Taipei Taoyuan Intl. Airport Spotting Guide

Taipei Taoyuan Intl. Airport Spotting Guide (TPE/RCTP) is located 30 km west of Taiwan’s capital Taipei. It can be easily reched by car from motorway 2. To travel from Taipei to the airport buses are operating 24 hours. The MRT connection (metro) to Taipei is currently under construction as well as a connection to the high speed train HSR.

In 2015 38,5 million passengers were handled. The airport was opened in 1979 to remove the international flights from Taipei Songshan, which is located in the city. The Terminal 2 was opened in year 2000. Terminal 1 contains concourses A and B, Terminal 2 C and D. Currently Terminal 3 is under construction. The airport is the main hub of China Airlines and EVA Air.

TPE is currently served on regular service by local carriers China Airlines, EVA Air, Far Eastern Air Transport, Tiger Air Taiwan, Transasia Airways, Uni Airways and V Air. International carriers are Air Busan, Air China, Air Macau, AirAsia, AirAsia X, ANA, Asiana, Cathay Pacific, Cebu Pacific, China Eastern, China Southern, Delta, Dragonair, Eastar, Emirates, Hainan Airlines, Hong Kong Airlines, Japan Airlines, Jeju Air, Jetstar, Jetstar Japan, Jin Air, Juneyao, KLM Asia, Korean Air, Malaysia Airlines, Malindo Airways, Mandarin, NokScoot, Peach, Philippine Airlines, Scoot, Shandong Airlines, Shenzhen Airlines, Sichuan Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Spring, Thai, Tiger Air, Turkish Airlines, Uni Airways, United, Vanilla Air, VietJet, Vietnam Airlines, Xiamen Airlines.

Cargo operations are ANA Cargo, Cargolux, Cathay Pacific Cargo, China Airlines Cargo, China Cargo Airlines, China Postal Airlines, DHL, Emirates SkyCargo, EVA Air Cargo, FedEx Express, Hong Kong Airlines Cargo, MASkargo, Nippon Cargo Airlines, Polar Air Cargo, SF Airlines, Thai Cargo, UPS Airlines, Yangtze River Express. Some of them can be only seen in dark.

You can check the flight schedule on http://www.taoyuan-airport.com/english/Index/ . Plane type is part of the live schedule. Also cargo flights can be found there.

During my visit only runways 23 were operated. In case of 05 operation there might be additional spots. The airport does not have an observation deck. From the terminal area no landside spots are available.

Written by Marcus (last visit July 2016)

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Airline Variety
Photo Locations
Weather
Airport Information Runways 05L/23R 05R/23L
3,660m 3.800m
Asphalt Asphalt
Terminal Terminal 1 A Terminal 1 B
China Airlines, Air Asia, Korean Cathay Pacific, Dragonair, Air Macau, Scoot, Thai
Terminal 2 C Terminal 2 D
EVA Air, ANA, Hong Kong Airlines, Singapore, Emirates China Airlines, JAL
Spotting Information Ladder Not necessary at most spots.
Car As no spots are located close to the terminal, a car is needed and a GPS is more than useful. Taxi drivers are not really helpful as they mostly don’t speak English.
Restrooms Only in the cafe at spot 4.
Drinks/Food In the cafe at spot 4. There are some 7-eleven shops around the airport.
Hotels In Taoyuan. Most hotels offer free shuttle service from and to the airport.
Season All Year. Best season is December until March, June until November is rain-season including typhoons (often rain or thunderstorms in the afternoon), the hottest time is April/May. Take sun protection with you!
Runway Usage General Info Some airlines are not fixed to a specific terminal and concourse, so check the online flight schedule for the gate.
05L/23R Aircrafts at Terminal 1A and 2D will generally use 05L/23R, e.g. China Airlines. The runway is closed from 10:30 to 11:00 daily for maintenance.
05R/23L Aircrafts at Terminal 1B and 2C will generally use this runway, e.g. Cathay, EVA, Air Macau. The runway is closed from 15:30 to 16:00 daily for maintenance.

Spot #1 – Abandoned taxiway – 05R/23L – Morning
WHERE Taipeis most popular spotting location is at the end of an abandoned taxiway. Use the local road 5 parallel to the runway to get there. You can park your car directly at the fence. Now a 2-3 step ladder is required to reach over the barbed wire (be careful!) and the new builded, 1,4 meters high concrete blocks. The place can get very crowded during weekends as it is a popular place for families to visit. For GPS enter N25°04’03.9″ E121°14’09.2″
WHAT You can get aircrafts on runway 05R/23L. Some aircrafts taking off on 23L are rotating in front of you. Also taxying aircrafts can be seen, but beware of heat haze.
TIME Good until noon in summer.
MISC. Nothing around, take sun protection with you.
FOCAL LENGTH 180 mm for A320 on the runway.


Spot #2 – The Bridge – Approach 23L
WHERE On a bridge at Hangxiang Road next to Sanmin Road (Road 4). Just park your car at the side, but there is officially no parking. Police passes by without taking notice. No ladder required.
WHAT You can get aircrafts approching 23L.
TIME Afternoon until sunset.
MISC. At the corner a 7-eleven offers cold drinks and some snacks.
FOCAL LENGTH 400 mm for A320
Spot #3 – DHL – Approach 23R morning
WHERE Continue on the bridge from spot 2and  turn left at the traffic lights. The spot is on the opposite site of  DHL. Park your car at the side of the road. There is an abandoned lane where you can stay.
WHAT You can take shots of aircrafts in final to 23R.
TIME Sunrise until noon
MISC. Nothing here.
FOCAL LENGTH 320 mm for A320


Spot #4 – The Miracle Cafe – 05L/23R
WHERE Drive along the northern side of the airport on road 15 to reach the cafe. The building can be easily identified by the “tower” of the cafe. There is a car repair in the same building called EMC an you can´t miss it. Park your car directly in front of the buildings.
WHAT All movements on 05L/23R can be seen from the terrace.
TIME From noon until sunset.
MISC. You can get food and drinks in the cafe, but the staff doesn’t necessarily speak English. Ask a local spotter for help… The cafe also offers free WiFi.
FOCAL LENGTH 320 mm for A320
Spot #5 – Approach 23R evening
WHERE Continue on the road from spot3 until you can turn left to pass the Tianliao Bridge. Park your car close to bridge and walk towards the position you prefer. Beware of power cables obstructing your view.
WHAT You can take shots of aircrafts in final approach to 23R.
TIME From noon until sunset.
MISC. There’s nothing at this spot, bring with you what you need.
FOCAL LENGTH 300 mm for A320

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6 thoughts on “Taipei Taoyuan Intl. Airport Spotting Guide

  1. Javier Rodriguez - Iberian Spotters

    Hi, I was at spot 1 by early December and there aren’t concrete sewer tubes anymore. There are now concrete blocks of just 1.40 mts high just after the razor wire (concertina) so with a two / three steps ladder is enough to take nice pics. Anyway, I do not recommend to take pics through that concertina, it’s very dangerous

      1. Stian Haabeth

        How tall is the fence/concret tubes? Any chance we will see above the fence if we bring 40cm stair and we are above 180cm of height?

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