Is the public spa in Peitou open also? What best to do and see during winter times? Any Christmas celebration in taiwan? Thanks a lot for your assistance Jane, from Singapore
Hi Jane, the public spa in Beitou is open all the year. Winter is the best time for outdoor hot springs in Taiwan. About three years ago we were in Beitou around the Chinese New Year, the temperature dropped to 5°C in the early morning due to a cold front. It was really cold, also because most of houses don't have central heating.
For this reason some days in winter can be more difficult to endure here that in a much colder country but where the houses are heated in winter. Taiwanese in winter wear heavy clothes also at home and consume big amounts of hot water, tea and, especially, hot pot and chicken soup.
I would not say that winter is always cold. Apart a few days it is not and we often stays in the 20° (Celsius) in the day. The average low in Taipei is 15.6° C, the average high is 20.7°C. I just mean you need to be prepared for cold fronts that lower the temperature quickly.
More often winter in Taipei and the north can be rainy and humid. Much better the south, often sunny and dry. Last year we went to Kenting in January, the weather was really nice also for outdoor activities (the south of Taiwan is a lot more tropical).
So you can normally do all the things that can be done in the rest of the year, including hiking and all the outdoors. December is a good time to travel around, it is low season so you can find bargain for accommodation everywhere.
There are not specific things to see in December, the major festivals and events happen before and later, around the Chinese New Year. The only exception is the Western New Year Eve, on the evening of December 31st, when a lot of young people gather in the streets around Taipei 101 for free concerts and to see the fireworks. Have a look at the video above.
You will find Christmas decorations everywhere and especially in shopping malls. Many Taiwanese have Christmas parties with friends. But personally I don't experience any real Christmas feeling in Taiwan, since the vast majority of Taiwanese are not Christians and the decorations are just for marketing.