Transportation in Taiwan by HSR high speed train2

Traveling in Taiwan is now much easier than the past. Many people and families come to Taiwan for traveling, shopping, eating. Most of the visitors will fly to Taipei firstly before going to attractive places. But how to move between places in Taiwan for convenience? Taiwan’s HSR high-speed train (Taiwan High Speed Rail, HSR Taiwan, THSR Taiwan, Taiwan High Speed Rail THSR) with a maximum speed of 350 km/h is an ideal and fast way, affordable price between this island’s cities. Let’s explore HSR Taiwan travel guide — Everything you need to know about Taiwan High-Speed Rail HSR from what is THSR, where to buy the THSR ticket or how to buy HSR ticket to how to travel with THSR… with Living Nomads below.

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Transportation in Taiwan by HSR high speed train

What is THSR?

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THSR (THSR) is the abbreviation of Taiwan High Speed Rail in Taiwan. The HSR runs along the west coast from Taipei to Kaohsiung, catching up with major cities in Taiwan. With super-speed to reach 348.5km/h, transportation between the cities here can be solved in a flash.

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To make it easier for travelers, THSR is similar to JR Shinkansen in Japan. But THSR is cheaper. And Taiwan is much smaller than Japan, so the HSR here is not as complicated as the JR pass.

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Arriving at Taiwan High Speed Rail's Zuoying Station in Kaohsiung City
Arriving at Taiwan High-Speed Rail’s Zuoying Station in Kaohsiung City

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All the places are connected together. And, sitting on the HSR from Taipei to Kaohsiung in just 1 hours and 30 minutes instead of wasting 5 hours by train or bus. Or If you come from Taipei to Taichung is only 45 minutes, much faster than taking 3 hours by train/bus.

The stations that the HSR system of Taiwan passes through

Taiwan High Speed Rail 700T
Taiwan High-Speed Rail HSR 700T

HSR Taiwan goes through the following cities: Taipei Nangang, Taipei Main Station, Banqiao, Taoyuan, Hsinchu, Miaoli, Taichung, Changhua, Yunlin, Chiayi, Tainan, and Kaohsiung (Zuoying).

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Kaohsiung city
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Changhua-Taiwan
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Image: Tainan – Taiwan

People will not be able to find the HSR Kaohsiung station, as the HSR Kaohsiung station sells a number of HSR Online ticketing places called Zuoying, which is actually the HSR Kao Kaohsiung station.

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Taiwan High-Speed Rail HSR, Zuoying, Kaohsiung

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Transportation in Taiwan by HSR high speed train15

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The advantages and disadvantages of HSR Taiwan (Taiwan High-Speed Rail HSR)

Taiwan High Speed Rail HSR 700T
Taiwan High-Speed Rail HSR 700T

The biggest minus advantage of HSR Taiwan is that some HSR stations like HSR Chiayi are quite far from the city center. You have to take time to move from the HSR station to the center, or from HSR Tainan to Tainan Station about 13km.

HSR Pass with train - THSR Taiwan Itinerary

04 Business Class for Taiwan High Speed Rail (HSR) 台灣高速鐵 (Large)
Business Class for Taiwan High Speed Rail (HSR) 台灣高速鐵 (Large)

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The advantages of HSR Taiwan system are: Quick, Clean, Comfortable.

Review how to book HSR Taiwan tickets

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There are many trains moving north-south route on the day so it is easy to choose the time for convenience. HSR tickets are available in two types: Reserved seat and Non-reserved seat.

  • Each train has 3 non-reserved coaches (coach 10-11-12). Non-reserved tickets are used on these 3 coaches (you can sit in any space).
  • If you have the specified time and train route you want to travel, you should change the Reserved seat ticket to book the date/ time/seat. The booked date will fix the date/ time/number of seats so it must be used in accordance with the date, time and seat with number indicated on the ticket.

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If you are not sure about the schedule, you can change to the Non-reserved seat, this ticket has a duration of 28 days, any trip will be.

Tickets can be exchanged before boarding. If you come to Taiwan during the peak season, please book 1-2 days in advance. You can refer some peak days reference: Lunar New Year, February 28 Incident (28/2), Sun Qing, Mid-Autumn.

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Serve food in the business class.
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Snacks for the business class include Taiwanese pineapple, apple juice, coffee, wet towel.
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Economy class

How to buy Taiwan High Speed Rail ticket (THSR ticket, HSR ticket)?

To book Taiwanese speed train tickets, please visit: https://irs.thsrc.com.tw/IMINT?locale=en

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Taiwan high-speed rail HSR search screen

1. After you enter into this page, the screen will look like this. In the From and To section, you select the departure and arrival stations.

2. Choose the exact time and place. As I mentioned above, if you buy early about 28 days you will have the opportunity to buy tickets at good prices, it can be reduced to 35%.

3. At the bottom, you can choose “Standard Car” (normal seating) or “Business Car” (business class). Below is a “Window Seat” or “Aisle Seat” or None (No choosing optional seating).

4. Then, you choose the day and the time you want to go. In the time box that says Leave After, that is, choose the time you want to take the train for that day and the next days. Choose “Return Trip” if you want to buy a return ticket.

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Taipei – Kaohsiung with return trip select

5. Then, in the Passengers section, choose the number of guests is adult and children. Then fill in the test code and click “Search” to find the train and ticket.

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THSR ticket search screen results

6. Then, select the trip and then press Confirm.

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Taipei – Kaohsiung with return trip
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Confirm THSR ticket screen

7. On this page, fill in your passport number and mobile phone number … in Taiwan. This is a bit difficult. If you are already in Taiwan, so it is easy. You can buy a SIM card with a Taiwanese number and fill it in, or you should rent someone’s mobile or fixed phone number in Taiwan. Remember to fill in an e-mail to send a ticket to you. Below the GUI No, no filling out. Click “I have read …” then click “Confirm booking”. The page will go through as follows: Complete the reservation.

8. There are a variety of available payment options, either at convenience stores, at the station or online, using a credit card. You should use a credit card to make sure.

9. To select a seat, click on the “Modify seat” before payment. Easy to select a seat with a dark gray box is an empty seat. Then click “Next”.

10. To change or cancel your reservation, there is a “Modify Trip” or “Cancellation button”.

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This is THSR ticket (taiwan high speed rail ticket)

Once you paid and have tickets. You can get to the station early before the train to get a ticket or go to the convenience store to get a ticket for 0.5 dollar/ ticket. If you forgot your reservation code, you can review it in the e-mail. You should print a letter of confirmation (sent by email) on paper to bring to the exchange desk. When you exchange the ticket, bring your original Passport and Redeem code (including 8 alphanumeric characters) at the end of the ticket.

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This is a confirmation letter after booking, you should notice the code Redeem Code in the red box to change the ticket when changing the ticket, you must remember to bring the original passport (do not accept the Passport copy copied).

The fastest and most convenient way is to book tickets through services like Klook, I find it very fast and efficient. Link to book here.

How to get HSR train on time in Taiwan?

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Before the train time of running, you should go to the station early to prepare for catching the train. You can go to the station early 30 minutes, but to make sure you should get off the station 1-hour wait or eat some food. If you do not know where to get the ticket or entrance, ask the staff, they will guide enthusiastically. The normal stations are North Bound and South Bound. Taipei Main Station Station is the same but someone feels a bit complicated. Remember to ask staff for sure.

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take hsr taiwan

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Then, you can wait in the station and be careful with the notice as well as the number of the train running on the electronic board. Sitting on the train then remember to look down at the station is not running out. If the destination is the last station, do not worry.

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Transportation in Taiwan by HSR high speed train23

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Taiwan Cartoon Network train Tom Jerry

Each train has its number; you should be on the correct train number. You can pick up any train but you can make sure, to get down to the right station. There are four types:

  • The train No. 1xx: Taipei to Kaohsiung (Zuoying), stops at Banqiao.
  • The train No. 2xx: Taipei to Kaohsiung (Zuoying), stops at Banciao, Taichung, Chiayi.
  • The train No. 3xx: Taipei to Kaohsiung (Zuoying), stops at Banciao, Taoyuan, Hsinchu.
  • The train No. 4xx: Stop at all stations.

The less stop, the faster time will go. Make sure you check the train code and the red line on the hull to get on the right train.

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Taipei Main Station
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Take the train to HSR Train

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Inside the station waiting for the train

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The High-speed train station in Taichung

Again, Link to book HSR ticket here.

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Are you finding more top things to do in Taiwan: Tours, activities, attractions and other things? Let’s check it out at here.