Traveling without a guide is never easy, the most worrying part is the transportation. After the 5 days at Taipei, I’m obliged to share this Taipei Travel Guide with all would be travelers to lessen the worries.
All our worries about Taipei transport system came to nut when in less than an hour and after 2 successful rides I discovered that though the train system is extensive and looks intimidating, it is comprehensive as well. Tourists don’t even need a taxi……and I stick to that, in our 5 days over here, I spent about TWD$600 (USD$18.60) on train and less than TWD$500 or USD$16 on taxi (excluding the trip to Jiufen/Shifen).
Get your credit-card size Easycard from the counter. To travel in Taipei, it’s a must to have this card, it saves commuter the trouble of purchasing a ticket every time you need to board the train.
The Easycard allows commuter to top up a certain amount of money ( I bought one at TWD$500 from Taoyuan airport upon arrival, since I know I’m going to travel to many places ) and it can be used for most buses, train and even HSR ( High Speed Rail ) train. I used it for the trip to Jiufen through TRA train and then by bus to Yeliu. For those who are unsure of how much to buy, my advise is simply purchased a TWD$200, and top-up the card when the amount slowly depleted after few trips.
How expensive/cheap it is to travel by train?
I go to check with the station staff to ask for a print out of my trip ( they can print out the last 3 trips per day), only to be shocked at the low price of the train fare. Following is a print-out of some of my trips. Noticed that the average train fares is just TWD$20 or USD$0.60.
The 3 Types Of Train In Taipei
Taipei Main Station
It is a huge building containing eateries and the various mode of transportation to not just Taipei city but the whole of Taiwan through Taipei Metro (MRT) , TRA and HSR ( High Speed Rail)train. Probably the most important building for all tourists. For the next few days, we came here only 3-4 times, but we came few times to the few buildings nearby it to book tickets to Yeliu, Jiufen and Shifen.
Taipei Train Map
There are so many main train stations (indicated by the big black dot) where commuters can interchange to another train route, that makes travelling so convenience and fast.
One good thing about Taipei train system is that the train comes regularly, almost every 7 minutes. The distance between stations is very short, on average it’s just a 2 minutes travel from one station to another. So short is the distance that I actually overshot my destinations on few occasions.
How helpful is Taipei train system to tourist?
It’s almost customised for the tourists. In fact, tourists can access most of the popular attractions just by taking the train, alight from it and take a 5-10 minutes walk to the attraction. I myself spent TWD$600 just on the train itself, I rarely hired a cab.
Look, there’s even an informative signage telling tourists what to see and how to go at Taipei Main Station, which I rarely seen in the many countries I had visited.
Following is a brochure available for free at every train station, get a copy for your reference. It comes with the English, Chinese and Japanese version. Email me if you need other version except English.
Following picture: The 16th recommended attractions. Highly recommended for all. I visited about 60% of it in my first 5 days in Taipei ( I came to Taipei twice in 4 months).
Taipei attractions operating hours
Most attractions in Taipei are closed for business from about 6pm daily. Monday is also not a day to visit, as most of it is closed. So do check with the hotel staff or relevant authorities before embarking on the trip.
1.How to go Jiufen from Taipei?
To go Jiufen, tourist needs to take a 50 minutes train journey to Ruifang Station and from there change to taxi or bus to Jiufen. By the way, Ruifang is a very small town.
Go to Taipei Main Station, then proceed to the TRA station ( in the same building as Taipei Main Station ). Use your Easycard or purchase a train ticket at the station instantly. Next, proceed to the basement. In case you ended up in the wrong platform and board the wrong train, do look out for signages or ask for directions. Lastly, wait for the Ruifang train arrival.
2. How to go Shifen from Taipei?
Tourists who goes to Jiufen would certainly include Shifen as a package tour or in the same day itinerary, since both are neighbours. Besides, who would want to miss the great fun of letting go Sky Lantern at Shifen?
If you are coming from Taipei, upon alighting at Ruifang Train Station, just alight and change train to Shifen. The journey is about another 30-40 minutes from Ruifang Station. I did that on my second trip to Taipei.
On my first trip to Taipei, upon touring Jiufen I actually take a taxi from Jiufen to Shifen. The journey is about 30 minutes, and cost TWD$600 or USD$17.90. But I negotiate for a tour package, which includes from Jiufen to Shifen and back to Taipei. That pumps the whole trip to TWD$2,000 or USD$59.65.
Following is a package tour offered by taxi drivers at Ruifang Station. I thought it is very economical for group tour, where all 4 persons in the taxi could share the cost.
3. How to go to Yeliu from Taipei?
To go Yeliu, simply go to Taipei Main Station, then proceed to Taipei West Bus Station. In case you are already confused, I attached 2 maps for your easy understanding.
Taipei West Bus Station is indicated by the ‘RED’ coloured arrow. M5 Exit is indicated by the yellow coloured star.
The easiest way is from Taipei Main Station take the ‘M5’ exit, straight away you are just 50 meters away from Taipei West Bus Station. Never keep quiet when unsure of how to go to places, I never shy myself from asking the station staff for direction even when I know how.
Taipei West Bus Station is quite a huge building, just 50 meters away from Taipei Main Station M5 exit:
This is Taipei West Bus Station:
Buy your tickets to Yeliu at TWD$96 or USD$2.95. The bus comes every 15 minutes. Go take the bus service 1815. The journey takes 50 minutes, with more than 10 stops in between.
Do not worry about where to alight, firstly, Yeliu is a very popular attraction, many commuters will alight. Secondly, the bus captain announces the word ‘Yeliu’ loudly. Thirdly, there is a recorded announcement on which bus stop comes next. Best of all, the announcement is made in both Chinese and English.
A taxi ride to Taipei would cost you TWD$1,500.
Taipei Taxi Service
In Taipei, because the train route coverage is so extensive, travelling by train is always our first option. But there are few occasions when we took taxi to save some precious time. The taxi fare in Taipei starts at TWD$70 upon boarding, they are all metered-fare. Just make sure the fare meter is switched on when you board it. Most of our rides cost about USD$8. Taipei taxi fare is affordable, the drivers we encountered with are also very friendly and helpful, some even acts as guide to help promote Taiwan.
Happy Taipei trip to you, Vacation Is Never Enough!