Like it or not, layovers on your business trip are bound to happen. The current record for the longest non-stop flight is at 19 hours. Airlines are pulling off non-stop flights across the world, but its toll on the passengers remain as demanding. Which means layovers are here to stay for now.
With a little advance planning, it’s possible to make your layover at Taipei’s Taoyuan International Airport a bearable one. Here are some suggestions for making the most of your layover.
Sneak in a little snooze 😴
Flying can be draining, and plane seats are uncomfortable and get in the way of proper rest. That leaves business travellers frazzled upon arrival, which isn’t great for business at all.
Catch up on sleep at the rest zones in Taoyuan International Airport. Reclining chairs are located at most boarding gates, such as near gates A4/A7 at Terminal 1 or Level 4 of Terminal 2. Alternatively, head to Sunlight Lounge (Level 3, T2) for more padded reclining seats.
There are no hotels in Taoyuan International Airport. For a more relaxing rest, the nearest airport hotel is a five-minute drive away. Novotel Taipei Taoyuan Hotel provides a free shuttle bus from both terminals, with rooms beginning from US$135.
If you prefer to stay within the confines of the airport, Plaza Premium Lounge offers rooms in their private resting area in six or 12-hour blocks. The space is equipped with beds and private toilets at USD$144 for six hours.
Catch up on work 👩🏻💻
Catching up on work while on a layover is no cakewalk. Especially so for this airport, given the lack of working spaces available here.
The airport does provide free Wi-Fi, but for a conducive working environment, you’ll probably be more efficient at a lounge. For first and business class flyers, check with your airline for lounge access.
Any traveller can gain access to the Plaza Premium Lounge—a pay-per-use lounge with cosy seating, charging points, food and beverages and Wi-Fi. The lounge has outlets at both terminals and rates begin from USD$43 for two hours.
There are various charging points scattered across the airport, such as in Terminal 2 near gates C5, B4 and A6, the lounges, and the e-library lounge.
Keep yourself entertained 🍿
On layovers, air travellers tend to catch up on sleep or work because there isn’t much to do at airports. Thankfully, Taoyuan International Airport has no shortage of entertainment facilities.
What stands out the most are the themed waiting lounges. These lounges depict Taiwan’s culture, with themes such as Taiwanese aboriginal arts (Gate A6), opera (Gate A9), and puppet theatre (Gate D7), all at Terminal 1.
It’s the Hello Kitty Wonderland lounge (Gate C3) that will gather the biggest crowds. Expect to see buzzing fans snapping away enthusiastically. If you had to brave the crowds, it’d be for the gift shop next door selling Hello Kitty merchandise. It makes a perfect souvenir to surprise your little one after a trip.
Another notable lounge is the e-Library lounge (Gate C5, T2). About 400 e-book titles are offered for travellers, easing boredom in a comfortable reading environment.
Museum exhibitions are rarely seen at airports, but you’ll find art galleries (Level 3, T2 and Level 3, T1) along the corridors of this air hub. View rotating exhibits from the National Palace Museum and National Museum of History and end your tour at the palace museum’s souvenir store.
If cute lounges or art exhibits don’t fit the bill, how about sweating it out at the Sports Park (Level 1, T1 and Level 3, T2)? After all, a workout helps to lift spirits on a dreary layover. Otherwise, visit the E-sports Experience Center (Level 3, T2) for a different kind of workout. Get immersed in the gaming world of your choice on quality PCs and Playstations. It even comes decked with racing simulators, which will delight the speedster in you.
Satisfy your hunger 🍢
If you’ve touched down feeling grouchy and restless, what you really need is a hearty meal. Your layover might be too tight to explore Taipei, but it is still possible to try out local cuisine here at the airport.
Head to either of the two food courts at the airport for local dishes like handmade noodles or braised pork rice. Once you’ve had your fill, get a tall glass of bubble milk tea at Chun Shui Tang (Basement 2, T2). This teahouse claims to be the inventor of bubble tea. For a complete experience, try out Taiwanese side dishes like fried radish cakes or spicy tofu too.
Travellers who are running late can rely on convenience stores to serve up decent snacks. Food items like tea eggs, sweet potatoes, oden, and bento sets are savoury and affordable. Those obsessed with the chewy boba drink can snatch up second serving at the convenience stores too.
Scratch your shopping itch 🛍
Souvenirs are always nice to have, and you’ll be spoilt for choice here in Taiwan. Pineapple cakes, sun cakes, iron eggs, local tea—these savoury snacks leave people wanting more and are perfect for sharing. The airport has various souvenir stores such as Taiwan Impression, Native Food Gift Shop or Ciao! Taiwan (all located at Level 3, T1).
The Liuligongfang (Level 3, T2) is a contemporary glass studio for travellers who wish to admire contemporary art. It’s not every airport that has a glass studio displaying fine Chinese glass structures made from skilled craftsmanship. More into tech gadgets? Hit up 3C Specialty Store (Level 3, T1) to shop for electronics and entertainment items.
Pamper yourself 💆🏼♀️
Another way to feel refreshed after cruising altitude is to treat yourself to a massage at Blind Massage Centre (Level 2, T2). The eponymous centre employs blind massage therapists to attend to weary travellers.
Travellers who don’t wish to fork out a dime can visit the Green Relaxing Area (Level 3, T1) or LOHAS Massage Area (Level 2/3, T1 and Level 3, T2) for free massage chairs (Level 3, T1).
Stay fresh with a shower 🚿
Your layover can be more tolerable with a shower. Freshen up at the shower rooms in the airport, fully equipped with tables, chairs, hooks, and mirrors. Shower facilities can be found at Level 2 of Terminal 1 or Level 3 of Terminal 2. The shower rooms are open 24 hours a day and are free for all travellers. You can use your own towels or purchase a new one at US$4.
An airport brimming with entertainment options
In 2019, Taoyuan International Airport clinched thirteenth place in Skytrax’s World Best Airport award. The airport did even better in terms of cleanliness (8th) and airport staff (7th). For travellers on a layover, the bevy of activities will be sure to keep you occupied, with quality dining options to whet your appetite.
The airport is expanding to go toe-to-toe with some of Asia’s well-performing transit hubs, with the third terminal in the pipeline. The new terminal is said to handle a capacity of 45 million passengers. The airport saw 46.3 million passengers in 2018, even though the capacity of both terminals combined stands at 35 million passengers.
With a new terminal opening in 2020, we can only hope it means the airport will be providing passengers with an even more comfortable transit experience in time to come.