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Friday 4 December 2015

Train Ride from Kaohsiung Railway Station to Taoyuan Railway Station

Welcome to my trip report on my train ride from Kaohsiung to Taoyuan!

This is the rail map of Taiwan (all the lines) 

Credit goes to Johomaps

For this trip, I took the North-South line which took around 5 hours 20 minutes to get to my destination. The ticket cost me NT$777 for the one-way journey but it involves a number of stops, so for those who like to get there fast, go to Zuoying station and catch the High-Speed Railway to Taoyuan, the fare should be around NT$1400. 

I did a short trip report on the HSR (High-Speed Railway) from Kaohsiung to Taipei Main Station, you can check it out over here. My purpose for this short report is to give an insight especially for first-timers in Taiwan. Taiwan is a traveller-friendly country. The Taiwanese are friendly and helpful and with English signboards everywhere, it is not difficult to get around. For this trip, I deliberately choose the longer way to Taoyuan from Kaohsiung just for the experience. The High-Speed Railway, on the other hand, saves a lot of time as it skips a lot of stops along the way, using a different route. (check the map) 

If you are taking public transport, do note that the Taoyuan Railway Station and Taoyuan High-Speed Railway Station are at different locations.

How to get to the respective stations by Bus from Taoyuan Airport and vice versa?

Take bus 705 from the bus stations (Terminal 1 or 2) to Taoyuan High-Speed Railway Station -NT$30 per person

For more info on bus 705, click here.

Take bus 706 from the bus stations (Terminal 1 or 2) to Taoyuan Railway Station - NT$36 per person (If I am not wrong)

Some photos of Kaohsiung 

The train station

A typical Taiwanese street 

Had a good walk around the shopping district areas.

A mix of old and modern buildings.

This is Central Park Station 

Nighttime in Kaohsiung - it is similar to Taipei. 

Can you recognize a common brand name in this photo below?

One of the night market streets in Kaohsiung.

The good thing about this street is very few motorcyclists passed through this area, making walking a pleasant one.

Crossing the bridge to the other part of the district.

This is the Kaohsiung Railway Station. To get here from the airport, take the MRT train from Kaohsiung Airport Station to Kaohsiung Main Station

The train station is small and like other train stations, you can book your ticket in advance via the machine or the counter. The machine has an English language but it is not very user-friendly. 

Once you buy your ticket, you can follow the signs to the platform. The walk to it takes around 5 minutes.

There is a model shop that sells these - the train enthusiasts would love grabbing hold of these. 

There are shops for you to stock up food or drinks before your train ride. 

Check the destination display for your train number and platform before you go.

This is the display for the incoming trains, so make sure you get onto the correct platform. 

At the platform, check the train number and destination on the train display and make sure you board the correct car.

This is my train, it was to depart 16 minutes later.

Check the car number and head to it. You can select the seat you want - the aisle or the window. 

If you are carrying luggage, do take note there is no luggage compartment on board this train. My luggage took up about 1/4 of the aisle space, fortunately, other passengers with trolleys and luggage were able to pass.

Entering the train 

The cabin is narrower than the HSR train and is configured in 2-2 configuration. 

Unfortunately for me, I had a seatmate for most parts of the journey.

There you go! I had to go to the toilet a few times, thanks to my seatmate for taking care of my luggage while I was away. 

One of the stops along the way. 

There is a button to open the door 

I wouldn't recommend using the Taiwan Railway if you have a lot of things to bring along, the HSR train would be more convenient. The seat assignment depends on your luck. I had the seat beside mine vacant only on the last sector, only then I could place my luggage there. 

What do I think?

Taiwan's train system is pretty good and convenient. It reminds me of the train system in Japan which both are of a high standard. For the 5 hours plus on the normal railway train, it can be a boring ride for some and for me, I had my luggage with me which wasn't convenient. Putting that one side, the train seats are comfortable with good legroom space, configured in 2-2 seating configuration, one can choose to have either a window or aisle seat, no middle seat. There are toilets located at certain parts of the train and a lady would come by selling snacks and drinks. I would prefer buying them at a convenience store at the departure station though as the choices are limited on board. During the journey, be expected to be woken up by a train inspector, so do keep your ticket properly. I have heard cases of passengers losing their tickets and had to purchase a new one. There are announcements to inform you of your stops and its best to set an alarm about 5-10 minutes before the train arrives at a designated time. Your ticket would show you the estimated time it would arrive at your location, usually its quite accurate.

Overall, this is a good train system and if you are travelling to other cities from other stations, the experience should be similar. 

Hope you find this short guide useful. 

For my HSR trip experience, click here.


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