Taiwan is a beautiful island country located in East Asia, only a short distance from mainland China. In addition to the main island, Taiwan has many smaller islands and archipelagoes located off its coast. Public transportation in Taiwan has an excellent reputation and it’s fairly easy to get from one place to another using only trains, metro, and buses.
Method 1 Method 1 of 4:Taking the Train Around Taiwan Download Article
Try the high-speed train if you’re traveling along the west coast. The Taiwan High Speed Rail has a 345 km (214 mi) long track that runs along the west coast of Taiwan. There are 2 ticket classes, standard and business, and you can reserve tickets online up to 28 days in advance to save some money. Pick-up and pay for tickets you’ve reserved at any of the stations or purchase tickets at one of the vending machines at a train station.
- You can view the Taiwan High Speed Rail fares and schedule online at http://www.thsrc.com.tw/en/Home.
- The high-speed train currently stops at 12 locations along the west coast. Find information about each station here: https://www.thsrc.com.tw/en/StationInfo/prospect/f3b45673-24ff-4e70-bd48-b2b155c5c031
Take a regional train for inland travel. The Taiwan Railway Administration (MOTC) operates regional and commuter trains across the entire island, including to some inland locations. This railway has 4 main types of trains: Ordinary, Fu-Hsing Semi-Express or Local, Chu-Kuang Express, and Tze-Chiang Limited Express. All tickets are based on a per person cost per kilometer.
- Express trains don’t stop at every station and are therefore faster. However, the faster the train, the more expensive the ticket. For example, Ordinary trains cost NT$1.06/person/km whereas the Tze-Chiang Limited Express costs NT$2.27/person/km.
- You can book tickets on Taiwan’s regular railway up to 14 days in advance. Pick them up at a train station or at a 7-Eleven, Family Mart, Hi-Life, or OK Mart store.
- You can review schedules and fares and book online tickets here: https://tip.railway.gov.tw/tra-tip-web/tip?lang=EN_US.
Look for available discounts or train passes for your trip. Both the high-speed train and MOTC offer multi-day passes that could save you money as you travel around Taiwan. Some passes apply to one or the other railway, while others allow you to combine trips on both. The MOTC also offers themed tours that take you on a pre-defined roundtrip to show you some popular tourist locations.
- Note that the prices displayed on the websites for both railways are in Taiwanese Dollars.
Method 2 Method 2 of 4:Using the Taipei Metro Download Article
Take the metro around the city of Taipei. Taipei has a local subway system, called the MRT, that allows you to easily travel within the city and to or from the airport. There are 6 lines with different routes across Taiwan: Wenhu, Tamsui-Xinyi, Songshan-Xindian, Zhonghe-Xinlu, Bannan, and Circular. Metro trains run between 6 am and 12 am local time every day. The peak hours are 7 am to 9 am and 5 pm to 7:30 pm.
- You can download a copy of the metro map from https://english.metro.taipei/cp.aspx?n=1BE0AF76C79F9A38.
Purchase tickets at metro stations. Ticket prices for the metro are based on the distance traveled. That means, in some cases, you will pay for a trip once you get off the metro. You can pay for a trip on the metro using tokens, day passes, 24/48/72-hour passes, and electronic tickets. Use the following website to determine the cost of each leg of your trip in advance: https://english.metro.taipei/cp.aspx?n=46A82F0C116392CB
- Single-Journey Tickets (which are actually blue tokens) can be purchased on the day of your trip for the full cost of your specific trip.
- One-Day Passes can be purchased at any time and can be used for unlimited travel on the day you activate the pass.
- 24-Hour, 48-Hour, and 72-Hour passes can be purchased at any time and can be used for unlimited travel for the 24, 48, or 72 hours after you activate the pass.
- Electronic tickets are swipe cards that can be refilled when needed.
Follow metro etiquette at all times. Do not smoke, spit, litter, eat, drink, or chew gum while on the metro or in one of its stations. Always follow the yellow lines to queue for the train and wait for people to get off the train before attempting to get on. Do not block doorways or lean against the doors. Additionally, leave dark blue chairs open for passengers with a disability.
- All signs in the Taipei metro include English translations.
- If you have a disability that isn’t visible, you can pick up a sticker for your shirt at any information booth. Without such a sticker, you may be asked to vacate dark blue seats.
Method 3 Method 3 of 4:Using the Bus System Download Article
Travel between cities on a bus. Buses are another great means of public transportation when you’re in Taiwan. In fact, buses can be a faster method of transportation than trains when traffic is light. Plus, they’re less expensive than trains. To view bus routes, schedules, and fares, go to https://www.taiwanbus.tw/ByBus.aspx?Lang=En.
- Keep your bus ticket with you at all times. You may be required to give your ticket to the driver when you get off the bus.
Look up the bus route you need to take ahead of time. The bus system can be confusing if you don’t speak Mandarin, so plan out your trip using a guide or a site like Google Maps. If you’re staying at a hotel in Taiwan, the concierge could help you determine which bus to take to your destination, as well.
- When you get on the bus, look for the character 上 (up), which means that you pay the fare when you get on, whereas the symbol 下 (down) means that you only pay when you get off the bus.
Take a shuttle bus to popular tourist destinations. In addition to local and inter-city buses, Taiwan also has tourist buses that specifically travel to and from popular tourist destinations. You can select a specific tour based on interest (e.g., cultural, hot springs, night market) or by location. Tickets for the tourist shuttles can be purchased on the bus itself or 1-day passes can be purchased at specific stations (Yilan, Nankang, or Yuanshan).
- View all available shuttle routes here: https://www.taiwantrip.com.tw/line/1
- As these buses are going to and from specific locations, they leave and return at specific times.
- Buses provide passengers with a specific amount of time to explore certain stops along the route.
Method 4 Method 4 of 4:Driving, Taking a Taxi, or Riding a Bike Download Article
Look for a yellow taxi for hire when in the cities. Taxis are a great option when traveling in the city, especially when you don’t want to use a roundabout route or make multiple stops via public transportation. It is important to note, however, that most taxi drivers do not speak English. To ensure you get to the proper destination, show the driver a written version of your destination in Chinese characters.
- Taxi fares are determined by individual local governments, so they’ll be different in each city where you travel.
- You may also need to pay an extra fee for traveling after 11 pm and/or for using the trunk of the taxi.
Rent a car to tour around Taiwan on your own. You must be at least 21 years of age to rent a car in Taiwan. You must also have an International Driver’s License and your regular driver’s license with you. All major airports have car rental agencies. While renting a car is not the recommended method of transport in the cities, or between cities, it’s a good option if you want to go to the mountains of Taiwan. Unlike other means of transportation, driving yourself along scenic routes will allow you to stop anytime you want.
- Car rentals in Taiwan cost between $65 and $80 per day.
- Some rental car agencies offer chauffeur services, which allows you to rent a car and driver to take you to the destinations you want.
- In Taiwan, drive on the right side of the road and remember that speed limits are marked in kilometers.
Tour around a smaller area on a rented bicycle. Many cities in Taiwan now have designated bike paths, making it a lot easier to travel around via bike. You can also choose to complete a multi-day guided bike tour in the more remote areas of Taiwan. Taiwan is also known for the home of a well-known bike company named Giant. They have many shops around the country where you can rent or buy their bikes.
- If you want, you can also bring your own bike with you to Taiwan.
- Bikes are allowed on the metro and many trains and buses but may be limited to non-peak hours.