When planning a trip to Taiwan, managing the logistics of how best to reach the country and how to get around from one city to another is an important consideration to make to ensure that your adventure runs smoothly. Fortunately, public transportation links in and around Taiwan are efficient, frequent, and good value for money.
Getting to Taiwan
With flight routes from across the globe servicing Taiwan, it is easy to access this fascinating island nation and to do so without breaking the bank. Travellers can get to Taiwan via plane or by sea, depending on their starting location.
Getting to Taiwan by Plane
Taiwan is serviced by two international airports – Taoyuan and Kaohsiung. Most people commence their Taiwanese adventures in Taipei and so Taoyuan airport is arguably the most convenient. It is easy to take the high speed train from Taoyuan airport into Taipei centre.
Getting to Taiwan by Boat
If you are planning to travel to Taiwan from China or Japan, it is possible to take overnight ferries into Keelung or Taichung in mainland Taiwan, in addition to a ferry to the Taiwanese island of Matsu.
Getting Around Taiwan by Public Transport
Many international travellers depend on getting around via public transport when they travel and fortunately, it is easy to do that in Taiwan. An important thing to note is that when travelling between cities it is prudent to buy your tickets a couple of days before your intended travel date to ensure that you secure a seat. During the Taiwanese holidays, trains and intercity buses get very busy.
Getting Around Taiwan by Rail
Taiwan’s train network is comprehensive and runs around the entirety of the island. There are a variety of options available when it comes to travelling Taiwan by rail with train services offering different class options to suit your budget and personal preferences. Most rail services in Taiwan are managed by the Taiwan Rail Administration, however there is also the Taiwan high speed rail network which is a somewhat similar concept to the infamous Japanese bullet trains. The high speed trains are slightly more expensive, but may be preferable if you have only a short amount of time in the country and are willing to spend a little extra.
Getting Around Taiwan by Bus
If you are travelling Taiwan on a strict budget, then bus travel in and between cities may be one of the best options for you. Buses in Taiwan often run for as little as 50 cents and are clean, efficient and frequent. Since it is only Taipei and Kaohsiung that have metro systems in Taiwan, it is useful to familiarise yourself with the Taiwanese bus network before embarking on your trip.
The Metro Systems in Taiwan
Taipei and Kaohsiung are both home to extensive metro networks that service all areas of the respective cities and are a convenient way of getting around. Upon arrival in Taiwan, it is useful to get an “Easy” metrocard that can be purchased from the machines at the various stations. This works out cheaper than constantly buying single tickets for each journey, particularly if you plan on being in Taiwan for more than a week or two.
Taking Cabs in Taiwan
Taxis can be found in plentiful supply in all large Taiwanese cities and are inexpensive to use. Since the traffic in Taipei can be heavy, it is advisable to consider using the metro as a first priority. However if you find yourself on the outskirts or out at night and you prefer a cab, rest assured it will not be difficult to find one.
Similar to New York cabs, taxis in Taiwan are yellow and run on meters. Unfortunately the majority of Taiwanese cab drivers do not speak English and so you should have a local, or someone at your hotel write down the place that you are headed to in Mandarin before getting in a cab. Uber also exists in Taiwan, and can often be a more convenient option.