05 August 2017

How to Travel from Taoyuan Airport to Taichung

I've traveled to Taichung more than 5 times in the past few years and have been researching for the most effective and most cost efficient way to travel from Taoyuan Airport to Taichung, and the other way round - from Taichung to Taoyuan Airport.

This blog post was first written in September 2016 and has been updated. It would cover 3 ways to get from the international airport to Taichung - airport buses, high speed rail, and public taxi.

When planning your transportation mode, you may want to consider the traveling time, transportation cost, your destination in Taichung, and convenience (e.g. travelling with multiple luggage, or travelling in a group). A comparison table is available at the end of this article.

Note: Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport is sometimes referred to as 'Taipei Airport' due to its IATA airport code: TPE, and Taipei being the biggest city in Taiwan.


Bus from Taoyuan Airport to Taichung

Since I usually reach Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport at 6am on a budget flight, my preferred transportation mode is the highway bus. Airport buses are known as 客運巴士. The two hour bus journey would allow me to catch some sleep and reach Taichung city refreshed at a nice breakfast time.


Where to Take a Bus at Taoyuan Airport:

You can purchase the bus tickets and board the buses at the bus station, located at Terminal 1 Basement 1, or Terminal 2 Level 1. You can follow the 'Bus to City' signage at the Arrival Hall to locate the bus station.

There are 3 bus companies offering transportation services from Taoyuan Airport to Taichung - Guo Guang 國光客運 (國光號), Free Go 建明客運 (飛狗巴士) and UBUS 統聯客運. The 3 service providers offer different routes to Taichung City. Other differences include operating hours, bus frequency and ticket price.

These airport bus services to Taichung operates from early morning 6am till late night 1am, with bus frequency intervals ranging between 30 minutes and 2 hours. You can refer to the departure timing displayed at the bus ticket purchase counters.

Travel Time:

The duration of travel from Taoyuan Airport to Taichung by bus is about 2 hours.

Bus Fare from Taoyuan Airport to Taichung:

There are two types of ticket pricing.

A full-price ticket 全票 costs between TWD 230 to TWD 300. This ticket is applicable to most adults and teenagers.

A half-fare ticket 半票 costs between TWD 145 to TWD 190. Seniors over 65 years of age, children less than age of age 12 years, and people with disabilities are eligible to buy a half-fare ticket, and may be required to present identification during purchase.

Where to Alight in Taichung City:

Many passengers often alight at Chaoma Station 朝馬站 to switch to another bus service or a taxi to get to their hotel. If you have pre-arranged for a taxi to fetch you from the bus stop to your hotel, do check with the taxi driver which bus stop you should alight at. It may be nearer for the driver to pick you up from Chaoma Station and drive to your hotel.

If your hotel is situated near to Fengjia Night Market, you should alight at Chaoma Station 朝馬站 too and switch to a bus/taxi. If you alighted near Taichung Railway Station instead, it'll be about an hour's public bus ride back to Fengjia vicinity.

If you intend to travel from Taoyuan Airport to Taichung Railway Station, do alight at Taichung Station 臺中車站. There, you can switch to a local train or an express train to reach other cities and towns such as Jiji and Checheng in Nantou county.

Taichung Airport Bus Travel Tip:

If you fortunately/unfortunately purchase your ticket when the bus is about to leave the station, the bus company may rush you to run with your luggage to catch the bus! Be prepared!

For travellers arriving at the airport at night, you may want to check the bus schedule available at http://www.taoyuan-airport.com/english/buses As of 5 August 2017, the last 1860 bus service departs from the airport terminal at 23:40.


Taipei Airport to Taichung High Speed Train

Traveling by 'bullet train' would of course be a much faster way to reach Taichung. The travel time from Taoyuan Airport to Taichung by high speed rail is approximately 40 minutes. According to Wikipedia, the high speed rail can reach a high speed of 300 km/h (186 mph)!

If you are wooed by the shortened travel time of 40 minutes by high speed rail, don't forget to take into consideration the travel time to the Taiwan High Speed Rail (THSR) station!

To go from Taoyuan Airport to Taoyuan THSR station:

You can board a shuttle bus at a full fare 全票 of TWD 30. Seniors, children and disabled persons may purchase the ticket at a half fare 半票 of TWD 15. The shuttle bus tickets can be purchased at the UBUS 統聯客運 counters at Terminal 1 Arrival Lobby or Terminal 2 Arrival Lobby.

To go from Taoyuan THSR station to Taichung THSR station:

You can purchase your ticket at the station itself using cash or credit card. Tickets from Taoyuan to Taichung are available at a standard adult fare of TWD 540, or a half fare of TWD 270 for the kids, the elderly and the handicapped.

The following table shows part of a typical weekday schedule from Taoyuan THSR station to Taichung THSR station. The earliest high speed rail services from Taoyuan may start from near-7am in the morning, and the latest service may end around 11.20pm in the night. To check the THSR schedule for the day, you can go to their Timetable and Fare Search webpage.

Click on HSR schedule to view larger imager

Total Travel Time:

The shuttle bus journey would take about 25 minutes to arrive at Taoyuan THSR station. This is not inclusive of waiting time, which ranges from 5-10 minutes during peak hours to 20 minutes or more during non-peak hours.

So if you arrived the airport at a non-peak hour, this may mean 20 minutes waiting time + 25 minutes bus journey + maybe 5 minutes walking time + 40 minutes THSR ride = 1 hour 30 minutes. And not forgetting you would need to transfer to a bus or taxi to get to your hotel.

Taiwan High Speed Rail Travel Tip #1:

You can purchase your THSR ticket online up to 28 days in advance, payment via credit card. (21.09.2016 Thanks Chyn Huei for informing on the 'dead' link, have updated the hyperlink!) You would need to provide your passport or travel document identification number and a mobile phone number to complete the online transaction. Do note that the online ticketing system may be unavailable during non-working hours from midnight to 6+am in the morning (Taiwan time zone is GMT+8). And in the event you arrive too early or too late for the rail ticket you have purchased, you can contact the service counters for help to change or refund  your ticket (conditions apply).

Taiwan High Speed Rail Travel Tip #2:

When you purchase your THSR ticket at the station, it is likely that your seats are 'non-reserved', i.e. while your tickets are valid on the specified date, seats are not guaranteed. This means you would need to search for an empty seat in the designated train car, or stand for your journey. And if you unfortunately took the seat of a passenger with a reserved seat ticket, you would need to give up your seat to this passenger. Speaking from personal experience, this is pretty cumbersome when you are traveling with huge luggage or multiple luggage, and especially on a crowded train.

Taiwan High Speed Rail Travel Tip #3:

I don't typically get motion sickness when traveling on airplanes or ferries. However I do get migraines when traveling at rapid speed on the THSR. So if you are like some of my friends who are tantamount to motion sickness, do consume your medication and prepare a plastic bag in case you feel queasy.


Taxi from Taoyuan Airport to Taichung

Taxi transportation is very convenient when you are with multiple luggage or heavy luggage, since it will bring you directly to your hotel. It is also a good option if you arrive at timings where you are unable to board a highway bus or a shuttle bus to the THSR station.

Where to Take a Taxi at Taoyuan Airport:

You can board a taxi at the Arrivals Lobby of both Terminal 1 and Terminal 2. Airport taxi services are typically available 24 hours daily.

Taxi Travel Time:

Similar to the airport buses, the taxi journey from Taoyuan Airport to Taichung city is about 2 hours. What I usually do is to take an airport bus to Chaoma station or Taichung Railway station (which also takes about 2 hours), and then switch to a taxi to get to my hotel. This helps me to save some money on transportation.

Taxi Fare from Taoyuan Airport to Taichung:

Do note that the taxi fare is based on meter, and may include additional highway toll charges. WorldTaxiMeter.com provides an estimated taxi fare of TWD 2,362 from Taoyuan Airport to Taichung City.

In December 2015, one of my friends chartered a taxi from the airport to her Taichung hotel for her family of 4. The journey costs her TWD 5,400. After the taxi driver drops her family at their hotel, he returned to pick them up in the evening to go to Fengjia Night Market.

Click the image above to view a larger version

Getting from Taoyuan Airport to Taichung 

As discussed, there are multiple ways to get to Taichung from the international airport in Taoyuan. The following table summarizes the above article and shows some factors for your consideration:

Comparison Table:

Comparison table done by me :)

Usually I would prefer to travel from Taoyuan Airport to Taichung City by bus, and then transfer to a taxi to get to my hotel. While this may take slightly more time (maybe 30 to 40 minutes) compared to taking a high speed rail or taxi, it is much more cost efficient.

I hope you have benefited from the information shared in this post. If you like this article, do share with your friends who are planning for their trip to Taichung. Thanks!