The Taipei Taoyuan International Airport (www.taoyuanairport.gov.tw) is served from around the globe by airlines including Continental (www.continental.com), United Air (www.united.com), Cathay Pacific (www.cathaypacific.com), Thai Air (ww.thaiair.com), Air Asia (www.airasia.com), Jetstar (www.jetstar.com), China Airlines (www.china-airlines.com), and national carrier Eva Air (www.evaair.com). The nearest major hub is Hong Kong, but with the opening of direct flights between China and Taiwan, Shanghai and Beijing are also options.
The airport is inconveniently located 30 miles from the city at Taoyuan. The two terminals are joined by a short Skytrain, and both have currency exchange bureaus, ATMs, visitor centers, car rentals and limousine hires, post offices, duty-free shops, snack bars, and Wi-Fi. There are hotels in Taoyuan, including the Fullon Taoyuan (200 Dasing West Rd., Taoyuan; [tel] 03/326-5800; www.taoyuan.fullon-hotels.com; superior NT$5,700), but there's little need to stay unless you plan to take the high-speed rail south early the next morning.
Getting into Town from the Airport
By Taxi -- Taxis are the easiest option into town, and a metered ride costs NT$1,000 to NT$1,400 depending on the traffic and your destination.
By Bus -- A variety of bus companies, including Airbus ([tel] 0800/088-626; www.airbus.com.tw) and Evergreen ([tel] 03/357-0498; www.evergreen.com.tw), offer services from both terminals into town. Two principal bus lines run through the east and west of the city, stopping at major hotels. Both lines run from 6am to midnight, take 60 to 90 minutes and cost NT$125 and up. Tell the ticket agent your destination and he'll put you on the right bus.
A number of cruise-ship companies include Taiwan on their itineraries and stop at Keelung, close to Taipei (www.costacruise.com; www.oceaniacruises.com; www.princess.com).
Near the city center, the Taipei Main Station is the hub for journeys all over Taiwan and has a visitor center, convenience stores, ATMs and a wealth of eateries on the second floor. The station is also the terminus of the high-speed-rail (HSR) (www.thsrc.com.tw/en), which cuts the journey time to Taiwan's second city, Kaohsiung (Zuoying), to just 90 minutes (NT$1,490 one way). High-speed trains also stop at Taoyuan, a 20-minute taxi or shuttle-bus connection from the airport. HSR advance tickets can be bought online or at the designated window in the station, and trains leave from the basement. Slower regular trains serve the same destinations as does the East Coast Line, which terminates at Taitung (via Taroko and Hualien). See www.railway.gov.tw/en for full listings. Tickets are purchased from the counters beneath the ground-floor departures board.
Buses throughout Taiwan are operated by a number of companies that pick up and drop off passengers at stops around the capital. For west-coast destinations, the easiest place to head is the Inter City Bus Terminal, near the train station at the junction of Yanping Road and Civic Boulevard. Of the companies offering buses down the west coast, Aloha ([tel] 0800/43168; www.aloha168.com.tw) is the premier choice and provides double-width massage chairs with TVs, games console and hostess service (tickets from NT$550 weekdays, NT$715 weekends for the 4-5 hour journey to Kaohsiung). Ubus ([tel] 0800/241-560; www.ubus.com.tw) is another luxury choice.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.