Taichung is an amazing city in Taiwan that is sometimes overlooked by tourists, which is a shame! Taichung has an amazing vibe and is home to some the best museums and theatres in all of Taiwan.
The best part is that it is incredibly easy to get from Taipei to Taichung!
There is really no excuse not to visit Taichung when you’re in Taiwan.
There are multiple ways to get from Taipei to Taichung, and it can be difficult for a tourist visiting Taiwan for the first time to pick the best option that works for them and their travel needs.
I have my favourite way to travel from Taipei to Taichung, but it might not be the best method for you and your travel needs.
I’m going to go through all the different ways you can travel from Taipei to Taichung, so yo can decide for yourself what is the best method.
But don’t worry, I’ll break down the pros and cons of each method and then give you my opinion at the end as to what I think is the best way to get from Taipei to Taichung.
Before We Get Started
I find one of the most frustrating parts of planning a trip abroad is figuring out the best way to get from one city to another. There is oftentimes so little information about travelling between cities, and I have to go to multiple website just to find the answer.
Such a waste of time!
That’s why I love creating these transportation guides for you! I love stumbling across comprehensive transportation guides when I’m planning a trip and wanted to create them to help save my fellow travellers some time.
If you’re planning a trip to Taiwan, here is a list of transportation guides I’ve written and hope they help you in your planning process!
- How to Travel from Taipei to Hualien
- How to Travel from Taipei to Kaohsiung
- How to Travel from Taipei to Tainan
- How to Travel from Taoyuan Airport to Taipei
- How to Travel from Kaohsiung to Hualien
- How to Travel from Kaohsiung to Kenting National Park
Now back to telling you about how to get from Taipei to Taichung!
Option One: Taking the High-Speed Train from Taipei to Taichung
The high-speed train (HSR) is the fastest and most convenient way to get around Taiwan. It is fast, clean, efficient, and comfortable.
The only problem is that is it also the most expensive way to travel through Taiwan. You’re definitely paying for the convenience of fast travel, but it can be worth it!
How Long is the HSR Ride?
It will only take you 40 to 70 minutes to get from Taipei to Taichung on the HSR!
That is about half the time of the next quickest option! Nothing comes close to competing with the HSR when it comes to speed!
How Much Does a High-Speed Rail Ticket Cost?
Ticket prices vary depending on what day of the week you’re travelling and what time of day.
You can expect a standard ticket to cost between 650 NTD and 750 NTD. Or approximately $22 USD to $25USD.
A business class ticket is going to cost you quite a bit more. They range in price from 950 NTD and 1,050 NTD. That is about $32 USD to $35 USD. But you don’t need a business class seat. The standard class seating area is quiet nice, and you’re not on the HSR for long!
Where Can You Buy HSR Tickets?
You can purchase HSR tickets one of these locations:
- In person at the rail station
- At a ticketing machine at the rail station
- Online on the Taiwan High Speed Rail website
Both options work perfectly fine, but I prefer to purchase my ticket online and pick it up at the train station the day I’m travelling. It is just easier that way. You don’t have to worry about setting aside the time to ensure you’re at the train station far enough in advance to stand in line to get a ticket.
If you do purchase your ticket online, you’ll either have to print your ticket or pick it up at the station.
There are dedicated ticketing machines for people who are picking up their tickets at the station, so it doesn’t take more than a few minutes. All you need is your booking reference, and you’re good to go!
Where Does the HSR Depart from in Taipei?
You can catch the high-speed rail to Taichung at one of these three stations:
- Taipei Main Station
- Banqiao ( located in New Taipei City)
Most tourists will catch the train at Taipei Main Station. It is the most convenient location and tends to be the easiest for people to get to.
No matter what station you choose to depart from, be sure to follow the signs in the station to find the HSR station. The signs are easy to follow and will lead you right where you need to be!
Where Does the HSR Arrive in Taichung?
The unfortunate part of the HSR station in Taichung is that it is located in the outskirts of the town. That means you have to take the extra step of taking a separate train to get to the heart of the city.
The HSR station in Taichung is well connected, so it is easy to get from the station into town.
It is only a mild inconvenience.
You can either take the train or a bus from the HSR station into town. The New Wurih Railway Station is only a five minute walk from the HSR station, and you can board a bus directly into the heart of Taichung from there.
Alternatively, you can take a Nantou bus from the HSR station to the Taichung Railway Station in the heart of the city.
Taichung is in the process of building a metro line to the HSR station. Hopefully it is up and running soon, so we can just hop on the metro and get off downtown.
Pros of Taking the HSR from Taipei to Taichung
- It is fast
- The trains are clean and comfortable
- The HSR is reliable and hardly ever running late
Cons of Taking the HSR from Taipei to Taichung
- It is fairly expensive compared to other options
- You have to get from the HSR station to downtown by bus, train, or taxi
Option Two: Taking the Train from Taipei to Taichung
Taking the train is another great option for getting from Taipei to Taichung. It isn’t as quick as taking the HSR, but it is just as convenient.
The train is a nice combination of price, speed, and comfort. It is a great option for people looking to save a little money on transportation without sacrificing comfort or convenience!
How Long Does the Train Ride Take?
The length of your journey on the train varies a lot more than if you were to take the HSR. It depends on the time of day, what day of the week, and if the train has to stop to let faster trains/HSRs pass it on the track.
In general, you can expect the train ride from Taipei to Taichung to take anywhere between 2 hours and 3.5 hours.
That’s a pretty big difference!
I highly recommend you look at the departure and arrival times for multiple trains departing within an hour or two window of when you want to leave Taipei.
This will allow you to pick the shortest journey that fits within your price point. You may have to leave a little earlier or later than you intended to, but it could end up saving you a lot of time!
How Much Does a Train Ticket Cost?
There are two different types of trains that travel from Taipei to Taichung:
- The local train
- The express train
There will, of course, be a price difference between the two types of trains you can take.
The local train is slower and less expensive, and the express train is faster and more expensive.
There isn’t a huge price difference between the two types of trains. If you’re not on a super tight budget, I recommend trying to get a ticket for the express train.
You will arrive in Taichung much quicker than on the local train. The extra money you spent on the quicker train will be made up in the extra time you have in Taichung!
On average, you can expect a ticket to cost:
- Local train: 240 NTD or approximately $8 USD
- Express train: 375 NTD or approximately $12.50 USD
Where Can You Buy Train Tickets?
There are quite a few different places you can purchase train tickets, and they all have their pros and cons.
Here is a list of where you can purchase train tickets:
- The Taiwan Railway Administration website
- Through the Taiwan Railway Administration app
- In person at the train station
I personally purchase my tickets through the app. There is an English version, and it is super straightforward and easy to use!
I like purchasing my tickets through the app because the app automatically saves my ticket to my phone, and all I have to do is scan my phone when I arrive at the platform.
There is no need for a paper ticket!
You can download tickets you purchase through the website to your phone as well. You simply enter the booking number into the app, and your ticket will appear.
Buying tickets in person is, of course, great for people who want to pay in cash and don’t want to use their credit card.
You have to arrive at the station early to get your ticket, but it is worth it if you don’t have a credit card or want to use up cash.
No matter how you choose to purchase your ticket, I suggest purchasing your ticket at least a day or two in advance. It will ensure you get a ticket on the train you want, and you have a better chance of getting your preferred seat (window or aisle).
Where Does the Train Depart Taipei?
The easiest place to catch the train from Taipei to Taichung is at Taipei Main Station.
You may be able to catch the train at other local train stations in Taipei and New Taipei City, but it depends on the train, so I wouldn’t rely on that.
If you do want to catch the train somewhere other than Taipei Main Station, make sure you use the station you want to depart from when purchasing your ticket.
This way you’ll only see trains departing from your chosen station.
Where Does the Train Arrive in Taichung?
The train from Taipei to Taichung arrive at Taichung Station.
Taichung Station is in the heart of Taichung, so it is a more convenient arriving point than the HSR station outside of town.
Once you arrive at Taichung Station, you simply find you way to wherever you’re staying. You don’t have to worry about the extra step of taking a bus or train into the city, which is really nice!
Pros of Taking the Train from Taipei to Taichung
- Less expensive than HSR
- Arrives in the heart of the city
- Nice blend of inexpensive price but still comfortable and convenient
- Can buy tickets on the app
Cons of Taking the Train from Taipei to Taichung
- Slower than the HSR
- Have to pay attention to travel time to make sure you’re not on a super slow train
Option Three: Taking the Bus from Taipei to Taichung
The final option to get from Taipei to Taichung is by bus.
Highway buses in Taiwan are convenient and comfortable! They have nice big seats, storage under the bus for bags, and curtains to block the sun. Buses are actually quite a comfortable and stress-free way to travel in Taiwan.
The downside to taking the bus that they have to deal with traffic! You never know when you’ll hit a traffic jam, and your journey could take a lot longer than you anticipated.
How Long is the Bus Ride?
It is quite difficult to tell you exactly how long the bus ride from Taipei to Taichung is. The duration of your trip relies heavily on traffic, and that is impossible to predict.
On average, you can expect the bus ride to last anywhere from 2.5 to 3 hours.
There are ways you can try to ensure your bus ride takes as little time as possible.
This includes not travelling during rush hour and avoiding the weekend if possible. That will give you the best chance of not getting stuck in a traffic jam.
How Much Does a Bus Ticket Cost?
The bus is the least expensive transportation option and is perfect for people who count every penny!
A bus ticket will normally cost between 200 NTD (approximately $7 USD) and 275 NTD (about $9 USD).
As you can see, the least expensive ticket price isn’t much cheaper than the least expensive train ticket price, but there is a bigger difference between the more expensive tickets.
You should take the time to price out the train and bus options if you’re on a budget. There may not be a huge difference between the cost.
Where Can You Buy Bus Tickets?
Bus tickets are purchased at the bus station.
Sometimes there is ticket window where you purchase your ticket and sometimes you purchase your ticket directly from the driver.
You should be able to figure out the protocol when you arrive at the bus station, but if you’re unsure, you can ask any bus station employee, and they’ll be able to help you out!
Where Does the Bus Depart Taipei?
Buses from Taipei to Taichung depart from the Taipei Bus Station.
The bus station is connected to Taipei Main Station. You simply follow the signs inside the station, and you’ll arrive at the bus station!
Where Does the Bus Arrive in Taichung?
The bus arrives at Taichung Station.
Basically, the bus departs and arrives at the same stations as the train. Obviously, the buses depart from a parking lot outside the stations, but you’ll easily be able to find the bus station if once you get to Taipei Main Station or Taichung Station.
Pros of Taking the Bus from Taipei to Taichung
- The least expensive option
- Has storage under the bus, so you don’t have to worry about lifting bags overhead to store
Cons of Taking the Bus from Taipei to Taichung
- The length of the trip relies on traffic and could take much longer than anticipated
- Can’t get up and walk around like on the train or HSR
- Purchasing a ticket isn’t as convenient as other options
Other Ways to Travel from Taipei to Taichung
There are a number of other ways you can travel from Taipei to Taichung. I didn’t go in depth for these options because most people won’t use these methods, but I wanted to include them quickly.
- Driving yourself (car or scooter)
- Taking a chartered bus/limousine bus
It is difficult to give a firm recommendation on how to get from Taipei to Taichung.
If I were travelling between the two cities, this is the process I would go through to decide what transportation method I wanted to use:
- Check to see if I could get an express train that takes under 2 hours to get from Taipei to Taichung for under 350 NTD (approximately $12 USD).
- If I can’t get a quick train to Taichung for under 350 NTD, then I would explore the HSR options.
- I would compare the journey length to the ticket price and decide what I felt was the best for me balancing both cost and time.
In all likelihood, 9 times out of 10, I would probably take the train rather than the HSR.
For me, it is worth saving a little bit of money and having a slightly longer journey time than it is to pay the extra price for an HSR ticket.
But it might be different for you.
If you’re only in Taiwan for a very short period of time or are only visiting Taichung for the day, then the HSR is probably your best option.
The only option I’m weary of and don’t really recommend is the bus. I don’t like having my journey time depend on traffic when there is a comparable option for basically the same price.
There isn’t really a wrong way to travel from Taipei to Taichung. Each transportation method is suited for different people with different needs.
The easiest way to get from Taipei to Taichung is definitely taking the HSR or train. It takes a lot of the unknown out of the journey.
Plus you get a much nicer view from the train/HSR than the bus. Who wants to be looking at cars when you could be looking at nature?!
No matter how you decide to travel from Taipei to Taichung, it is well worth the trip! Taichung is a beautiful city that you should add to your Taiwan itinerary!
You won’t regret it!
PS- if you’re interested in learning some great tips to help you navigate Taiwan and not stick out like a tourist, be sure to check out my post on Taiwan travel tips!