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Taiwan by Train: A Complete Guide to Taiwan’s High Speed Rail

Taiwan may be a small island nation, but it’s full of incredible natural attractions, interesting townships, and mouthwatering local cuisine everywhere you look. And so much of the country is still unexplored. Thankfully, Taiwan’s High Speed Rail (or HSR) can take you far and fast—all at a great, discounted price.

Running at over 300 km/hour, you can get from Taipei up north to Kaohsiung in the south—end to end of the country—in just 96 minutes. Here’s an easy guide to purchasing and using your HSR pass, and all the main attractions per stop.

Purchasing Your Tickets

How much does an HSR ticket cost? The price varies with each stop, but a standard one-way ticket from Taipei to Kaohsiung costs roughly 49.00 US Dollars (or 1,425.00 New Taiwan Dollars). But you can enjoy a 20% discount on all your tickets when you reserve online with KKday.

  1. Rather than lining up at the HSR counters, skip the lines and book your HSR tickets ahead of time. There are 3 kinds of tickets you can purchase, all at a discounted rate with KKday
    • One-way Tickets: The most common kind of ticket sold. HSR doesn’t sell round trip tickets, so you’ll have to buy your return ticket separately

    • 3-Day Pass: Get unlimited HSR rides for 3 consecutive days. Great for people looking to travel to Taiwan’s lesser-known provinces.

    • 2-Day Flexible Pass: Get unlimited HSR rides for 2 non-consecutive days within the same week.

  2. After booking, you’ll receive an e-mail voucher. You can either print it out or save it online.

Claiming Your Tickets

At the HSR counters of your departing station, present both your KKday voucher and passport. Select your desired departure time and seat, then claim your ticket. Be sure to arrive at least 30 minutes ahead of time. You can see the full train schedule over here.

Taiwan by HSR: Must-see Sights and Attractions at Every Stop

Taipei

Taiwan's High Speed Rail: Complete Guide
Taiwan’s High Speed Rail Guide: Taipei Station

As Taiwan’s most popular city, Taipei is home to some of most iconic sights and attractions such as Taipei 101, the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial, and of course, the famous night markets. There are also a number of easy day tours you can take from Taipei, like the famous Northern Towns tour where you can visit Spirited Away’s Jiufen and release a sky lantern along Shifen Old Street.

Hsinchu

Taiwan's High Speed Rail: Complete Guide
Taiwan’s High Speed Rail Guide: Hsinchu

Fondly called ‘The Windy City,’ Hsinchu is one of Northern Taiwan’s oldest cities. Most travelers visit the area to see the famous temples such as the City God Temple, the Guan Di Temple, and the East Gate Temple. You can also find Taiwan’s most popular amusement park, the Leofoo Village Theme Park, here.

Miaoli

Taiwan's High Speed Rail: Complete Guide
Taiwan’s High Speed Rail Guide: Miaoli

Nature lovers looking to escape the urban grind of Taipei should head over to Miaoli. The scenic county is a year-round marvel, but boasts of different attractions each season.In the spring, see the cherry blossoms bloom by the lakesides, hike through fall foliage at Mt. Manapang, or go camping at the Shei-pa National Park.

Taichung

Taiwan's High Speed Rail: Complete Guide
Taiwan’s High Speed Rail Guide: Taichung

Nicknamed the ‘Kyoto of Taiwan,” Taichung is known for its calm mountain beauty. With it’s high altitude location, the weather here is much cooler than the rest of Taiwan. Many of Taiwan’s cultural villages can be found here, like the colorful Rainbow Village and the Formosan Aboriginal Culture Village. Taiwan’s world famous bubble milk tea was also invented by a local tea shop here in Taichung, back in the 1980s.

Changhua

Taiwan's High Speed Rail: Complete Guide
Taiwan’s High Speed Rail Guide: Changhua

It’s much less urbanized than Taipei or Taichung, but is full of rural, scenic charms. Its most famous attraction is the Tianwei Highway Garden, a beautiful expanse of manicured landscapes and flowers. . The best time to visit is from December to February, when the flowers are in full bloom.

Yunlin

Taiwan's High Speed Rail: Complete Guide
Taiwan’s High Speed Rail Guide: Yunlin

Unlike Taichung’s mountain landscapes, Yunlin is mostly flat, agricultural land and is separated from Chiayi by the Beigang River. Yunlin is home to a number of unique museums and cultural centers, such as the Soy Sauce Brewing Museum, the Yunlin Hand Puppet Museum, and the Yunlin Story House.

Chiayi

Taiwan's High Speed Rail: Complete Guide
Taiwan’s High Speed Rail Guide: Chiayi

One of Taiwan’s most rural townships, most travelers just stop by Chiayi for a day trip before heading back to Taipei or Taichung. Chiayi’s most famous attraction though, is the Alishan National Park, a scenic forest park filled with thousands of cypress trees that are hundreds of years old. In the spring, Alishan also becomes a popular destination to see the cherry blossoms.

Tainan

Taiwan's High Speed Rail: Complete Guide
Taiwan’s High Speed Rail Guide: Tainan

As Taiwan’s oldest city, you’ll get a glimpse of traditional Taiwanese culture unique to any other part of the country. At the Anping district, you can still find remnants of Dutch influence, old merchant’s houses from the original Han settlers, and the best beef noodle soup in all of Taiwan. The Tainan locals take a lot of pride in their culinary culture, each dish thoughtfully made with fresh ingredients. Have your fill for less than US$2 a meal.

Zuoying/Kaohsiung

Taiwan's High Speed Rail: Complete Guide
Taiwan’s High Speed Rail Guide: Kaohsiung

Right at the other end of the country is Kaohsiung. This major port city is one of Taiwan’s largest and most heavily populated, so much that it has its own international airport. Most travelers venture Kaohsiung in the summer to enjoy their countless, picturesque beaches by Kenting. From Kaohsiung, you can also explore the nearby islands of Little Liuqiu.

 

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