Taoyuan Airport to Taipei: Airport to City Center Guide

So, you’ve booked that Taiwan trip, decided where to stay, picked out all the best things to do in Taipei: now it’s time to figure out how to get from Taoyuan Airport to Taipei city center!

Frankly, I was a little nervous about how I was going to get from the Taipei airport to the city center, because it was my first time going to a country that uses Chinese characters in its signage.

I had been to Japan before, so I wasn’t altogether unfamiliar with a character-based alphabet. Then again, Japan is renowned for its organization, and I wasn’t sure how Taiwan would be in comparison.

I was worried that with the language barrier and not even being able to read basic signs, it’d be a nightmare to get into the city center from Taipei airport. Luckily, it was pretty easy!

the skyline of taipei seen at night with beautiful colors lighting up, taipei 101 seen from elephant mountain in the city outskirts
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It actually was quite simple to get from Taoyuan Airport to Taipei Main Station. From there, I then was able to take the MRT to my hostel, since I was staying in Shilin.

While I was worried at first, I shouldn’t have been: Taipei is an ultra-modern city with fantastic infrastructure! There are multiple ways to get from Taipei Airport to the city center without any hassle or fuss — let’s get into them all!

Before Leaving Taipei Airport

aerial view of the city of taipei seen from the taipei 101 view

Let me remind you of one thing to note before leaving the airport. In Taipei, it is important to always bring cash with you!

Upon arriving at Taipei airport, you can withdraw money from ATMs at the airport for the best rate. Tip: always say ‘no’ to the exchange rate if given the offer; your own bank should always give you a better price. You can also exchange currency if you have a foreign currency on hand, at a lower rate).

I found that my credit card and debit card often didn’t work in Taipei, even at some convenience stores, as many systems only accept local Taiwanese bank cards. Plus, you’ll want cash on hand for buying any street snacks that catch your eye!

A Few Notes about Taoyuan Airport

a white building with navy blue roof in downtown taipei with people walkinga round

Taoyuan is a rather large airport due to the high demand for flights in and out of Taiwan.

Originally there was only one passenger terminal at Taoyuan, which was Terminal 1.

Eventually, the huge number of passengers streaming into Taipei Airport made them decide to build Terminal 2, a newer terminal.

They were planning to open a third terminal by 2020 due to the huge volume of passengers — but the pandemic derailed that, and the timeline is now set for 2025.

Taipei Taoyuan International is a large airport for such a small country: T1 hosts 18 boarding gates, and T2 hosts 20 boarding gates.

It is also the main hub for airlines like China Airlines and EVA Air, which handles many flights from the USA’s West Coast, especially SFO and LAX.

In terms of how to get from Taipei airport to your hotel, your options depend on your time of arrival.

Depending when your flights lands at Taipei Taoyuan Airport, you’ll have to decide the best mode of transportation to take, which could be either a train, bus, taxi, or a Taipei airport transfer.

We’ll go into all of those options now. We’ll start with the easiest option (airport transfers) since those are the most seamless and they’re actually rather economical, especially if you have a group.

But don’t worry, if you’re on a budget, I’ll also share how to get to Taipei center from the airport by MRT (the metro system in Taipei), high-speed rail, and bus (the most economical!).

Getting from Taoyuan Airport to Your Taipei Hotel by Airport Transfers

a temple in the middle of taipei with traditional style

For someone who wants a smooth arrival option on a budget, airport transfers are easily the best choice.

You have the convenience of having privacy in your own ride and also the efficiency as you reach your hotel!

They are a little more pricy than getting a taxi right at the airport, because the driver will wait for you, help you with your luggage, and drop you off directly with your hotel.

That said, it’s the best way to guarantee a quick and seamless transit from Taoyuan airport to Taipei, so it’s worth the price for many.

Airport transfers start at about $30 USD for a meet-and-greet option at the airport, which can be really helpful if you’re a little nervous about traveling in a place where you don’t speak the language.

This is significantly cheaper than getting a taxi at the airport so it’s a great option!

Book your airport transfer here!

Getting from Taoyuan Airport to Taipei City Center Hotels by Taxi

trails of headlights from passing cars and traffic at night in taipei

Airport taxis are available just outside the arrival halls, and you can also ask the Tourist Service Center if you have trouble finding it.

Taxis are available 24 hours and this is one of the only methods of transportation if you arrive later than midnight, because most of the buses (except Bus 1819) and the trains are no longer available.

Just a reminder, that taxi prices have a minimum fare of NTD $1100 (around $35 USD) and often ends up costing about NTD $1500 ($45 USD) with traffic.

During night hours, the taxi price can go as high as NTD $1500-2000 (around $45-60 USD).

The average Uber fare is about the same, ranging from NTD $1,200 to NTD $2,500 during surges.

The fare is based on the meter, and there is also 50% surcharge for travel at night, plus highway toll fees are also not included in the fare but will be addded on at the end.

Generally, taxi drivers in Taipei are pretty honest, but I always recommend you find the actual taxi line-up rather than going with someone trying to get you to their taxi.

The fare differential between a taxi and an airport transfer actually favors the private transfer, so I think a transfer is the way to go.

I would recommend a taxi or Uber only if you didn’t plan in advance to book an airport transfer, which is cheaper and less stressful!

Getting from Taoyuan Airport to Taipei Main Station by MRT

the mrt train in taipei on the way to the taoyuan airport near the city of taipei

One simple way to get from Taoyuan airport to Taipei City Center is to take the Airport MRT, which started its operation in 2017.

It took a whopping 20 years of work to finish (the landscape around it is no joke — see the photo above!)!

Still, it’s worth the effort as it’s made getting into Taipei city center a breeze compared to previous options.

It’s also significantly reduced travel times during peak periods when buses would inevitably experience traffic delays.

Plus, the Airport MRT trains have spacious areas where you can place your luggage, and it is accessible for passengers with disabilities.

To get to the MRT station, it takes about 15-20 minutes of walking from immigration.

It is a bit of a walk, but once you arrive at the station, it’s all a breeze!

The cost of the fare is NTD$ 160 (equivalent to about $5 USD) from Taoyuan airport to Taipei Main Station.

However: the trains are not available 24/7, so this is not an option if you arrive late at night and don’t want to wait at the airport until the morning.

The MRT only operates from 6 AM until the last train at midnight, and it takes about 35 minutes on the express line.

Getting from Taoyuan Airport to Taipei by High Speed Train

close up of architectural detail on a cloudy day in taipei

If you want to get to the city center in the fastest way possible, the MRT is the slightly better choice, as it takes only 35 minutes vs. 40 minutes.

It takes 20 minutes for the bus from the airport to get to the HSR station, since it’s a few kilometers away from the airport.

Then, it takes 20 minutes on the high-speed train. So really, even though it’s considered “high speed”, it’s actually not the quickest way to get to downtown Taipei from the airport.

However, some people get excited to experience a high-speed train, and it’s quite easy to take without much of a price difference (plus if you’re staying in Banqiao, it’s the fastest way to get there).

From the airport, you would need to ride the U-Bus to the THSR, which takes 20 minutes.

If you’re traveling during a busy season, this can be a good way to avoid the crowds on the MRT!

Once you arrive at the station, you can board the THSR which will bring you to Banqiao or Taipei HSR station.

If you are looking to experience the THSR, first you need to purchase U-Bus tickets for around NTD $25 (less than $1 USD) so you can board the bus that takes you to the THSR Taoyuan Station.

From there, you’ll need to buy a ticket on the THSR for around NTD $180 (around $5 USD).

All in all, you will spend about NTD $185 (around $6 USD) for the total trip via high speed rail!

Getting from Taipei Airport to City Center by Bus

five arches at a famous taipei landmark, a white gate with a blue roof

It is very easy to get to the bus station from the airport (just a short walk from the arrival hall).

It is also the cheapest option to reach the city center, making it the best choice for light travelers and budget-conscious ones.

This is how I personally got into Taipei when I visited, as I didn’t want to walk all the way to the MRT!

Make sure that you carefully note the bus numbers, because each one has different stops!

I will list the ones that can drop you near the heart of the city, Taipei Main Station.

It’s the easiest, but it’s not the fastest way: it will take you about an hour or more of travel, due to traffic and several stops made along the way.

Two buses can drop you near the Taipei Main Station – Bus 1819 and 1961.

Only the Kuo Kang Bus 1819 is available 24/7, making it one of the two choices you have between midnight and 6 AM.

There are roughly 15 to 20-minute intervals between each bus. Bus 1819 has a fare of NTD$ 140 (around $5 USD).

If you arrive after midnight and are wary of taking public transit, I would suggest that you take an airport transfer instead. I’ll explain that in a bit!

This way, you’ll be met at the airport, picked up smoothly, and dropped off right at your hotel’s door.

Meanwhile, there’s also the CitiBus West Bus 1961, but it only operates until 1 AM.

The West Bus 1961’s last stop is in the Ximending area, which is one of most popular areas to stay in Taipei.

Bus 1961 has a fare of NTD $100 (around $4 USD), so it’s the cheapest way to get from Taipei Airport to the city center.

If your final destination is in Xinyi District, East Bus 1960 is a good option, especially if you are staying near the Taipei City Hall area and Taipei 101.

The fare costs NTD $145 (around $5 USD) and the last bus is at 1 AM, but it only departs every 20-40 minutes.

Getting an eSIM Card at Taoyuan Taipei Airport

a phone with a sim card being taken out of it

If you are the type of person who always likes to be connected, then the best thing I would suggest is to get an eSIM!

Even though Taipei Airport has free WiFi, you might want an eSIM for being around the city center or exploring without racking up international fees (mine are usually $12 per day).

For example, this eSIM gives you 3 GB of high-speed data per day for 10 days for about $8 USD for the entire time: a much better rate than the $120 of roaming bills that would otherwise rack up.

Plus, you can set it up before you go to Taiwan, and then immediately have service when you land instead of having to buy a SIM card on the ground.

This is the eSIM I recommend for Taiwan!

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