There are a number of different ways to get from Taipei to Taichung and the most popular way to undertake the 170km journey is by train. But which train you catch largely depends on how much time you’ve got and what your budget is.
There are 3 types of trains servicing this route:
- High-speed rail departing from Taipei Main Station and arriving at Taichung HSR Station (which is a short local train ride outside the centre) (timetable);
- Express train departing from Taipei Main Station and arriving at Taichung Main Station (timetable); and
- Local train departing from Taipei Main Station and arriving at Taichung Main Station (timetable).
Costs of these trains varies greatly, but at the time of writing, the tickets were as follows:
- High-speed Rail = NT$700 (US$23) (possible to get a 35% discount if booked in advance)
- Express = NT$375 (US$12.50)
- Local = NT$241 (US$8)
Travel time for each train between Taipei and Taichung is:
- High-speed Rail = 47 minutes
- Express = 2 hours 10 minutes
- Local = up to 4 hours depending on how many stops
I chose to take the local train and it was perfectly OK and modern. It actually goes quite fast, but it stops at a lot of stations making the journey drag a bit. But if you have time and you want to save money, the local train is the way to go.
I’ve also used the high-speed rail for my journey from Taichung to Kaohsiung and I highly recommend taking a fast train at some point in your journey in Taiwan. It’s awesome, fast and still cheap by world standards!
Tickets for all services can be bought on the spot before departure, but be aware that weekends and public holidays can be busy, so I would always try and buy my train tickets in advance from the station if possible. You can either do this at a vending machine or a person at the counter. Almost all stations had a good enough level of English to service my needs, so don’t worry about the language barrier.
Travelling by train in Taiwan is a wonderful way to get around and it’s definitely the way to go when travelling between Taipei and Taichung. Any questions, let me know in the comments!
Where I stayed in Taichung
Because I was travelling on a budget, I chose a cheap place to stay called Fly Inn Hostel. Cheap, clean, private bathroom, central. It certainly did the job for me — it’s not even really a hostel. I paid US$30 per night on booking.com — check current prices here!