Comparison of Trains in Taiwan

Updated March 2020, amid the collapse of the tourism industry due to COVID-19.

High Speed Rail (HSR)
Taroko Express & Puyuma Express
Tze-Chiang (Express)
Chu Kuang Express
Local Train



Where they Operate
West Coast (Taipei – Kaohsiung)
Taipei to Hualien. Limited stops.
All around Taiwan. Stops at most common stations.
All around Taiwan. Stop at all stations.
Fastest transport in Taiwan.
Fastest (non-HSR) train.
Fastest regular train.

In between Tze-Chiang and Local.
Slowest train, but some much slower than others.
Most expensive tickets after HSR. Taroko Express is the same price as Tze-Chiang.
Cheapest. A third to half HSR price, but about three times as long.
Lik aeroplane (economy). Max 2 hours. Business class available.
Very comfortable.
Comfortable IF you have reserved seats.
Most comfortable train journey without reserved seats.
Non-reserved / standing tickets?
Non-reserved available (~3% cheaper)
All seats reserved and often sell out.
Non-reserved “standing tickets” sold but very uncomfortable. Reserve ahead of time.
All seats non-reserved. Generally quiet outside main city centres.
Rec'd For
Taipei - Kaohsiung
Taipei – Hualien. Book in advance.
Most intercity transport if you can book in advance.
Intercity transport if you can't get a Tze-chiang ticket.
Short trip.
Trips between small towns where other trains don't stop.
You have plenty of time:
- no reservation
- tighter budget

Is something out of date? Please let me know.