Before your first trip to Taiwan, knowing the main modes of transportation between major tourist cities and famous attractions can significantly improve your travel experience. This article gives a detailed description of transportation in Taiwan, and I hope she will be helpful to you on your trip to Taiwan.
Before learning about transportation options, let’s first locate the main travel destinations in Taiwan on a map. In counter-clockwise order around the island of Taiwan, the main destination cities are: Taipei, Taichung, Sun Moon Lake, Qingjing Farm, Alishan, Kenting, Hualien, and Jiufen.
Taiwan transportation option: Trains
1. High-speed Railway
There is only one high-speed rail line in Taiwan, which runs through the island’s west coast and connects Taipei with Kaohsiung. It adopts Japanese Shinkansen technology and operates at a maximum speed of 300 km/h. It takes only 1.5 hours from Taipei to Kaohsiung.
- Ticket booking: Webside booking and Mobile App (T Express)
- It is recommended that you book your tickets in advance to avoid the hassle of sold-out tickets and take advantage of early bird ticket price.
- You could choose reserved seats or non-reserved seats. The non-reserved seats are to find empty seats in cars 10, 11, and 12.
- The more flexible 3-Day Pass and Flexible 2-Day Pass are available for foreign visitors traveling for a short period. Please click on the purchase link and instructions link for details.
2. Taiwan Raiway
Taiwan Railways are ordinary trains with slower speeds, more stops and cheaper fares.
- Ticketing link
- Taiwan Railways tickets can be purchased 14 days in advance with no discount.
- You could also choose reserved seats or non-reserved seats. However, the non-reserved tickets of Taiwan Railways do not have a designated carriage, it is almost equivalent to a standing ticket, and you can sit in any carriage only if there is an empty seat.
- Each person can buy six tickets per day. Also, the tickets are non-uniform.
Taiwan High-speed Railway and Railway tickets can be picked up at convenience stores such as 7-11 and Family Mart, but there is a small handling fee; picking up tickets at the train station is free.
Taiwan transportation option: Charter and carpooling
Public transportation for many famous scenic spots in Taiwan (such as Kenting, Qingjing Farm, Sun Moon Lake, Alishan, etc.) is very time-consuming and laborious. Also, public transportation cannot cover all places in scenic areas. So, in this case, you must choose to charter or carpool to enjoy your time.
Charter Car is the rental of a vehicle that includes a driver. The driver can double as a tour guide, providing itinerary suggestions. The length of the charter can be a half day (4 hours), a full day (8 hours) or a continuous charter (10-12 hours per day). Charter cars are more expensive but are the most convenient and flexible way.
People can share a car when their travel time and planning are close. Some carpooling airport, hotel or attraction transfers, and some carpooling day trips. The most significant advantage of carpooling compared to chartering a car is that it is economical. The carpoolers can meet at one location or have the vehicle picked up and dropped off at the residence one by one. Therefore, more people choose to carpool than charter a car. Carpooling is generally priced per person, so carpooling will be more economical for a small number of fellow passengers.
Please enter ‘Taiwan charter car’ or ‘Taiwan carpool’ in the search engine to select the right service provider.
Taiwan transportation option: Taiwan Tourist Shuttle
Carpooling refers to sharing a car with other people. Taiwan Tourist Shuttle is a passenger bus that provides shuttle services to attractions. To make it easier for tourists to visit attractions, the Taiwan government has introduced the Taiwan Tourist Shuttle sightseeing bus (equivalent to a particular tourist line) in many areas to transport guests to major attractions from the Taiwan Railway and High-Speed Rail stations where major attractions are located. The routes are well-designed and good for tourists without chartered or carpooled cars.
The buses are recognizable with clear logos printed on their yellow and white bodies. The dark red stop signs at each station are also very eye-catching.
There are more than 40 lines, covering popular attractions such as Danshui, Jiufen, Yehliu, Hualien, Sun Moon Lake, Alishan and Kenting. You can buy tickets at the station or after boarding the bus. If you purchase a one-day ticket, you can take the bus unlimited times within a specified period.
Taiwan travel smart card: EasyCard
EasyCard is a transportation card that provides convenient and fast services in Taiwan. It can be used for Taipei Metro, buses and other counties, Taiwan Railways ticketing, and YOUBIKE. It can also be used as an electronic money packet. You can touch the sensor area and complete the transaction quickly when buying something, eliminating the hassle of preparing change and repeated ticket purchases. Also, you can reload constantly.
- The card can be purchased at MRT station information counters, EasyCard sales/reload machines, and convenience stores such as 7-11, Family Mart, OK, and Leroy’s where EasyCard is displayed.
- Each card is priced at NT$200, of which NT$100 is the deposit, after which it can be reloaded. (Note: The EasyCard does not support the purchase of Taiwan High-Speed Rail tickets at this time.)
- Visit the official website of EasyCard at https://www.easycard.com.tw/en/ for more information on purchasing, using and returning the card.
Taiwan transportation between Taipei – Ruifang – Jiufen
Taiwan Railways – Bus: Take the Taiwan Railways ‘Fuxing’ or district railway from Taipei Station to Ruifang Station. Take the Keelung Bus No. 856 to Jiufen at the Welcome Supermarket across from Ruifang Station. The one-way trip takes about 2 hours.
Taiwan transportation between Taipei and Hualien
There is a Taiwan Railway between Taipei and Hualien, but tickets for this line are very difficult to buy! It is recommended to buy them 14 days in advance. If you charter a car or carpool, you can visit attractions such as Jiufen Old Street, Su’ao Cold Spring, and the Clearwater Bluff.
Taiwan transportation between Hualien and Qingjing Farm
On the map, Hualien and Qingjing Farm in Nantou County are not far apart, but in reality, it is not that easy to travel between the two places because of the central mountain range between them. The only convenient way is to charter a car or carpool. The route is full of winding and treacherous mountain roads with beautiful scenery, so it’s best to have motion sickness medicine for those who get carsick.
Taiwan transportation between Taichung and Qingjing Farm
You can take the Nantou Bus Seamless Tour Bus from Taichung Bus Station or HSR Shin-Uri Station directly to the Qingjing Farm, which is about 90 kilometres away and takes about 2 hours and 15 minutes to drive. However, the seamless tour bus only runs five times a day, and there is an extra bus on holidays, so be careful not to miss the bus.
Chartering a car or carpooling is the most hassle-free way. The vehicle picks up at the hotel, or everyone meets at the train station. When you arrive at Qingjing Farm, you can be delivered to the reserved B&B. Carpooling time is more flexible, and you don’t have to wait for the passenger shuttle bus time.
Taiwan transportation between Taichung and Sun Moon Lake
“Taiwan Tourist Shuttle” has direct buses to Sun Moon Lake from Taichung Gancheng Station, Taichung Railway Station and Taichung High-Speed Rail Station. The shuttle runs every hour from 08:30 to 16:30 on weekdays. The travel time from Taichung Gancheng Station to Sun Moon Lake is 1 hour and 45 minutes.
The High-Speed Rail sells combined tickets. Take Taipei to Sun Moon Lake as an example, the combined ticket includes a round-trip high-speed rail ticket from Taipei to Taichung, a round-trip bus ticket from Taichung to Sun Moon Lake and a Sun Moon Lake boat ticket.
Taiwan transportations between Hualien and Kenting
Take the Taiwan Railroad in Hualien to Fangliao, and transfer to a bus, Taiwan Tourist Shuttle Kenting Express 8189, at Fangliao to reach Kenting. The whole journey takes at least 5 hours.
The most recommended way of transportation from Hualien to Kenting is to charter a car or carpool. There are two routes to choose from. One is a mountain road called the Zonggu Line, and the other is a coastal road called the Seaside Line. Along the way, the Zonggu Line passes through Yunshanshui, Lintian Mountain, Ruisui Farm, the Northern Return Line, Burang Avenue, and Doryang Station. The seaside line will pass through Shitiping, the Northern Return Line, Baxian Cave, Sanxiantai Scenic Area, Water Flowing Upward, Little Noryu, and Taitung Tomioka along the way.
Taiwan transportations between Kaohsiung and Kenting
Kenting Express: The train departs from Zuoying Station on the High-Speed Rail, and the journey takes about 120 minutes.
Kenting Train: The whole journey takes about 175 minutes. There is a train for about 15 minutes during the day and one train for about 1 hour at night. Trains operate 24 hours a day.
Texi: The fare needs to be discussed with the driver.
Carpool or charter: Book online in advance, and the driver will pick you up at the agreed time and place.
Taiwan transportation between Sun Moon Lake and Alishan
Sun Moon Lake and Alishan are two of the most popular attractions in Taiwan. And the transportation between these two attractions is very inconvenient. It is recommended to carpool or charter a car. After watching the sunrise on Alishan in the morning, you can spend the afternoon touring Sun Moon Lake.