Traveling by Train in Taiwan 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 north of Taipei and ends south of 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 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 Taitung is also very convenient. Secondary branch lines can take you to smaller destinations such as Jiji, Alishan and Pingxi.
Train Classes in Taiwan
Puyuma: Fastest and most expensive TRA trains in Taiwan. From Taipei to Kaohsiung (3 hours 40 minutes), the Puyuma train is about 1 hour 20 minutes faster than Tze-Chiang, but not as frequent. Tickets for Puyuma trains sell-out faster, so it’s a good idea to book faster.
Tze-Chiang 2nd fastest kind of train in Taiwan. Approximately one train leaves every hour from Taipei heading south. Taipei to Kaohsiung by Tze-Chiang train takes around 5 hours.
Tze-chiang Train Fares and Journey Time:
Taipei to Kaohsiung; 845NT$; 5 hours
Taipei to Taichung; 375NT$; 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 Railway Timetable
The easiest way to see up-to-date timetables for trains in Taiwan is a little friendly app called Taiwan Railway Timetable. It’s available for both iPhone and Android and is FREE. You can’t buy tickets from it, but you can access train schedules in a flash.
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. If you have problems communicating with the workers at the ticket counter, try to find Taiwan Tourism booth or office. They are usually nearby the ticket counter and are staffed with young students who speak English. These guys are enthusiastic and very helpful.
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 can’t find your way around.
Taiwan Railway Map
This is the best Taiwan railway map out there on the internet, thanks to TravelChinaGuide.com! It’s a big file you can zoom in to read the tiny text. Better viewed on a big screen. Click on the image to enlarge.