Train travel in Taiwan

Taiwan is a large island south of Japan and east of the Chinese mainland.  When the communists took over in China in 1949, ousted leader Chiang Kai Shek retreated to Taiwan with his government, defiantly retaining the name Republic of China (ROC).  It should not be confused with The People's Republic of China (PRC) on the mainland!

small bullet point  Taipei to Kaohsiung by 300km/h high-speed train

small bullet point  Keelung - Taipei - Kaohsiung (western main line)

small bullet point  Taipei - Hualien - Taitung (eastern main line)

small bullet point  Other train routes in Taiwan

small bullet point  Hotels in Taipei & Taiwan

International travel to & from Taiwan

small bullet point  Europe to Taiwan via the Trans-Siberian railway

small bullet point  Japan to Taiwan by ferry

small bullet point  China to Taiwan by ferry

Useful country information

Train operator:

Taiwan Rail Administration, (normal trains)

Taiwan High-Speed Rail Corporation, (high-speed trains). 

Ferries to Taiwan Taipei metro   Kaohsiung metro


Time zone:


GMT+ 8 hours all year.

Dialling code:





1 = 38 New Taiwanese Dollars, $1 = 30 NT$.  Currency converter

Tourist information:    Tripadvisor Taiwan page   Flights to Taiwan



Visas for stays of up to 90 days are not required by UK, EU, US, NZ, Australian and some other nationalities.  A return air or ferry ticket must be held.

Page last updated:


29 February 2024

Train travel in Taiwan

A modern rail system links most large towns and cities in Taiwan, and a new high-speed (300km/h) railway opened in January 2007 between the two biggest cities, Taipei and Kaohsiung.  Map of Taiwan rail network Also see this zoomable detailed map of the railway network at

Taipei - Kaohsiung by high-speed train

A brand-new high speed (300 km/h) train service using Japanese bullet train technology started running in January 2007 between Taipei and Kaohsiung.  It is run by the Taiwan High Speed Rail Corporation, (English button top right).

Taiwan's high speed train Taipei to Kaohsiung   Taipei railway station

Taiwanese high speed train


Inside Taipei's main station...

Taipei railway station   Taiwan's high-speed train from Taipei to Kaohsiung:  Economy class

Business class


Economy (standard) class

Photos above courtesy of Shigeyuki Kaneko & James Chuang

Keelung - Taipei - Kaohsiung by conventional trains, western line

The western main line links Keelung, Taiwan's capital Taipei and its second city and major port, Kaohsiung.  For a route map, see or, for train times, fares & online booking see the official Taiwan Railways Administration website, (English version available, online booking only available 06:00-21:00).

The best trains are the Tze Chiang expresses which run at up to 130 km/h (80 mph), are fully air-conditioned and take as little as 4 hours.  Only one very comfortable class of seating is provided on these trains, with an at-seat trolley refreshment service.  The Tze Chiang train fare from Taipei to Kaohsiung is NT$ 843 (23 or $28) one-way.

Chu Kuang train, Taiwan   Chu Kuang train, Taiwan

A Tze Chiang train on the line to Su Ao.  Photo courtesy of Peter Voelger


Inside the Tze Chiang train

Photo courtesy of Peter Voelger

The next best train type, with slightly less comfortable seating but also air-conditioned, is the Chu Kuang train service, Taipei-Kaohsiung fare NT$ 650, journey 6 hours.  The next train type down the range is the Fu shin, with less legroom.

Taipei to Hualien & Taitung (Eastern main line)

Taiwan Rail Administration provides generally hourly express trains on the scenic eastern line.  From late 2007 new Taroko express high-speed (130 km/h) electric tilting trains were introduced, providing an hourly service between Taipei and Hualien, with several services continuing along the scenic valley to Taitung.  All seats must be reserved.  For times, fares & online booking, see

Taroko Express train, Taiwan   Inside a Taroko Express train, Taiwan

A Taroko Express between Taipei & Hualien.  Courtesy of James Chuang


Inside a Taroko Express...

Photo courtesy of James Chuang

Other scenic routes

3 scenic railway branches are worth a visit.  The Neiwan Line takes in a river, Hakka museums, temples, Hakka culture cafes and restaurants.  The Pingsi line takes in waterfalls, a river, tourist coal mine, cafes and restaurants and various culture festivities.  The Jiji line passes mountains, historical village and houses, cafes and restaurants, several through services available from Taichung TRA railway station and Taichung high speed rail station.  These three lines offer a special tourist ticket, allowing tourists to get off where they like and reboard any train throughout the day for 80 Taiwan dollars.  This special tourist ticket is available at all major railway stations across Taiwan. All branch line trains are air conditioned.

Ferries from Japan to Taiwan

Currently no ferries available:  Sadly, the twice-weekly ferry run by Arimura Sangyo Lines links between Japan & Taiwan was discontinued in 2008.  For the record, the Arimura website was, but it was in Japanese only and now seems to be down, sailing times in English used to be posted on which may have info on alternatives or any resumption in service, though this seems unlikely.  It's reported that Star Cruises ( may have occasional cruise sailings between Japan & Taiwan, you fill out a form and they contact you if they have anything suitable.  But they're not cheap, and it's not clear if they will allow one-way voyages.

Ferries from China to Taiwan

There are several ferries now between mainland China and Taiwan.  If you've any information or photos that would help improve this page for future travellers, please e-mail me.  For overland travel from the UK & Europe to China, see the Trans-Siberian page.

1. Overnight ferry from Xiamen (China) to Keelung (Taiwan)

A weekly ferry started between Xiamen on mainland China and Keelung on Taiwan in 2010, website but it's in Chinese.

2024: It's reported this ferry remains suspended post-pandemic, use the Fuzhou route instead.

 Xiamen (China) ►  Taiwan



 Taiwan ► Xiamen (China)

 Cosco Ferry service...



Cosco Ferry service...



 Xiamen International Cruise Centre depart:






 Keelung (mainland Taiwan) arrive:



 Keelung (mainland Taiwan) depart



 Taichung (mainland Taiwan) arrive:



 Xiamen International Cruise Centre arrive



Fares:  The fare is around NTD3,500 ($112 or 70) per person in 6-berth 'luxury' cabin.  RMB 620 ($96 or 62) for a berth in a 4-berth cabin.

How to buy tickets:  For info & booking contact or try the emails on  Try calling (0592) 2616737 or faxing (0592) 2392018.

Traveller Adrian Clemmens reports:  "I took the Cosco ferry from Taichung to Xiamen last week (24/7/2013). All went well with the stock standard 10 other guests on the boat, comfortable beds and very nice staff.  I had a bit of trouble getting in contact with the Taiwanese side of the operators. I ended up emailing both offices and only communicating with the Chinese side before calling the Taiwan office the day before departure and organising my reservation, having to go to the office to show my passport and Chinese visa before they gave me a reservation.  Ryan (a blogger who helped me on the Chinese side) was as friendly as one can be via e-mail with swift responses and happy replies and helpful tips.  The lady in the Taipei office had little English skills but was incredibly caring and tried her hardest to make sure I understood where and when I had to be at the port. I had what she has written down translated by a girl into hostel just to be 100%.  The offices at the passenger ferry terminal in Taichung don't open until 7pm so there is absolutely no need to get there early and wait out in the stifling heat just to pick up your ticket. I'm pretty sure a 4pm bus from Taipei arrives around 7:30 at the port and gives you plenty of time before departure to sit and watch the empty car park..."

Traveller Janis Putrams reports:  "I took the ferry from Xiamen to Taichung in the end of 2012 and it was very good.  The staff did not speak much English in the terminal and wanted to offer me an option where part of the trip is done by ferry and the other part by plane.  Though after some communication difficulties and using Google Translate we understood each other.  Before the trip I actually managed to make a reservation by email.  We were only three passengers on the whole ship but the staff was very helpful and actually gave me a better cabin than I had paid for. The restaurant had 4 choices if I remember correctly where one was vegetable rice and the other ones were meals with pork, beef and chicken. The breakfast was included. There is also a very nice cafe/lounge on the top deck that was open in the evening.

Traveller Amaya reports:  "The ferry is very comfortable and clean.  Breakfast is included and there is a free Sauna and bathing area."

Traveller Armin Cebron reports:  "The ferry is indeed operational but with limitations.  I just booked a ticket from Xiamen (China) to Taichung (Taiwan) for the 11th  January 2011.  The limitation is that you can only buy the ticket on the day of departure.  You can reserve the ticket before but not buy it until the day of departure because if there are not enough passengers the ferry simply stays put, for both directions!  Prices are as follows:

510 CYN for a Standard cabin - 60 passengers and shared bathroom (I guess the bathroom in the hall)
620 CYN Luxury cabin - 16 passengers shared bathroom (I guess the bathroom in the hall)
690 CYN Superior Luxury cabin - 6 passengers private bathroom (private for the 6 passengers)"

They don't answer any e-mails, not even on the Taiwan pages!  Phoning them is also a waste of time as they do not answer and if they do they just tell you to come to the terminal in person.  The only way to buy or reserve the ticket (from China to Taiwan) is in person at the International ferry terminal Pier 2, Xiamen [May also be called the Xiamen International Cruise Centre].  Actually you don't even need to go to Pier 2, because they sell the tickets at all the windows.  Don't take the bus, take a taxi for about 13CYN from city centre.  Bring an interpreter or make sure they understand you want to go to mainland Taiwan by ferry otherwise they will sell you a combo ticket for a ferry to one of the islands and then by plane to Taipei!"

Cabin on China to Taiwan ferry   Restaurant on China to Taiwan ferry

Cabin on the ferry.  Courtesy of Janis Putrams


Restaurant on the ferry.  Courtesy of Janis Putrams

2. Fuzhou (China) to Matsu (Taiwanese island) & Matsu to Keelung (mainland Taiwan)

You can travel between China and Taiwan in two stages, first taking a short ferry ride from Fuzhou in China to Matsu, an island group that's part of Taiwan, then a ferry from Matsu to Keelung on mainland Taiwan.  I'll explain it here as China to Taiwan, but it works in either direction.  When Trans-Siberian trains linked Europe with China, you could travel all the way between Europe & Taiwan this way.  In 2024, this route is operating and is the one to use.

Step 1, take a train to Fuzhou:  For train services between Chinese cities & Fuzhou, see

G-category high-speed trains link Beijing Nan (Beijing South) with Fuzhou in around 8h several times a day, you'd then need to stay overnight in Fuzhou.  Some G category trains go to Fuzhounan (Fuzhou South) which is less central than plain Fuzhou.  Alternatively, a D-category sleeper train with soft & hard sleepers leaves Beijing Fengtai station late afternoon, arriving Fuzhou next morning, in time for the ferry on dates when it sails in the afternoon.

Transfer from Fuzhou station to Fuzhou Langqi pier ferry terminal, a 28-minute 39 km taxi ride, around RMB 120, see route map.

Step 2, take a ferry between Fuzhou & Matsu:

 Fuzhou (China) ► Matsu (Taiwan)



 Matsu (Taiwan) ► Fuzhou (China)

 Ferry service

1st-16th of

each month

17th-31st of

each month

Ferry service

1st-16th of

each month

17th-31st of

each month

 Fuzhou Langqi pier depart:



 Matsu island (Fuao, Nangan) depart:



 Matsu island (Fuao, Nangan) arrive:



 Fuzhou Langqi pier arrive:



The fare is RMB 170.  Be at the ferry terminal 1 hour or more before departure, you buy tickets on the day at the terminal, there are always places.  Operator not known, no known website.

Heading from China to Taiwan, you will need to spend the night on Matsu island, try the Lian-Yuan Homestay No.1 or Holiday Hotel in Fuao harbour near the ferry.  There is an ATM in the 7/11 at Fuao harbour.

Step 3, take a ferry between Matsu & Taiwan

 Matsu ►  Keelung (mainland Taiwan)


 Keelung (mainland Taiwan) ► Matsu

 New Taima Ferry service




New Taima Ferry service




 Matsu island (Fuao, Nangan) depart:


 Keelung (mainland Taiwan) depart:


 Keelung (mainland Taiwan) arrive:


 Matsu island (Fuao, Nangan) arrive:


Fare from Keelung to Matsu 1000 NTD in a seat, berths & private cabins are also available.  Check-in closes 30 minutes before sailing time.  You can buy tickets at the port on the day if you get 1-2h ahead, places always available.  You can also buy tickets the night before at the ferry company office in Nangan.

The ferry is known as the New Taima Ferry, operated Shinhwa Navigation Co. Ltd, no known website.  There's information at

Keelung, Taiwan   Sailing from Fuzhou in China to Matsu island, Taiwan

Keelung on the Taiwanese mainland.  Courtesy of Sam Tucker


Sailing from Matsu to Fuzhou...  Courtesy of Sam Tucker

Fast ferry from Fuzhou to Matsu   Cabin on Keelung-Matsu ferry

Fast ferry between Fuzhou (China) & Matsu (Taiwanese island).  Photo courtesy of Sam Tucker


Berths on the ferry between Matsu island & Keelung on mainland Taiwan.  Courtesy of Sam Tucker

Traveller Damien reports (2019):  "The ferry terminal from Fuzhou is no longer in Mawei. It has been replaced by the brand new Langqi Terminal (浪歧码头). Unfortunately, it is way more remote from Fuzhou centre than the other already was. There are now 2 departures a day to Matsu (Nangan island): 09:00 and 16:00. Arrive one hour in advance to get the tickets. It cost me 170 yuan at the terminal, not 270. It is impossible to catch the first ferry by public transportations from Fuzhou center, but it's possible to arrive at 15:00 and make it for the second. Be careful with time though because buses in Mawei and Langqi are scarce and tend not to respect their schedule. I couldn't find a way to book the tickets in advance, but the ferry was nearly empty so there shouldn't be a problem getting a ticket last minute on the spot."

Traveller Jessica Davies reports (2017):  "I took the overnight ferry from Keelung (基隆) to Matsu, booked the ticket a week in advance by phone (your hotel or hostel should be happy to help if you don't speak Chinese). Received a text with a bank a/c and made a transfer, paying in cash, from a Taipei bank. Mine (cheapest bunk on offer) cost 1050 NTD.  Definitely worth booking the day tickets go on sale as they get busy.  Ticket collection starts around 8pm on day of departure from upstairs ticket hall in Keelung West Passenger Ferry Terminal - a short 5-10 minute walk from where the bus drops you off if you come from Taipei.  Boarding is 9/9:30ish. Took "economical" bunk and perfectly fine - privacy curtain, berth lamp, pillow and blanket provided. Had my own sleeping bag liner.  Arrived at about 8:30am at Nan Gan (南竿) island, the largest of the Matsu archipelago.  Check when you board, though, as I've read that the order of the stops rotates and the first stop (at another Matsu island) was about 06:00.  From Nan Gan there is one fast ferry a day to Fuzhou at 2pm (but check as times change).  Tickets go on sale from midday in the ticket hall (also has air con, free WiFi and charging points) - to get there just follow the main terminal building round to an entrance on the left. Mine cost 1300 NTD (July 2017). There is apparently an additional ferry to the mainland from Bei Gan 北竿, earlier in the day (10:00-ish) which goes to a different mainland port which is a bit further way from Fuzhou. You can get a fast ferry across on arrival on Nan Gan and may be able to make it - I didn't find out about this option until later.  The ferry takes about 1.5 hours and goes to Mawei (马尾), a suburb of Fuzhou. Can be difficult to get taxis from here and it is some 30-40km into town. There are buses which are slow (search using Baidu maps - a Chinese Google maps equivalent). Some kind people let me share their lift.  Fuzhou taxi drivers are notorious for wanting to rip you off - it should cost you between 80 and 100 RMB."

Traveller Matt Gauthier reports:  "I took the ferry from Fuzhou to Matsu, and then Matsu to Keelung in September 2011. It was a simple process, but there were some quirks. The ferry terminal in Fuzhou is a bit of a lengthy walk from the terminus of the closest bus terminal. It is much faster to go there by taxi - especially when it is hot. Boarding the ferry in Fuzhou was easy - it was 300RMB though, which is not exactly cheap for the short ferry ride. It is pretty much impossible to make the connection to the Taiwanese mainland-bound ferry in time so you will have to spend a night on Matsu.  The ferry to the Taiwanese mainland leaves early in the morning, and on alternating days it makes a brief stop in Dong Yi - Taiwan's northernmost island - on the trip. The strange thing about the ferry is that you have to buy a berth (1000NT) unless all the berths are full - they won't even let you buy a seat if there are available berths."

Traveller Kevin Goold reports:  "I travelled Fuzhou - Matsu - Keelung.  As the timings in this direction necessitate an overnight stay in Matsu, I was a little concerned that there might not be anywhere to stay there.  Fortunately there are rooms available upstairs of the building next to 7-11, and there is a hotel just at the end of the port road as you reach the village (5 mins walk).  Failing that the tourist info desk in that building was open when we arrived and they can arrange homestays.  In terms of getting cash, there are no exchange facilities there.  There is an ATM in the same building, but it only accepts Taiwanese cards. The hotel were willing to accept RMB in payment in an emergency however."

Traveller Simon Grove-White reports:  "Restrictions on sea travel for foreign nationals were lifted around March 2009.  You can now take the Taima ferry from Keelung to Nangan Island in the Matsu group, then a small ferry from here to Mawei near Fuzhou.  Worth noting that it's impossible to change Taiwanese dollars in China and there are no cash points near the port so changing money in advance is a must.  The last section between Matsu and Mawei is an awesome first view of China - gorgeous coastline giving way to a dystopian nightmare of smokestacks, cranes and unfinished concrete, as you travel up the river. And our captain was so excited at having a pair of foreigners on board that he burst into a spontaneous rendition of Tom Jones.  The Taima leaves from the northern terminal of Keelung harbour at 11pm [see timetable above for current times] and takes around 10 hours to reach Nangan Island - this is the second stop after Dongquan. In May 2009 this cost around NT$500 (10) for a 3rd-class bed alongside the military conscripts.  At the time we went it wasn't possible to do the journey the other way but this was set to change as diplomatic relations continue to thaw. There was also talk of a direct ferry between Kaohsiung and Xiamen but I don't think that's materialised yet.

The Macau-Taiwan ferry has been permanently suspended.  There are also ferries between the Taiwanese outlying island of Kinmen to Xiamen in southern China (30 minute crossing, as the islands lie just off the Chinese coast), and also from the island of Matsu, although there are now no ferries between mainland Taiwan and Kinmen, over 200 kilometres away.

3. Fast ferry from Pingtan (China) to Taichung (Taiwan)

This is a large fast SeaCat, originally in service in Australia, which now links the Chinese island of Pingtan with the Taiwanese mainland at Taichung at up to 35 knots.  Pingtan is 132km by road from the Chinese city of Fuzhou, which is connected by rail to the rest of China.  The crossing is 160km and takes about 3 hours.  Two classes are provided, VIP seats and Standard seats, and there is a cafe, gift shop, children's play area & lounges.  Check-in  minimum 90 minutes.  The CSF ferry company website is, in Chinese only.  For information about the vessel, see

2024: It's reported this ferry remains suspended post-pandemic, use the Fuzhou route instead.

 Pingtan (China) ► Taichung (Taiwan)



 Taichung (Taiwan) ► Pingtan (China)

 Cross-Straits Ferry Corp (CSF)

Every 1 to 3 days*

 Cross-Straits Ferry Corp (CSF)

Every 1 to 3 days*

 Pingtan (China, near Fuzhou) depart:


 Taichung (mainland Taiwan) depart:


 Taichung (mainland Taiwan) arrive:

3 hours later

 Pingtan (China, near Fuzhou) arrive:

3 hours later

* Days of operation:  She sails every 1-3 days, you can check sailing dates using in Chinese using Google's Chrome browser with built-in translation, manipulating the online booking system to show departure dates for the month that interests you.

Fares:  NTD 2,500 ($80) in Standard seat, NTD 6,000 ($193) in VIP seat.

How to buy tickets:  You may be able to book journeys starting in Taiwan (but not starting in China) online in Chinese at with help from Google's Chrome browser with built-in translation.  Feedback would be appreciated.

Europe to Taiwan by Trans-Siberian Railway

This is (normally) perfectly feasible, and not even hugely expensive.  The whole trip will probably take about 14 days, unless you choose to stop off in Moscow, Siberia or China for longer.  Update 2024: The war in Ukraine, sanctions on Russia, and China's Covid border closures have rendered this route impractical.

Hotels in Taipei & Taiwan

Find hotels at Booking.comMy favourite hotel search: is my favourite hotel booking site and I generally use it to book all my hotels in one place.  I've come to trust's review scores, you won't be disappointed with any hotel that scores 8.0 or more.  Crucially, usually lets you book with free cancellation, which means you can confirm accommodation risk-free before train booking opens and/or you can hold accommodation while you finalise your itinerary and alter your plans as they evolve - a feature I use all the time when planning a trip.  I never book hotels non-refundably!

Backpacker hostels  If you're on a tight budget, don't forget about backpacker hostels.  Hostelworld offers online booking of cheap private rooms or dorm beds in backpacker hostels in most cities at rock-bottom prices.

Travel insurance & other tips


Staysure travel insurance


Columbus Direct logo

Always take out travel insurance

Never travel overseas without travel insurance from a reliable insurer, with at least 1m or preferably 5m medical cover.  It should also cover cancellation and loss of cash and belongings, up to a sensible limit.  An annual multi-trip policy is usually cheaper than several single-trip policies even for just 2 or 3 trips a year, I have an annual policy with myself.  Here are some suggested insurers.  Seat61 gets a small commission if you buy through these links.

UK flag offers enhanced Covid-19 protection & gets 4.7 out of 5 on Trustpilot.

UK flag is also a well-know brand.

US flag  If you live in the USA try Travel Guard USA. logo

Get an eSIM with mobile data package

Don't rely on WiFi, download an eSIM with a mobile data package for the country you're visiting and stay connected.  Most newer mobile phones can download a virtual SIM card so you don't need to buy a physical SIM, including iPhone 11 & later, see device compatibility is a reliable eSIM data retailer with a 4.5 out of 5 Trustpilot rating and a range of packages including unlimited data.


Curve card

Curve card

Get a Curve card for foreign travel

Most banks give you a poor exchange rate, then add a foreign transaction fee on top.  A Curve MasterCard means no foreign transaction fees and gives you the mid-market exchange rate, at least up to a certain limit, 500 per month at time of writing.  The money you spend on your Curve card goes straight onto one of your existing debit or credit cards.

How it works:  1. Download the Curve app for iPhone or Android.  2. Enter your details & they'll send you a Curve MasterCard - they send to the UK and most European addresses.  3. Link your existing credit & debit cards to the app, you can link up to two cards with the free version of Curve, I link my normal debit card and my normal credit card.  4. Now use the Curve MasterCard to buy things online or in person or take cash from ATMs, exactly like a normal MasterCard. Curve does the currency conversion and puts the balance in your own currency onto whichever debit or credit card is currently selected in the Curve app.  You can even change your mind about which card it goes onto, within 14 days of the transaction.

I have a Curve Blue card myself, it means I can buy a coffee on a foreign station on a card without being stung by fees and lousy exchange rates, just by tapping the Curve card on their card reader.  The money goes through Curve to my normal debit card and is taken directly from my account (in fact I have the Curve card set up as payment card on Apple Pay on my iPhone, so can double-click my phone, let it do Face ID then tap the reader with the phone - even easier than digging a card out).  I get a little commission if you sign up to Curve, but I recommend it here because I think it's great.  See details, download the app and get a Curve card, they'll give you 5 cashback through that link.


Express VPN

Get a VPN for safe browsing.  Why you need a VPN

When you're travelling you often use free WiFi in public places which may not be secure.  A VPN encrypts your connection so it's always secure, even on unsecured WiFi.  It also means you can select the geographic location of the IP address you browse with, to get around geoblocking which a surprising number of websites apply.  See VPNs & why you need one explainedExpressVPN is a best buy with a 4.7 out of 5 Trustpilot ranking which I use myself - I've signed up as an ExpressVPN affiliate, and if you go with using the links on this page, you should see a special deal, 3 months free with an annual subscription.  I get a small commission to help support this site.


Anker Powerrbank

Carry an Anker powerbank

Tickets, reservations, vaccination records and Interrail or Eurail passes are often held digitally on your mobile phone, so it's vital to keep it charged.  I always carry an Anker powerbank which can recharge my phone several times over if I can't get to a power outlet.  Buy from or from Buy from


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