Transportation from Taipei to Taroko National Park 太魯閣
If you’re thinking of a day trip to Taroko National Park, here are a few modes of transportation from Taipei to Taroko National Park to consider. :)
Step 1) From Taipei City to Xincheng Train Station
Option One: Train
To reach Taroko National Park, you can either take a train from Taipei to Xincheng (Taroko) or Hualien train station. If you are not visiting Hualien City, I’ll recommend stopping at Xincheng station, which is nearer to Taroko National Park (about 5km/3mi). However it is a small station, so not all trains stop here. All available trains will stop at Hualien station, which is further from the park (26km/15.6miles).
Train Types (Duration from Taipei to Xincheng)
- Chu-Kuang Express (2 to 3+ hrs)
- Tze-Chiang Limited Express (2+ hrs)
- Taroko (2+ hrs)
- Puyuma (1+ hr)
Tickets can be purchased from the TRA counter at Taipei Main Station. When we reached Taipei Main Station, there was a super long queue at the ticket counters but the lines at the Tickets Vending Machines just next to the counters were much shorter. We couldn’t fathom why, but just headed straight to the machines.
(Later we realized, tickets that might be “sold-out” at the machines can still be bought at the counters. Also, it’s probably for people to buy combination tickets, which I’ll talk about in the next section.)
Buying Tickets (Advance Booking)
You can start booking the tickets 2 weeks in advance. Check the schedule of trains and buy tickets at TRA website:
- Search for Taipei to Hualien (Xincheng).
- You will see a list of trains with Origin-Dest such as Shulin → Hualien. Don’t fret. It just means that the train starts at Shulin and ends at Hualien, with Taipei and Xincheng stations along the route.
- Click on the train code to see the list of stations that the train will stop at.
Fares: NT311 to NT403
- It’s highly recommended booking your tickets in advance, especially for express train and during peak season. We travelled towards Hualien from Taipei during Taiwan’s summer holidays (June to July) and express train tickets were snapped up very early. We couldn’t get tickets for any express trains on the spot. :(
- There are different types of train serving the Taipei – Xincheng route, be sure to check or ask about the duration of the train ride before book.
- Try to choose the train that’s travelling via mountain or coast line for beautiful scenery. I sat on the left side on my trip from Hualien to Taipei, and majestic mountains tower over me.
Option Two: Bus-Train Combo
For this combo, you…
- take a shuttle bus from Taipei to Luodong (area of Yilan);
- then you take a local train from Luodong to Hualien/Xincheng (as below). The shuttle bus stops at Luodong bus station, which is about 30 metres away from the train station.
About 2.5 to 3 hrs, including waiting time at Luodong station.
Photo Credit: taiwan-itinerary.blogspot.tw
What’s good and bad about it?
✓ This combo is 50% cheaper than taking the direct trains.
✓ The combo travel duration is about the same as certain direct trains.
✘ However, it’s inconvenient to change transportation mid-way.
✘ Local train seats might not be as comfortable as the direct trains. (Though this problem could be solved with a train class upgrade.)
✘ Can’t buy or reserve online. Can only buy on the spot. Though bus frequency is high, be sure to avoid the the rush hour – Taipei to Luodong is Friday evening; and from Luodong to Taipei is Sunday evening.
NT 222 (NT 100 for train and NT 122 for bus. Original prices are 130 and 135 respectively.)
You can upgrade to a faster train (e.g. Tze-qiang) and top up the difference. You can upgrade at the ticket counter at Luodong train station.
You can buy the tickets at where you board:
- Locations: Taipei City Hall Station / Taipei Bus Station, Xincheng (Taroko) and Hualien train stations.
- Bus Companies: Kamalan Bus, Capital Bus (only in Chinese)
- For this combo, it’s best for you to reach Taipei City Hall Station / Taipei Bus Station before 8:00am.
- To get on the first tourist shuttle bus from Xincheng to Taroko National Park (see next section) at about 9:00am, you got to take the 6:25am bus from Taipei. You can only visit the park in the day, so it’s best to reach early!
- There is a luggage storage service at Xincheng / Hualien Train Station (about 30 to 70 NT for the whole day).
- Remember to choose the direct bus service.
Step 2) From Xincheng to Taroko National Park (Tourist Shuttle Bus)
You can take a Tourist Shuttle Bus (任我行) from Xincheng Railway Station to the National Park after getting off the train in Xincheng. The bus boarding point is just outside the train station. The travelling time should be around 10 minutes.
You can also travel from Hualien to Taroko with the Tourist Shuttle Bus too! You can buy the tickets at the “bus interchange” at Hualien or on shuttle bus itself. Find out more about the shuttle bus’s price, stops, tips, etc.