Whether you’re planning a day trip from Taipei or want to spend a few days in Kaohsiung, there are loads to do in Taiwan’s Harbor City! However, before you can discover all of the city’s best bits, you’ll need to figure out how to get to Kaohsiung. Luckily, getting from Taipei to Kaohsiung is surprisingly easy, with trains, buses, and even flights offering easy access.
In this guide, I’ll cover the easiest ways to travel between Taipei City and Kaohsiung so that you can find the best route for you!
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Getting to Kaohsiung from Taipei: 5 Easy Ways to Travel
Taipei to Kaohsiung by HSR
Traveling time: Approx 1h40 | Cost: TWD 1490
The fastest and most straightforward way to get to Kaohsiung from Taipei is by high-speed rail. Although this is the most expensive way to travel between the two cities, the journey only takes about 1h40, ultimately allowing you more time to discover all the best things to do in Kaohsiung!
Dozens of high-speed trains travel daily from Taipei Main Station to Zuoying Station, the terminal station in Kaohsiung. The first train departs at 6:26 and the last one at 22:16. For more timings, see the THSR train schedule here.
A standard seat ticket costs TWD 1490 one-way, while a business class seat costs TWD 2440. Non-reserved tickets (which are usually a bit cheaper) are currently not available due to Covid restrictions. Therefore it’s best to book your ticket in advance, especially if traveling over weekends or during special festivals. HSR tickets can be reserved 14 days in advance. You can either buy them directly at the ticket booths at the station, through an Ibon machine at 7-11, or online via the THSR website. Another good option is to grab a THSR 3-day pass, which allows unlimited rides on HSR for 3 consecutive days. Just a heads up, though, this option is only available to tourists.
The KRT (Kaohsiung metro) is also located adjacent to Zuoying Station. From there, it’s easy to connect to other areas in Kaohsiung City.
Taipei to Kaohsiung by Train
Traveling time: 4-8 hrs | Cost: Generally TWD 800-900
If you don’t have the budget to travel on the HSR and don’t mind a longer journey, the local train is for you.
There are loads of trains traveling between Taipei Main Station and Kaohsiung Main Station daily, and the ride can take anywhere between 3h30 to 8 hours, depending on which type of train you take.
For the fastest course, though, you’ll want to book either a Tze-Chiang Limited Express train or the Puyuma Express train, as these are typically faster than the Chu-Kuang trains (the slow train in Taiwan). While the Puyuma train is much quicker than the Tze-Chiang Limited Express, you should know that trains aren’t as frequent, and none of the options will be as fast as the HSR.
Tickets can be bought online on the Taiwan Railways website or directly at the train station up to 14 days in advance, and it’s always best to get your tickets as soon as possible as trains fill up quickly over weekends and special holidays. While the cost depends on the type of train you choose, prices generally range between TWD 650 and TW 900. As you can see, it’s not that much cheaper than taking the HSR, so this might not be the best option if you want to travel between the two cities quickly.
The train arrives at Kaohsiung Main Station, where you’ll have access to the metro line. So it’s very convenient to travel to your hotel or elsewhere in the city.
Taipei to Kaohsiung by Bus
Traveling time: 4-6 hrs | Cost: Approx. TWD 500-900
If your looking for the most affordable way to travel to Kaohsiung from Taipei, the bus is your best bet.
Buses frequently depart from Taipei Bus Station (right next to Taipei Main Station) to Kaohsiung City, with the first bus coming at 6:00 and the last one at 23:50. The journey can take anywhere from 4-6 hours, depending on which time of day you depart. There are two main bus operators to choose from, Ubus and Kuo Kuang King Bus, but Ubus offers more frequent and faster journeys.
Tickets cost anywhere from TWD 500-900 and can be bought directly from the bus station, at any convenience store islandwide, or online at a slightly cheaper rate. Book your bus ticket online here for a stressfree-trip.
While the bus is super cheap, comfortable, and has free wifi on board, this is also the longest route and might not be the best option if your Taiwan itinerary is on the short side. Don’t forget a jacket as the AC will be on full-blast mode!
From Kaohsiung Station, you can easily take the KRT (subway) to connect to other areas in the city.
How to get from Taoyuan Airport to Kaohsiung
Traveling time: 3-3.5 hrs | Cost: Approx. TWD 1400
If you’ve arrived at Taoyuan International Airport and want to go directly to Kaohsiung City, there are several options to do so.
The first and the easiest way to get there is to take the Airport Commuter Line (MRT) directly to Taoyuan HSR Station. The ride only takes 20 minutes and costs TWD 25. (See schedules and fares here). Once you’ve arrived at Taoyuan HSR Station, simply catch a high-speed train to Zuoying Station. The HSR from Taoyuan to Zuoying takes roughly 1h35 and costs TWD 1330 for a standard seat. (See schedules and fares here)
Another option is to take bus 706 from Taoyuan Airport to Taoyuan HSR Station. Although the bus ride only takes about 25 minutes and costs TWD 48, you should know that buses only come every 40-60 minutes.
Flying to Kaohsiung from Taipei
Traveling time: 2-3 hrs | Cost: Approx. TWD 3500 one-way
Although it is possible to fly from Taipei Songshan Airport to Kaohsiung International Airport, it is not the best way to travel between the two cities. Tickets are very expensive and would set you back at least TWD 3500 for a one-way ticket. Additionally, there are currently no direct flights from Taipei to Kaohsiung, with the shortest flight taking 2h40.
Uni Airways, Mandarin Airways, and Eva Air offer daily flights down to Kaohsiung if you must fly. As always, it’s best to book tickets a couple of weeks in advance for the best possible rates.
Getting to Kaohsiung in Conclusion
Taiwan has an excellent transportation system making it really easy to connect to all corners of the island! I hope this guide has helped you figure out the best way for you to travel between Taipei and Kaohsiung! While each option has its perks, it’s important to think about your travel itinerary. And ultimately you’ll need weigh the costs over comfort to make the best decision for you!
Well, there you have it – a whole host of options to get to Kaohsiung. If you think I’ve missed an easier route, let me know in the comments below!
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