Airport represents a gateway to a place, like an introduction and a glossary of a book. Airport is the place we first see when traveling, where we can adjust our mind set and get a first peek of what we might be heading for. Airport is also often the last place we are at before leaving: and we like to look around the shops to see what souvenirs we can buy to remember this trip, or any restaurants with “almost” local flavor dishes we can try in the last minute to sum up the trip. Airport is an ambassador.

I spend a good deal of time in the airports each time, since I like to arrive super early to go look around and go shopping (really I am just having nightmares about missing my flight). Sometimes I bite myself for arriving too early and feeling the dread of boredom, sometimes I just could not stop walking around and enjoying every moment of it!

The airport I love spending time in though, with lots of interesting exhibits and shops to look at, is no doubt Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport Terminal 2. And I have photo proofs!

While the airport may not look as impressive as some international airports around the world, Taoyuan International Airport Terminal 2 has one of the most extensive exhibition of arts and craft that changes every season. This time when I first pass through the terminal 2 gate, many colorful hand painted paper umbrellas greeted me!

Since I was in the airport during December of 2011, when it was still the Lunar Rabbit Year, there were exhibits of rabbit themed t shirts on display throughout the hallway.

If you are traveling with children, you be happy to know that terminal 2 has several playing area for children like the one in the photo above, not to mention there is also a Hello Kitty Area around too! I am sure many (kids and adults alike) will love to pose with one of the few cartoon character status around the shops too!

There was also the Taiwan Puppetry on display, complete with English explanation and videos too! Puppetry, also known as Budaixi, was brought to Taiwan around the end of Qing Dynasty. Budaixi has evolved as it incorporates modern technology like sound & graphic effect. Budaixi now has its own TV drama and channel in Taiwan, still enjoyed by many.

There are also displays of popular destinations in Taiwan at the airport terminal 2. Perfect for those who missed a good chance to take the photos during the trip. I know I was excited to see this, and wish I can go hop onto the train!

Many other artworks that represents things in Taiwan are also on display. Ox is the most common farm animal back before machines took over.

For those who wants to learn more about different ethnic groups in Taiwan, the airport also has an extensive exhibition of aboriginal art craft and history, complete with videos and full English guides on the walls.

And if you are looking for souvenirs, the airport as many choices. For those who likes art, Palace Museum has a store inside terminal 2. There are also shops of famous local artists’ crafts with prices ranging from the friendly $10 USD all the way up to $2000 USD collector items. For those looking for local wine, tea, and food items, the souvenir stores open as early as 7am in the morning!! (Note* I have seem shops in this airport opening at 5am in the morning as the first airplane touches down). By the way, those are bottles of wine in the photo above! I really wanted to carry one home!! (Under 21 please don’t drink)

I saw on the news they have new restaurants in the airport now with authentic Taiwanese food. I cannot wait to try next time!!

Is there any airport that caught your heart while traveling? Hope to see you guys write about them too!