The Taipei Airport, officially Taoyuan International Airport, is a major gateway to destinations all over Asia. It opened in 1979 as the second major airport to serve Taipei, and became the main airport. Up until 2006 it was called Chiang Kai-shek International Airport, after the former President of Taiwan.
Taoyuan is home to two big international air carriers. China Airlines, which is the flag carrier of Taiwan, and EVA Air, often ranked as one of the best airlines in the world. The airport has two terminals with a third under construction. Terminal 3 is expected to be completed in 2025. And from the architectural renderings, it looks like it is going to be a beautiful modern airport terminal.
Terminal is the newest of the first two terminals, opened in 2000. Many of the individual gates have their own themes. There is a Chinese Theater waiting room made to look like a movie theater. A coastal theme, sky lantern theme, native aboriginal theme, anime, the post office, and even a Hello Kitty lounge.
Hello Kitty is big in Taiwan. EVA Air even has one of the livieries of their plane painted with Hello Kitty characters.
If you want to pick up some duty free items, Taoyuan Airport has a huge duty free shopping. You can pick up a variety of booze, cigarettes, jewelry, watches, and more.
If you have some time before your flight, Terminal 2 has an observation deck that overlooks the runway. You can watch planes taxi, take off and land. It’s open from 6:30AM till 10:30PM.
There are lots of shops and restaurants located around the terminals. Though depending on when your flight arrives there may not be much open. Flights coming from American tend to arrive very early in the morning.
The Taipei Airport is like a lot of the other airport terminals in Asia. They have a small waiting room for each gate on the main floor of the terminal. It is small and doesn’t have enough seating for all the passengers that will be on the flight.
If you arrive early from a connecting flight you may not find a seat in the waiting area and may need to walk down the terminal to find another gate that has open seating.
Or you can try out one of the massage chairs located in the terminal. They are in the “GreenRelaxing Zone” located behind some trees. Tokens for the massage chairs can be found at the information desk.
When it gets closer to your flight time, a door is opened to let passengers from the waiting room down to the gate. Here there is plenty of seating to wait till your section is called for boarding.
The Taoyuan Taipei Airport may not be the most modern airport at least not yet. Terminal 3 should help on that front. It is an interesting airport to have a connection in. It is worth having a walk around the terminals to see the various waiting areas and if you have time a visit to the observation deck.