There are a number of ways of getting from Taipei Taoyuan Airport to the city centre downtown area with a range of prices. Your choice of transport is going to depend on your budget and the time you arrive at the airport as not all options operate 24 hours. I found this out the hard way when arriving at midnight.
Cab is the quickest and easiest way to get from Taipei Airport to the city centre. You’re looking at a fare of around NT$1200 (US$40/€35) and a travel time of 45 minutes from the terminal to your hotel door. Note that the taxi will charge what’s on the meter, plus 50%, plus tolls. That’s why the price ends up being so expensive.
The train from Taipei Taoyuan Airport to Taiwan Main Station has just started operation! This makes life much easier than in the past. Just hop on the train from the main terminal and it will whisk you away to Taipei Main Station in 35 minutes! From Taipei Main Station, you can then hop on the citywide MRT system in the direction of your accommodation. Either that or catch a cab. Whatever you do, it’s going to be far cheaper and only slightly slower than catching a cab all the way from the airport itself.
Frustratingly, this train service does not operate 24 hours. This means if you’re arriving late or departing early, you simply cannot use this service. In other words, many flights arrive and depart at hours outside of the hours of operation of the Taipei Airport Train.
- Departing Taiwan Main Station: 06:00 – 23:00
- Departing Taiwan Airport: 06:05 – 23:35
- Price of the Taipei Airport Train is NT$160.
Bus is the cheapest way of getting from Taipei Taoyuan Airport to Taipei downtown, but it does come with drawbacks. First of all, you need to figure out which bus number to catch. This will depend on where you want to be dropped off.
If you want to be dropped off near Taipei 101, catch CitiAir Bus 1960. Last bus is at 1:05am and if you’re lucky it will depart 10 minutes late like it did for me. Cost is NT$145 (US$4.74/€4.46). Timetable here -> http://www.taiwanbus.tw/information.aspx?Lang=En&Line=3471
If you want to be dropped off around the Taipei Main Railway Station, take bus 1961 or 1819. Last 1961 bus is at 1am and 1819 runs 24 hours. Cost of 1961 is NT$90 (US$2.94/€2.77) and cost of 1819 is NT$125 (US$4.08/€3.85). Timetable for 1961 is here -> http://www.taiwanbus.tw/information.aspx?Lang=En&Line=3463. Time table for 1819 is here -> http://www.taiwanbus.tw/information.aspx?Lang=En&Line=4645
There are a range of other buses that you could choose, but disregard them! Why? Because they just serve to confuse you. The buses I have listed cover all your options. If you arrive after 1am and want to get into the city by bus, catch the 24 hour 1819 bus to Taiwan Main Station. From there you can catch a cab or walk to your hotel.
Where to Stay in Taipei
I actually stayed in two totally different areas of Taipei and I preferred Ximending. I stayed at Ximen Taipei DreamHouse and it was cheap, comfortable and most importantly conveniently located (it had a more downtown feel). I got a good deal for about US$38 per night.
Most people are going to catch the train between Taipei Taoyuan Airport and the city centre because it’s easy and relatively cheap. The bus is becoming less and less relevant as time goes by, but if you have a late arrival, it’s still going to be useful. And cabs are really only for people who are comfortable paying top dollar for the ultimate in convenience.
Whichever mode you use, I’d love to hear your feedback so I can keep my advice up to date!
My other Taiwan posts:
Review: Centre Hotel, Kaohsiung