Taiwan Travel Guides
Most visitors to Taiwan fly into Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, 25 miles south of Taipei. Although China Airlines is Taiwan’s national carrier, many other international airlines provide frequent daily service to Taiwan. Taipei also serves as a major refuelling stop for destinations in Asia.
The two terminals at Taoyuan are rather austere, but offer enough basic amenities to make a layover or wait comfortable. There are restaurants, coffee shops, bars, banks, and lots of duty-free shopping to keep waiting passengers entertained. Each terminal has a useful information desk, and Terminal 1 has a dedicated tourist service counter to help with any specific travel needs.
Transportation to the centre of Taipei is handled by private buses and taxis. A connection to the MRT Metro system and a new station for the high-speed train system are planned for the future. Six coach companies provide frequent and reliable service on a set route schedule which covers the major tourist points in Taipei. The bus journey takes about 40 minutes. Taxis are available 24 hours from the Arrivals area, though they are a bit more expensive than taking the bus.
Kaohsiung International Airport in the south of the nation also handles a limited number of international flights from regional destinations. Basic amenities are offered at the terminal, and transport into Kaohsiung is available via bus or taxi.
If you are arriving from Okinawa, Japan or Macau, there are regular ferries which operate between the Taiwanese ports of Keelung and Kaohsiung. Domestic air travel offers limited options in Taiwan, but a handful of local airlines operate regular flights from Taipei’s domestic Sung Shan Airport to a few of the larger cities around the island.
The nation’s state-run train system has some excellent services to most of the accessible cities along the western and eastern coasts. Progressive electric trains ply the main cross-island route from Taipei to Kaohsiung in the south, stopping at every western town in between. The trains are comfortable, efficient and fast.
Private coaches provide the other main source of transport around Taiwan. Several companies handle long-distance routes between every town in the nation. In general, the coaches are comfortable, reliable and good value for money. Taipei, Taichung and Kaohsiung are the island’s main transport hubs. Try and reserve a bus ticket 14 days in advance to ensure a seat on this popular mode of transport.
Car hire is also available in most large towns, offering a more flexible way to explore the country. The roads in Taiwan are generally in excellent condition, with a good highway network connecting all the major cities. Driving in Taiwan is mild by Asian standards, but still a bit hectic in the cities.
Within individual cities and towns, taxis are the best way to get around. They are metered and generally inexpensive, although after 23:00 you’ll pay an extra 20 per cent surcharge. Taxi drivers don’t expect to be tipped and most don’t speak English.
In Taipei there is an amazing MRT network consisting of a monorail train and underground metro serving all of Taipei and its suburbs. The MRT runs from 06:00 to midnight every day, and has stations near all the city’s main tourist attractions.