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How To Get Around Taiwan – Your Transportation Guide

How are you suppose to get around Taiwan?

After all, Taiwan is one of the most beautiful islands around the world.

In fact, it is one of the most popular Asian countries to travel to.

It is a place full of bustling life, amazing foods, beautiful scenery, and a culture deep in history.

This island has it all.

But more than that, this country also has a fantastic transportation service that makes other countries envy.

However, sometimes these transportation methods might be a bit confusing to first time users.

Which is why this post is being made.

In this post, we’ll be detailing all the methods of transportation you can use in this country and which would would suit you the best. Once you read this post, you’ll learn exactly how to get around Taiwan like a pro.

So if you are ready, lets start!

Getting Around Taiwan

In this post we are going to be talking about the following methods of transportation:

  • By Train
  • By MRT
  • By Bus
  • By Car
  • By Scooter
  • By Taxi
  • By Bike
  • By Boat
  • By Plane

Train

Train travel is one of the most common forms of travel in Taiwan.

After all, every major city and town are literally connected by these very efficient Taiwan Railway Administration network of local and express trains.

The trains are comfortable, clean, safe and reliable, with few delays.

There are also many different types of trains you might take as some are definitely faster than the others.

As of this time, there are currently 5 classes of trains available for you to ride.

They are as followed:

自強 Zìqiáng – This is the fastest and most expensive train with assigned seating, a/c and in some cases even a dining car.

莒光 Jŭguāng – This is the second fastest train with assigned seating as well as a/c.

復興 Fùxīng – This is the 3rd fastest train that also includes assigned seating as well as a/c. However this train is not as comfortable as the first 2 higher classes of trains.

區間快 “Local Express” – This train is mainly for short to medium distance travel. It does have a/c however there is no assigned seating.

區間車 “Local Train” – Also for short to medium distance travel that stops at every single station. It does have a/c however there is no assigned seating.

Buying Tickets For Train

Normally, train stations will have separate queues for advance and same day departures, as well as having cash and credit card purchases.

You’ll be able to tell as they do have English labels on the cashier’s window.

Do know that you need to keep your ticket when you get off the train as you are still required to return it at the gate to exit the train station. If you lose that ticket, you will have to pay a fine.

Now as we mentioned earlier, there are currently 5 classes of train travel from express to local.

If you are wanting to ride one of the 3 fastest classes, you should definitely buy your ticket in advance especially if you are going to be traveling during the weekend or a public holiday. This is because seats will get full really fast, and if you don’t get a seat then you’ll have to stand the entire way through.

High Speed Rail Train

High speed rail trains are another type of train travel in Taiwan.

It features a bullet train that travels between Taipei and Kaohsiung in as little as 96 minutes. Which is at least two thirds faster than a regular train.

Tickets are also going to be a bit more expensive because of the speed. They are usually a little less than double the price of a standard train ticket but you’ll get there in less than half the time.

The train also has airplane level comfort and also comes in reserved seating. They might also have a food dining cart available for you to buy food.

There are 12 stations on the route: Nangang, Taipei, Banciao, Taoyuan, Hsinchu, Miaoli, Taichung, Changhua, Yunlin, Chiayi, Tainan and Zuoying (for Kaohsiung).

Just like above for the higher class of trains, it is recommended to book your seat in advance if you want a place to sit.

MRT (Mass Rapid Transit)

There are currently 2 major cities with the MRT, Taipei and Kaohsiung. With a third city (Taichung) getting the MRT in 2020.

MRT is a subway system that is one of the best ways to travel around the city as they are cheap, clean, safe and very reliable.

If you are in one of the major cities that has a MRT station, you’ll be able to travel all around the city without having to worry.

The subway trains are easy to navigate as there are maps that have English on them. Not only that, but inside the subway trains they will also show you the next stop in English.

So it’s basically impossible to get lost!

Buying Tickets For MRT

You can get tickets for the MRT by simply going to any of the MRT stations. In the station you’ll find a vending machine that lets you buy your ticket based on your destination. You’ll be given a coin in which you use as a pass.

Remember to keep this coin as you’ll have to use it again to go out to your destination.

Bus

Traveling by bus is a great way to get around the city. Especially because they are also very cheap!

Plus, they are also very reliable and comfortable. some companies even offer large cozy airplane style seats that even recline!

The only downside about a bus is that it can get a bit cold in there because they never turn down the a/c.

In order for you to ride a bus, just go to any of the designated bus stops and wave your hand when the bus you want to get on comes by. Depending on the bus, you either pay as you enter or pay when you get off. In some cases, you pay both times. So make sure to read what the sign says about payment.

Car

To be honest, I would not recommend you travel by car.

Not only is renting a car expensive, but driving on the roads is a complete wreck.

Unlike North America or Europe, cars in Taiwan drive like they are playing frogger. They will literally zig zag constantly till they get to their destination.

Not only that, but there is rarely any place for you to park your car. You’ll be driving around for ages before you can find a place to park.

So if you are inexperienced with how Asians drive, you should not risk it.

However if you are experienced or if you really just want to drive, then renting a car might be a good option for you. It’ll give you more freedom in that you are able to drive whenever you want, wherever you want.

Scooter

Just like the car, I would highly recommend not driving around on a Scooter if you are not use to Asian driving.

Mainly because, scooters are the number one cause of death for foreign tourists.

Like I said above, drivers in Asia are really scary. They love to zig zag around and just do their own thing. They don’t really care about the other people.

So try to avoid driving on a scooter if you can.

However if you must rent a scooter, try to be as careful as you can.

Taxi

Taxi’s are a common form of transportation here in Taiwan.

They will either use meters to calculate how much your drive is or they might have a flat rate for certain areas.

Some surcharges may apply if you also have things like luggage or reservation of a cab.

It’s a great way to travel around as the cabs are very comfortable and they’ll get you to the place you are wanting to go to really fast. It is a perfect way to travel when you are in the city.

Although it is a bit more expensive than traveling by MRT or bus.

Do know that there is also Uber or other ride hailing services here in this country so if you don’t want to take a taxi, you could opt for those services instead.

Bicycle

Bicycles are a great way to travel short distances.

Plus, many areas will even offer to rent you a bike as low as $10 USD a day. Which is a great bargain considering you get to ride around all you want.

Most of these rental bicycles are generally well maintained and fine for short rides, however they are not suited for long distance touring. If you are wanting to bike for long distances, then it is highly recommended that you bring your own bike or get one of higher quality.

Boat

There isn’t really many instances where you’ll need to take a boat. Unless you are going to be going to one of the nearby islands, you don’t really need a boat.

However if you are going to one of those islands, the ferries are a great way to take you to them. They are comfortable and allows you to get a view of the islands while you are out in the ocean. However, going by boat does tend to be one of the slower forms of travel.

Plane

Besides going by boat to one of the nearby islands, you can also take the plane. It is much faster than a boat but does come at a cost. So it really depends on you and if you prefer to save money or save time.

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As you can see, there are many different ways for you to travel all around Taiwan.

So depending on what your preferences are, you can easily choose which one will suit you the best.

So hopefully this list will show people that you aren’t limited to just one form of transportation.

Also, if you are planning to visit Taiwan anytime soon, you might also be interested in some of my other Taiwan posts.

Or you can check out my complete list of things to do in Taiwan by clicking here.

Let me know how your trip goes!

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