A Taipei Guide on the Taiwan High Speed Rail (aka 台灣高鐵 , Gāotíe, THSR, HSR, Taiwan bullet train, Taiwan shinkansen). Ticket pricing, tourists discounts, routes, seats, and everything you need to know when using the THSR.
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What is the THSR in Taiwan?
The THSR is Taiwan is the “Taiwan High Speed Rail” ( 台灣高鐵 ) that runs from Nangang to Zuoying. For reference, Nangang is near Taipei and Zuoying is near Kaoshiung.
The Taiwan High Speed Rail ( 台灣高鐵 , Gāotíe) line is approximately 345km (214mi) in length and runs along the west side of Taiwan. It has been operating since 2007 and is incredibly convenient for traveling throughout Taiwan for tourists and locals.
If you’ve ever used a shinkansen (bullet train in Japan) before, the Taiwan High Speed Rail experience is exactly the same. Everything is very clean, organized and easy to understand. Best of all, using the Taiwan bullet train is significantly cheaper compared to Japan. Even better, discounts are available for tourists.
If you’re looking for regular Taiwan Trains (TRA), that is much cheaper and slower than the THSR, but gives you more access to the rest of Taiwan.
Getting To A Taiwan High Speed Rail Station 台灣高鐵
If you’ve just arrived in Taoyuan International Airport (TPE) and plan on directly using the Taipei High Speed Rail, you’ll need to get to the high speed rail station.
From TPE Airport, your best option is to take the airport MRT commuter line to the Taoyuan HSR station which takes approximately 20-minutes.
I’ve written up a detailed guide on How To Get From Taipei Airport to Taoyuan HSR station.
If you’re still in the process of planning your trip to Taiwan, check out this guide on Where To Stay In Taipei.
Taiwan High Speed Rail Stations (THSR)
The Taiwan High Speed Rail (THSR) is the super fast Taiwan bullet train that takes you to:
|1. Nangang||5. Hsinchu||9. Yunli|
|2. Taipei||6. Miaoli||10. Chiayi|
|3. Banqiao||7. Taichung||11. Tainan|
|4. Taoyuan||8. Changhua||12. Zuoying (Kaoshiung)|
Taiwan High Speed Rail Station Map:
This Taiwan bullet train map shows each of the high speed rail stations in Taiwan. On Google Maps, they are all named differently making it confusing to find the right one.
- Example: Sometimes you’ll end up finding Tainan Train Station instead of Tainan HSR Station on Google Maps.
Taiwan HSR Stations Can Be Far Away!
Be sure to look up your destination from the Taiwan bullet train stations because the city train station can be a different location!
- If you’re traveling from Taoyuan HSR station to Taoyuan Train Station that’s a 20-minute drive (14km away).
- Traveling from Tainan HSR Station to Tainan Train Station can take 25-minutes by car (17km away).
Be aware that when going to a Taiwan High Speed Rail Station, it might be very far from the actual city. Not all cities in Taiwan have Uber so you’ll have to use a Taiwan taxi or bus.
Taiwan High Speed Rail Ticket Price
The Taiwan bullet train ticket price depends on where you’re traveling and if you want a business class seat, standard reserved seat or standard non-reserved seat.
Taiwan HSR Ticket Price Difference Between Reserved Seats and Non-Reserved Seats
- The price difference between reserved seats and non-reserved seats is between NT$5-50 for the shortest to longest ride on the Taiwan shinkansen.
- If you’re traveling with someone it’s worth it to sit together by getting a reserved seat on the Taiwan bullet train.
- Or if you’re traveling around the holidays, it’s worth it to reserve your seat otherwise you may have to stand for the duration of your trip on the Taiwan bullet train.
Free Taiwan High Speed Train Tickets For Children Under 6
- Children that are shorter than 115cm do not require a ticket
- For children that are above 115cm but are less than 6 years old, they do not require a ticket but identification is required.
- Although if your child takes a seat, they will be required to purchase a ticket. The children ticket exemption is assuming that you will be sharing a seat with your child or carrying them for the duration of travel on the Taiwan bullet train.
50% off Taiwan High Speed Rail Tickets For Children under 12
- Children that are taller than 115cm, but less than 12 years of age may purchase a child ticket which are 50% off from the adult price.
- For children that are less than 12 years of age but are taller than 150cm, ID is required to purchase a child ticket at 50% off the adult price.
Where can I buy HSR Tickets in person?
You can buy Taiwan HSR tickets at any high speed rail station and at these convenience stores: 7-ELEVEN, Hi-Life OK Mart and Family Mart.
Where can I buy HSR Tickets online?
How To Get Your Taiwan High Speed Rail Pass From Klook
Even though you select a specific day on Klook for your Taiwan High Speed Rail Pass, the date doesn’t really matter since it’s a voucher. So if you planned to travel on August 5 but ended up wanting to use your pass on August 9, you can redeem your pass for that date.
To redeem your Taiwan High Speed Rail Pass from Klook:
- Print out your voucher or bring up the voucher on your Klook app.
- Bring your Passport
- Go to any of the High Speed Rail Station and go to the HSR Tickets window. There will be a specific section for [Periodic Ticket / Multi-Ride Ticket] where you can exchange your voucher for a Taiwan High Speed Rail Pass.
- Show them your voucher and your passport and they will then provide you a Taiwan Rail pass (or standard ticket if you bought that from Klook).
Be sure to reserve a THSR seat at the same time you redeem your Taiwan Rail pass voucher. This will save you a lot of time. You can make multiple reservations if you know your schedule and the train station staff will help you find the fastest trains.
Where Can You Use The Taiwan Rail Pass?
The Taiwan Rail Pass is ONLY eligible for travel on the Taiwan High Speed Rail (THSR). Your Taiwan Rail Pass will not be valid on the Taipei MRT, Taipei Subway, Taipei Taxi, Taiwan Rail (TRA) and Taoyuan Airport MRT.
How Do You Use The Taiwan Rail Pass?
When you get your Taiwan Rail Pass you can use it to reserve seats in advance or you can just show up and ride in any of the non-reserved seat cars.
Finding the Right Taiwan High Speed Train
Be sure to check the THSR Departure Times before going to the THSR station. Travel times can vary for the same destination because some trains are express, limited express or commuter.
Entering/Exiting Any Taiwan High Speed Rail Station
To enter/exit any Taiwan HSR station, you need to show your Taiwan rail pass to the station attendant. SOMETIMES, they will ask to see your passport to verify your Taiwan rail pass. They will then open a gate to let you enter/exit the HSR station.
If you’ve use the Japan rail pass before, it works just like that! It’s the Taiwan Shinkansen.
After passing through the gates, you then board the train. If you’ve made a reservation, you ticket will show what time your train is and which car.
Boarding The Taiwan High Speed Train Without Reserved Seats
For those of you who did not make a Taiwan High Speed Train reservation, you can go directly to the cars for non-reserved seats #10, 11 and 12.
When the train arrives, just get on and find an empty seat.
Keep Your Taiwan Rail Pass and Passport Ready
While on the train, make sure to keep your Taiwan rail pass and passport ready. The THSR staff will periodically come by to check your tickets throughout the ride.
How To Reserve Your Taipei THSR Seats In Advance
To reserve your Taipei THSR seat in advance, you will need to go to the THSR service window available at any high speed rail station. You can make multiple reservations in advance so if you want to a ride from [Taichung to Taoyuan HSR Station] for a Monday and want to return from [Taoyuan HSR Station to Taichung] on a Wednesday, you can book both rides!
Why Should You Reserve Your Taipei High Speed Rail Seats in Advance
You should absolutely book your Taipei High Speed Rail seat in advance! You might unknowingly be traveling during a Taiwan holiday and end up having to use the non-reserved seat car.
I’ve been on the Taipei THSR in the non-reserved seat car around a holiday weekend, the seats fill up! I’ve seen people having to stand in the non-reserved seat car from Taipei to Kaoshiung! That’s about 2 hours!
If you’re using the high speed train Taiwan rail pass, you can book reserve seats in advance for no additional fee. There is no penalty even if you don’t use your reserved seat, but it is polite to go to the station and cancel the ticket. Someone may want that seat on the Taipei high speed rail!
The Taiwan Bullet Train Experience
Seat Configuration on the Taipei Shinkansen
- In the HSR train economy standard seats (reserved and non-reserved), each row of 5 seats in a 2×3 pattern
- The THSR train business class seats will be rows of 4 seats in a 2×2 pattern.
Seat Amenities On The Taiwan Shinkansen
- All seats are 180 degrees adjustable. If you’re traveling as a group, you just need step on the seat switch (located on the seat by the aisle) and you can rotate your seat in the other direction.
- Each seat has a fold-down table tray that can support up to 10kg of weight
- Small luggage storage is available above the seat in the overhead shelf.
- Garment hangers are available at each seat and can hold up to 2kg of clothing.
- Each seat is capable of reclining if you want to sleep.
- Beneath the seat in front of you is an adjustable foot rest to help you relax.
- There is plenty of space between each seat row. You reclining will not impact the person behind you. If you take a window seat, you can easily get to the aisle without disturbing your seat mates. You can also keep small luggage in front of your seat.
- Seats A & E are window seats. Pick the window seats if you want to see the beautiful scenery in Taiwan.
- Each car has air conditioning and is cooled to a comfortable temperature.
Additional High Speed Train Taiwan Information
- There are 12 train cars on the Taiwan Shinkansen: 1 Business Class and 11 Economy Class (standard/economy seats)
- Train Car #6 is the accessible car
- For non-reserved seats, Car #11 has the most luggage space
- Non-reserved seats can be found in Train Cars #10, #11 and #12. You should get to these seats as fast as you can if you want to sit down. I’ve seen people standing in the aisles of the Taiwan high speed train and it looks brutal.
- Vending machines are available in train cars #1, 5 and 11.
- Restrooms are available in car #1, 3, 5, 7, 9 and 11. Pretty much all odd-numbered cars will have a restroom.
- Trash cans are available in each car
- Breastfeeding room is available in car #5. You will need to contact the train crew before using. This can be done at the station or by asking the conductor in car #6.
- Food trolley service is available in all cars. From my experience, they come by every 30-minutes. You can buy meal boxes, snacks, candy, tea, water, beer and THSR train souvenirs.
- There is absolutely no smoking on the train.
How Fast Is The Taipei THSR Bullet Train?
- The Taipei THSR reaches a max speed of 300 km/h (186 mph).
- Running from the north of Taiwan in Nangang to the South in Zuoying (Kaoshiung) in just 105 minutes (Taipei to Kaoshiung). This gives access to transportation to almost 90% of Taiwan’s population.