Getting round in Taiwan – Lonely Planet

All cities and the vast majority of vacationer websites in Taiwan are related by an internet of secure, environment friendly and reasonably priced transport.

That mentioned, there are much more choices to go up and down the island than throughout, due to the Central Mountain Vary operating down the center like a backbone. When you plan on touring throughout Taiwan, be ready to make use of a mixture of prepare, high-speed rail, ferry and bus.

Steps are being taken to extend the variety of electrical automobiles on the street, most notably by the Blueprint for Web-Zero Emissions in 2050. At the moment solely 8% of metropolis and intercity buses are electrical, however the authorities has vowed to introduce 1000 electrical buses yearly from 2023 whereas eradicating as much as 11,000 diesel automobiles by 2030, with the goal that each one buses will run on electrical energy by 2030. The vast majority of taxis usually are not electrical, however operators are additionally receiving incentives to go inexperienced. 

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Two trains on a lush green coastline with a tall peak in the distance
Taiwan Railway Administration has an intensive system operating alongside each the east and west coasts © Jui-Chi Chan / Getty Photographs

Take the standard prepare to the east coast 

Taiwan Railway Administration (TRA) has an intensive system operating alongside each the east and west coasts, connecting all main cities. There are not any companies into the Central Mountains, besides tourism department traces. Trains are comfy, secure and dependable, with few delays. 

TRA has a number of varieties of prepare. Zìqiáng 自強  (additionally Tze-chiang) specific trains are quick and dearer. All lessons of Ziqiang prepare are priced the identical for a similar journey, despite the fact that, for instance, the Puyuma is the quickest. Taroko Specific 太魯閣 (Tàilǔgé) is a particular tilting prepare beneath the Ziqiang class that takes you from Taipei to Hualien in two hours. One other tilting prepare beneath the Ziqiang class, Puyuma Specific 普悠瑪 is TRA’s quickest prepare at 150km/h (93mph). It’s named after Taiwan’s Puyuma folks.

Tickets may be reserved 28 days upfront on-line (two extra days if reserving on a Friday) or on an ibon kiosk (Chinese language solely), present in comfort shops and at prepare stations. You’ll want your passport. Early reservations are strongly suggested for quick trains, particularly on weekends or holidays. The most well liked tickets are snapped up inside minutes of launch for reserving at midnight. 

Nevertheless, most fares belong to the Jǔguāng 莒光 (additionally Chu-kuang) and Fùxīng 復興 (additionally Fu-hsing) lessons. They’re comfy, slower than Ziqiang and sooner than native trains. The fare is about 20% to 40% cheaper than Zìqiang. Low-cost and sluggish Native Practice (區間車; Qūjiānchē) covers short-to-medium distances and stops in any respect stations. There isn’t any reserved seating.

Use the high-speed rail to avoid wasting north-south journey time

Zipping between Taipei and Kaohsiung (Zuoying station) in as quick as 90 minutes, the bullet service on Taiwan Excessive Pace Rail (THSR) operates a single line alongside the west hall that makes stops at 12 stations, together with all main cities. Tickets are rather less than double the value of an ordinary prepare, but it surely takes lower than half the time. Enterprise fares are about 50% increased.

Typically, there are at the very least three trains per hour. All stations have customer data facilities with English-speaking employees to assist with bus transfers, resort bookings and automotive leases.

You should buy high-speed rail tickets as much as 29 days upfront. It’s advisable to e-book in case you are touring on a weekend or vacation. Early hen reductions of 10% to 35% apply when reserving a journey on non-peak-time trains 5 to 29 days upfront.  There are tiny reductions for non-reserved tickets, that are offered solely on the day of the journey. 

You’ll be able to reserve by the bilingual app TEXpress and pay electronically or in individual, both at a comfort retailer or the HSR station. You can even reserve on the HSR web site and pay at any HSR station or comfort retailer earlier than the deadline for fee. Alternatively, you possibly can reserve at a comfort retailer or straight at an HSR station. You may want your passport quantity to make reservations.

Benefit from the surroundings on a sightseeing prepare

Apart from the TRA and HSR, a handful of small-gauge department traces are maintained for tourism functions. Most of those are logging traces constructed by Japanese colonialists and have classic trains and restored Japanese-era stations.

The extremely widespread Alishan Forest Railway runs from Chiayi to the mountain resort of Alishan, although the ultimate leg continues to be beneath repairs after being broken in a hurricane. Day-trippers from Taipei wish to town-hop alongside the Pingxi Line. The Jiji Line passes by a former logging village with a wooden museum and a big kiln.

Elevated view of traffic and buses in downtown Taipei, Taiwan
At the moment solely 8% of Taiwan’s metropolis and intercity buses are electrical, however the authorities has vowed to introduce 1000 electrical buses yearly from 2023 © Getty Photographs / iStockphoto

Stretch your funds by taking an intercity bus

There is a far-reaching community of intercity buses from Taipei to Kenting Nationwide Park and throughout the north so far as Yilan. Service from the west coast to the east coast is proscribed to a couple buses a day, from Taichung throughout to Hualien and Kaohsiung to Taitung. Service can also be restricted throughout the east space (from Hualien to Taitung). On the west coast there are very frequent departures (some 24-hour operations), with midweek and late-evening reductions. Most corporations serve the identical west coast routes. The principle transit factors are Taipei, Taichung, Tainan and Kaohsiung. 

Taiwan’s long-distance buses are dependable, comfy and low-cost. Some corporations provide massive, cozy reclining seats. Buses are closely air-conditioned so pack a blanket or heat garments. Reservations are advisable on weekends and holidays. The simplest means to purchase a ticket is both from the bus station itself or from a comfort retailer. Most bus corporations have a ticket workplace and cease close to the primary prepare station. Two of the most important corporations are Kuo Kuang and UBus

Taiwan has a large community of rural buses, however each day departures are few and much between, besides to main vacationer locations. Usually you are higher off taking the vacationer shuttle buses.

Go to Solar Moon Lake on a vacationer shuttle

Taiwan has a wonderful system of small shuttle buses with well-planned routes that join main and minor vacationer sights to TRA and HSR stations in 20 cities and counties, together with three offshore islands. The buses normally depart hourly on weekdays and half-hourly on weekends. On the time of writing, buses are much less frequent than earlier than, however that is anticipated to alter when tourism picks up. 

A bike on a trail in Taroko National Park, Hualien, Taiwan
Cyclists in Taiwan are banned from nationwide highways and expressways, however allowed on provincial, county and metropolis highways © Shutterstock / pritsana

Expertise Taroko Gorge on two wheels

Lengthy-distance and leisure biking is large in Taiwan, and numerous routes, particularly in scenic vacationer areas, have designated cycle lanes. The east coast is particularly widespread and beautiful to cycle, so there are many bike-rental locations;  it’s also possible to carry your bike on public transport and might carry a foldable bike (packed in a bag or case) on the HSR. For typical TRA trains, there may be multiple strategy to board with a bike. You may haven’t any issues bringing bicycles into the nation.

The bike owner’s principal enemies are bus drivers and motorcyclists. Be aware some stretches of the east-coast freeway are thought-about treacherous. Additionally remember that cyclists are banned from nationwide highways (國道) and expressways (快速道路), however allowed on provincial highways (省道), in addition to county and metropolis highways (縣道/市道).

Hire a automotive and chauffeur to avoid wasting time 

Having your individual automobile, both a automotive or a scooter, is especially helpful on the east coast, the offshore islands and in mountain areas. You have to an Worldwide Driver’s Allow to drive in Taiwan. And except you will have a Taiwan scooter license, scooter rental companies usually require that your worldwide drivers license has a bike or scooter endorsement. 

By the requirements of many international locations, driving in Taiwan may be chaotic and harmful. It’s not advisable to drive in cities or medium-sized cities till you are acquainted with circumstances. Parking is difficult within the huge cities, however particularly irritating in Taipei. Highway signage is bilingual.

It’s higher to constitution a automotive to take you sightseeing. The motive force will cease at main sights to allow you to take footage and stroll round, or you possibly can work out an itinerary with them. 

Test the climate earlier than reserving a crusing to Lanyu Island

There are common ferry routes to Penghu, Lanyu and Inexperienced Island (and between Lanyu and Inexperienced Island as properly) in summer time, and to Little Liuqiu Island year-round. Sailings to Inexperienced Island, Lanyu and Matsu are topic to climate circumstances, nevertheless. Anticipate cancellations in dangerous climate and winter schedules to alter steadily. There isn’t any ferry service to Kinmen, however you possibly can fly from Taipei or Kaohsiung. 

Save air journey for journeys to the outer islands

The superb prepare community renders home air journey, besides to the outer islands, a bit pointless. Home flights from Taipei depart from Songshan Airport and never Taoyuan. Flights to outlying islands are sometimes canceled due to dangerous climate, particularly on the east.

Accessible transportation

Taiwan’s prepare programs have made some steps in direction of accessibility in recent times. Virtually all metro stations have elevators outfitted with braille buttons, audio system, intercom and handrails. There are additionally ready areas for wheelchair passengers, and tactile tiles put in on platforms and close to stairs. The HSR and TRA have elevators and barrier-free seating in designated carriages. All three programs have employees to assist disabled passengers ought to they want it.

Buses are barely much less convenientl. Solely a fraction of intercity buses are barrier-free, though inside huge cities like Kaohsiung and Taipei, bus-drivers will let down a ramp for aged passengers or wheelchair customers. As soon as on board, there’s precedence seating and wheelchair parking house. You’ll be able to contact the Taiwan Entry for All Affiliation for help. 

Service canine are allowed on board system-wide. For extra on-line assets for accessible journey, go to Lonely Planet’s Accessible Journey Portal.

Pay for public transit with an EasyCard 

EasyCard is Taiwan’s contactless sensible card that you just use to pay to your journey on the metro and metropolis buses. The cardboard itself prices NT$100 and you may high up at any metro station or comfort retailer.  

EasyCard can be utilized on some intercity buses and taxis, plus the vast majority of TRA trains. Exceptions to the latter embody the Puyuma Specific, the Taroko Specific, and tourism trains. Passengers paying with the EasyCard get 10% off for prepare journeys beneath 70km (43 miles).


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