Taiwan High Speed Rail
Travel Around Taiwan by HSR
The Taiwan High Speed Rail has trains that can reach speeds of 330km/hour. This is my favorite way to travel between the big cities on the west coast of Taiwan. The high speed train runs from Taipei in the north, and goes all the way down south to Kaohsiung (Zuoying). It stops in Banqiao, Taoyuan, Hsinchu, Taichung, Jiayi and Tainan. I believe that no journey to Taiwan is complete without riding the HSR.
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The High Speed Train at Taichung Station
HSR Travel Time and Fare (approximate)
Taipei to Banqiao: 10 minutes; 40NT$
Taipei to Taoyuan: 25 minutes; 160NT$
Taipei to Taichung: 45 minutes; 600NT$
Taipei to Tainan: 1 hour, 45 minutes; 1150NT$
Taipei to Kaohsiung: 1 hour, 30 minutes; 1300NT$
Taiwan High Speed Rail Website
live TIMETABLE and FARE search.
Taiwanese people, relaxing after a long day at the office
Taiwan HSR Stations
In Taipei, you can get on a High Speed Train at Taipei Main Station in the old part of the city. It is easy to get there using the Taipei Metro (MRT). The name of the MRT station is Taipei Main Station.
Other High Speed Rail stations in Taiwan are pretty far outside the cities (except Banqiao) which means you'll have to spend extra time on shuttle buses or money on taxis (around 200NT$).
To get to Taoyuan International Airport by High Speed Train, you have to get off at Taoyuan Station, and then take a shuttle bus (30NT$) to the airport. I once had to wait 20 minutes for the shuttle to arrive. Depending on the traffic situation, the drive between Taoyuan Airport and Taoyuan HSR Station takes about 15 minutes.
All the High Speed Rail stations in Taiwan have visitor information counters where friendly English-speaking staff can help you if you need travel information, free Taiwan maps or some help to find your way around the station.
Taiwan High Speed Rail Tickets
Where to buy them?
You can buy Taiwan HSR tickets at the stations, Family Marts convenient stores, or online. You need to provide your passport number and a phone number to purchase your HSR ticket over the internet.
I always buy mine right at the stations. I find it very straightforward. You can get your ticket either at vending machines, or counters. Both cash and credit cards are accepted.
When you put your ticket into the machine to go to your platform, make sure to take it back as you'll need it to exit at your final destination.
I have bought tickets 5 minutes before the departure time on many occasions, even during rush hour, and I've always managed to get a seat, so I don't think you should worry too much about reserving a seat in advance.
Taiwan High Speed Rail Trains leave every 20 minutes
in both directions.