This is an easy, step by step guide on how to get from Taipei to Taoyuan airport or vice versa. It is very straight forward. We travelled between the city and the airport both before and after the subway system was extended to connect the two.
The absolute easiest way to get from Taipei city to the Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport is by taxi or Uber. The taxis in Taipei are generally fast and efficient but they can be a little pricey. Catching a taxi also requires you to speak to a driver which can be difficult depending on your language skills.
Uber is cheaper and has the advantage that the driver already knows where you are headed making the language barrier less of an issue.
The Taipei metro system (the subway) has now been expanded to include a connection to Taoyuan airport. This makes it dramatically easier to get to the airport without breaking the bank.
There are both express trains and non-express. The non-express trains stop at both Taipei Main Station and Sanchong station. The express trains have a greatly reduced number of stops and do not stop at Sanchong station. Both kinds of trains stop at both airport terminals.
If you have the choice, take an express as they are a lot faster. We get on a non-express train without knowing that express was even an option. An express train going the same direction passed us while we still had plenty of stops to go.
An adult ticket will set you back to the tune of 160 NTD. If you are just arriving in Taiwan and will be staying around Taipei for a while buy yourself an Easycard and put a few hundred NT on it. You can then use it to pay for your trip into Taipei and all of your MRT journeys after that.
The stations are well signed in both Chinese and English at both the airport and at Taipei main station. Just look for the signs and follow the arrows.
Bus (and Tales of Life Before the MRT Extension)
Back before the MRT extension there were numerous buses running back and forth between Taipei Main Station and Taoyuan. While buses no doubt still exist be aware that the following guide was written in 2012 before the new MRT extension opened.
Taipei Bus Station is right next to Taipei Main Station, making it extremely easy to reach on the Taipei MRT.
If you are interested in getting from Taoyuan Airport to Taipei this guide will still be helpful but you will have to reverse the steps as we wrote about getting from main station to the airport.
Get yourself to Taipei Main Station, the main train station, via the High Speed Rail (HSR), Taiwan Rail (TRA), Taipei Metro, by bus or by using your legs. Once you are there, if you have a few hours before you have to be at the airport, place your luggage in one of the handy storage lockers near the HSR area in Building B1. Taipei Main Station Map.
There are various sizes of storage lockers available. Some will fit very large rolling suitcases. Others will just fit a small handbag. You will find the different sized lockers not far from each other. Choose the open empty locker you require, test your bag will fit, then follow the instructions near the payment machine.
The minimum charge for a storage locker is NTD $25 which will last you three hours. The maximum time you can use a locker is for 3 days (72 hours). I'm not sure how much it would cost for 72 hours but it's unlikely to be terribly much.
Instructions to use the locker: Put your baggage in the storage locker. Select your locker by pressing the corresponding keys. Pay the initial rental amount as shown on the screen. Collect the paper ticket that shows your confidential code to be able to open the locker again. Close the door of the locker. Your stuff is now safe and secure.
We took our chances and stored our backpacks including all of our electronic equipment, including laptops, in the storage lockers at Taipei Main Station. When we came back a few hours later having spent a few hours exploring the vast underground malls, everything was just as we left it. We would totally recommend the storage lockers at the Taipei Main Station. There is enough security around to make you feel safe about leaving your stuff. Just remember to NOT lose your paper ticket with the code on it to get your stuff out. If you have a camera or smart phone take a photo of the paper ticket just in case.
Next step is to head to the Taipei West Bus Station which can be reached via the K12 exit from the K-Underground Mall. Click here for a map of the underground malls that surround the Taipei Main Train Station. You can also reach the Taipei West Bus Station via MRT exit M5 and underground mall exit Z3.
The photo above shows what the Taipei West Bus Station looks like from the K12 exit of the K-Underground Mall. Take note of the sore red bottom on the picture above the building's façade. Ouchies!
Leave yourself plenty of time to find your way to the bus station. The malls around Main Station are extremely large and can be confusing.
Inside the building, you will find very clean last minute toilet access and a few little stores selling various items such as sushi (yum) and bubble tea (yum). Head to the Airport Express Bus counter and ask for a ticket to the International Airport. This will cost around NTD $125 for an express bus ticket direct to the airport. The buses depart every 15-20 minutes depending on how full they are between the hours of 04:30 am and 23:20 pm. It will take between 40 and 80 minutes to reach Taiwan's Taoyuan International Airport depending on traffic conditions. Enjoy the ride. Just in case you need to catch the bus from Taipei's Taoyuan International Airport into Taipei, it will still cost you NTD $125 each. The bus leaves every 15 - 20 minutes between the hours of 05:40 am and 24:30 am. As shown above, there are other times and destinations shown. We can't read Mandarin and were just focussed on getting to the airport so we're a bit fuzzy on some of the details here. Perhaps a reader can let us know. Once at the airport, we recommend you have your last Taiwanese meal at Sushi Express. We really really really love this chain restaurant. Along with dumplings, sushi is one of Taiwan's favourite fast foods. Not only is it fast, it is tasty and healthy too. Heading through immigration and customs and to the airport terminal gate, we found an awesome little section that was all about the Taiwan Postal System. A Stamp Vending Machine that included postcards, envelopes and little boxes could be bought via this vending machine and you could post it in the handy post box nearby. If you have any last minute mailing to do this is your chance. Now all that is left is to enjoy your trip! If you want more information on Taiwan read our very comprehensive Taiwan travel guide.
Where To Stay In Taipei
Just in case you need some ideas about where to stay in Taipei, we stayed at the Taipei Triple Tiger Hostel in the fashionable area of Ximending. The room was a little cozy but the location can't be beat. Click here to read more about it We actually house sat for most of our time in Taipei. Try and find a house sitting gig