One of the best and easiest ways to reach Taipei Main Station from Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport (TPE) is by using Bus 1819. The journey, which takes about one hour, is inexpensive, comfortable, and perfect for travels in a group or with luggage.
If you are looking for more information about Taipei, I highly recommend you pick up a guidebook such as Lonely Planet Pocket Taipei
Orientation to Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport
Taoyuan International Airport is located in the city of Taoyuan, about 25 miles (40 kilometers) west of central Taipei. The airport is the largest and busiest in Taiwan and is one of the busiest in the world.
If you will be flying into Taiwan from an international point of origin, odds are you will land at Taoyuan Airport. The airport also serves as the main international hub of China Airlines and EVA Air. Nearby Taipei Songshan Airport handles most flights originating from Taiwan, China, Japan, and South Korea.
If you board the bus at Terminal 2, the bus will make brief stops at Terminal 1, Taipei School for the Hearing Impaired, MRT Yuanshan Station (Kulun Street), Fortuna Hotel Taipei (Taini Building, Mackay Memorial Hospital), and The Ambassador Hotel before reaching Kuo-Kuang Bus Taipei Terminal. The bus terminal is adjacent to Taipei Main Station.
This guide will focus on arriving at Terminal 2. If you arrive at Terminal 1, follow the signs for the bus to the city.
The bus to the city is marked as 22 on the map above.
Clearing Customs and Immigration
After landing in Taiwan, you will first need to clear immigration and customs before entering the country.
If you are a U.S. citizen or holding a foreign passport, you will need to complete an arrival card before passing through immigration. Arrival cards should be distributed to all passengers by flight attendants on your flight. Arrival cards are also available in the terminal before reaching immigration.
After a long flight across the Pacific, the last thing you want to do is wait in a long line to clear immigration. In my experience, clearing immigration at Taoyuan International Airport takes around 20 to 30 minutes. The exact time will vary on what time you land, how many immigration counters are open, and how many other flights have landed around the same time.
If you checked in any luggage for your flight, you will need to retrieve your luggage at baggage claim after passing through customs but before clearing immigration.
Only have carry-on luggage? If so, you can proceed straight to the customs line near the exit to the arrivals hall.
After clearing customs and immigration, you can now exit through the sliding doors into the arrivals hall of Terminal 2. As you exit, notice the sign indicating the bus to the city will be to the right.
Inside Arrivals Hall of Terminal 2
You have now waited in a long line to pass through immigration, collected your luggage from baggage claim, and passed through customs. You are now officially in Taiwan, and more specifically, the arrivals hall of Terminal 2 .
To reach the bus station, follow the signs for bus to the city.
If you get lost or have any questions about Taiwan, the airport, the bus, the Taoyuan Airport MRT, or anything else, then you can stop by the Tourist Service Center located just to the right after exiting from immigration and customs.
The bus to the city is marked as 21 on the map above.
Unless you have an EasyCard transportation card, you’re going to need cash to pay for your ticket for Bus 1819.
If you need cash, you will find multiple ATM machines scattered across Terminal 2.
If you will be using an international debit card, be sure to notify your bank about your international travel plans. If you fail to notify your bank, your card may be declined by the ATM machine.
Foreign currency exchange counters are located near baggage claim before customs and inside the arrivals hall of Terminal 2 if you would rather convert your cash into New Taiwan dollars.
When you reach the end of the terminal, continue down the walkway. Continue following the signs for the Bus to city.
If you continue to follow the signs for Bus to city, you will find your way to the Terminal 2 bus station. It is here where you can buy bus tickets to Taipei and other destinations in Taiwan.
Just outside the doors from here are the bus stops.
Purchasing a ticket for Bus 1819
Arriving on a late flight? No problem. Bus 1819 runs 24 hours a day between Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport and Kuo-Kuang Bus Taipei Terminal (Taipei Main Station).
The timetable has changed since my visit, so please disregard the listed times above for 2:00AM-5:00AM. Check the website for the up-to-date schedule. The schedule for buses between Taipei Airport and Taipei Main Station can be viewed on the Taiwan Bus website.
Tickets for Bus 1819 can be purchased at Counter 2. The cost is NT$125 or about $4.13 for a single journey.
Let the person at the counter know you would like a ticket for Bus 1819 and hand them at least NT$125. I paid with NT$200 and received change so you can expect to receive change.
You can also purchase tickets when boarding the bus, but no change will be given.
If you have an EasyCard transportation card, you do not need to buy a ticket at the counter for the bus. You can head straight towards the bus, swipe your EasyCard on the electronic reader, and board the bus. Those using an EasyCard will also receive a 20% discount compared to paying with cash.
With ticket in hand, you can now head towards the bus.
From the ticket counters, head to your right towards the exit for Bus parking bay 1-3. Out these doors is where you will find the stop for Bus 1819 and other buses.
After exiting through the doors for Bus parking bay 1-3, just to your right will be Bay 3. Bay 3 will say Kuo-kuang – Bus 1819: Taipei Main Station and Bus 1843: Nangang Exhibition Center. This is where you will board Bus 1819.
If you have any luggage, it will need to be stored in the cargo holds below the bus.
Depending on your destination, the bus driver might ask you to place your luggage in one cargo hold or another.
With ticket in hand and your luggage stored in the cargo holds, it’s now time to board Bus 1819 towards Taipei Main Station.
On the bus, seats are first-come, first-serve. All seats are open with no assigned seats, so sit wherever you want.
I was surprised just how comfortable the reclinable seats were. Even better, each seat featured a USB power connection and air conditioning vents above each pair of seats.
If Taipei Main Station is your final destination, remain on the bus until the last stop.
If Taipei Main Station is not your destination, pay attention to the bus alerts in both Chinese and English. Alerts will be given on the information board at the front of the bus and over the speakers. Make sure to press the stop button on the bus at your desired stop.
About one hour after leaving Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, Bus 1819 will arrive at Kuo-Kuang Bus Taipei Terminal, adjacent to Taipei Main Station.
If you are facing the bus terminal, look to your left for the east entrances of Taipei Main Station.
Welcome to Taipei.