Sleeping at Taipei Airport
Sleeping at Taipei Airport is an option if you have an early flight departing from Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport (TPE).
It takes 50 minutes by vehicle, or bus from central Taipei, which means that early morning flight just got even earlier.
Departures at the start of the day are usually a little easier on the wallet than ones leaving at more reasonable hours of the day. The lure of cheap flights tends to attract budget travellers like me, but the problem is people like myself don’t like getting up at 3.30 am in the morning…
As I was already staying in Taipei city, in my eyes there were the following options:
- Book a Taipei city hotel or guesthouse for an extra night and leave for the bus station at some stupidly ridiculous time in the morning
- Book a room at Hotel Novotel Taipei Taoyuan International Airport and walk to the departures area
- Stay with a friend in Taoyuan and get them to take me to airport
- Sleep at Taipei airport
With the key factor being getting a half decent nights sleep, number 3 was not an option, especially since the only person I know in Taoyuan is an ex-girlfriend. So I decided sleeping at Taipei Airport was my best option.
Granted, it had been a while since I had slept at an airport. But when I looked at the options, the reality was I could survive without a (possibly) quiet room and a comfortable bed for just one night.
Due to checking out so early to catch the flight, it’s not like I could enjoy breakfast.
Not only is sleeping at Taipei Airport an excellent way to save money, but you also save the pre-breakfast stress of trying to navigate to the airport on time. I don’t know about you, but I don’t like stress.
Sleeping at Taipei Airport might sound like a hassle, and something only backpackers might do, but it’s more common than you’d believe.
Anybody with enough willpower to spend a few hours lying or sitting on a seat is perfectly capable of sleeping at Taipei airport.
Sure, if you’re travelling with a grumpy wife, six kids and a mother-in-law that’s similar to Shrek – then it might not be for you. But the solo budget traveller or an active couple will have no problems roughing it for the night.
Arriving at Taipei Airport
The Taipei Airport bus captained by an extremely moody driver dropped me off at the airport at approx 10.30pm.
As I walked inside most of the staff had finished or were finishing their shifts for the night. The airport has many shops, restaurants, ATMs, currency exchanges + other features, although almost everything except the vending machines had shut up shop for the evening.
Sleeping at Taipei Airport tip: bring snacks if you haven't eaten.
If you do plan on sleeping at Taipei airport, the options available are similar to most other airports. You can sleep somewhere before the check-in or after the check-in.
The facilities after check-in are usually better, however sleeping there is usually only an option if you’re transferring between connecting flights or after checking in. Arriving six or so hours before the flight gate is open means setting up camp around the area before check-in and customs.
At the airport, first of all, I did a recon scout around the check-in desks, and the results showed other fellow airport sleepers had taken the most of the available seating in the departures area.
Not deterred I headed down the escalator to the food court and took up position there.
Surprisingly this area was almost deserted compared to upstairs and had plenty of seating available. There was even a socket nearby which meant I could charge my phones dead battery and Goal Zero USB backup pack.
After watching a film on my now fully charged laptop, eventually, I settled on the padded oval seating area (not pictured) towards the centre of the food court.
A few items from my travel survival kit, namely ear plugs and travel pillow, helped somewhat with the night’s sleep. If I was planning on sleeping in Taipei Airport again, an eye mask would be helpful to block the bright lights.
At various points in the night, other traveller settled down in the area for a brief snooze and joined in on the sleeping at Taipei airport fun.
Which finally brings me to safety…
Taiwan airport is a safe place to stay, and Taiwanese people (in my experience) are a friendly bunch. Of course, baggage safety is always a priority, and I find attaching the bag straps to my feet or simply sleeping on the bag to be a good option.
There are security personnel and cameras present, though, so I don’t believe baggage theft is a major issue, especial when sleeping in Taipei airport.
So if it’s a different travel experience that you’re after, then try setting up camp and sleeping at Taipei Airport at least once.
Taipei Airport Map
New 2016 map of Taipei airport shower the location of showers: