Taipei to Hualien by train? The best transportation compared
When you travel from Taipei to Hualien the first association is to take a train.
However, there is more.
You can travel by plane, express train (recommended), local train, bus and rented car. How much does it cost? Where to book and collect the ticket? Can I take a bike & extra luggage on the train?
6 Ways how to get to Hualien from Taipei - even when you are booking on last minute!
#1 Express train from Taipei to Hualien Train Station
How to buy train ticket in Taiwan to get from Taipei to Hualien?
For most people, it is the best transportation and very it is convenient. During the summer, booking ahead is crucial as there are many people traveling towards Hualien and other cities along the east coast.
Generally, there are several dozen trains running daily on this route. If you book at the last minute, might have to change your seat or car during the journey or even stand all the way.
Unfortunately, there is no High-Speed Rail connection here. HSR is only available on the west part of Taiwan.
Important* Trains in Taiwan are almost always on time. We have 2 main trains operators here: Puyuma Express and Taroko Express. The train trip from Taipei to Hualien usually takes about 120-150 minutes.
It's well worth going to the station from which you will be leaving e.g. Taipei Main Station or Songshan Station, and confirm your booking thoroughly at the information desk. The friendly staff usually speaks English well.
On the ticket, you will see the train number, date and time of your departure and arrival, train compartment (car), and your seat. There is plenty of space for your legs and your luggage 😊.
Important: Bicycles in one part are not allowed to express trains in Taiwan.
One-way ticket price: NT$440
How do I get train ticket from Taipei to Hualien? >>> Book train ticket on TRA website
Where and how to pick up the tickets for the express train?
a) In every store of 7-11
There are really many of them in Taiwan.
Go to the checkout and show your reservation number and identity card, if the seller does not speak English, he will still be able to print out the ticket for you 100%, quickly.
7/11 charges around NT$8 for this service. This is a better option than picking up your ticket at the train station because you will do it in 5 minutes, while at the train station we can sometimes queue up longer. You can even buy a ticket for a train in 7-11, just talk to shop assistant and ask for help.
b) Every bigger rail station
If we have more time it is also an option, but here we have to prepare an identity document either (for which the booking was made and arrive at the cashier or information desk preferably at least one hour before the train departs).
#2 Plane flight from Taipei to Hualien (Taipei Sung Shan <TSA> airport to Hualien <HUN>)
This domestic flight is operated by Uni Air. The flight actually takes only 50 minutes, but we have to be at the airport earlier, and we have to wait for our luggage, so there is practically no difference in terms of time compared to an express train.
There are not many direct flights to Hualien from Taoyuan International Airport, where you probably landed arriving in Taiwan.
Where to stay in Hualien?
The plane is the most expensive option and not necessarily the fastest. In this case, if you want to save time, it is worth to check if our accommodation in Hualien is located closer to the airport or Hualien Train Station.
Statistically, many more Hotels and Hostels in Hualien are located near Hualien Train Station than the Airport.
During the season, if you want to get a ticket price below NT$ 1000, you should buy the ticket 10 days in advance.
One-way ticket price: NT$ 900 - 1500
#3 Local train from Taipei to Hualien Train Station
The local train is a solution for backpackers, the train from Taipei Main Station to Hualien Train Station can go from more than 3 hours to even 5 hours.
Often, this is the last chance for the latecomers as the tickets for the local train are only sold on the day of the journey. The journey is a bit less comfortable, it just takes longer.
A ticket for a local train can only be bought at the stations on the day of departure.
One-way ticket price cost is NT$200-250
Can I take my bike to the train in Taiwan and take it from Taipei to Hualien?
Yes, you can carry the bike with you. It is free of charge, when you take the wheels off and put it into a box of appropriate dimensions. If the wheels cannot be taken out, you can carry it for about 50% of the ticket price. It is possible in some of the local trains only and departure is from some stations!
For this purpose, it is the best advice to go on the morning of the day of departure to Taipei Songshan Train Station (at Taipei Main Station it is not possible to get on and off with the bike, not in the box).
At the information desk at Songshan Train Station you will find out exactly which local train offers bike caring on the day.
If you have a lot of heavy luggage, you can also pick it up at Taipei Songshan Train Station and collect it usually in 48 hours at Hualien Train Station.
The cost of baggage transportation is about NT$80. Check here more details about bikes checked and a luggage railway.gov.tw
#4 Taipei Nangang Station to Hualien City via a bus
You need to get to Nangang Station MRT and from here a lot of buses run daily directly to Hualien BUS / Train Station.
This is also another option for late arrivals.
The ticket is a bit cheaper, but the comfort of travel is higher on the train.
If you want to find a bus ticket, put it into Google: Bus Nangang Station MRT to Hualien Bus Station and then try your best by phone to check the availability of tickets for the bus.
One-way ticket price cost is NT$320
#5 Taipei to Hualien via Bus & Train mixed (last minute or when you are late!)
If your journey is already today and there are no seats in options 1-4, you can always try to find a connection with a transfer e.g. in Yilan. You must search hard, but you can manage it.
a) Taipei - Yilan train, then Yilan - Hualien another train.
b) Taipei - Yilan train, then Yilan - Hualien bus
c) Taipei - Yilan bus, then Yilan - Hualien train
d) Taipei - Yilan bus, then Yilan - Hualien another bus
#6 How far is Taipei to Hualien via a car? 160km
If you are traveling with friends an interesting option will be to rent a car for a few days.
The cheapest one can be found for NT$1000 per day. An international driving license is required.
How long driving way from Taipei to Hualien City? Usually takes 3 to 4 hours, depending on the traffic congestion. A petrol is not expensive, it will cost you NT$300-400 one-way.
Transportation in Hualien
The best way of commute in Hualien for tourists is a scooter, which can be rented for NT$300 per day.
Does Uber work in Hualien City?
Unfortunately, there are only standard cabs in Hualien (Uber does not work) and call center operators often do not speak English fluently.
If you need help booking a cab with some discount and guaranteed price UniqueFun can help you, please contact our office in Hualien to avoid over-payment.