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.