Sunday, July 06, 2008

Taiwan Bullet Train

Being in Taiwan, the one thing I am very impressed is the rail network. They have quite a few trains along the city of Taipei & all its other cities as well. And of course, there is also the bullet train, completed in 2007.

For a relatively small island, I am impressed with this. So far, only bigger & usually more advanced countries are known for their bullet trains. And I guess this puts Taiwan in the league. Yes, this rather tiny nation island has made a name for itself once again... with this rather convenient bullet train system.

And I am lucky to have had my first fast speed train ride right here in Taiwan :) But first, some info on the main train station in Taipei.

Taipei's Train Station

taiwan train station
The train station from outside may not look all modern, but well, this is where the Taiwan High Speed Rail is :)

The train station is rather huge as it not only is a station for the bullet train but a centralised station for its many railways.

Inside the corridors are wide are have a fair number of shops mainly serving fast take-aways (eg food items).

taiwan train station corridor
The big & wide corridors of the station

taiwan train station, food takeaway
The many take-aways

I guess it's a good eat in between while waiting for their trains.

Anyway, back to the bullet train. One can choose to buy the tickets via the vending machines or queue up at the counter.

taiwan train station, thsr ticketing machine

taiwan train station, thsr gantry
The gantry

Then next, one can have a seat while waiting for the train to arrive - as seats are provided beyond the gantry. This I must say is quite a good service for waiting customers.

The high speed bullet train
The ride we took was very comfortable in the train. There are 2 segments Business Class & Standard Class. Of course, the Business Class is much more roomy.

taiwn bullet train, thsr, business class
The more spacious Business Class

taiwn bullet train, thsr, refreshment food
Refreshments are served - some nuts & coffee/ tea

taiwn bullet train, thsr, trolley refreshement
One can also choose to buy the many other snacks available

With such comfortable seats, quiet ride and good service, the whole train ride made me feel relaxed. And of course, there is the view of Taiwan through the windows as well.

taiwn bullet train, thsr, view
The mountain views & quite a fair bit of greens along the way

Oh btw, one can put his/ her food on the pull down table. And that same table can be used for the computer work/ leisure. Saw some people did that. They actually provide you to re-charge the computer. Very well planned for the business travelers.

Btw, this is the Standard Class of the Taiwan High Speed Rail.
taiwn bullet train, thsr, standard view

And also the front view of the ultra modern bullet train.
taiwn bullet train, thsr, front view

*The fare difference between the Business Class & Standard Class is only quite fractional eg. Taipei - Taichung 560 vs 800 NTD$). Full rates.

*The High Speed Bullet Train goes as fast as 300km/hour along the West Coast of Taiwan linking the North to the South.

Btw, apart from the high speed bullet train, we also sat some interconnecting trains. Again, they were an experience.

taiwn bullet train, train
The MRT like train

taiwn bullet train, modern train
The rather bar like design of another train - think this is rather cool

The whole experience on these trains has been a good eye opener on how a good rail network system works. Clearly, this is good for its people which has benefited them - weather for leisure or business.

And I'm sure this has made an impact with the foreigners too. For a population of just 23 million odd, Taiwan's good transport system is truly impressive & in a way makes one rather envious :)

There is still some more things that impress me on Taiwan and I'll be sharing that next!

Related: On why I think bullet train is good: The Bullet Train Dream.


  1. wow didn't know Taiwan has bullet train. This is something new to me :)

  2. How long does it take to travel from Taipei to Kaohsiung in a bullet train?

    The KL-Singapore high-speed train project has been shelved. Sigh...

  3. stormwhistle,

    thats why is say taiwan in quite admirable... the things they achieve despite being relatively small :)

    90 mins based on reports from taipei to kaohsiung. pretty impressive huh :)

  4. Ooohhh...lucky you! The bullet train looks so cool!

  5. hi, was surfing the net as I was planning for a free and easy trip to Taiwan. I plan to include the bullet train ride in my 7 days trip can you give me any tips about it? I was wondering if I can book the bullet train tickets now.... if I waited until I reached there during my trip, I afaid the tickets sold out then ....


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