Updated: Oct 24, 2019

Taipei is a lovely city, filled with delicious food, street snacks, amazing shopping and an equally amazing, warm, friendly people. For aviation photography, it offers some pretty easily accessible locations for spotters and photographers alike.

Located in Taipei city itself is Songshan Airport (IATA: TSA, ICAO: RCSS)  ( Songshan is a smaller airport, in comparison to Taoyuan International Airport, but due to its location within Taipei City, is easier to get to if you do not drive. Another key highlight of Songshan is that pic you can get of a plane with the famous Taipei 101 in the background, which I feel is a must-have for all fields of photographers. 

Songshan has only a single runway, which caters to both international and domestic flights for most Taiwanese carriers and other International airlines, mainly from Japan and China. Some of the big airlines that operate to and from TSA are EVA Air, China Airlines, All Nippon Airways, Japan Airlines, China Eastern Airlines, and Transasia Airways, just to name a few. 

There are mainly 3 spots I'd like to mention here for the avid photographer.

1) Bingjiang Street, Lane 188

2) TSA Viewing Deck

3) 空軍一號 Coffee

1) Bingjiang Street, Lane 188

Personally, I like to consider this place the St Maarten's doppelganger of Asia. Similar to its counterpart in the Caribbean, this spot allows photographers to get pretty close to aircraft landing and taking off at Songshan Airport. You'll need to change between your 70-200mm and a 24-70mm if possible, as you'll need to use a wider angle lens once the planes are almost overhead, like the ANA 787 pic above. Things to note, the police do patrol the area once in a while. As long as you do not move to the other side of the road (on the side of the Airport fence) you will be fine. A lot of Taiwanese spotters can be seen there during the weekends, as well as families and new couples who come by to experience these planes close up. Getting to this location is relatively simple, though it's still quite a distance to walk (roughly 20mins) from the nearest train station, which in this case is Zhongshan Junior High School Station. It is quite easy to take a taxi from here, and taxi services in Taipei are considerably cheaper than Singapore.

2) TSA Viewing Deck

Pretty Straight forward. The Viewing Deck offers you a sheltered location to view aircraft on the apron and taking off / landing on the runway. Take note, in order to capture planes on the runway, you'll need a long lens, 200mm or more. Also, glass is tinted so be ready to do some colour adjustments in post. 

3)空軍一號 Coffee

My latest spot for plane photography. It was quite a long distance to any of the nearest train stations, so I had to take a taxi on all 3 occasions. The staff there are warm and friendly, suggest you buy a cup of coffee before using their viewing platform :) You could get very nice rotating shots of heavier aircraft departing and landing, lighter aircraft would rotate much earlier on hence at this location they would appear a little high. Another amazing shot you have to take here is when a plane taxis across the tarmac with Taipei 101 in the background. This could be considered one of the most iconic scenes and angles of Taipei city. The cafe opens till 11 pm, Monday to Sundays. So if you like to try some night pans, its a good place to visit. On the viewing deck, ladders are provided for guests so you could take pics clear of the wall / fencing of the airport. Will definitely head back here again when I return to Taipei. Do check out their facebook (空軍一號-Coffee/750208645058969)

4)Farmer's Market Rooftop Car Park

Located opposite Bingjiang Street Lane 188 is a fruit & vegetable market complex. On the top floor of the building is an open-air carpark, another favorite spot for the local Taiwanese spotters to visit. Entry into the building is not restricted, though its bit confusing to get to the top floor for any first-timers. My first time there, I actually climbed all the way from the first floor to the top ( 5th Storey ) using the staircase, which is not too tiring. The view from up top is amazing, offering photographers and spotters a chance to capture airplanes approaching Songshan Airport, and in the background, the iconic Grand Hotel Taipei! Also, it offers a nice angle to see planes lining up for take-off at the airport runway. Check out the images below for some shots from Location 4.

With that said, I hope this was helpful to some beginners or newbies who are looking for some nice places to spot while they visit Taipei. Enjoy