Taipei’s Taoyuan Airport is the Best Airport in the World

taipei airport

An eight-hour flight delay is never pleasant. Or at least that’s what I thought before being stuck at the Taoyuan Airport in Taipei. My Eva Air flight had mysterious technical difficulties, and while many of the passengers angrily waited near the boarding area, I explored every section of terminal 2.

It was the only airport I’ve been to where I didn’t feel like I was stuck in a bleak – yet spacious – prison. There’s even a Hello Kitty lounge (if you’re into that kind of thing). Here are a few reasons Taipei airport is the best I’ve ever been to, despite the lengthy security queue.

Best of all, you don’t have to be some rewards member to enjoy any of these. You don’t even need to pay a single Taiwanese dollar.

Free Wi-Fi. This is somewhat common everywhere outside of America, where I recall JFK wanting $7 for the privilege of connecting to slow service. No thanks.

Lots of power outlets. To even find an outlet in some airports is difficult. To this day I haven’t found one at Phnom Penh International Airport, which provides computers to use, free wifi and yet nowhere to plug in your device. In Taipei, running out of power wasn’t a problem. Most seats had an outlet attached.

A library. OK, so the previous two amenities are nice but nothing special. A library, though? You can’t check out the massive selection of books (all in Chinese – oh well), but there are bean bag chairs and other comfy seats to lounge around in. Best airport amenity I’ve ever seen.

A lotus garden. When I was there in early 2013 they had a number of the beautiful plants growing in a brightly lit garden. Benches were all over the place. It wasn’t nearly enough to make me feel like I was outdoors, but it was good enough to make me feel like I’m stuck in an airport.

The Hello Kitty lounge. Taiwan is perhaps only second to Japan for their craziness for Hello Kitty, but that’s debatable. In addition to Eva Air’s Hello Kitty-themed planes, there a pink waiting area with loads of seats and a playground. A bit awkward for a scruffy guy in his late 20s to hang out in, but I was the only one there. The Hello Kitty Lounge was mine.

Free whisky. Kind ladies at the duty-free shops beckoned passers-by to sample some of the whisky for sale. The sample was a very small amount – not even close to a shot – but free alcohol samples in airports are something I’d like to see become a trend. I wasn’t even ID’d.

Mini-museums. The airport seems to follow a pattern of boarding area, themed place to relax, boarding area, etc. A bunch of these areas feature gorgeous photo displays taken from throughout the country. It wasn’t just touristy stuff, but a real snapshot into daily life and some obscure locations. Once again, classy.

I wasn’t paid for this post (unfortunately) but here’s a link to Taoyuan Airport’s website. It doesn’t do the place justice.

taipei airport 2
Clockwise from top left: The library, the lotus garden, and the Hello Kitty lounge

 

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Karge

Karge

I'm an American freelance writer who spent a couple years living in Cambodia. Now I'm on the move again and traveling all over the place. I'm willing to try any bizarre liquor that's presented to me. Any recommendations?