I was sad to leave Hualien because I had grown attached to it after only a few days. But we had to continue on our journey, this time to Taichung. The night before, I texted the local taxi company via LINE to arrange for a taxi pickup to the Hualien train station the next morning. It was quoted at NT$100, the same as the flag down fare for the first 1km, so there didn’t appear to be any additional booking fee. The taxi arrived on time, and the friendly driver even assisted us with our luggage. Excellent service.
Note: You can book a taxi in advance by calling or texting 國聲計程車行 (0800-337-337) or 全家計程車行 (0800-255-255). They will provide you with a quote based on the distance between the two points of travel. In Hualien, there is no Uber or Grab.
I won’t go into detail about taking the TRA train back to Taipei. You can read my previous blog post “Taking The Train From Taipei To Hualien And Savouring The Railway Bentos” to learn more about the ticketing, ticket collection, and other processes.
In this post, I’ll talk about our trip on the High Speed Rail from Taipei to Taichung.
Taiwan High Speed Rail (THSR) 台灣高鐵
Taiwan High Speed Rail (THSR) is Taiwan’s high-speed railway system, consisting of a single line that runs approximately 350 kilometres (220 miles) along the west coast from Taipei to the southern city of Kaohsiung.
The High Speed Rail does not operate on the east coast so the quickest way to Taichung is to take the TRA train back to Taipei and then the HSR to Taichung from there.
Tickets can be purchased at any THSR station (via ticket office or ticket vending machine) or convenience store (7-Eleven, Family Mart, Hi-Life and OK mart).
You can also book your tickets through the Taiwan High Speed Rail website, 29 days up to 1 hour prior to scheduled time of departure.
Do note that seats are automatically assigned by the system.
To collect your tickets, you will need the booking ID and reservation number. Tickets can be collected from partnering convenience stores, T Express, ticket office, and ticket vending machines at any THSR station.
It’s best to use the app
I strongly recommend you to book your tickets using the T Express App, as you can also use the app to download the ticket in the form of a QR code, which you can easily scan to pass through the clearance. This is the most convenient option because no tickets need to be collected separately.
Save money by booking early
One way fare from Taipei to Taichung is NT$700 per person.
The HSR runs frequently, about 5-7 trips per hour, giving you a wide range of timing options. Certain dates and times are eligible for early bird discounts; expect to save 10%, 20%, or 35%. The earlier you book, the better your chance of receiving the 35% off early bird discount.
When we arrived at Taipei Main Station, we had about 1.5 hours before our departure to Taichung. I booked the HSR at a later time to give us more time, but it turned out that it wasn’t necessary because the trains in Taiwan are very punctual. Before boarding the HSR, 30 minutes would be sufficient to purchase food & drinks, use the restroom, etc. For example, if your arrival time in Taipei is 10.00am, you can book a 10.30am HSR to Taichung.
Inside the train
Lots of luggage space above us. Larger suitcases can be placed at the carriage’s end.
Seats were comfortable with ample legroom.
Taking in the scenery as we rode through the countryside.
High Speed Rail saves so much time!
The journey from Taipei to Taichung took approximately 47 minutes. Super fast!
We exited the train at Taichung HSR Station and walked to Xinwuri TRA Station, which is connected.
We saw a Family Mart along the way and stopped for some oden. Surprisingly good! Very cheap too!
We had to take a local train to Taichung TRA Station to get to the city’s central district. And then we’d make our way to our hotel, about which I’ll tell you more in the next post. 🙂