Kaohsiung Airport: Tips and tricks for arrival and onward journeys
Kaohsiung airport is located in the south west of Taiwan. There are a few advantages to flying into Kaohsiung, especially if your destination is in South or Central Taiwan. Here are some ideas to help you make your arrival and subsequent onward travel as smooth as silk.
Kaohsiung is a small airport so you won’t need to spend long queuing at immigration or waiting for your baggage to be unloaded. There is also complimentary Wifi in all areas of the airport making it easy for you to drop a safe arrival message to loved ones or to check for any urgent emails and so on. Taiwan is very much an online society so it’s a good idea to pick up one of the very reasonably priced data sim cards at the airport. Simply choose the right amount of days for your trip and buy an unlimited data sim card from one of the company desks. Chunghwa Telecom has the best coverage for people who will be visiting more remote areas. The cards generally come with a NT$100 or so of calling credit which is perfect for making the odd call ahead to a hotel or museum. Counters are open from 8am to 8pm (Chunghwa) and 8am-9pm (Taiwan Mobile) and are located in the arrivals lobby (after customs).
Although the airport is small there are several options for onward travel and what works best for you will depend on a couple of factors, your destination, the number of people in your party and the amount of luggage you have.
For shorter journeys taxis are available from the rank. They all run on meters (with a NT$50 surcharge for airport service). If you opt to use the trunk of the taxi to stow luggage a further NT$10 is added to the fare. The quality of taxis may vary from modern and clean to more shabby affairs. English speaking taxi drivers are not the norm so be prepared with addresses written down in Mandarin and so on. They won’t be equipped with car seats, so those with under fours (who must use a car seat by law on the freeways) should choose another option.
There is a metro service from the airport to downtown and to the High Speed Rail Station. Tickets into the city cost between NT$30 and NT$60 and take between 20-50 minutes depending on your destination. There are only two lines covering the city so the metro is simple enough to navigate. Zuoying Station (for the HSR) is on the same line as the airport and trains run from 6am to midnight and take around 28 minutes (NT$50). The metro is a fairly good choice if you are travelling light and don’t mind a bit of faffing buying tickets and so on.
The HSR connects with destinations north of Kaohsiung: Tainan, Chiayi, Miaoli, Taichung, Hsinchu, Taoyuan, Banchaio and Taipei. The express services with limited stops can get you all the way up north in 90 minutes, while the ‘all stations’ service takes around 2 hours.
Another option is to use a chauffeur service to get you where you need to be with minimum fuss. If you are travelling with a group, have lots of luggage or have kids in tow this is an excellent choice. The driver will meet you at arrivals, help with your luggage and already knows what your destination is prior to your arrival. With Driways you can also order booster or car seats when completing your order or arrange for a people carrier for groups. For those going on to Kenting this is a particularly good choice as there are lots of lovely seaside coffee shops and viewpoints along the route and having your own driver allows you to take advantage of this. For shorter local journeys or going to the HSR station you can be sure of a prompt service in a high-quality vehicle with no concerns about reaching your destination or worrying about extra add-ons. Plus, they’ll also keep track of your flight from 90 minutes before the scheduled arrival so you need not worry if you are delayed - stress-free travel at its best.