The 2 main questions you should ask yourself when considering transportation between Taipei and Kaohsiung are where do you want to arrive, and how fast you need to get there.
Where do you want to arrive in Kaohsiung?
The High Speed Rail Station (HSR) is located in Zuoying, in the northern part of the city. If you must connect to a different train, you’ll have to take the KRT (Kaohsiung Rapid Transit) subway all the way to the main train station downtown.
How fast do you want to go?
The fastest way to travel along the west coast of Taiwan is by HSR. Second fastest is the normal train. Slowest is the bus. (Actually slowest would be to ride your scooter or cycle – I’ll cover those in another article…)
Taipei to Kaohsiung by HSR
The HSR high-speed rail will get you there in no time! It only takes 1 hour and 30 minutes to connect Taipei to Kaohsiung City by High-Speed Train, and cost 1490NT$ for standard seat and 2195NT$ for business class. You can take the high-speed train at Taipei Main Station.
Travel by Normal Train
The normal train from the TRA (Taiwan Railway Administration) takes much longer to travel from Taipei to Kaohsiung – it can take between 03h 30m and 05h 30m by Tze-Chiang Limited Express train, and cost 843NT$. You should know that it is quite difficult to reserve a seat for the TRA trains from Taipei to Kaohsiung on weekends and holidays. Book ahead if possible.
Taipei to Kaohsiung by Public Bus
Taking the bus from Taipei to Kaohsiung City should really be a last resort option as traffic can be really bad on the highways at any time of the day, week, or year. Buses are uncomfortable and cold – bring a warm sweater on board. If you must take the bus, you can get on at Taipei Bus Station, just behind Taipei Main Station.