Traveling from Taipei to Taroko Gorge is pretty straightforward. On this page I will show you how to get from Taipei to Taroko National Park by train and bus. I will also show you the best way to drive or ride to the gorge all the way from Taiwan’s capital city.
The distance from Taipei to Taroko is roughly 150km.
Important Note: A lot of people think the only way to visit the gorge is with a package tour or tour bus with guide. Not true! It is totally, easily do-able to arrange your own DIY day-trip to Taroko from Taipei City.
Let me show you how to plan your journey…
Taipei to Taroko Gorge: Train+Bus
Fastest train is the Puyuma: 2 hours, 403NT$
Slow Train: 02h 41m, 311NT$
Most people use the train+bus option. It’s easy: get on the train at Taipei Main Station 台北車站 all the way to Xincheng 新城, a small village at the park entrance. Some people make the mistake to take the train all the way to Hualien City 花蓮市. You do not need to go all the way to Hualien City if you’re only doing a one-day trip. You can then take bus #302 from Xincheng Train Station to Taroko Gorge and Tianxiang 天祥.
Of course, if you’re planning to be more than a day in the area, and will be spending a night or two in Hualien, it would make total sense to first take the train all the way to Hualien Train Station to check-in and drop your bags at your hotel, then take a bus from there to Taroko without all your luggage. Shuttle Bus 1133A runs between Hualien Train Station and Taroko Gorge all day long.
Taipei to Taroko Gorge by Bus
There is no direct bus from Taipei to Taroko. You must first take the train to Xincheng Station or Hualien City, then take a local bus into the gorge.
Getting Around by Taxi
If you are pressed by time, and/or don’t have your own vehicle, and/or don’t feel like using public buses, you can always take the taxi to tour Taroko Gorge. Taxis can be hired at either Hualien Train Station or Xincheng Train Station. It will be more expensive, but you’ll be able to stop wherever you want whenever you want. Prices vary wildly depending on the kind of itinerary you wish to have for your tour. Agree to a fixed price first – don’t pay by the meter.
Taroko National Park From Taipei by Car
Renting a car is a great option if you want to arrange your own schedule and travel at your own pace. Here are the directions I usually follow: From Taipei, get on Freeway #3 heading east, then south on Freeway #5 all the way to Suao 蘇澳, then Provincial Highway #9 south all the way to the park entrance in Xincheng where you turn right onto Provincial Hwy #8. You have arrived! Welcome to Taroko! The whole drive from Taipei to Taroko takes roughly 3 hours.
Know that the Suao Highway (#9) from Suao to Xincheng is considered to be the most dangerous road in Taiwan. Truck drivers drive like crazy psychopath maniacs lunatics and will cut you in blind corners and push you down the cliff just for fun – I’m serious! It has happened to me many times. The weather is often horrible (mist / rain / clouds / fog) and landslides are frequent. Great drive!
Riding a Scooter from Taipei to Taroko
Same as above, but you cannot take the freeways from Taipei to Suao. You can instead take the murderous highway #9 from Xindian, through Pinglin. Jokes aside, be extremely careful if you do decide to ride a scooter or motorcycle from Taipei to Taroko. This road trip is serious business on two wheels.
Getting to Taroko Gorge by High-Speed Rail (HSR)
The HSR doesn’t have a line along Taiwan’s East coast and does not get to Taroko. You cannot travel from Taipei to Taroko Gorge by HSR.
If you are wanting to travel from Tainan, Taichung, Miaoli, Hsinchu, Taoyuan, or any other city along the West Coast of the island, you first need to take the HSR to either Taipei Main Station or Kaohsiung (Zuoying Station), then take a normal TRA train to Xincheng Taroko Station.