Christmas in Taipei
Like any metropolitan city in the world, Taipei is, without doubt, full of seasonal festivities. As Christmas is around the corner, many malls, hotels, department stores, and the like are paving their way for the coming holiday season. Taiwanese people don’t specifically observe this religious occasion—unless you’re a Christian—and December 25th is not even a national holiday itself! The capital residents are, however, happy with any joyful events they could find in this joyous month of December.
First of all, nearly all the shopping venues or tourism-related spots are well-equipped with tall, glistening, and colorful Christmas trees by the end of November. Among them, the 2022 New Taipei City Christmasland in Banqiao District of New Taipei City (an adjacent municipality and the most populous city surrounding Taipei City) is probably the one you shouldn’t miss if you happen to visit Greater Taipei.
Christmas Trees Around
Each year almost all the cities and counties in Taiwan are desperate for boasting either the most Instagrammable Christmas tree or the tallest in the country. Nowadays even 5-star hotels join this battle. Look at the gorgeous Christmas trees at Grand Hyatt Taipei and Regent Taipei hotels, for example, and you’ll find their Christmas decoration is no less than local governments’ plazas or shopping malls’ squares.
If you’re planning your holiday in Taiwan and will head for Taipei first, these are two excellent hotels you can take into consideration because one of the most admirable new year’s eve fireworks takes place at Taipei 101, which is one of the most classic landmarks of Taipei.
Taipei and Around
You’re not coming here just for shopping, are you? The capital city of Taiwan has a lot more to offer. It should be chilly in Taipei when you come around this time of the year. Why not have a hot spring soak?
Taiwan is on the Pacific fire ring and abundant in hot spring resources, not just in earthquakes! Luckily the Greater Taipei area has more than a dozen hot spring resorts to indulge yourself with a wide range of different hot spring types. Among them, I’ll especially recommend the Beitou District. One of the twelve districts in Taipei City, Beitou is accessible by Metro Taipei, which is the official name of the city’s subway. This time, I’ll zoom in a bit more to an area called “new Beitou”, which has a terminal station Xinbeitou coded R22A on the public transport system.
Ground Zero of Hot Spring Culture
The Beitou Park is right opposite the Xinbeitou MRT station and is the first hot spring park in this island country. Having been existing for more than a century, the park is situated along a lush green river valley and is established to escort the then-biggest public bathhouse in East Asia by the Taipei Prefecture under Japanese rule. Now the park is still known as Beitou Park with a century-old fountain and stone bridge but the public bathhouse has turned into an Instagrammable Beitou Hot Spring Museum since 1998, together with the city’s first green building Taipei Public Library Beitou Branch.
The Japanese businessmen and public servants built a couple of atmospheric hot spring hotels along the valley and made it a popular tourist attraction before they went out for WWII. My father used to frequent that area with friends or coworkers because it’s been noted as the most exciting place to hang out, let alone the good quality sulfur hot spring. After the turn of the millennium, we have witnessed the renaissance of Xinbeitou for its glorious past as the ground zero of Taiwan’s hot spring culture.
Yangmingshan National Park
If you want to find a quieter getaway in Taipei, you can go further up the mountains from here and you’ll find yourself beautifully surrounded by either silver grasses or dense forests. Yangmingshan National Park was established in 1985 as the third national park in Taiwan and has been well-known for its post-volcanic activities. With famous scenic spots like Flower Clock, Lengshuikeng “cool water pit”, Qingtiangang Grassland, and Xiaoyoukeng “little oil pit”, it’s only less than one hour away from the bustling city and accessible by more than twenty public bus services.
When the northeasterly monsoon starts to blow in Autumn, the hills in northern Taiwan will be covered by the snow-white carpet of silver grasses. The time right before or around the Christmas season is good timing for this and Yangmingshan National Park is, needless to say, one of the best spots for viewing the awesome landscape. Thanks to its elevation, you’ll find this mountainous region very pleasant when the city is still warm and fairly comfortable—I know the cold doesn’t bother you—when the city is chilly. The best way to tour around within a short period is definitely to sign up for the Beitou and Yangmingshan Day Tour without wracking your brain.
Landmarks of Taipei
Let’s get back to the city center but still nearby. When you’re traveling downtown, you might see a majestic palace-like building on a hill to the north of the Taipei basin. The 14-story structure is in fact the first 5-star hotel in Taipei and absolutely a beautiful landmark in the north of the city. Perching on the tail of a “dragon mountain range”, the site used to see the highest-ranking Japanese Shinto shrine, the Taiwan Grand Shrine, during Japanese colonization and then a massive Chinese-style hotel named Grand Hotel ordered from the first lady of Taiwan when Chiang Kai-shek still rules Taiwan.
Standing by this magnificent palace hotel, you can overlook Taipei City without staying in any of the hotel rooms. The skyscrapers surrounding Taipei 101 look pretty near you in the view. The long-stretching runway of Taipei Songshan Airport is just right across the Keelung River. Before the pandemic, you could see around ten passenger jets in and out of the airport in just one hour. This landmark is more than a landmark; it’s an amazing lookout, too.
Go to the Seaside
If you’re from a country without a coastline, you might want to have a look at the ocean when holidaying in an island nation like Taiwan. People generally say that the best thing about living or working in Taiwan is that you’ll get to the seaside in less than an hour’s drive. So, don’t forget to travel to the north coast of the island when you happen to visit Taipei. There’s a world-famous Yehliu Geopark on the longest cape on the north coast. This is the most-mentioned tourist attraction by visitors of many different backgrounds because there’s a superstar—the Queen’s Head – on the cape and it’s, believe it or not, only around 10 minutes walk from the entrance of the geopark.
This site has been highly rated as one of the most amazing landscapes on Earth by heaps of social media and travel magazines. Due to the continuous erosion from the wind and the sea, the sedimentary promontory has been weirdly carved into lots of interesting rock formations, such as mushrooms, sandals, and ice cream, just to name a few. You might be wondering, “Is it suitable to go to the seaside in winter?” I recommend going during wintertime just because it’s a lot easier to see the waves crashing against the rocks in the park. This is rarely seen in summer unless there’s a tropical storm on the way. Therefore, better to visit in winter. Don’t risk your life when there’s a typhoon nearby!
Taipei in December
Thanks to global warming, the weather in Taipei in December won’t be too unbearable. Some of my American friends once said it’s icy cold in Taipei’s winter due to the humidity, but, let me be honest, Mother Earth has been warmer and warmer. If you’re coming from higher latitude, this doesn’t seem to bother you too much. More convincingly, Taipei will probably be an excellent destination for your Christmas holiday whether you want to make merry in the city or you’re longing for a getaway in Mother Nature. Don’t forget, Lonely Planet ranked Taipei as the second best city for travel in 2022. It’s only one month away from the year 2023. You’ll need to hurry up!
Christmasland in New Taipei City
Shows and fairs of the Christmasland are normally held in the afternoon and last until 22:00.
Free of charge!
How to get there?
When it comes to the most famous Christmasland in New Taipei City, the subway is certainly the best solution to get there. No matter where you’re traveling from in Taipei, don’t forget to get off at Banqiao MRT Station and follow the crowd!
Book a Tour
If you are looking for a tour to get you into the Christmas spirit, then you should definitely book with Edison Tours, which offers customized day tours that include round-trip transportation, a professional tour guide, entrance fees, etc. On the other hand, for solo travelers and small groups, you may opt for the season limited join-in tour—Taipei Christmas Instagram Tour.
Too hot in summer?
I was talking about winter! Don’t come in the summer because you won’t meet Santa!
How can I get food?
If you’re coming for New Taipei City’s Christmasland, you should find some food stalls near the big Christmas tree. My experience is if there’s a huge crowd, it won’t be easy to buy something to eat. I’ll recommend the ubiquitous convenience stores if you don’t have the knowledge to squeeze in a huge crowd of revelers.
Waiting for public buses in Taipei can be tricky and a bit difficult during the holiday season. If your vacation is not long, finding a trustworthy travel agent can save you precious time. Edison Tours offers a variety of half-day to multi-day tours in and out of Taipei City. Our services are professional and the company is filled with enthusiastic staff members to solve your problems. Check our web pages or give us a call if you don’t want to spend time planning ahead.