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A Great Place

When should you visit very special and unique places in the world that touch you? Places with an atmosphere you can’t describe or where you even get overwhelmed with emotion.

This is our complete Blue Lagoon guide with every question answered. Fully updated for 2019. Need quick tips? Jump directly to our 9 Must-Know Tips and the ultimate guide above it. Also, scroll down even more for tips about viewing the Northern Lights, Opening Hours, Prices in US Dollars and Euros.

Tip: If you stay in Reykjavik and prefer it hassle free, book one of these tours: Blue Lagoon Tours incl. Transfer from Reykjavik.  Some also include a 'small' Golden Circle tour with excellent guides!

Alternative: If you have a rental car, you must visit the stunning Skógafoss Waterfall nearby (2 hour drive from Blue Lagoon or Reykjavik)

Now: What about Blue Lagoon tickets? Pre-booking your admission tickets is necessary for this famous spa in Iceland, as they only allow a limited number of visitors. In this way, they avoid a heavily crowded lagoon. However, regardless of the season and month it still gets busy during the day. Read on for our best time to visit tips before you go:

Avoiding the Crowds

Long waiting lines, hectic locker rooms, ... In the year 2015 Bill Gates reserved the entire Lagoon for a swim at midnight without the crowds. We have a much cheaper solution for you: Enjoy a much more peaceful lagoon and its surreal surroundings by visiting either very early in the morning or as late as possible. Stay at a close hotel as it's more comfortable, but not at the super expensive new 'internal' Retreat (from 1000 EUR) or the Silica (from 500 EUR) hotel. Our more budget friendly but still top class hotel recommendation is the Northern Light Inn, because it's right there and excellent value for the money! (Bookmark the link to compare prices later if you like! You can read more about this hotel below in the hotel section). Also try to avoid weekends (Friday - Sunday), because it's busier then, even in the morning or evening. Make your reservation a couple of weeks in advance to get your tickets for the desired slot:

Early morning:
Book a ticket the first time slot available (see opening hours below). Being there first thing in the morning, you won’t see any crowds and no waiting lines, regardless of the package you booked. Often there are only 20-30 people within the first hour of operation.

Evening:
It usually thins out in the evening. Book tickets for a time slot about two hours before they close. Timing your visit for sunset will make your photos even more amazing. After sunset, there is even a chance to see the Northern Lights in winter. Check sunrise and sunset times here: Sunrise / Sunset Grindavík


Weather and Water Temperature

Regardless of the season, weather and outside temperature, the water is always kept at 37–39°C (98–102°F). However, if it’s really cold and windy, some parts of the lagoon can be cooler (different temperature zones). Check the monthly weather details for the area, as well as average rainy days here: Average Monthly Weather Grindavík (you can switch between °F and °C). Keep in mind, that the weather is unpredictable, particularly in the winter months. However, almost everyone says that a visit is always a fantastic experience, even on a cold, windy and rainy day. The warmth of the water and the shelter of the heaters help a lot. Especially with rain and fog the atmosphere is just otherworldly and even more amazing. 

IS Iceland

Exceptional, beautiful, and fascinating: Taiwan! The mountainous island is utterly safe for traveling and a great place to meet some of the friendliest people on our planet. You can travel to Taiwan throughout the year but consider typhoons are likely to happen from July to October. The driest months are from November to April. These are the best months to travel around the entire island. During summer (July and August) Taiwan is overrun by the Taiwanese. 

Weather Overview

Fast changing weather in the Taroko Gorge
Taroko Gorge

First of all, if traveling to Taiwan, you have to consider that rain is common throughout the year. There is much more precipitation on the east side due to the high mountain range. Most rainfall occurs from May to October. In these months Taiwan gets hit by typhoons regularly, especially in the east and in the central mountain range. The northern part of Taiwan and the Taipei area are several degrees colder than the south like in Kaohsiung and Kenting. Being there for quite a while, we learned that the weather forecast gives you an indication, but often it's better than predicted especially in the drier season from November to April. Find more weather details here: Monthly Weather Taipei - Taiwan NorthMonthly Weather Tainan - Taiwan South
 

Spectacular Sunrise and Sunset

In Taiwan, you can experience stunning sunsets and sunrises. We give you insider tips for the popular spots and show you the hidden gems as well. Just mesmerizing!

Alishan

View from Alishan
View from Alishan

Alishan is famous but also an extremely crowded spot to view the sunrise. If you depend on public transport, it's one of the view sunrise spots where you can get to. However, it's utterly crowded which makes it hard to enjoy the sunrise. Want to visit by car? There is limited parking with only 120 spots.

There is just one car park at Alishan
The only available car park inside the Alishan National Scenic Area

However, shoulder parking outside the Recreational Area is available, and shuttle buses pick you up frequently during the cherry blossom season. Expect many thousand visitors each day at the sakura season at the end of the winter and beginning of spring. To watch the sunrise on the 2.489 m high Zushan Mountain you either have to come pretty early or stay in one of the view hotels in Alishan.

How to get to Alishan:
It takes 2. 5 hours from Chiayi TRA Station to Alishan by bus. Another option is the train from Chiayi to Fenqihu. It's a popular village where the railway stops at 1.400 m elevation. The Alishan Forest Railway used for logging by the Japanese siege in the past is now a popular tourist attraction. Many visitors take the train from Chiayi to get to Alishan. Unfortunately, the railway got hit by a typhoon in 2009 and operates until Fenqihu only. From here you have to take the bus to continue traveling to Alishan. Alishan Railway Station Google Maps

Tip: Stay in Alishan if you want to watch the sunrise. All the hotels here are fully booked very far in advance, although most of them are not outstanding. The best one perfectly located in Alishan is the Alishan Hotel ****.

The Alishan Hotel
Alishan Hotel

An excellent budget option is the Legendary Bed and Breakfast in Fenqihu. The owners; Mr. and Mrs. You walk an extra mile for you. We prefer Fenqihu which is much quieter and located close to the Dadongshan Trail.

You can't watch the sunrise in Alishan only on the Zushan mountain. Take the sunrise train which runs just once from the Alishan station early morning. If the train is not fully booked, you can get tickets from 1 pm to 4.30 pm the day before. The departure of the train depends on the time of the sunrise. Each afternoon at 4.30 pm the exact time will be mentioned. Ask at your hotel reception for the departure time. When booking the hotel ask them to make a reservation for the sunrise train for you the next morning. It's a short ride up almost to the summit of Zushan. To catch the train, you have to get up very early between 4, and 5 am. It's a bit of a hassle during the sunrise, but you can take amazing pictures.

Alishan Train

The rest of the day shuttle buses are offered but only every 2 hours. 9/11/13/15. The Zushan area is also beautiful in the daytime, and the views are awesome. Take the sunrise train or the bus later in the day to the top and walk back through the forest to Alishan. Consider frequently the clouds already roll in before midday. Therefore, it may happen that you are covered in clouds from midday onward.

More Beautiful Sunrise and Sunset Places Without Crowds

Besides Alishan there are even more outstanding locations in Taiwan to experience a gorgeous sunrise above the horizon or a mesmerizing sunset in the evening. Let us show you the best ones:

  • Linzhi Mountain
    Yushan National Park

    Linzhi Mountain is not far from Alishan already in the Yushan National Park is still one of the hidden gems. You can either come here for the sunrise or just early morning to watch the spectacular Alishan Mountain Range and the highest peak with 3.952 m Yushan or Jade Mountain. The Linzhi Mountain Loop Trail is roughly 7 km long and takes 3 1/2 hours. It's an easy and well-marked 1/2 day hike. Due to the high elevation, you may watch the sea of clouds before midday. Parking at Takaka Visitor Center. The visitor center is closed every second Tuesday each month. Bring water and a sandwich. There is just a restaurant but no shop. Takaka Visitor Center Google Maps
     
  • Dadongshan or Dadong Mountain
    Dadongshan Trail close to Fenqihu - Trail Map
    Spectacular hike and views without any crowds can be experienced from Dadongshan or Dadong Mountain. It's already part of the Alishan National Scenic Area and close to Fenqihu. Here you can watch a stellar sunrise with fewer people on the 1.976 m high Dadongshan or Dadong summit. It’s an hour drive west of Alishan. The climb is roughly 2 km up one way, and it may take up to an hour. The trail can be slippery and muddy. Watch the roots and stairs along the path. During summer be aware of thunderstorms in the afternoon. Mosquitos occur here at this time of the year. Winter can be pretty chilly. When you reach the viewing platform, you can see the highest mountain of Taiwan Mount Yushan on a clear day; during winter covered in snow. Mount Yushan also called Jade Mountain is 3.952 m high above sea level. Also here frequently clouds roll in at midday and spoil the breathtaking view. Dadongshan Trailhead and Parking Google Maps
     
  • Hehuanshan
    Sunrise at Hehuan Mountain

    Hehuanshan is near Taroko Gorge and with a height of 3000 m. This is an excellent spot for the sunrise. You can already watch the sunrise from your hotel room, or you climb to one of the summits of Hehuan Mountain. For detailed information read our article about Hehuanshan at Sunrise.
     
  • Eryanping Trail
    Eryanping Trail along tea plantations to the second outlook for the sunset
    Popular by locals, not so much by foreign visitors, is the Eryanping Trail through tea plantations between Longmei and Shizhuo. It's a short steep trail up mostly on steps leading to two outlooks. Parking is available at the trailhead, and there are restrooms as well. Nice farm stalls and six fresh waffles for a less than 1,50 € are offered.  Eryanping Trail Google Maps
     
  • Guanwu
    Guanwu Sunset
    We also watched a beautiful sunset at Guanwu where you can get to by car. It's 5 minutes walk to the viewing platform only. Guanwu is also excellent for hiking and famous for two thousand years old giant Formosan Cypresses. Detailed information in our Guanwu National Forest article. 

     
Cherry Blossom and Sakura Season

Cherry Blossom in Alishan

This is the most famous time of the year in Taiwan. Depending on the elevation level it usually takes place between the end of February until mid-April. The most popular places are Yangmingshan and the Wuji Tianyuan Temple, Wulai Waterfall, Sun Moon Lake and, Alishan. All these places get utterly crowded, especially during the weekend.
 

Season Details

Before we dive into our adventure experiences and ideas for your next visit, let us give you a detailed season overview. What to expect in terms of climate, highlights, and crowds:

March - April - May (Spring)

In terms of weather March and April are often sunny while heavy rainfall starts in May. March has pleasant temps above 20°C but not too hot. Temps are Increasing in April and May, as it's already hot with high humidity. However, rain showers can always occur. March and April are perfect months if you'd like to see Taiwan in full bloom. In April and May, we highly recommend visiting Guanwu for the rhododendrons.

June - July - August (Summer)

Temps are above 30°C, and it's not a pleasant time. During the Computex in June, the biggest IT Show in Asia, it's heavily crowded in Taipei. July and August is the peak season because the residents go on vacation. Many Taiwanese people travel either to the cooler mountains or to the sea. Often to Kenting in the south to escape the heat. Expect high humidity and lots of precipitation. These are the wettest months on the entire island and typhoons can occur.

September - October - November (Autumn)

There is still lots of rain until the end of October and typhoons are likely to occur until the end of September. October gets drier but not on the east side. November is one of the driest months with pleasant temperatures above 20°C, but it's often cloudy in the north. We can't recommend traveling in September, due to the rainfall. October and November are much better and not very crowded except Taipei.

December - January - February (Winter)

The temps in winter are still pleasant at day time roughly around 20°C and sometimes slightly below. The temperatures in the mountains are pretty chilly during the night from December to March. In January and February, the peaks are often covered with snow. Snow is something special for the Taiwanese and many of them travel to higher elevations like Hehuanshan or Alishan.
 

Avoiding the Crowds

Famous sights in Taiwan are often pretty crowded

So many regions of Taiwan are still overlooked by travelers from non-Asian countries. Of course, the famous attractions in Taipei like the World Trade Center or the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall as well as Taroko Gorge, Alishan, and Kenting are popular and crowded. In general, Taipei is extremely busy during the summer between July and August and from the end of December until early January. Weekends are always super busy. The Taiwanese have very few holidays. That's the reason for the very crowded weekends almost everywhere on the entire island. It tends to get busy from Friday midday onwards. Even worse is Xitou, which is busy even on weekdays due to retired hiking people. However, the hinterland and not well-known places by tourists are just visited by residents. What did we do to dodge the crowds? We went on adventures and deep into nature. Particularly on weekends to get away from the masses. That's how we shared beautiful nature with very few people only. Tip for the famous spots: If you'd like to visit the popular places, get there early in the morning to dodge the most crowds.

TW Taiwan

Regarding the weather and the crowds April, September, October, and early November are the best months to visit the "Heaven's Gate". Be prepared for showers, but if you are lucky you can get sunshine as well.

Avoiding the Crowds

Expect a busy holy mountain throughout the year except for winter (mid-November/December - February). The main season is from May until October with most visitors and rates at its peak. Heaviest crowds in July/August. A sweet spot month with mild climate but without heavy crowds is early-November until mid-November. Otherwise, March/April are considered months without massive crowds.

CN China

Land Diving where the New Zealander AJ Hackett got inspired for Bungee Jumping. It’s a custom which takes part from the first Saturday in April until the last Saturday in June, 13 times in 2018. There is limited space only and flights fill up quickly. Advanced booking is recommended. Only very few airlines offer this trip. We did our booking 6 months in advance. Regarding the weather Pentecost experiences much precipitation until late April. May gets drier and June is the best choice if you like to watch these breathtaking dives.

Land Diving Pentecost Island - Last dive on the highest level

Weather 

Pentecost has a tropical climate. It’s warm throughout the year and gets hot and humid during the rainy season with temps above 30°C. The season lasts from November to March officially, but the wettest months are January to April. The dry season lasts until October. Occasional rain showers occur. The western side of Pentecost experiences more rain. Cyclones are more likely to happen between January and March. The category 5 monster; Cyclone Pam hit Vanuatu in March 2015. It was the worst natural disaster ever. 

Crowds 

Usually, the Land Diving is held for 30-40 people but the audiences increase if it’s presented for a cruise ship. There is much space for everybody to sit and stand around the diving tower. Due to a limited number of seats and flights available you will always sit in the first row to attend this cultural spectacle from an ancient time.

Pentecost Land Diving - groups are small up to 40 people

VU Vanuatu

When is the best time to visit! It depends on what you are wanting from your vacation. Whether you are looking for sightseeing, hot air ballooning, dune bashing, quad biking, sunbathing or shopping holiday, do not fear because Dubai has it all. A strong factor of deciding when to visit will be the weather, specifically the humidity and temperature, hotel prices and crowds.

 
Spring (March - April - May)

Best Time for Beach Fun!

  • Hotel Rates: Medium - High
  • Crowds: Medium - Low
  • Sightseeing and Outdoors: Still excellent in March. Otherwise not perfect, but good
  • Shopping: Great indoor and outdoor
  • Beach: Warm water and cool golden sand

This is a great season to visit Dubai because the weather is heating up but is not incredibly humid. It's bearable to be outside in the sun, even in May. It's a great time to head to the beach in April and May because the sea is a comfortable 26°C to 28°C and the sand won't burn your feet yet. In March it could still rain sometimes with a little cooler water temps around 23°C. However, it's very unlikely than rain will spoil your trip as the rainy days are few and far between. Also, in early spring nights get slightly chilly sometimes. While it is not hugely common, sandstorms can occur during March and April, but very rarely in May. As the season passes there are fewer tourists because temperatures often reach around 37°C by the end of May.

 

Summer (June - July - August)

Best for Budget Travellers!

  • Hotel Rates: Lowest prices all year!
  • Crowds: Low
  • Sightseeing and Outdoors: Too hot for some tours. Evening desert tours are still good
  • Shopping: Summer sales have started
  • Beach: Too hot, except for early mornings or short late afternoon visits


Summer in Dubai is incredibly hot and very humid. Average high temperatures exceed 40°C. Is it still ok to visit? Yes, if you can tolerate heat or are used to it. For us, it was still great. For other visitors these conditions are a no-go. Full days at the beach or a visit after lunch is definitely a not something you should try. However, visiting the beach in the morning or in short bursts later in the afternoon is definitely possible. Destination experts suggest beach visits in the extreme summer months from 6 a.m. - 8 a.m. and in the afternoon after 4 p.m. Otherwise stick to the hotel pool. But still, wear sandals or flip-flops at the beach any time to avoid burning your feet. It's also not a great idea to visit the beat during the extreme heat with younger children.

Due to the boiling heat there are fewer tourists than any other time of year, which is a major plus if you plan on visiting the cities sightseeing hot spots because the queues are short. Don't worry about the heat if you'd like to do late afternoon/evening desert tours: It's a little cooler in the desert, and vehicles are air conditioned as well. Also, hotel prices are low. If you have a strict budget this is your time to experience all that Dubai has to offer.

 

Autumn (September - October - November)

Best for Sightseeing Tourists!

  • Hotel Rates: Medium - High
  • Crowds: Medium
  • Sightseeing and Outdoors: All tours are open
  • Shopping: Still good for indoor and outdoor malls
  • Beach: Still not very comfortable until mid-September. More fun in October and November

Although we included September in the autumn section here, you'll definitely experience summer temps until mid-September. Which means you are dealing with the same challenges as in the summer months in early September. Temps get more pleasant at the end of September. If you are looking for comfortable weather and smaller crowds as well, then the end of Autumn is the best time for you to visit. All tours are operating, meaning you don't need to miss out on anything. The only con is the hotel prices are increasing, so book well in advance. The beach is a common activity when the average high temperatures fall to 35°C - 31°C in October and November.

 

Winter (December - January - February)

Best for Shopaholics!

  • Hotel Rates: Most expensive! February is the cheapest month in winter.
  • Crowds: High
  • Sightseeing and Outdoors: Places get crowded. Besides that, it's a good time for sightseeing and other outdoor tours
  • Shopping: A great time for shopping!
  • Beach: Not the best time for sunbathing or general beach fun but possible on certain days

The desert heat is at its weakest making it a pleasant time to be outside in the fresh Dubai air. Rain can also be expected, especially in February. However, it usually doesn't rain for days in Dubai. It's more like brief rain showers which can occur. Due to the colder temperatures, beach days are irregular, but some days can provide beach fun. The temperatures vary from 20-25°C. Sandstorms occur every now and then, so take appropriate precautions.

Is winter still a great time for being outside at the beach? Yes, especially in December. However, in January and February the weather becomes a little unpredictable. A lot of days are not sunny and very windy in both months. It really depends on someone's luck to get sunny days in a row for beach weather. Just keep in mind that the water temperature is too cold for most visitors. But still, some enjoy swimming regardless of the sea temp. What about the desert in winter? The desert is comparatively cooler on these months than the rest of the year.

Due to Dubai Shopping Festival this the best time to visit Dubai, if you are a shopper. The festivals take place in January and February. But don't forget about Christmas because the many extravagant and luxurious malls have amazing sales pre-Christmas. The most popular malls are the Mall of Emirates and The Outlet Village in Jebel Ali.

 

Weather Overview

Dubai has the typical desert climate. Especially the summers are extremely hot and humid. For weather details for each season, read our guide above. Most days are sunny throughout the whole year.

If you're looking for some water recreation and swimming, the water temperatures are usually great from spring through autumn. In winter it's a little to cold for many visitors.

 

Time of Day (Safari Tour - Things to Do)

Morning Safari Tour
Morning desert safari tours start early in the morning around 8 am and offers a calming desert expedition. The serene drive to the outskirts of Dubai city takes about 45 minutes and the whole experience takes about 3 hours to complete. Morning Desert Safari is the best way to enjoy the desert in the mellowed sunshine and enjoy activities like dune bashing, camel riding and hot air ballooning in the desert. A sunrise desert safari offers an incredibly serene experience to witness the beauty of the Arabian Desert. This tour starts at pre-dawn where you can watch a tranquil sunrise on the desert horizon. The tour departs at 4.30 am and continues for approx. 4 hours.

Afternoon Safari Tour
Afternoon desert safaris are for the adventure junkies. Those who don't mind the sultry desert heat can have a great time enjoying adrenaline rushing sand sports. Gear up for an exhilarating day teeming with sand dune bashing, quad biking, sand boarding, and many more thrilling desert sports. These tours start around 3 pm and extends for 6 hours where you wind up the tour with a scrumptious Arabian dinner and traditional entertainment.

Evening Safari Tour
For those who feel they cannot bear the stifling desert heat can forgo the adventure options and opt for evening tour which starts with a serene desert sunset view followed by a night filled with cultural activities. An evening tour offers you the scenic splendours of the Arabian Desert with quintessential Arabian hospitality and entertainment. A dinner in Desert tour lets you enjoy a blissful evening in Bedouin styled campsite. These tours start around 4.00 pm and wind up in 5 hours. The overnight tour stretches your pleasant evening to an all-night experience filled with recreational activities, mild adventure sports, traditional folklore and fine dining experiences. An overnight desert tour starts around 4.00 pm and ends the next day with drop off to the hotel.

 

More Outdoor Activities

For incredible tours in Dubai, check here: Dubai Tours and Outdoor Action (they have the best guides!) These are the most amazing activities you'll love (they usually include transfer/pick up from your hotel - very comfortable):

Sandboarding | Rating ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐


Driving by the most gorgeous landmarks of Dubai and finally finding yourself in a gorgeous desert surrounded by red dunes. The real fun starts now ...


Sunset Buggy Excursion - Red Desert | Rating ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐


You enter your dune buggy or quad bike, and start your adventure with an amazing drive deep into the Red Desert ...

Stunning Hot Air Balloon Flight | Rating ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐


First, you step inside and watch as they release the balloon. Starting to ascend over the Dubai's iconic sand dunes, you already know  it's such a fascinating experience. But something else makes it special, while gliding up to an altitude of 4,000m ...

AE United Arab Emirates

The blowholes at Dolomite Point are best visited during high tide with the south westerly swell: Tide times Westport The Pancake Rocks are easily accessible and a popular destination also for tour buses. It's less crowded in the evening, and the sunset is spectacular.

Weather (Westport)

Usually, the summer is pleasant and the winter mild. The day temps in summer are around 25°C/77°F, in spring and fall up to 17°C/63°F. A high amount of precipitation throughout the year on average each month more than 200 mm except February which is usually a little drier. Spring is the wettest season influenced by the winds from the Tasman Sea. The rain increases quickly closer to the mountains. A local saying “go deep, go steep, get wet”.  Anyhow, some hikes include a river crossing, and it can be more difficult in spring due to heavy rainfall. Check conditions at the visitor center first.

Where to Stay (Nearby)
  • If you want to spoil yourselves close to the Pancake Rocks, this might be the best stay in the Punakaiki Forest Retreat.
  • Another option are the beautiful Hydrangea Cottages within walking distance of the Pancake Rocks. Perfectly located to watch the sunset.
NZ New Zealand