The train is one of the most convenient ways to travel around Taiwan. There are mainly two kinds: one is the high speed trains as fast as 186 mph (300 km/h) running along the western coast of the island; the other is the round island trains with the highest speed of about 95 mph (152 km/h).
Taiwan High Speed Trains
|Taiwan High Speed Railway Map|
They travel along Taiwan High Speed Rail between Taipei and Kaohsiung. A complete single ride takes about 1.5 hours. The total running distance is 214 miles (345 km) and the top running speed is 186 mph (300km/h).
High Speed Railway Stations
Taiwan High Speed Rail adopts Japanese technologies. Altogether it has 12 stations on the route, including Nangang and Taipei Stations in Taipei; Banqiao Station in New Taipei, Taoyuan, Hsinchu, Miaoli, Taichung, Changhua, Yunlin, Chiayi, Tainan Stations, and Zuoying Station in Kaohsiung. Taipei Station and Zuoying Station are not far from city centers and connected with local metro lines. Others are a little far from city centers, but have buses running there and to nearby scenic spots.
Seat and Ticket Types
All seats on these bullet trains in Taiwan can be rotated to face the direction of travel, and they are classified into three types:
How to Buy Ticket
The ticket is put on sale at most 28 days before the departure date. The most convenient way is to book on its official website, thsrc.com.tw, which has an English version. After booking, the paper ticket can be picked up at the high speed railway stations or local convenience stores including 7-ELEVEN, Family Mart, Hi-Life and OK Mart. One can also directly purchase a paper ticket from the high speed railway stations and convenience stores. Booking via phone is also accepted and the hotline for international calls is +886-2-4066-0000.
Discounted high speed rail tickets are on sale, including early-bird tickets, group tickets, multiple-ride tickets, and periodic tickets. Children below 3.8 feet (115 cm) or less than six years old can enjoy free rides and children less than 12 years old can enjoy half-priced rides.
Taiwan Round Island Trains
|Taiwan Railway Map |
(Click to enlarge)
They are conventional trains traveling along Taiwan Railway circling the whole island, both clockwise and anticlockwise. Along the rail, scatter many famous scenic spots and some railway stations themselves are scenic spots in tourists’ eyes, so many visitors travel around the island by Taiwan train.
The Taiwan Railway has several branches, including the Pinhsi, Jiji, Neiwan, and Shalun Lines. They run from coastal areas to the inner island and have been top choices for day trips.
The railway stations along this railway are mostly in downtown areas, so it is easier to transfer between. Some of the stations are shared by bullet trains, like Taipei Station and New Zuoying Station; but mostly they use their own. Make it clear beforehand.
One thing worth mentioning is that Taiwan railway mealboxes have been its “special feature” and a must for its passengers. They can be bought from the platforms of the railway stations and the most famous ones include the Fenchihu, Chishang and Fulong railway mealboxes.
Train and Ticket Types
There are mainly four types of trains: Tzechiang Express, Chukuang Express, Fuhsing Semi Express, and local ordinary trains. Tzechiang is the fastest with the least intermediate stops and the highest ticket price, then Chukuang, and then Fuhsing. Local trains are the slowest running for short-distances and stop at all stations on the way.
There are also Puyuma and Taroko expresses traveling along the northeast coast line. They belong to the Tzechiang type but faster than the regular Tzechiang types. As there are only a few each day, it’s advised to book their tickets in advance.
The tickets are divided into two types, standard seat tickets and non-reserved seat tickets.
How to Buy Tickets
The pre-sale time of these normal train tickets is 14 days. The tickets can be bought on the official website (http://railway.hinet.net/net_eng.htm), at railway stations along Taiwan Rail, and at convenience stores (7-ELEVEN, Family Mart, Hi-Life and OK Mart). The online bookings can also be collected at related railway stations and the convenience stores.
If you are going to take the branch railways for day trips, the day-pass will save you a lot, as it allows passengers unlimited “hop on and off”along that route within that day. They are sold at the related railway stations.
Taiwan Rail Passes
There are several kinds:
Taiwan Travel Guide