2024 going to be a big year folks — and we’re not just talking about the baby bump that comes with dragon years. So pull out your calendars and begin thinking about what you are going to see, taste, listen to, and explore.
As an expat living in Taiwan it’s far too easy to fall between one of two extremes: the trap of routine and the trap of attempting to do everything all the time. In the former, you get stuck in a daily rhythm, a quasi state of domestic normalcy that involves work, small routines, and well trodden routes through a very small portion of a larger city and island. In the latter, you burn yourself out trying to do and see everything without actually putting down any roots or making many meaningful connections.
Luckily for you, we are here with a middle option and a list of events and things to think about including in your year ahead. It’s by no means comprehensive, and you should certainly do your own research, but we are sure there are a few things that you can pencil in. We’ll see you out there.
Dates: February 24th from about 6 PM to 8:30 PM.
What you need to know: One of the coolest festivals in Asia, it is a true festival of lights and it draws spectators in the thousands. Make your plans early and bring a camera.
Dates: Feb 24, 2024~Mar 10, 2024
Location: Taipei, Tainan
What you need to know: Each major city is going to be putting on major light displays for this festival, however, Taipei and Tainan are the ones to watch. This year Tainan’s is celebrating 400 years of history on the Island is promising to be a must see event.
Dates: February 23 – May 11
Location: National Theater & Concert Hall; National Taichung Theater; Weiwuying National Kaohsiung Center for the Arts
What you need to know: Make no mistake, Taiwan has a thriving arts scene that brings in world class performances. What’s more, they make it incredibly easy to catch a show. This can be one of the more fun ways to spice up an evening this coming spring. Check out the FOA website here.
Dates: Late January – March
Location: Yangmingshan, Alishan, Sun and Moon Lake, Wuji Tianyuan Temple
What you need to know: There are plenty of other places, Japan, Seoul, D.C., that get more press, but Taiwan has cherry blossoms aplenty. If you are simply looking for a day trip, we would recommend the Wuji Tianyuan Temple in Tianshui as it is off the redline and an easy trip from the city.
Dates: Jun 10, 2024
Location: Dajia Riverside Park
What you need to know: If you have never seen a dragon boat race before, be prepared, it is another level of canoe racing. This is a festival and a race that brings teams from around the world. Although you may be able to get on a team, we recommend simply enjoying the view and the festival style atmosphere that you will find in Dajia Riverside Park.
What you need to know: 2024 will be the 26th year of the film festival. Think of it as a film premier, a networking event, and a workshop that brings together and celebrates the best and rising stars of the Taiwanese film industry. It’s a great venue to watch some spectacular Taiwanese movies and potentially meet some big names.
Dates: TBD, generally March or April
Location: Taichung City to Chaiyi
What you need to know: Check out our blog post to learn more about Matsu the patron goddess of Taiwan. As far as the Dajia Matsu goes, it is one of the biggest pilgrimages in Asia, if not the world and takes place over the course of 9 days. It is certainly worth checking out.
Dates: May to September
What you need to know: If you are not already eating fruit by season in Taiwan you really should be (check out our fruit post to learn more). We included this here mainly as a way of saying take advantage of the mango season in Taiwan (everything from the drinks to the ice cream to the fruit at the market). We think Taiwan has some of the best mangos in the world and we promise you won’t regret it.
Dates: June – September
Location: Torik Visitor Center, Taitung
What you need to know: As if you need an excuse to travel down Taiwan’s east coast to see a stellar concert by moonlight. For those still hesitant, it features some of the best indigenous performers on the east coast. Here’s the website and promo video from the 2023 venue.
Dates: September 1sth – October 31st
Location: Daan Park, Taipei (as well as other parks around the city).
What you need to know: Bring a picnic chair or blanket, some good food, and some good friends. These are free concerts put on by the city of Taipei that have been going on for the better part of the past two decades. If you are a jazz aficionado, you likely won’t see any huge names here, but it is a great way to spend an evening. Google for their 2024 website soon.
Dates: October 26th, 2024
Location: Taipei City Hall
What you need to know: Taipei hosts the largest pride event in Asia. Over 170,000 people from around the world attended the 2023 parade and even more are expected for 2024. The parade itself has been taking place for over 20 years and is very much committed to raising awareness of LGBTQIA+ rights in both Taiwan as well as other parts of Asia. To date, Taiwan and Nepal are the only countries in Asia which have taken steps to legalize gay rights.
Dates: Mid-December, 2024
Location: Taipei City Hall Plaza
What you need to know: It’s a fairly flat course, you have 12 months, and you can also opt for the half instead. The 2024 sign up isn’t on their website yet but that doesn’t mean you can’t start lacing up your shoes.
It is most definitely going to be a busy and wonderful year. We’ve given you our list of twelve, but you should make your own too. Think in terms of music concerts to gallery installations to religious celebrations, surfing competitions, bike races, hot air balloon festivals, fireworks, and more. Taiwan offers so much to see and do.