How to Get from Taipei to Kaohsiung

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Taipei and Kaohsiung are two of the most popular cities in Taiwan for tourists, but they are quite a distance apart. 358km apart to be exact. Luckily it is very easy to get from Taipei to Kaohsiung!

There are three ways you can get from Taipei to Kaohsiung: high speed rail, train, and bus.

You can also fly between the two cities, but that isn’t the most practical option, so I’m not going to discuss it.

This post will go over all the different ways you can get from Taipei to Kaohsiung and help you pick what transportation method is best for you and your style of travel!

Option One: High Speed Rail from Taipei to Kaohsiung

The quickest and most expensive option is the Taiwan High Speed Rail (HSR). It is also the most popular way to get from Taipei to Kaohsiung, so it is also the busiest.

The trip takes between 1.5 to 2 hours on the HSR, so it is a great option for people who need to get from Taipei to Kaohsiung quickly.

Where to Purchase Tickets

You can purchase tickets on the Taiwan High Speed Rail website or at the ticket counter at the train station. You can pay by credit card online or by cash or card in person.

If you don’t have access to a printer, you’re able to pickup tickets you ordered online at the train station. This is an ideal option for people who book their HSR ticket while in Taiwan rather than before they leave.

How Much do Tickets Cost?

The price of tickets varies a little bit depending on what time of day you leave and the time of year, but, on average, tickets cost approximately NT1,500.

This converts to approximately $50USD, so it is not an inexpensive ticket. The cost of tickets can really add up if you’re travelling with a larger group or family.

Do I Need to Book My Ticket in Advance?

This depends on the time of year, week, and day you’re travelling. There are some instances in the off-season during the week where you could purchase your ticket a few minutes before the train departs, but that isn’t the norm.

Trains from Taipei to Kaohsiung can sell out. Especially during the summer and on the weekends. They certainly don’t sell out as quickly as the trains from Taipei to Hualien, but they still do sell out.

I recommend purchasing your ticket at least two or three days in advance to ensure you get a seat.

Where do Trains Depart from in Taipei?

Trains from Taipei to Kaohsiung depart from Taipei Main Station.

Taipei Main Station is serviced by buses, the red and blue metro lines, and the Taoyuan Airport MRT, so no matter where you’re coming from, it is easy to get to Taipei Main Station from anywhere in Taipei.

To get to the HSR station, simply follow the over-head signs for that say “HSR”. The HSR station is near the Taiwan Railway platforms. If you reach the metro lines, you’ve gone too far.

Taipei Main Station is huge, but it is easy to navigate by using the signs and maps all around the station. You can always ask an employee for help if you get really lost.

Where do Trains Arrive at in Kaohsiung?

HSR trains arrive at Zuoying Station in Kaohsiung. Zuoying Station is a little bit outside of downtown Kaohsiung, so you’ll probably have to take the metro or a bus to get to your accommodation.

Just like Taipei Main Station, Zuoying Station is serviced by buses and the metro. It is located at R16. There are only two metro lines in Kaohsiung: the R and O. If you need to transfer to the O line, you need to take the R line to Formosa Boulevard and transfer there. It is the only transfer station along the metro lines.

Kaohsing, Taiwan Tiger Dragon Pagoda

Advantages of Taking the HSR from Taipei to Kaohsiung:

  • It is by far the quickest way to get from Taipei to Kaohsiung
  • There is dedicated luggage storage in each train car
  • You have an assigned seat

Disadvantages of Taking the HSR from Taipei to Kaohsiung

  • It is the most expensive way to get between the two cities
  • The train arrives as Zuoying Station, so you probably won’t be able to walk to your accommodation and will need to take public transit

Option Two: Take the Train from Taipei to Kaohsiung

The second option is taking the train from Taipei to Kaohsiung. This is a slow train operated by Taiwan Railways and is much slower than the high speed rail.

The train journey takes 4.5-6 hours depending on train traffic, so it isn’t great for people who don’t have much time to explore Taiwan and need to travel between cities quickly.

Where to Purchase Tickets

You can purchase your train tickets on the Taiwan Railways Administration website, through their app, or in person at the station.

The best part of purchasing tickets online or through the app is that you can download an electronic copy to your phone, so you don’t have to worry about keeping track of a paper ticket.

How Much do Tickets Cost?

Tickets cost between NT800 and NT900. This coverts to $27-$30USD, so it isn’t that much cheaper than the HSR but takes significantly longer.

You’ll need to factor in what your time is worth when deciding whether you want to take the HSR or train. Is saving $20USD-$30USD worth the extra two and a half to four hours?

Only you can decide that. If you have a long time in Taiwan, it just might be, but if you only have a week, it probably isn’t.

Do I Need to Book My Ticket in Advance?

It is easier to purchase last-minute tickets for the slow train than it is for the HSR simply because it is less popular. You can probably show up at the train station and get on the next train pretty much any time of year.

That being said, I recommend purchasing your ticket at least the night before your departure. This way you know exactly what train you’ll be on and be able to download the ticket to your phone.

Where do Trains Depart from in Taipei?

Trains from Taipei to Kaohsiung depart from Taipei Main Station just like the HSR. You simply follow the signs for Taiwan Railway, and you’ll easily be able to find your platform.

The train from Taipei to Kaohsiung departs at the same location as the local trains used to get places in Taipei the metro doesn’t cover, so if you’ve used one of those trains, you’ll know exactly where to go!

Where do Trains Arrive at in Kaohsiung?

Trains arrive right in central Kaohsiung at Kaohsiung Main Station. This is R11 on the metro line and is only one metro stop away from the transfer station Formosa Boulevard.

This makes it quite convenient to get from Kaohsiung Main Station to anywhere in central Kaohsiung you need to go.

Kaohsiung Main Station is also well connected by bus if you prefer that over taking the metro.

Taipei, Taiwan

Advantages of Taking the Train from Taipei to Kaohsiung

  • The train arrives in central Kaohsiung, so it is easy to get anywhere quickly
  • You can easily purchase last-minute tickets without the train being sold out

Disadvantages of Taking the Train from Taipei to Kaohsiung

  • It takes significantly longer than the HSR and isn’t much cheaper
  • There isn’t dedicated luggage storage in each car, and you have to lift your bag overhead to store it

Option Three: Taking a Bus from Taipei to Kaohsiung

The final option is to take a bus from Taipei to Kaohsiung. This is the least popular way to travel between the two cities and should probably be your last resort if you can’t manage to get on a train.

The bus ride takes between 5 and 6 hours, but it can be significantly delayed because of traffic. This means your trip could take a whole lot longer than you planned on!

Where to Purchase Tickets

Tickets can be purchased at the bus station before you get on the bus and at convenience stores around Taipei.

You need to purchase your ticket before you get on the bus. Your EasyCard will not work on this bus, so you cannot tap when you get on and off for money to be automatically deducted from your account.

How Much do Tickets Cost?

Bus tickets between Taipei and Kaohsiung cost between NT400 and NT 700. That converts to $13USD to $23USD.

If you’re able to get a less expensive ticket, then it is considerably less expensive to take the bus than the train; however, the most expensive tickets are pretty close in price to train tickets.

It is probably worth the few extra dollars to take the train, so you don’t risk getting stuck in a traffic jam.

Do I Need to Book My Ticket in Advance?

The bus is a fairly popular method of transportation amongst Taiwan locals, so it isn’t uncommon for buses to be full to capacity.

You’ll be getting on the bus at the first stop, so it is likely that there will be room for you, but I recommend purchasing your ticket a day in advance or at a minimum a few hours in advance.

This way you’ll have a guaranteed seat and won’t be delayed if the bus you want to get on is full.

Where do Buses Depart from in Taipei?

Buses depart from the Taipei Bus Station. It is adjacent to Taipei Main Station near Q Square.

There are maps all around Taipei Main Station that show where the bus station is, so it is really easy to find. Taipei Main Station has free WiFi, so you can always put “Taipei Bus Station” into Google Maps and follow the directions if you’re worried about getting lost.

Where do Buses Arrive at in Kaohsiung?

Buses arrive at Kaohsiung Main Station, which is the same place the slow trains arrive at. It is in central Kaohsiung, so it is easy to get to where ever you need to go from the bus station.

Everything in central Kaohsiung is just a few minutes away on the metro, so it is quite convenient.

Kaohsing, Taiwan Tiger Dragon Pagoda

Advantages of Taking the Bus from Taipei to Kaohsiung

  • Your luggage is store under the bus, so you don’t need to worry about storing it yourself or lifting it overhead
  • It is the least expensive way to get from Taipei to Kaohsiung

Disadvantages of Taking the Bus from Taipei to Kaohsiung

  • It takes the longest time and can be delayed due to traffic
  • You can’t get up and walk around to stretch your legs on the long journey like you can on the train or HSR

My Recommendation

I personally think the HSR and slow train are the best ways to get from Taipei to Kaohsiung. Which one you choose between the two of them has a lot to do with personal preference.

The HSR is great for people who aren’t in Taiwan long and want to get between the two cities quickly. It is how I always travel between Taipei and Kaohsiung, I like that it is quick and efficient.

The train, on the other hand, is great for people who have a long time to explore Taiwan or are on a tight budget. It does take quite a bit longer than the HSR, but it gives you more of an opportunity to enjoy the scenery outside your window.

You really can’t go wrong with either option. No matter what train you choose, you’ll have a pleasant experience and trip.

National Concert Hall Taipei, Taiwan

Conclusion

There is so much to do in both Taipei and Kaohsiung that it would be a shame to miss either city on your trip to Taiwan. Luckily Taiwan has a great public transportation system, and it is easy to get between the two cities!

Just a reminder that it is considered rude in Taiwan to be loud or chatty on public transportation and to always clean up after yourself if you have a snack on the train or bus! The Taiwan locals and train and bus employees will appreciate it!

How to Get from Taipei to Kaohsiung

12 Replies to “How to Get from Taipei to Kaohsiung”

  1. Great details! I love that there is a high speed train so I don’t waste any time in transit between these two cities.

  2. Great informative post which comes in very handy for me at the moment – I might travel to Taiwan to visit friends who just moved over there soon. Thanks for sharing these options x

  3. Oh I would love to visit Kaohsiung! I went to Taiwan about two years ago but sadly got sick badly and only managed to see Hualien and a little bit of Taipei. Have been wanting to go back for ages!

    1. I’m so sorry to hear that you were ill while in Taiwan! It is terrible getting sick on the road. I hope you make it back to Kaohsiung and get to see everything the city has to offer!

  4. I typically select speed of travel over money on things like this if I’m there a short time. I don’t want to waste a day traveling when I could be there much quicker for the sake of $20 but this is a great way of laying out the options

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