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Chinese Culture >> Travel Reviews

Taipei to Kaohsiung Journey

One popular journey that tourists and locals make in Taiwan is from Taipei to Kaohsiung. This article sets out details on five ways that you may consider to get from Taipei, the capital in the North to Kaohsiung, Taiwan's second largest city in the South.

Driving is an easy option worth considering if you have a rental car. Two eight-lane freeways connect Taipei to the south and the journey takes about five hours unless you hit some nasty traffic around the cities. Keep in mind that you will pass through around eight tollgates on the trip, each one costing NT$40.

For those traveling on a budget the cheapest method available for getting from Taipei to Kaohsiung would be on one of several bus companies that travel this popular route, with one way fares starting at around NT$600. Taking a regular train is only slightly more expensive than the bus. Both methods take at least five hours.

One great way to make the Taipei to Kaohsiung trip is to use the Taiwan High Speed Rail Service (300km/h Japanese style bullet train). Trains depart Taipei for Kaohsiung every 15 minutes and depending on the number of stations that they stop at they can have you in Kaohsiung in as little as an hour and forty minutes. Ticket prices ranges from NT$1,190 to NT$1,850 one way depending on if it is a weekend or public holiday, business or standard class seats and if the tickets are reserved in advance or not.

Since the Taiwan High Speed Rail Service became operational in 2007 many local airlines have been slashing prices to compete, even to price levels a little lower than the High Speed Rail service. Even though flight times of 40 minutes make flight still the fastest way to make the trip, when you take into account the hassle of going through airports the time difference can quickly disappear. With train travel being more comfortable, the novelty aspect of a trip on a 'bullet train' and the fact that rail transport is more environmentally friendly than air travel it is not hard to declare the High Speed Rail Service as the superior means of transport.

Out of all these methods I rate the Taiwan High Speed Rail as the best way to make the trip from Taipei to Kaohsiung as the trains are fast, clean, modern and comfortable and offer a quick tour of the island as they zap through the main cities on a mostly elevated track. The journey by high speed rail offers tourists great value and a very memorable experience.  

About the Author

Want to learn some Chinese before you arrive in Taiwan? Click here to see how easy it can be with Rocket Chinese. Steve Sutherland has lived in Taiwan for seven years and has studied Chinese and travelled extensively throughout the island