Last updated on November 26th, 2023 at 07:17 pm
Planning to visit Taiwan and want to buy your sim card at Taipei Airport? We are deep diving into this article why Taiwan is a hot destination right now, what sim cards you can purchase directly at Taoyuan airport, eSIM brands that work extremely well in Taipei and the whole of Taiwan, and other tips you should keep in mind! Let’s go! 🇹🇼
Ah, Taiwan! Known for its bustling night markets, historical temples, and of course, the birthplace of bubble tea. And if you’re jetting into this beautiful island nation, chances are you’re landing at Taoyuan International Airport. Whether you’re in Taiwan for business, pleasure, or a mix of both, staying connected is key. Read on for our full guide and recommendation on Taipei airport sim cards.
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Why Taiwan Makes for a Remarkable Travel Destination
Taiwan might not always be the first country on every traveler’s bucket list, but let me tell you – it’s a hidden gem. Steeped in history, Taiwan boasts a beautiful blend of Chinese, Japanese, and indigenous cultures.
From the breathtaking Taroko Gorge to the lantern-filled skies of Pingxi during the Lantern Festival, there’s a slice of Taiwan for every kind of traveler. And of course, who could resist the allure of authentic Taiwanese cuisine? Trust me, those night market delicacies are a game-changer.
Exploring the Marvels Right After Taoyuan International Airport
If you’re someone who likes to hit the ground running, there are several tourist hotspots not too far from the airport.
The Daxi Old Street, with its baroque-style architecture and mouth-watering local snacks, is just a short drive away. For nature lovers, the Xiaowulai Scenic Area offers waterfalls and skywalks to quench that thirst for adventure. And if you’re here for the culture, the Taoyuan Shrine is a testament to Taiwan’s rich history.
Navigating SIM Card Choices at Taoyuan International Airport
When you step off the plane and wander through the airport terminals, you’ll notice a few SIM card kiosks. While the immediate choices might not be as extensive as some airports, you have some good options.
Major Telecom Providers Available
Alright, let’s talk telecom. In Taiwan, there are a few giants that dominate the market:
- Chunghwa Telecom: The big gun in Taiwan’s telecom scene. Known for its robust network, especially in more remote parts of Taiwan. They’ve got some cool deals tailored just for us tourists.
- Taiwan Mobile: Another big player. They offer some juicy packages perfect for those Instagram uploads and video calls back home.
- FET (Far EasTone Telecommunications): Don’t overlook this one. With a mix of plans that cater to different needs, there’s probably something here that’ll catch your eye.
- T Star: Although not as big as the others, they’ve got some competitive plans, especially if you’re not looking to burn a hole in your pocket.
Buying a SIM Card at Taoyuan International Airport: Our Personal Experience and Suggestions
Upon arriving at Taipei Taoyuan Airport, you’ll find several options for prepaid SIM cards to stay connected during your visit to Taiwan. Here’s a summary of the SIM card providers and their offers:
T Star is one of the budget-friendly options available at Taoyuan Airport, with at least three booths for purchasing a SIM card. They offer 4G and 5G Taiwan Cards, with various plans tailored for tourists.
Chunghwa Telecom has a booth located in Terminal 1 of Taoyuan Airport, providing a range of prepaid SIM cards. They offer Unlimited 4G Internet and voice credit with prices ranging from NT$ 280 (USD 8.68) to NT$ 1000 (USD 31) for 3 to 30 days. They also have 5G plans for 3 and 5 days priced at NT$ 500 (USD 15.5) and NT$ 600 (USD 18.6), respectively.
They have a kiosk right in the arrivals area, making it super convenient. When I was there, they had a plan that offered unlimited 4G data for 5 days at just 300 TWD (USD 9.3). The connection was smooth even when I ventured to the outskirts of Taipei.
Far EasTone Telecom:
You can purchase Far EasTone Telecom SIM cards at the airport or pre-order them for pick-up. They offer Unlimited 4G Internet plans from NT$ 300 (USD 9.3) to NT$ 1000 (USD 31) for 3 to 30 days, and Unlimited 5G Internet plans priced at NT$ 500 (USD 15.5)/600 (USD 18.6)/800 (USD 24.8) for 3/5/7 days respectively.
A friend went with FET’s 5-day unlimited data plan for 350 TWD (USD 10.85) and had no complaints. From city centers to mountaintops, the connection held strong.
Taiwan Mobile also provides prepaid SIM cards at Taoyuan Airport, with Unlimited 4G Internet plans priced from NT$ 300 (USD 9.3) to NT$ 1000 (USD 31) for 3 to 30 days, and Unlimited 5G Internet plans priced at NT$ 500 (USD 15.5)/600 (USD 18.6)/800 (USD 24.8) for 3/5/7 days respectively.
Their tourist SIM, last I checked, had a 3-day unlimited data package for 300 TWD (USD 9.3). I heard rave reviews about its performance in urban areas.
T-Star, although not highly recommended due to slower speeds and lesser coverage, provides long-term plans. They offer Unlimited 4G Internet Short Term Cards for 3/5/7 Days priced at NT$ 250 (USD 7.75)/250 (USD 7.75)/450 (USD 13.95) and Long Term Cards for 10/30/90 Days priced at NT$ 450 (USD 13.95)/950 (USD 29.45)/2700 (USD 83.7). They also have Unlimited 5G Internet for 3/5/7 Days priced at NT$ 600 (USD 18.6)/700 (USD 21.7)/900 (USD 27.9).
If you’re on a budget, keep an eye out for their deals. I remember seeing a 7-day plan with unlimited data for just 500 TWD (USD 15.5).
There are other plans available for durations from 3 to 30 days with prices ranging from NT$ 300 (USD 9.3) to NT$ 1000 (USD 31), offering varying amounts of free voice and text credits alongside the data plans.
SIM Card Kiosks Locations – Exact Terminal Locations
- Chunghwa Telecom:
- Terminal 1: Turn right after exiting customs, or turn left and head towards the train for another Chunghwa store.
- Terminal 2: Turn left after exiting customs. There are also some third-party re-sellers to the right after customs, behind the Klook pick-up store
- Taiwan Mobile:
- Terminal 1 & 2: Turn left after exiting customs
- Far EasTone:
- Terminal 1 & 2: Turn left after exiting customs
- T Star:
- Terminal 1: It’s sold by the re-seller to the right next to Taiwan Mobile.
- Terminal 2: Turn right after customs and look for the red ‘Prepaid SIM Cards’ shop, or find it before passport control
The SIM card booths have varying operating hours, and it’s advisable to check the terminal maps or inquire at the information desks for their exact locations. Additionally, some providers allow pre-ordering of SIM cards for pick-up at the airport, which could provide some savings.
Before making a purchase, ensure that your phone is unlocked to accept a foreign SIM card, and have your passport ready for registration as it’s a requirement by the telecom providers.
Walking through the airport, the SIM card booths are hard to miss. They’re well-marked and you’ll often find helpful attendants ready to assist you. Here’s a quick breakdown of what you can expect:
Tip: Always ask the booth attendants if there are any ongoing promotions. Sometimes they have deals that aren’t openly advertised!
Additional General Navigation in Taoyuan Airport / Taipei Airport
- Maps: There are maps available online which display the layout of Taoyuan Airport, including the locations of terminals and other facilities
- Terminal Guide: Terminal 1 is generally home to regional flights around Asia. Some of the airlines you’ll find here include AirAsia, Cathay Pacific, Garuda Indonesia, Philippine Airlines, and Starlux3.
- Airport Facilities: The airport has two passenger terminals housing a total of 51 airline partners. The chart on Guide to Taipei shows each airline and where their facilities are located4.
- Transportation: The Taoyuan Airport MRT rail is the fastest travel option to and from the airport, with two trains (one Express, one Commuter) running every 15 minutes in each direction between 06:00 and 23:00
- Arrival Procedures: Upon landing, you’ll go through normal airport arrival procedures, after which you can locate the Chunghwa Telecom Counter if you have pre-purchased a SIM card voucher from Klook
eSIM Options in Taiwan
If you’re rocking a newer smartphone that supports eSIM, Taiwan’s got you covered. While not as prevalent as physical SIM cards, there are a few providers in the game:
Holafly’s reputation precedes itself, especially among globetrotters. Their offering for Taiwan, a 10-day unlimited data eSIM priced at around $19 USD, is in line with their global standards of quality. What sets Holafly apart is their meticulous activation guide. They dispatch a step-by-step email guidance, ensuring even the least tech-savvy traveler faces no hiccups.
Positioning itself as a global eSIM marketplace, Airalo offers a plethora of choices. Their 7-day plan with 5GB data for Taiwan, which could be around $10 USD, is a favorite for many. But it’s not just the prices or data caps that attract users; it’s their intuitive platform that allows quick purchases and activations. If flexibility is what you’re after, Airalo should be on your radar.
Maya Mobile has carved a niche for itself in the eSIM market, catering particularly to international travelers. Their 5-day unlimited data plan, priced approximately at $12 USD, is a testament to their commitment to affordability without compromising on speed or connectivity. Additionally, their user-friendly setup process, complemented by prompt customer support, ensures that even first-time eSIM users find the transition smooth.
Taiwan’s largest telecom operator hasn’t held back from embracing the eSIM revolution. While many opt for their traditional SIM cards, their eSIM offerings are just as robust. Priced at around $15 USD, their 7-day unlimited data plan is both economical and efficient for short-term travelers. The activation process is designed for international users, featuring QR codes and clear instructions in English. If you’re seeking reliability from a well-established local brand, Chunghwa is your go-to.
Taiwan Mobile and FET
Both Taiwan Mobile and FET, prominent players in the Taiwanese telecom scene, are expanding their eSIM services. When I was last there, their services were in the pilot phase, but the buzz around them was quite strong. A typical 10-day unlimited data plan might be available at around $20 USD. Beyond just connectivity, their customer service, especially at the airport kiosks, is top-notch. They offer bilingual support, making it hassle-free for international visitors.
First Steps in Taipei Right from the Airport
After you’ve landed and grabbed your SIM or eSIM, you might be wondering, “What’s next?” Well, Taipei welcomes you with open arms, and here are some immediate recommendations:
1. Relish a Local Meal: Before you even leave the airport, treat yourself to some authentic Taiwanese cuisine. The airport offers an array of eateries, serving everything from classic beef noodles to delectable dim sums.
2. Explore a Bit: Airports can be fascinating. Beyond the usual duty-free shops, check out the themed waiting areas and the art installations depicting Taiwanese culture and history.
Navigating Transportation from Taipei Airport
Taipei’s public transport system is efficient and convenient. Here’s a breakdown:
1. Taoyuan Airport MRT: This rapid transit system connects the airport to Taipei Main Station in just 35 minutes. It’s efficient and reasonably priced, making it a top choice for many.
2. Buses: Several bus lines run from the airport to various parts of the city. They’re economical and comfortable, though the journey might be a tad longer.
3. Taxis: Available 24/7 right outside the terminals. They run by the meter, and drivers, albeit not all, have a basic understanding of English.
Cash or Card? Handling Money in Taipei
Taiwan, while advancing rapidly in digital payments, still holds a soft spot for cash, especially in local markets. ATMs are abundant, and most accept international cards. Currency exchange booths are available at the airport, but for better rates, consider heading to city banks or local exchange shops.
Registering Your SIM Card in Taiwan
Good news! As of my last visit, Taiwan doesn’t require tourists to register prepaid SIM cards. Simply buy, insert, and you’re good to go! However, always check the latest regulations, as these can change.
Tips and Tidbits: Taiwan Essentials
1. Visa Regulations: Most Western travelers can enjoy a visa-exempt stay for up to 90 days. Always check the latest guidelines based on your nationality.
2. Taiwanese Etiquette: When in Taiwan, always greet with a polite nod or a slight bow. Also, it’s customary to refuse a gift once before accepting. It’s seen as a gesture of politeness.
3. Handy Phrases: While many in Taipei understand basic English, knowing a few Mandarin phrases can be handy:
- Hello: 你好 (Nǐ hǎo)
- Thank You: 谢谢 (Xièxiè)
- Yes: 是 (Shì)
- No: 不是 (Bù shì)
Keeping Costs Low and Staying Connected
One thing I appreciated about Taiwan is the plethora of Wi-Fi hotspots, especially in Taipei. From metro stations to coffee shops, you’re rarely without a connection. If you’re trying to save data, make sure to tap into the ‘iTaiwan’ network, a free public Wi-Fi service.
Our Final Thoughts on Taoyuan Airport SIM Card
Taiwan is a gem of a destination, and staying connected just amplifies the experience. Whether you’re updating your socials with mouthwatering food pics, navigating the winding streets of Jiufen, or video calling loved ones, a reliable SIM card is your best buddy.
Remember, while the airport offers convenience, don’t hesitate to explore SIM card options in the city, especially if you’re staying longer. And most importantly, soak in every moment of your Taiwanese adventure. Safe travels and enjoy every bite, sight, and delightful memory!