Traveling in Taiwan by train is ultra convenient!
Taiwan’s trains from the TRA (Taiwan Railway Administration) are safe, clean and always on time. The busiest line is on the west side of the island. It starts in north of Taipei and ends in Kaohsiung. It stops at the following stations: Taoyuan, Hsinchu, Miaoli, Taichung, Changhua, Jiayi, Tainan, as well as other smaller cities.
- Trains from the TRA are also called normal, or slow trains.
- Taiwan also has a high-speed train (HSR), which connects the biggest cities along the west coast of Taiwan.
Another important Taiwan Train line (still with the TRA) goes along the east coast and stops in Keelung, Ilan, Sincheng (close to Taroko Gorge), Hualien and Taidong. Unfortunately, the railway does not go all the way down to Kenting, at the southern tip of the island.
The southern link between Kaohsiung and Taidong is also very convenient. Secondary branch lines can take you to smaller destinations such as Jiji, Alishan and Pingxi.
Tze-Chiang (express train) is the fastest, most comfortable and expensive kind of train in Taiwan. You should book your seat at least a day in advance if you plan on traveling on a Tze-Chiang train on weekends. Taiwanese trains are also packed on national holidays.
Tze-chiang Train Fares and Journey Time:
Taipei to Kaohsiung; 845NT$; 4.5 hours
Taipei to Taichung; 375NT$; 2 hours
Taipei to Tainan; 745NT$; 3.5 hours
Taipei to Hualien; 445NT$; 2.5 hours
Hualien to Taidong: 355NT$; 2.5 hours
Taichung to Kaohsiung: 470NT$; 2.5 hours
Chu-kuang, Fu-hsing and other classes of trains are much slower and stop at more stations between the main cities. If you’re not in a rush and you want to contemplate the scenery, you’ll enjoy those cheap rides.
Taiwan Train Stations Information
The train stations in the big cities all have tourist information counters where English-speaking staff can help you buy your train ticket. Also, most cashiers at the ticket booths will understand if you talk slowly. Food is available at most stations as well as on the trains.
Taipei Train Station
The biggest train station in Taipei is called Taipei Main Station. It is located in the old part of the city. From there, you can take the Taipei Metro (MRT), the High Speed Train (HSR), as well as local and long distance buses.
The Taipei train station can be quite intimidating. It’s huge, full of people and there’s a billion signs with Chinese characters all over the place. Just take a deep breath, take your time, and go to the information counter (on the first floor) if you can’t find your platform or if you need any help.