One of the first things you’ll realize when you get to Taiwan is the incredible amount of buses on the roads. They are ideal if you’re looking for a cheap (the cheapest) way to travel in Taiwan. Frequent, affordable, and extremely comfy (most have fat armchair-style seats), they’ll take you almost anywhere around the island.
Even though buses in Taiwan are comfortable and affordable, I still recommend you take the train (normal or high-speed) to travel long distances like Taipei to Kaohsiung, Taipei to Taidong or Taipei to Tainan. The train is a much more enjoyable way to travel around Taiwan in my opinion.
Bus Stations in Taiwan
Most bus companies have offices clustered around train stations in most Taiwanese cities. The buses usually stop in front of their offices. Keep your ticket until you get off the bus. The two main bus stations in Taipei are right outside Taipei Main Station.
- Kuo Kuang Hao bus company has the cheapest tickets.
- Aloha and Ho-hsin have the most comfortable seats.
- Ubus is somewhere in between and that’s what I usually take.
Things to consider when traveling by bus in Taiwan:
- Don’t take the bus around rush hour! Between 7:00 and 9:30am and 17:00 and 19:00, traffic is frustratingly slow. Better to take the train even if you have to stand.
- Bring a really warm sweater on the bus! Buses in Taiwan are like freezers.
Taiwan Bus Travel – Fares and Journey Times
Here’s what you should expect to pay for a one way ticket with Kuo Kuang Hao Bus Company between the following Taiwanese cities:
Taipei to Taichung: weekend – 260NT; week – 230NT
Taipei to Tainan: weekend – 450NT; week – 310NT
Taipei to Kaohsiung: weekend – 450NT; week – 370NT
Taipei to Sun Moon Lake: weekend – 465NT; week – 390NT
Taipei to Alishan: 620NT every day
Taichung is the transit point for destinations in Central Taiwan such as: Caotun, Puli, Sun Moon Lake, Changhua, Lugang, Hohuan Mountain…
Kaohsiung is the transit point for destination in Southern Taiwan such as: Kenting, Tainan, Guanshan, Foguanshan…
To get to Taroko Gorge from Taipei, you should first take a train to Hualien City, on the east coast.
A great website which can help you prepare your bus journey in Taiwan is taiwanbus.tw. It lists all the different bus companies from each major city around Taiwan. They also have a section which shows you the main routes around the island. Check it out.