Tainan is a beautiful city near Kaohsiung in southern Taiwan. It is a fairly popular city for tourists. It is super easy to travel from Taipei to Tainan, so there is no reason not to added Tainan to your Taiwan itinerary.
A lot of people travel from Kaohsiung to Tainan, but using Tainan as an entrance point to southern Taiwan instead of Kaohsiung is a great option.
You should definitely consider it, and this post will help you decide whether travelling from Taipei to Tainan is right for you.
The post will go over all the different transportation options to help you decide how you want to travel between the two cities.
At the end, I’ll give you my recommendation and how I travel from Taipei to Tainan!
Other Taiwan Transportation Guides
I love writing these transportation guides for you.
Figuring out how to travel between cities is one of my least favourite parts of travel, and I wanted to make it as easy as possible for you to plan your transportation methods.
You’ll want to check out these transportation guides if you’re travelling around Taiwan:
- How to travel from Taipei to Hualien
- How to travel from Taipei to Kaohsiung
- How to travel from Taipei to Taichung
- 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 what you’re really here for: to figure out how to get from Taipei to Tainan.
Option One: Take the HSR from Taipei to Tainan
The HSR (high-speed rail) is the most popular and efficient way to travel from Taipei to Tainan.
It is quick. efficient, and comfortable. The only downside is that it is the most expensive way to travel between the two cities.
But it is often worth it to save time!
How Long Does the HSR Take?
The high-speed rail takes about 1 hour and 45 minutes on average to travel from Taipei to Tainan. Your HSR journey shouldn’t take more than 2 hours!
The distance between the two cities is over 300km, so that is pretty darn fast!
How Much Does a HSR Ticket Cost?
The price of a HSR ticket varies depending on what time of day you’re travelling and what day of the week. The price also depends on whether you’re sitting in standard or business class.
The average cost of a standard seat is 1,350 NTD or approximately $45 USD.
A business seat, on average, costs 2,000 NTD or approximately $66 USD. You don’t need to spend the extra money on a business class seat though. The standard seats are quite nice and very comfortable.
Where to Purchase HSR Tickets
There are three places you can purchase high-speed rail tickets:
- In person at the railway station
- At a ticketing machines at the station
- Online through the Taiwan High-Speed Rail website
You need to pick your ticket up at a ticketing machine at the railway station if you purchase it online. There is a dedicated queue for people picking up tickets, so it doesn’t take very long.
All three options work well for purchasing a ticket, and it really just depends on your preference.
I like to purchase my ticket online through the website a couple of days in advance. This way I’m able to get a window seat and make sure I get a ticket.
Tickets from Taipei to Tainan don’t normally sell out, but they can during busy times of the year like Lunar New Year.
I always recommend buying your HSR ticket a day or two in advance just to be sure you get exactly what you want!
Where Does the HSR Depart from in Taipei?
The HSR departs from Taipei Main Station.
The HSR station is located near the end of Taipei Main Station past the train station. It is really easy to find. You just follow the signs and maps in Taipei Main Station until you reach the HSR station.
You can always ask an employee if you’re having trouble finding the HSR station, but you shouldn’t need to.
Where Does the HSR Arrive at in Tainan?
The high-speed rail train arrives at Tainan High-Speed Rail Station.
The station is, unfortunately, outside of Tainan city, so you’ll need to take another form of transportation to get to Tainan.
You can either take:
- Free Shuttle Bus: Hop on either H31 or H62 to get to downtown Tainan.
- Train: You can take the train (not HSR) from Tainan High-Speed Rail Station to Tainan Station, which is located in downtown Tainan. A ticket costs less than 25 NTD (approximately $1 USD), and the rides takes less than 20 minutes.
- Taxi: There is always a line up of taxis outside of the station. If you don’t want to take the shuttle or train, this is a great option. A taxi to downtown Tainan will cost approximately 450 NTD or about $15 USD.
All three options are great, and it depends on what mood you’re in when you arrive in Tainan. If it is later in the day, I would take a taxi. But if it is still the afternoon, I would lean towards taking the shuttle or train.
Advantages of Taking the HSR from Taipei to Tainan
- It is the quickest way to get from Taipei to Tainan
- The HSR is comfortable and clean
- It always runs on time, and you shouldn’t encounter any delays
Disadvantages of Taking the HSR from Taipei to Tainan
- It is by far the most expensive way to travel from Taipei to Tainan
- The HSR station is outside of Tainan, and you need to take a shuttle, train, or taxi into the city
Option Two: Taking the Train from Taipei to Tainan
The second option is taking the regular train from Taipei to Tainan.
It is a lot slower than the HSR, but it is more affordable. You’re saving some money by taking a less convenient form of transportation, but it is a still a great option!
How Long Does the Train Take?
The length of the train journey from Taipei to Tainan varies quite a bit. It depends heavily on what time of day you’re travelling and what day of the week.
Trains that run during rush hour or on the weekend will take longer than early morning and late evening trains because there is more traffic on the train tracks.
You can expect the train ride to be between 3 and 4.5 hours long.
That’s basically twice as long as the HSR.
How Much Does a Train Ticket Cost?
Train tickets are a lot more affordable than a HSR ticket.
It will cost you anywhere between 550 NTD (approximately $18 USD) and 750 NTD (approximately $25 USD) to take the train from Taipei to Tainan.
The longer the train ride, the less expensive your ticket will be.
Essentially, if you get on the quickest train, you’re spending half the amount on a train ticket than you would on a HSR ticket and are only on the train an hour longer than you would be on the HSR.
On the other hand, if you purchased the cheapest train ticket, you’re paying 40% less for the ticket but travelling for twice as long.
If you’re taking the train, be sure you’re doing a cost comparison and trying to get on the quickest train that is within your budget.
Where to Purchase a Train Ticket
Just as with the HSR, there are three different ways you can purchase a train ticket:
- Through the Taiwan Railway Administration app
- On the Taiwan Railway Administration website
- In person at the train station
I always purchase my ticket through the app. I love how convenient it is, and my phone services as my ticket!
You can download your ticket onto your phone if you purchase it on the website, so the only time you’ll have a hard ticket is if you purchase a ticket in person.
I recommend purchasing your ticket as early as possible.
Tickets from Taipei to Tainan don’t typically sell out on a regular basis, but booking early gives you the best chance to get on the train you want and get the seat you want.
A lot of people like to take the most popular trains, so if you’re not booking an off-peak train, then you should plan to purchase your ticket early.
I also recommend trying to get a window seat. It is a long(ish) journey, and you’ll want to be able to look out the window.
Where Does the Train Depart from in Taipei?
The most common place to board the train is at Taipei Main Station. This is the major transportation hub in Taipei, and all the trains headed for Tainan will stop there.
You can potentially catch a train at other TRA stations in Taipei and New Taipei Station, but it isn’t a guarantee.
If you’re staying in New Taipei City and don’t want to take the train to Taipei Main Station, you can search for a train to Tainan departing from the closest TRA station to where you’re staying. Not every train will stop there, but you’ll likely find a number of trains to choose from.
I recommend always depart from Taipei Main Station though. I find it easier and more convenient than trying to catch a train at a different TRA station.
It is up to you and what your preferences are though!
Where Does the Train Arrive at in Tainan?
The train arrives at Tainan Train Station.
It is located right in downtown Tainan, so it is a lot more convenient than the HSR station. You can easily get off the train and head directly to where you’re staying without having to worry about taking another form of transportation into downtown.
Tainan doesn’t have a metro system (yet), so you’ll have to take a bus or taxi to your accommodation if you’re not staying within walking distance of Tainan Train Station.
Advantages of Taking the Train from Taipei to Tainan
- It is less expensive than the high-speed rail
- You arrive in downtown Tainan
- The train is comfortable and relaxing
Disadvantages of Taking the Train from Taipei to Tainan
- It is quite a bit slower than the HSR
- The train (in my experience) tends to be very cold, so you’ll want to bring a sweater!
Option Three: Taking the Bus from Taipei to Tainan
The third option is to take the bus from Taipei to Tainan.
This form of transportation is not nearly as popular as the HSR and train. Your transit time depends on how busy the roads are, and you can end up being delayed if there is a traffic jam.
How Long Does the Bus Take?
The bus normally takes between 4 and 5 hours, but, as mentioned, it can take much longer if the traffic is bad.
You can never guarantee how long the bus is going to take. Make sure you don’t have any strict plans for the day you arrive in Tainan just in case you’re delayed due to traffic!
How Much Does a Bus Ticket Cost?
The bus is the least expensive way to travel from Taipei to Tainan.
It only costs (on average) between 350 NTD or 400 NTD. That’s approximately $12 USD to $13 USD.
That’s a lot less expensive than the HSR and train, so it can be a pretty good deal. And very attractive if you’re on a very strict travel budget.
Where to Purchase Bus Tickets
You purchase your ticket at the bus station.
Sometimes you purchase your ticket directly from the bus driver and sometimes you purchase it from a ticket window at the bus station.
You’ll easily be able to figure out the process for buying a bus ticket when you get to the station. Just watch what everybody else is doing and follow their lead.
If you’re struggling to figure out how to purchase a ticket or where to catch the bus, just ask an employee (or bus driver), and they’ll be able to help you out.
Where Does the Bus Depart from in Taipei?
The buses from Taipei to Tainan depart from Taipei Bus Station.
The bus station is connected to Taipei Main Station, so it should be easy to find! You just follow the signs and map at Taipei Main Station.
I recommend taking a look at a map of Taipei Main Station when looking for the train station. It’ll really help you get an idea of where exactly you’re headed.
Where Does the Bus Arrive at in Tainan?
Tainan opened a new bus station in January of 2020. It was built to alleviate some of the traffic and congestion around Tainan Station.
Your bus from Taipei will arrive at the new bus station located on Beimen Road. It is just across the street from Tainan Park.
The new bus station isn’t within walking distance of downtown Tainan, so you’ll have to take a free shuttle to Tainan Station. The free shuttle runs every 20 minutes, and you simply wait at the designated area in the parking lot for the next shuttle to arrive.
Advantages of Taking the Bus from Taipei to Tainan
- Very inexpensive
- Comfortable seating
- You can store your luggage under the bus
Disadvantages of Taking the Bus from Taipei to Tainan
- It is the slowest form of transportation
- Your journey time depends on traffic
- You have to take a shuttle bus to downtown Tainan
Option Four: Flying from Taipei to Tainan
You’re able to fly from Taipei to Tainan, but nobody does so. The HSR and train are very efficient and take less time than flying- especially when you take into consideration getting to and from the airport and getting through security.
The only way I can see flying being a consideration is if you’re going to Tainan the day you land in Taipei. Then it might be beneficial to stay at the airport and catch a flight.
But even then that seems like a stretch. Not many people are going straight to Tainan upon arrive in Taiwan.
So while you can fly to Tainan from Taipei, I don’t recommend it, so I’m not going to go into the details of how you can travel by plane.
It is super easy to get from Taipei to Tainan.
No matter what transportation option you choose to take, you’re able to depart Taipei and arrive in Tainan without having to transfer trains or buses.
I love how simple and stress free it is!
Tainan is a beautiful city, and not enough tourists take the time to visit it while in Taiwan. Now that you know exactly how to get from Taipei to Tainan, there is no excuse not to visit!
You won’t regret spending time in Tainan and exploring all the beautiful temples and night markets.