Visitors to Taiwan have long been using the Guoguang highway buses running every 15mins or so between TPE airport and Taipei main station. And it is an endless wait for many passengers who land during the popular and busy time of the day. Now, after years of debate and construction, the Taoyuan Airport MRT is finally open to the public! The MRT officially opened in February but was only available to selected group tours, and starting from 3/1, the MRT is open to the public and is currently having the promotion of 50% off all ticket prices. So right now a single way 30 minute ride from Taoyuan airport to Taipei cost NT 80 which is roughly 2.5 USD, can’t beat that price! Here’s a step by step picture for the actual ride from airport to Taipei main station. Video coming soon.
Note: this is a tutorial for Terminal 1 of Taoyuan International Airport (TPE)
Step 1: Walk from the arrival hall back to the departure hall.
Not a great picture, but if you’ve never flown out of Taoyuan airport before, this is roughly what the departure hall looks like.
Follow the signs, they can lead you from arrivals to departures without mistakes. Once you’re in arrival hall, look for a GIANT sticker on one end of the front lobby(above the elevators) that says airport MRT, that’s the side you want to head down. The other side is for the highway buses.
Step 2: Return your luggage cart & Buy tickets
Right after you passed the station sign, on your left hand sign is the place to return the luggage carts as the carts belong to the airport system and not the MRT. The top shows you which train is leaving from which platform and to where. Walk a little bit further down where the photo shows, on your right would be the ticketing machines.
Step 3: Buy one-way tickets/EasyCard(Metro card)
At 7am, there’s already some travelers looking to try out the airport MRT. The few machines on the left are for one way tickets, the machine on the right(with more people) is the one that sell EasyCard, it’s a metro card usable on MRT, buses, bicycles, and even small purchases at 7-11, for more info on EasyCard.
Step 4: Getting to the station/ Information center
Turn 180 degree around when you finished purchasing tickets. That’s the entrance and gates for entering the stations. On the right is the information center, or sometimes called or joked about as “fish tanks” by young Taiwanese. They can help with anything from exchanging TWD bills into coins, give you a metro maps, or any insider tips about how to tackle Taipei Main Station.
At the gates, it shows the visual for both EasyCard and one way tickets(tokens), and they are both sensed by tapping the white area, so no need to insert anything. By experience, if you don’t want to have a panic attack, just situated your big luggage in front of you before tapping the card, as the gate entrances aren’t big.
Step 5: Platform/Map
After you take the escalator down to the platform, there would be 2 platform, and the monitors should tell you in English which platform is for which train, and their scheduled departure time. If you’re new to metro, could also check out the map below for which MRT line to transfer
Step 6: Express train/Normal train
For this trip, we only got to try out the regular train. Took a peek into the express train but wasn’t enough time to take a photo of it, but if you’ve been to Taiwan before, it’s like the HSR seats aka comfier than the regular trains.
If you didn’t get a chance to check stations, there are smaller maps spread across carriages in the train. But for most of us heading to Taipei Main Station, it’s nothing to worry about because it’s the terminal station.
Step 7: Enjoy the view/ Switching trains
Once you and your luggage are settled, it’s time to enjoy the views. Instead of watching the traffic and factories on the highway, you get to enjoy the lush green hills in Taoyuan and Taipei along the way.
Also you seem to have the options for starting with a regular train, but switching to an express train somewhere along the way. The regular train would announce verbally and visually about making an extended stop for around 3-5 minutes, then saying that passengers who wish to board the express train may switch now.
Glitches: The visual display board will say that “Due to technical problem……”, while the Chinese simply reads that to adjust the train order and speed. So don’t worry if you see that displayed, and sadly the verbal announcement is only made in Chinese, so it's still difficult for foreign travelers to know that they have the option to switch to a faster train. See video below.
Step 8: Where to go
After you get to Taipei Main Station, you’ll realize that the Airport MRT station is only called “Taipei Main Station” but it’s not located at the actual place. Follow the signs for exit, and you should find one of these locations map shown below.
The Airport MRT station actually connects between Beimen station and Taipei Main Station of the Taipei MRT system. So depending on where you live, exiting on one side of another could save you time on a transfer.
As you’re up the escalator, some sunlight and bamboo to greet us for the day. And then the huge sign on the ground directing us where to go.
Coming NEXT : How to get to Taoyuan Airport from Taipei City at midnight via MRT.