Getting to Hualien

Option 1: Take the Train

This is the most popular and affordable method of getting to Hualien from Taipei.  The express trains will get you to Hualien in about 2 hours, while the non-express trains can take 3-4 hours. It is important to book your train tickets ahead of time, especially on weekends and holidays, as the trains do sell out.  A one way ticket will cost NT$440 per person. 

You can book train tickets online here.

 

 

Option 2: Take a Plane

This option can save you time and is easily booked online. The Uniair flights take around 50 minutes and typically cost around NT$850 per person. It should be noted that these flights depart from Taipei Songshan Airport (TSA), NOT Taoyuan International Airport.

You can book plane tickets here.

Option 1: Any 7-11 convenience store in Taiwan

This is the most popular and easiest way to pick up your tickets, as there are 7-11’s practically everywhere in Taiwan! Simply go to the counter and tell them you want to pick up your train tickets. If they don’t understand in English, you can say it in Chinese “Wo yao na huo che piao”, then just show them your online booking code and your booking passport number and they will help you with it. Please note that there is a service fee of NT$8 per ticket when picking up tickets at a 7-11.

 

Option 2: Any train station

While this is also relatively easy, there can be lines at train stations during busy hours of the day. Also, if the booking passport number isn’t yours, you cannot retrieve tickets at the ticket counter of train station unless you show the passport with the same passport number as the booking.

 

It is very common for train tickets to sell out in Taiwan. We highly recommend buying tickets as soon as they go on sale 14 days prior to the travel date, BUT, if you do end up in a situation where all the trains are sold out, you have a few other options to try out.

 

Option 1: Take a Plane

This option can save you time and is easily booked online. The Uniair flights take around 50 minutes and typically cost around NT$850 per person. It should be noted that these flights depart from Taipei Songshan Airport (TSA), NOT Taoyuan International Airport.

You can book plane tickets here.

 

Option 2: Combo Transfer

If you can’t get tickets with an express or direct train from Taipei to Hualien, you can try a train to train combo or a bus to train combo.

Combo Option A: Express Train to Express Train Combo

With this technique, you purchase the whole trip in advance but in two sections, taking the same train the whole route but changing seats in Yilan. As many people get off the train in Yilan, this can be a way to beat the computers automated seat selection system. This technique doesn’t work unless you can purchase BOTH legs of the trip in advance, but it does work surprisingly well.

Example:

First Leg: Express Train No. 202: Departs Taipei at 6:05 am, arrives in Yilan at 7:12 am

Second Leg: Express Train No. 202: Departs Yilan at 7:15 am, arrives in Hualien at 8:14 am

 

Combo Option B: Express Train to Local Train Combo

With this technique, you purchase the first leg of the trip in advance, taking different trains and changing trains in Yilan. This technique doesn’t work unless you can purchase the express train for the first leg. The local train can be purchased at the station and doesn’t need to be booked in advance.

Example:

First Leg: Express Train No. 202: Departs Taipei at 6:05 am, arrives in Yilan at 7:12 am.

Second Leg: Local Train No. 4124: Departs Yilan  at 7:34 am, arrives in Hualien at 9:22 am.

 

Combo Option C: Bus to Local Train Combo 

With this technique you take a bus to Luodong and then switch to a local or express train. This one can be a bit trickier to time as busses can contend with traffic. Typically it is recommended to not purchase any train tickets in advance, and instead purchase a ticket on the next available train in Luodong when you arrive.

Example:

First Leg: Kamalan Bus: Departs Taipei Bus Station at 6:15 am, arrives in Luodong at 7:35 am.

Second Leg: Local Train No. 4124: Departs Luodong at 7:45 am, arrives in Hualien at 9:22 am.