The Adventure Begins: Taipei International Airport

Time is weird. It’s just after midnight here in Taipei, but it’s morning back home in California. We chased sunsets for 13 hours, watched Mad Max: Fury Road, Inside Out (yes I cried like a baby on the airplane, fight me), two episodes of HBO’s The Brink, and slept fitfully for several hours. We were excited for our ten hour layover in Taipei, but we didn’t research quite thoroughly enough, so we didn’t realize until we cleared customs that it was actually too late to do anything. Night markets would close before the bus got there, buses to the high speed train had already stopped, and here we are six hours before we are able to check in for our next flight. Alas. We do, however, have free wifi, a duffle full of snacks, a good supply of movies, and a liter of Bailey’s we got duty free at SFO, so who really needs to leave the airport?

My last California sunrise for a while, photo by Daniel.

My last California sunrise for a while, photo by Daniel.

Advice in retrospect: If you’ve got a layover, plan it out. The Taipei International Airport is actually 51km from Taipei, which is about 40 minutes and $40 USD by taxi. The much more affordable bus ticket (~$5 USD) poses the problem of taking about an hour and a half or two hours to get to your destination. The high speed train takes about 20 minutes and is priced somewhere in between, however it is closed between the hours of 23:30 and 07:00. Had we known to power walk there as soon as we cleared customs, we may have made it, but we discovered this fact too late, so here we are. With the prospect of closed night markets, we looked into hostel options, thinking we would take the bus into town and catch a couple hours of shut eye before making our way back to the airport for our 8am flight. However, we soon discovered that most reputable hostels close their front desks by midnight. Alas, once again. Good thing we brought a lot of movies!

Sampling local Taiwanese cuisine in the form of a mediocre pork bun from the airport's 7-eleven. I'll have to come back for a better sample.

Sampling local Taiwanese cuisine in the form of a mediocre pork bun from the airport’s 7-eleven. I’ll have to come back for a better sample.

UPDATE: It’s 03:30 and we finished all the Baileys.

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