From Kaohsiung to Taoyuan by train. Slow train, that is.

Categories abroad, In Transit
Kaohsiung to Taoyuan by train

I love long rides while traveling. So it wasn’t really hard to decide to just take the slower journey from Kaohsiung to Taoyuan by train. Not the Taiwan High Speed Rail (THSR), the fastest and far more expensive option. But took the Tze-chiang Limited Express of Taiwan Railways (TRA) via the mountain line. It’s still a fast option, at around four hours compared to less than two hours for the former. But then, I wasn’t in a rush.

First time in Kaohsiung

I traveled to Kaohsiung for the Abaddon Prime Anomaly. It is an international Ingress game event, a mobile game app by Niantic, the maker of Pokémon Go. Other than this one, I also want to explore and experience this southern port city, the second biggest in Taiwan. So for the next ten days, I was walking around, averaging 15 KM visiting interesting places, heritage and modern architecture, food and street art. While I arrived direct from Manila, via AirAsia, I had to go back on the 12th of May to Cebu, a day before the midterm elections to vote. Thus, I had to take a flight from Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport direct to my home province.

Bus or train?

I initially entertained taking the bus as I’ve seen the posts of a friend doing the same route. Opted to take the train instead because it’s not always that I have the opportunity for long distance train rides. With ample time, I did the same thing when I traveled from Paris to Carcassonne in France, Tokyo to Kyoto via the Shinkansen in Japan, Yeongwol-gun to Seoul in South Korea, Bangkok to Hat Yai and Petchaburi to Bangkok in Thailand, Legazpi City to Makati in the Philippines, Bandung to Jakarta and Jakarta to Surabaya in Indonesia. As my trip fell on a Sunday and a holiday, Mother’s Day, I had to book the previous day. Although I was able to get a ticket, I got no seat from Fengyuan Station in Taichung to my destination as the seats were all taken. Thus, for this part of the journey, I had to stand. But I was not alone.

Trains are comfy, and more

I love this trip and the train that I took: quite efficient, runs on time, has large leg room and the Tze-chiang Limited Express was comfortable too with reclining seats and large clear and clean windows that gives you unhindered view of the Taiwan countryside. There’s also a train stewardess selling food stuff and drinks. That’s why I never regretted traveling from Kaohsiung to Taoyuan by train, although standing for the last third of the route was just a minor snag. It’s not also as wobbly as my Legazpi City-Makati train ride years ago. Information is also broadcast in Chinese and English with a moving LED screen in both languages announcing the present and succeeding stations.

I love this trip. And taking the train, either the THSR or the TRA is a great way to travel within the island. I wouldn’t hesitate to take the train in traveling between cities and towns.

Kaohsiung to Taoyuan by train
Waited for my train #172 to arrive. But a few minutes before I needed to board, this one came, made a stop for a few minutes and then left.
Kaohsiung to Taoyuan by train
The modern THSR (Taiwan High Speed Rail) Station in Zouying District (also known as Xinzouying Station) where passengers and travelers can also connect to the Kaohsiung MRT and Taiwan Railways (TRA)
Kaohsiung to Taoyuan by train
The Taiwan Railways station adjacent to the THSR Station housed in one roof
Kaohsiung to Taoyuan by train
Lockers at the Xinzouying station within the Taiwan Railways section. Lockers are quite cheap with the smaller one at just NT$10 while the bigger one is NT$50.
Kaohsiung to Taoyuan by train
From Zinzouying Station in Kaohsiung, I was able to get a seat until Fengyuan station. The seat is comfortable, has good leg space and reclines.
Kaohsiung to Taoyuan by train
Because it was a holiday, I wasn’t able to avail of a seat from Fengyuan to Taoyuan that I had to stand for 1.5 hours!
Kaohsiung to Taoyuan by train
Left, my Taiwan Railways ticket from Kaohsiung (Zinzouying Station) to Taoyuan Station. Because it was Mother’s Day, and a Sunday, no seats were available starting from Fengyuan Station in Taichung City all the way to my destination. Right, at Taichung Station, rush hour for travelers traveling to Taipei and farther. The train’s terminal stop is at Hualien.
Kaohsiung to Taoyuan by train
At Taoyuan Station, lots of passengers riding the train for its onward trip to Taipei and eventually to Hualien.
Kaohsiung to Taoyuan by train
Passengers alighting the train when we arrived at Taoyuan Station.
Kaohsiung to Taoyuan by train
An almost crowded Taoyuan Station as inbound and outbound passengers pass thru.
Kaohsiung to Taoyuan by train
Estan Cabigas is freelance photographer, blogger and writer based in Makati City, the Philippines. A true blue Cebuano, he makes stunning images and meaningful photo stories. His work has been published in local and international publications including National Geographic Magazine, Geo (Germany), Sunday Times Magazine (London).

He is also a peripatetic traveler and has traveled to all 81 Philippines provinces. Open for work, collaborations and inquiries for site features.

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