Local transportation 8: To other parts of Taiwan

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Those interested in venturing outside of the Greater Taipei Region have various public transportation options. The Taipei Main Station is actually a region rather than a particular station where all public ground transportation systems converge: it consists of the Taipei Railway Station, the MRT Taipei Main Station, the Taipei Intercity Bus Terminal, the northern terminus of the Taiwan High Speed Rail, and two branch stations of the Kuo-Kuang Motor Transport Company. Songshan Domestic Airport serves domestic flights to the rest of the Republic of China administered territories.

Highway buses

Taipei Intercity Bus Terminal

Most freeway buses that travel on the western part of Taiwan drive on Taiwan’s National Freeway network. Baring traffic jams, traveling from Taipei to Taichung or Kaohsiung by bus is faster than traveling by train. Unfortunately English language assistance for these highway buses is rather poor , and not all signs at highway bus stops or terminals have English on them.

Highway bus terminals at the Taipei Main Station

Kuo-Kuang Freeway Bus

Because of Kuo-Kuang’s former status as a government monopoly, Kuo-Kuang has several bus terminals in the area.

  • Taipei Intercity Bus Terminal: Freeway buses of other companies, such as U-Bus (統聯客運) and Aloha (阿羅哈客運), depart from here. Kuo-Kuang's passengers whose destination is somewhere in Northern Taiwan (Including Hsinchu, Miaoli, Jinshan, Yilan, Taoyuan and Jhongli), excluding Keelung and Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport (TTIA), should board here.
  • Kuo-Kuang Taipei East Station: Passengers whose destination is Keelung or TTIA should board here.
  • Kuo-Kuang Taipei West Station: Passengers whose destination is in Central or Southern Taiwan (Including Taichung, Tainan and Kaohsiung) should board here.

High Speed Railway

High Speed Railway Banciao Station
HSR Taichung Station platform

With services having started early this year, the Taiwan High Speed Railway has become the fastest way of traveling through western Taiwan by ground. The journey from the northernmost terminal at the Taipei Main Station to the southernmost Kaohsiung Zuoying Station only takes about 90 minutes. The ticket fares between Taipei and Zuoying are NT$1,490 for Standard Class and NT$2,440 for Business Class. Although all stations provide self-service ticket vending machines, these machines are often out of order. Therefore, it is strongly encouraged to buy the tickets directly from the staff at the ticketing service windows. Please tell the ticketing staff if you would like to keep the ticket as a souvenir when you exit the system.

  • Taiwan High Speed Railway
website: http://www.thsrc.com.tw

Taiwan Railway

The regular railway system covers the entire island, making it convenient to travel to other cities or attractions fairly easily. Fares and time tables may be found at the Taiwan Railway Administration official web site. See also the English Wikipedia articles Taiwan Railway Administration and Railways in Taiwan for additional information.

  • Taipei service desk toll-free number
0800-231919

English language support of the Taiwan Railway System is not strong. Many of the English and Chinese signs can be confusing for those who do not regularly use the train service. Again, familiarize yourself with the English Wikipedia article on the Taiwan Railway System to reduce this confusion in advance.

Air Travel

Although Taiwan's domestic airline market is on the decline, traveling by air is still convenient if one wants to travel to the eastern coast of Taiwan, and is a necessity if one wishes to visit the outlying islands of Kinmen, Matsu, Penghu, Lanyu, and Lutao. The four main carriers that provide domestic flights are Far Eastern Air Transport, Mandarin Airlines (subsidiary of China Airlines) , TransAsia Airways, and Uni Air (subsidiary of EVA Air). All domestic flights from Taipei departed at the Songshan Domestic Airport, which is located in downtown Taipei. When traveling to the airport by taxi, make it clear to the driver that you intend to go to the Taipei Songshan Airport rather than the International Airport in Taoyuan.

Taipei Songshan Airport provides convenient flights to Chiayi, Tainan, Kaohsiung, Pintong, Hengshuen, Hualien, Taitung, Kinmen, Penghu(Makung), and Matsu.

Passengers who wish to travel to Orchid Island (Lanyu,蘭嶼), Green Island (Lutao,綠島), Cimei Island (七美), or Wang-an Island (望安), should contact Daily Air, who has sole authority over flights to these islands. A stop-over at Kaohsiung, Taitung, or Penghu(Makung) may be required to reach these islands.

Please feel comfortable when flying a domestic flight in Taiwan. The crew are all well-trained and professional; the aircrafts are well-checked and maintained. Language barrier is not a problem as all domestic flight attendants are required to have a good command of English. Some domestic flight attendants can even speak either Japanese or Korean.