessary to love flowers or to have any special interest in the natural world to be moved by the magnificence of the display that unfolds each summer in Hualien.
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Xiuguluan River Rafting

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With a length of 104 km, Xiuguluan River is the longest river in eastern Taiwan as well as the only river that cuts through the coastal mountain range. If you’re chasing a rush of adrenaline, explore the spectacular East Rift Valley by rafting down the Xiuguluan River, starting from Ruisui all the way to Changhong Bridge. This is a 24-km long stretch of adventure, where more than 20 sets of fast-moving currents are hidden along the river course. Normally it takes 4-5 hours to complete the journey. Catch all the thrills of whitewater rafting, from mild to wild, as certified guides navigate you safely throughout the adventure. Now, hold on tight and enjoy the ride!
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Shuishe Pier

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Shuishe Pier serves as the best starting point for the first-time visitors of Sun Moon Lake. You can rent a bike here to cycle around this tranquil lake, ranked by CNN as one of the best cycling routes in the world. In summertime, the lake is obscured by misty fog in the early morning, and when the sun comes up over the lake, the stunning view will take your breath away.
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Hehuan Main Peak

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Late summer is said to be one of the best times of year to view the full splendor of our galaxy, the Milky Way. Seeing the Milky Way requires a special effort for most of us, but it is very well worth the trouble. To see the Milky Way, you’ll need to travel far from any city, to a wilderness area without widespread light pollution, such as Hehuan Main Peak at the height of 3,416m — one of the 100 Mountains of Taiwan (all over 3000 meters above sea level).
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Minxiong Haunted House

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Of course, the ghost month wouldn’t be complete without a thrill-seeking adventure to one of the creepiest abandoned places in Taiwan — Minxiong Haunted House. The three-story baroque mansion built in 1929 used to be the residence of a great landlord family. Rumor has it that the landlord himself fell in love with a maid and slept with her as their love grew. Unfortunately, the landlord’s wife found out about the love affair and started torturing the maid whenever it was possible. Finally, unable to bear the physical and mental torture, the maid threw herself into a well in the garden. Since then, peace was never found in the family.
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Keelung Zhongzheng Park

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The Festival of the Hungry Ghosts falls in the seventh lunar month of the Chinese calendar — usually during August. Both Buddhists and Taoists believe that the gates of hell are opened at this time, and the spirits of the dead wander freely on earth. The festival is therefore aimed to pacify these ghosts of strangers and ghosts denied entry to heaven, who will be offered food, like the regular food we eat. One of these feasts, shared between the living and the dead, has been taking place at Keelung Zhongzheng Park for the past 160 years.
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Daan Forest Park

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Daan Forest Park is not as huge as the Central Park in New York City, but it still does a very good job to be the lungs of the city. Each year, the park also hosts the Taipei Jazz Festival either in July or in August, featuring international acts and local musicians. Like NYC’s Shakespeare in the Park, going to Taipei Jazz Festival is one of many things that Taipei-ers  try to accomplish to be considered true Taipei-ers.
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Woolloomooloo Xhibit

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The Edinburgh Festival Fringe is the largest arts festival in the world, and the Taipei Fringe Festival is another great option for you to experience the thriving art scenes here in Asia.  The festival takes place each summer, mostly in August, for three weeks in Taipei, consisting of theatre, music, dance, music, and visual arts in more than 35 different venues scattered around the capital of Taiwan, from cafés, bars, galleries, playhouses to hospitals, temples, hostels, and river cruise ships. Venues vary from year-to-year, but Woolloomooloo Xhibit, a hybrid restaurant/arts space, is almost a regular.
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Chiayi Wengua Road Night Market

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A visit to the tropical south is a must while traveling in Taiwan during the summertime. Tainan is an all-time popular destination, but if you want to avoid the crowd, Chiayi is a pretty good idea. For decent cheap eats, Wengua Road Night Market won’t disappoint, which prides itself on offering the almighty turkey rice dish, fish head casserole as well as the best grapefruit green tea you can possibly find in taiwan!
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Chiayi Prison Museum

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While in Chiayi, you should never miss out on this prison open to the public, where volunteer staff provide tours four times a day, in which visitors can understand life behind bars at close range. Since the free tour is participated with only a small number of visitors and a museum guide, the one-hour trip is always full of marvels.
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