Have you ever seen an entire departure gate transformed to a popular children’s brand theme? No? Then you haven’t been to Taiwan’s Taoyuan International Airport airport – terminal 2.
When you get dropped off from the busy streets of Taipei at Taiwan’s largest, international airport (IATA: TPE) (traditional Chinese: 臺灣桃園國際機場; simplified Chinese: 台湾桃园国际机场), you expect a very crowded scene, but when I was there on a regular Thursday evening, the airport was surprisingly quiet. Who knows, maybe the large check-in hall and the usual Asian way of building airports for the future (read: big) might have deceived my senses as my flight to Hong Kong was full to the last seat.
After the equally quick security check (luckily the stupid liquid restriction hasn’t arrived in Taiwan yet), you end up in an area between two main arms to the right and left containing all the departure gates.
I first walked left to the A & D gates where I discovered an art exhibition of Chinese (errr, probably Taiwanese) hats painted by children from the “Taoyuan County Sinpo Elementary School” followed by a good selection of shops and a rich media & internet access lounge (close to gate D2).
On my way back to the other arm of gates (B/C gates) I stumbled onto an interesting nursery room. It was turned into the Hello Kitty theme. This surely is a nice alternative to the usual dull, grey rooms provided by airports (don’t worry, I’m not going to become a nursery room expert any time soon though…).
The B/C arm overall is nicer than its sister on the other side as it appears to have been renovated. However, it contains a similar selection of shops. Mind you, there is one really big reason to visit this side of the airport: gate C3. Yes, that’s the Hello Kitty gate with an adjacent shop. See this blog’s picture for an impression of what awaits you there (or our previous cover of the gate earlier this year). How cool is that? But the climax was that my flight actually departed from this gate. Fear not, you don’t have to dress up for boarding although the atmosphere does lend itself to silly, childish fun! Travellers seemed delighted, they smiled, laughed and took photos. What else could you want in a usually stressful environment like an airport?
Overall, if you have some time to kill at the Taipei airport terminal 2, here are my favourites:
- Buy some authentic Taiwanese Oolong tea from one of several “Hsin Tung Yang” shops (e.g. close to gate D4)
- Visit the pharmacy and beauty store for your last minute travel needs (close to gate C4)
- Buy the latest gadgets from the Electronics store (there is one on either gates side)
- Play a round of Xbox games at the Chimei rich media & internet access lounge (more mature travellers might divert to checking their emails)
- Speaking of emails, WiFi is free throughout the airport, so download your latest episodes of Britain’s next Top Model on to your iPhones
- Purchase the latest sports gear at the 3 adjacent sports stores Adidas, Nike and Puma on the C/D gates side
- Lastly, a must see, check out the Hello Kitty gate C3 (as mentioned above)
|Airport Name||Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport airport|
|TWD 4,030 (£74.65)|
|TWD 2,300 (£42.60)|
[Picture from LateDeparture – all rights reserved]