A long layover in the Taiwan Airport? Don’t worry, be happy! The terminals are packed with diversions and amenities for all kinds of travelers. From art galleries, puppetry, tribal traditions and even Hello Kitty – each waiting lounge in the Taoyuan airport has its own theme!
My seatmate charms the stewardess.
It’s a tortuously long flight into Taiwan for anyone flying from the US or Europe. That is unless you’re in first or business class. I flew economy for over thirteen hours on China Airlines. While I was comfortable enough with a standard seat and leg room upgrade, I did run into a few problems with seatmates. First was the screaming baby, then the nanny who removed her shoes and had me gagging, then kept shoving into my side. I appreciate how difficult it is traveling with a small child. Everyone did their best. They played with the infant and the stewardess did offer me a face mask!
With the service and entertainment choices, I was reasonably rested as we left the airplane in Taipei. Unfortunately, my layover wasn’t long enough to take one of the free tours into Taipei (you need at least 7 hours – see more details below. However, my partner and I soon discovered, the airport was packed with plenty to keep us entertained.
Upstairs amenities in the main concourse of the Taiwan Airport
The Taiwan airport terminals are laid in the shape of large H. A swift tram takes passengers from Terminal 1 to 2. That’s great if you’re in a hurry to catch a connection. However, if you take the Skytrain you’ll miss the galleries, the themed gates and scores of shops from designer to duty-free. You won’t see the playgrounds for the kiddies, gardens, massage vendors offering full spa to chair treatments, and the small gym.
Restaurants offer European to traditional Taiwanese foods or head upstairs to the food court for standard Western fare, from Starbucks to Burger King. Upstairs several Premium lounges offer food, drink, showers and comfortable seating or nap areas. There are elite membership airline lounges and others offer reasonable day/night rates. Before getting on my connecting flight I stopped in the Kung Fu Massage parlor. The fifteen minute, table massage was just what my shoulders and back needed.
Here’s a short video about the Taiwan Airport theme gates, galleries, and shops
Wifi is available for free throughout the Taiwan Airport. Beyond the themed waiting lounges are spacious seating areas. Most have large recliners perfect for napping. Look for three or more grouped together under stairwells and tucked into side rooms.
After discovering the recliners, we opted for a short rest, hooked up to WiFi, and then set off to explore the airport. I picked up brochures at one of several information kiosks. There were detailed maps in English and several languages. The Mind Garden sounded inspiring but it was simply a seating area stocked with books and magazines. I was especially excited about the Butterfly Garden. However, while still on the map, that space had been turned into something else. We also found that there’s more than one walkway between terminals.
Enjoy a tea ceremony inside the Taoyuan airport terminal
Since we’d flown over thirteen hours we needed exercise. It can be dangerous to sit too long – no matter your age. Staying stuck in cramped seats on lengthy flights can lead to Deep Vein Thrombosis as well as tweaked muscles, sore hips, and back. Read more about the problem and solutions in this earlier post. We walked and walked to work out our kinks.
Traditional sweets for the taking inside most shops throughout the airport
Taiwan Airport food
I spied at least one white tablecloth restaurant but most were more casual. While there are drink vending machines throughout the concourses, you need Taiwan change to operate them. Having American dollars wasn’t a problem with other vendors and they did give change in the local currency. Many of the shops offered free samples of liquor, primarily whiskey, and a variety of local pastry bites – Taro, Pineapple and plain. That and a bottle of water could fill-up most any budget-minded traveler. I opted for a fast food meal featuring chicken, noodle soup, and potato salad.
Waiting Lounge Themes
These lounges are unlike anything I’ve seen before. Each was set up with exhibits full of color and very detailed layouts. It looked like a different designer was hired for each one.
Doesn’t every airport have a Hello Kitty lounge and gift shop?
Nature comes indoors in several garden waiting lounges
Some of the different boarding gates that we visited. (You can see more in the video above .)
Zone A & B:
Bike Waiting Lounge
The Glory of High Tech Lounge
Glamorous Textile Art Lounge
The Glory of Sports Waiting Lounge
Puppetry waiting lounge inside the Taiwan Airport
Zones C & D:
Taiwan Music Waiting Lounge
The Hello Kitty Waiting Lounge
e-Library Waiting Lounge
Postal Waiting Lounge
Taiwan Cinema Lounge
Sea and River Ecology Lounge
Arts and Culture Exhibits
Pili Puppet Theater Waiting Lounge
Foods of Taiwan Waiting Lounge
Families with small children will find a large play area with whimsical character statues from favorite cartoons. There are also Breast Feeding and Prayer Rooms in several spots within the terminals.
Leave the bathroom and rate your experience!
Map of the night markets in Taiwan
Take a free Taipei Tour:
The half-day tours depart in the morning and afternoon. Note that you need a layover of 7 to 8 hours and there are other restrictions. Each is limited to 18 people. You can book at the airport or guarantee your seat by pre-registering online 14-18 days prior to arrival: Check here to see if you are eligible.
Enjoy a Taiwan Airport layover
Most of the airport was waking up during our first stop at Taoyuan. I noticed a very different and more crowded late night vibe when we caught our flight home a week later. If you are in Taipei after a long flight, explore the Taiwan Airport at least for the exercise and entertainment. Your mind and body will be better for it.
Have you ever visited the Taoyuan Airport? I’d love to hear about your experiences. Leave a comment below. I always respond.
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