Springtime in many East Asian countries is cherry blossom season, when each cherry tree’s thousands of buds burst into colorful pink and white blossoms. The earliest flowers begin to show as early as January, and in the higher altitude destinations, you can see the blossoms through April. The peak time for viewing can vary widely each year due to weather. As the season draws near, it is easier to predict when the bloom peak will be.
If you’re lucky enough to be traveling in Taiwan during this time, check out in each region the best place to view cherry blossoms.
You don’t even have to leave the city to experience the picturesque cherry trees in bloom. If you’re in Taipei, Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall is probably your best bet. If you’re willing to take a day trip outside the city proper, you’ll find brilliant displays in Wulai Hot Springs and Yangmingshan National Park.
Wulai’s cherry blossom viewing time is typically earlier than Taipei’s, sometimes a month or more. There are many different types of cherry blossom trees here, including Prunus x yedoensis, Prunus lannesiana, Wils, Prunus taiwaniana, Prunus incisa, and more.
Sun Moon Lake
Each year, Sun Moon Lake in central Taiwan hosts the Sun Moon Lake Cherry Blossom Festival, and thousands of visitors come to see the 2,000 trees in bloom. Take a ride on the Sun Moon Lake ropeway to see the colorful spectacle from above on Taiwan’s highest aerial gondola.
Sun Moon Lake’s blooms are typically peaking February through March. This area has the most cherry blossoms in central Taiwan. And, just after cherry blossom season ends here, you’ll find the lavender festival kicks off. More than 100,000 lavenders decorate the Formosan Aboriginal Cultural Village.
Another popular cherry blossom viewing spot in central Taiwan is Wushe, particularly along the Puwu Highway. Nearby Aowanda National Forest gets a second burst of color when the leaves of its maple trees turn in autumn.
By far Taiwan’s most popular place for cherry blossom viewing, Alishan hosts an annual Alishan Cherry Blossom Festival with more than 19,000 trees blooming during March and April. About 18,000 of the trees are Yoshino cherry trees, making Alishan the only area in Taiwan to see this variety. Aside from cherry blossom trees, look for azaleas, peonies, primrose jasmine, and Formosan one leaf orchid along the Alishan Highway (Provincial Highway No. 18). Expect large crowds in March and April at Alishan.