How to Book Train Ticket in Taiwan


One thing you need to know before booking train ticket on the internet is there are two systems operating in Taiwan respectively. One is the perennial TRA (Taiwan Railway Administration), which operates almost every part on the island. The other is HSR (Taiwan High Speed Rail Corporation) that only covers western part of Taiwan. We will address the former system in this article since its user-unfriendly website design often confuses foreign visitors.

How to book train ticket?


For booking train tickets, you need to come here. Fill out the “From” and “To” sections for the stations that you are going to board and alight. Both of the “Area/Subline” and “Station” are required fields. For example, if you want to visit Hualien from Taipei, select the options as shown on the screenshot below.

Post5 1Set your desired date and time, then select “All Types” for “Vehicles” section. Click “Go” button. TRA only allows tickets to be reserved within 14 days prior to your desired date. So don’t assume they are all sold out if you couldn’t place booking for tickets too far back. A timetable will show up like the screenshot below:

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You need to make sure that the date and time you set on the previous page are correct. See the blue bar on top of the screenshot? Make sure the time is correct.

People might be wondering why it shows “Shulin to Hualien” instead of “Taipei to Hualien” on “Origin-Dest” column, it is because this column only specifies the stations where a specific train is started and ended. All you need to make sure is the “Departure” and “Arrival” columns are the stations you are going to board and alight.

As for the train types, different train types reflect the difference in speed and fare. Here’s a brief introduction of each type:

  • Tse-Chiang Limited Express (Puyuma): Introduced in 2013, it is the newest and fastest train type among TRA. Puyuma is a bit more spacious than its predecessor, a foldable foot rest and a tray table are available for each passenger. It aims to maximise the travelling experience by its comfortable seats. But it can be a bit rocky sometimes due to its design. Passengers are not allowed to purchase ticket without seat, therefore the demand is always greater than supply. Puyuma only stops few stations, so you need to make sure if it skips the station you want to alight.

Post train 1

  • Tse-Chiang Limited Express (Taroko): Introduced in 2008, it was the newest type before Puyuma. It also comes with a smaller tray table that you can place your personal item and food. The speed is almost the same to Puyuma, and it’s still very comfortable for commuters. But you are only allowed to board on this type with reserved seat ticket, ticket without a seat are not allowed. 

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  • Tse-Chiang Limited Express: Compared to the newer generations of Puyuma and Taroko, Tse-Chiang Limited Express is a veteran with older design. The comfortability is still passable for most of the commuters. The speed may not be comparable to the newer generations, but it can still be fast if it stops fewer small stations. Ticket without a seat is allowed for Tse-Chiang Limited Express. Therefore, it may be a bit crowded during weekends or holidays.
  • Chu-Kuang Express: This train type is also among the older train types in TRA. It stops more stations and therefore makes it slower to arrive your destination. The passable comfortability still makes it a good alternative if tickets are sold out for the first three train types. Ticket without a seat is allowed for Chu-Kuang Express. 
Please note that the fare are the same among the first three train types, only Chu-Kuang Express is cheaper. I know it’s weird and unfair, but this is how they operate their pricing. If your desired train selection is within 14 days, you are able to see a ticket icon on the very right of the timetable. Click it and you will be brought to the page on the screenshot below:
 
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You only need to choose how many tickets you need to purchase and input your passport number. The rest are all set up automatically by the system. Enter the captcha and hit “Start to Order”. If purchase is successful, a booking code will be shown. Then click “Online Payment” to pay for the tickets. You are supposed to pay the tickets no later than the day after your purchase date, or it will be canceled automatically. If it shows “Booking fails. There are no seats remaining in selected interval”, it means you need to repeat the process again and look for any remaining tickets of other trains. If all the tickets you desire are sold out, you can refer to this post for the alternative.
 
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How to retrieve the ticket I have paid?


There are two options you can get your tickets when you arrive Taiwan. One is to present the booking code and the passport you booked the ticket with to ticket counter at any train stations in Taiwan.

Post5 Img3

The other option is to go to any 7-Eleven in Taiwan and operate a kiosk known as “iBon” for the locals. A surcharge of 8TWD will be applied to each ticket. If you are not sure how to operate the kiosk, simply ask the staff of 7-Eleven to help you do it. Of course, you will also need to have the booking code and the passport number ready. 

Post5 Img5

One thing you need to know before booking train ticket on the internet is there are two systems operating in Taiwan respectively. One is the perennial TRA (Taiwan Railway Administration), which operates almost every part on the island. The other is HSR (Taiwan High Speed Rail Corporation) that only covers western part of Taiwan. We will address the former system in this article since its user-unfriendly website design often confuses foreign visitors.

How to book train ticket?


For booking train tickets, you need to come here. Fill out the “From” and “To” sections for the stations that you are going to board and alight. Both of the “Area/Subline” and “Station” are required fields. For example, if you want to visit Hualien from Taipei, select the options as shown on the screenshot below.

Post5 1Set your desired date and time, then select “All Types” for “Vehicles” section. Click “Go” button. TRA only allows tickets to be reserved within 14 days prior to your desired date. So don’t assume they are all sold out if you couldn’t place booking for tickets too far back. A timetable will show up like the screenshot below:

Post5 2

You need to make sure that the date and time you set on the previous page are correct. See the blue bar on top of the screenshot? Make sure the time is correct. People might be wondering why it shows “Shulin to Hualien” instead of “Taipei to Hualien” on “Origin-Dest” column, it is because this column only specifies the stations where a specific train is started and ended. All you need to make sure is the “Departure” and “Arrival” columns are the stations you are going to board and alight. As for the train types, different train types reflect the difference in speed and fare. Here’s a brief introduction of each type:

  • Tse-Chiang Limited Express (Puyuma): Introduced in 2013, it is the newest and fastest train type among TRA. Puyuma is a bit more spacious than its predecessor, a foldable foot rest and a tray table are available for each passenger. It aims to maximise the travelling experience by its comfortable seats. But it can be a bit rocky sometimes due to its design. Passengers are not allowed to purchase ticket without seat, therefore the demand is always greater than supply. Puyuma only stops few stations, so you need to make sure if it skips the station you want to alight.

Post train 1

  • Tse-Chiang Limited Express (Taroko): Introduced in 2008, it was the newest type before Puyuma. It also comes with a smaller tray table that you can place your personal item and food. The speed is almost the same to Puyuma, and it’s still very comfortable for commuters. But you are only allowed to board on this type with reserved seat ticket, ticket without a seat are not allowed. 

Post5 Img2

  • Tse-Chiang Limited Express: Compared to the newer generations of Puyuma and Taroko, Tse-Chiang Limited Express is a veteran with older design. The comfortability is still passable for most of the commuters. The speed may not be comparable to the newer generations, but it can still be fast if it stops fewer small stations. Ticket without a seat is allowed for Tse-Chiang Limited Express. Therefore, it may be a bit crowded during weekends or holidays.
  • Chu-Kuang Express: This train type is also among the older train types in TRA. It stops more stations and therefore makes it slower to arrive your destination. The passable comfortability still makes it a good alternative if tickets are sold out for the first three train types. Ticket without a seat is allowed for Chu-Kuang Express. 
Please note that the fare are the same among the first three train types, only Chu-Kuang Express is cheaper. I know it’s weird and unfair, but this is how they operate their pricing. If your desired train selection is within 14 days, you are able to see a ticket icon on the very right of the timetable. Click it and you will be brought to the page on the screenshot below:
 
Post5 3
You only need to choose how many tickets you need to purchase and input your passport number. The rest are all set up automatically by the system. Enter the captcha and hit “Start to Order”. If purchase is successful, a booking code will be shown. Then click “Online Payment” to pay for the tickets. You are supposed to pay the tickets no later than the day after your purchase date, or it will be canceled automatically. If it shows “Booking fails. There are no seats remaining in selected interval”, it means you need to repeat the process again and look for any remaining tickets of other trains. If all the tickets you desire are sold out, you can refer to this post for the alternative.
 
Post5 4

 

How to retrieve the ticket I have paid?


There are two options you can get your tickets when you arrive Taiwan. One is to present the booking code and the passport you booked the ticket with to ticket counter at any train stations in Taiwan.

Post5 Img3

The other option is to go to any 7-Eleven in Taiwan and operate a kiosk known as “iBon” for the locals. A surcharge of 8TWD will be applied to each ticket. If you are not sure how to operate the kiosk, simply ask the staff of 7-Eleven to help you do it. Of course, you will also need to have the booking code and the passport number ready. 

Post5 Img5