Throughout this guide, I’ll cover all public and private transportation options, along with travel passes. Keep reading to learn more.
I’ve tried almost all transportation in Taiwan (except boats) and want to share the best ways to get around. And how to save time or money. I compiled a bunch of information to help you figure things out.
You’ll find the following points throughout this guide:
Let’s get rolling.
Public Transportation Vehicles in Taiwan Compared
To get around Taiwan, use the following modes of transportation:
|Transportation||Avg. Price (One-Way)||Best For||Notes|
|City Bus||NT$15; 1 segment||Budget||Only way to get around in some cities|
|Car Rental||Varies||Road Trips||Getting around the countryside|
|Bicycle rental||NT$5–NT$40 per 30 min||Exercise||Not available in all cities|
|Ferries||NT$819–NT1,700||Navigating outlying islands||NA|
|Taiwan Railway Administration||NT$11–NT$836||Budget inter-city travel||NA|
|Taiwan High-Speed Rail||NT$35–NT$2,500||Quickly navigating different cities||NA|
|Rideshare||NT$120–NT$1,200 per trip||Comfortable city travel||Price varies by driver, time, & other factors|
|Mass Rapid Transit||NT$20–NT$65||City travel||Not available in all cities|
|Taxi||NT$16–NT$25 per km||Travel to specific destinations||Many don’t understand English|
Even though you now know how to get around, you must keep reading. Learn more about each mode of transportation in Taiwan and how to access them.
Find More Information in These Guides
Taipei EasyCard Guide: Taiwan’s Smart Card
Taiwan’s 7-11 icash card
1. Bike Rentals
YouBike is a public bicycle sharing service with more than a thousand stations throughout Taipei, New Taipei, Taoyuan, Hsinchu, Taichung, Changhua, Miaoli, Tainan, and eventually Kaohsiung.
Find docking stations through Google Maps or the YouBike app.
There are 3 different types of YouBikes:
- YouBike 1.0: basic YouBike
- YouBike 2.0: upgraded from the 1.0 with more cushy handlebars
- YouBike 2.0E: electric assisted bicycles that are great for old people
Here are the rates you’ll pay for rentals throughout Taiwan:
|NT$5 ($0.17)||First 30 minutes|
|NT$10 ($0.34)||Per 30 minutes (for the next 4 hours)|
|NT$20 ($0.68)||Per 30 minutes (for the next 4–8 hours)|
|NT$40 ($1.36)||Per 30 minutes (after 8 hours)|
Pay for YouBikes by using EasyCards or iPass.
2. Public Bus
Mountain buses, shuttles, recreational buses, small buses, electric buses, and even driverless buses are on the way.
While it might feel like a roller-coaster on the city buses, they still offer more affordable pricing than most other transportation options. They aren’t ideal for riding during rush hour.
Most buses allow the use of contactless cards. Tap when boarding and leaving—or pay with cash.
Bus prices (at least in Taipei) cost NT$15 for a 1-segment trip, NT$30 for a 2-segment, and NT$45 for a 3-segment. Segment means traveling from one stop to the next.
Things change when you take an intercity bus, the cheapest route for traveling through Taiwan. Purchase tickets from any Taiwanese convenience store, in person at the station, or from ticket machines at bus stations.
Find More Information in These Guides
Here’s Why Taiwan’s Convenience Stores are Popular
3. Car Rentals
Avoid this option if you don’t have an International Driving Permit (IDP). Because if you don’t have your IDP, no car rental service will let you rent any vehicles.
If you’re interested in obtaining an international driving permit, here’s how to get an IDP in the following countries:
- American Automobile Association: United States
- Canadian Automobile Association: Canada
- The Post Office: United Kingdom
- National Roads and Motorists’ Association: Australia
- Go Digit: India
- New Zealand Automobile Association: New Zealand
- Automobile Association Philippines: Philippines
If you have your IDP and are ready to rent a car in Taiwan, the island nation has a wide selection of rental agencies, with prices ranging between $65–$260 per day. For instance, Avis is one of Taiwan’s most popular car rental services.
Find More Information in These Guides
How to Rent a Car in Taiwan
These dangerous yet exhilarating and convenient motorized bikes have storefronts around most train stations and other areas throughout Taiwan’s cities. Moreover, many stores offer electric and gas options.
Expect to pay between NT$100 ($3.59) and NT$800 ($28.76) per day. This price doesn’t include gas or battery swapping costs. Another essential expense that you must consider is rain gear. Otherwise, driving in the rain, you’ll find yourself soaked.
Regarding driver’s licenses and permits, requirements depend on where you go.
Some places might require a Taiwanese Scooter License. Others will accept an International Driver’s Permit.
Some electric motorbike sharing services, for example, that require a scooter license, are GoShare and iRent. On the other hand, scooter rental services that require international driver’s permits include SKRT and WeMo.
Mom-and-pop stores will vary depending on what part of Taiwan you’re visiting. For instance, the countryside will likely have more lenient requirements than a major city like Taipei.
Important tip: when renting a scooter in Taiwan, only use lanes designated for motorbikes and keep your wits about you.
5. Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) And Other Rails
Compare the number of stations and routes each rapid transit has:
|Taiwan Rapid Transit System||# of Stations||# of Routes|
One of the best ways to navigate Taiwan’s cities is through the metro or railway; the rides are smooth, quick, and affordable. In addition, many towns throughout Taiwan offer city-specific transit systems.
1. Taipei Metro
The Taipei MRT has six lines and 131 stations that will take you through Taipei and New Taipei City. Use these lines to reach the most interesting points, including tourist destinations, train stations, shopping centers, and airports.
The Maokong gondola, a cable car, also falls under the Taipei Metro umbrella. It takes you from the Taipei Zoo MRT Station to Maokong mountain.
Maokong mountain is a gem. Watch New Year’s Eve fireworks or drink tea while overlooking the distant mountains. Moreover, in this area, you have plenty of hiking opportunities to feel the breeze brush your face.
Purchase single-journey tickets—in the form of coins and the least recommended. Or use contactless cards such as EasyCard, iPass, HappyCash, and icash.
Find More Information in These Guides
Taipei MRT Guide: How to Master Taipei’s Metro
Taipei MRT One Day Pass
Taipei Metro Passes Compared
Here are all the main Taipei Metro passes passengers have access to:
|One-Day Pass||NT$150||Many Trips Within 1 Day|
|24-Hour Pass||NT$180||Best For Trips To Many Stations Within 24 Hours|
|48-Hour Pass||NT$280||Best For Trips To Many Stations Within 48 Hours|
|72-Hour Pass||NT$380||Best For Trips To Many Stations Within 72 Hours|
|Monthly Pass||NT$1,280/mo.||Unlimited Bus, MRT, & Danhai LRT rides|
Choose whatever pass best matches the time you’ll stay in Taipei. You all who are living in, studying in, or working in Taipei should opt for the Monthly Pass.
Wait. More passes exist.
Here are the different Fun Passes:
|Taipei Fun Pass Type||1-Day Price||2-Day Price||3-Day Price||4-Day Price||5-Day Price|
And here are what each pass is best for:
|Taipei Fun Pass Type||Best For|
|Classic||Entry into 2 attractions & doubles as EasyCard|
|Exploring||Entry into 23 attractions|
|Unlimited||Unlimited MRT & bus rides + entry into 25 attractions|
|Transportation||Shuttle bus rides|
|Maokong Gondola||Taking the Maokong Gondola|
There’s no reason to cover Classic and Exploring since this is a post about public transportation. I cover all attractions these passes grant free entry to in a separate post.
Unlimited will get you free entry into 25 attractions throughout Taipei, New Taipei, and Keelung cities. And they’ll grant you unlimited Taipei Metro and city-wide bus rides.
Calculate the entry fees into each tourist attraction and the cost of transportation to get there. Then compare it to the Fun Passes and see whether it’ll save you money.
2. Taichung Metro
In 2021, Taichung finally finished its first operational MRT system, the Green Line. It connects Taichung’s high-speed rail station and local trains with other points of interest like the National Taichung Theater, Top City department store, and Maple Garden.
Rates range from NT$20–NT$50.
Find More Information in These Guides
Taichung MRT Map & Guide
12 Top Things To Do in Taichung
How To Get To Taichung City
Taichung Metro Passes Compared
Let’s compare Taichung Metro passes:
|Taichung Metro Type||Price||Best For|
|One-Day Pass||NT$120||Staying in Taichung for less than a day|
|24-hour Pass||NT$150||Staying in Taichung for 1 day|
|48-hour Pass||NT$250||Staying in Taichung for 2 days|
Considering Taichung’s MRT isn’t that big, these passes don’t offer the most value. Especially when you consider you’ll need to transfer to local trains to reach tourist hotspots (e.g., Miyahara). And these passes don’t cover costs to rent YouBikes or take buses.
Avoid these passes for now. Unless you’ll primarily move along Taichung’s Green Line, which you likely won’t.
3. Alishan Forest Railway
Initially designed for logging, Alishan’s railway has 22 stations that’ll take you through the infamous mountain resort of Alishan . The forest rail system is meant to present the area’s cultural roots.
Not a means of public transportation.
4. Danhai Light Rail
Tamsui District’s Light Rail Transit (LRT) currently has 11 stations (Danhai LRT map). The above-ground rail system starts at Tamsui’s Fisherman’s Wharf and ends at a massive shopping area under construction.
5. Kaohsiung Rapid Transit Corporation (KRTC)
Kaosiung combines all these forms of public transportation:
- Taiwan Railway Administration (TRA): I’ll talk about this later
- Light Rail Transit (KLRT): a circular light rail with 30 stations
- Transfers to the KMRT & harbor
- Costs NT$30 for a 1-way journey: doesn’t matter what station you travel to
- Kaohsiung Mass Rapid Transit (KMRT): underground subway with 2 routes & 38 stations
- Transfers to the LRT, TRA, HSR, & harbor
- Costs NT$20–NT$55 for a 1-way journey
KRTC allows folks to use EasyCards, iPass, and icash to pay for tickets electronically.
Kaohsiung Rapid Transit Passes Compared
Let’s compare travel passes in Kaohsiung :
|Kaohsiung Pass Type||Price||Best For|
|THSR and KRTC joint pass||NT$700–NT$2,780||Riding the HSR|
|Kaohsiung Fun Card||NT$900 ~ NT$2,980||Entry into various tourist attractions|
|Kaohsiung LRT Pass||NT$120–NT$260||KLRT & MRT rides for 1–2 days|
|Kaohsiung MRT Pass (24 & 48 hrs.)||24 hrs: NT$118048 hrs.: NT$280||Frequent MRT rides|
The THSR and KRTC joint pass includes:
- KLRT 2-day pass
- One round-trip ride on the ferry
- 3-hour Xinyu bicycle rental voucher
- Museum of Marine Exploration Kaohsiung ticket
- British Consulate entrance ticket
- 3 rides at Suzuka Circuit Park
- 25% discount on return tickets for the High-speed Rail
6. Taoyuan Metro
The Taoyuan Metro has one line, but it’ll take you from the Taoyuan International Airport to New Taipei and Taipei cities.
Otherwise, if you want to explore some parts of Taoyuan, such as the Gloria Outlet Malls, or take the high-speed rail, this single line will also take you to those stations.
Here’s a map of the Taoyuan Metro to help you know which stations are essential.
Taoyuan Metro Passes Compared
Let’s compare different Taoyuan Metro passes
|Taoyuan Pass Type||Price|
|Taoyuan Airport MRT Round Trip Ticket and Taipei Metro 48 Hour Pass||NT$520|
|Taoyuan Airport MRT Round Trip Ticket and Taipei Metro 72 Hour Pass||NT$600|
These passes work best from taking you to-and-from the airport to Taipei City. Then it’ll give you a means to navigate Taipei and New Taipei City. Use them if you intend on taking the MRT often.
A 1-way airport MRT ticket is a little more than NT$120. You’re getting about half of the money’s worth of those passes just from leaving and returning to the airport.
In the big city, you’ll likely see taxis everywhere. Whether through the LINE app’s taxi service or a regular taxi. Moreover, according to Taiwanese law, Uber is also considered a taxi.
Most taxi drivers don’t speak English. All you need to do is show them the address of where you need to go and keep your eye on the meter. To achieve the best results, have the address of your destination written in Traditional Chinese. If you’re using Uber, let the app do everything.
You can pay for taxis in Taiwan with cash, card, and IC cards.
If you’re outside a metropolitan area, drivers may ask for a flat rate before starting the journey. Furthermore, they’re likely to have higher prices outside, for instance, Taipei. On top of that, the local governments set the fares in most cities.
Here’s a list of phone numbers you’ll need to file complaints against taxi drivers in Taiwan:
- Kaohsiung: +886-7-222-6816
- Taichung’s government: +886-4-2228-9111
- Taichung Motor Vehicles Office: +886-4-2691-3464
- Tainan: +886-6-295-3221
- TaipeiTraffic Division, Taipei City Police Department: +886-2311-6409 or +886-2375-2100
- Taipei Department of Transportation: +886-2-2720-8889 ext.6888
- Taipei City Public Transportation Office: +886-2-2759-2677
Don’t forget to note your driver’s name, the time you took your taxi, your route, and other details you think you’ll need for your phone call.
Taiwan has two train options: the Taiwan Railway Administration (TRA) and the Taiwan High-Speed Rail (THSR). Each comes with different perks that make it up to you to choose your preferred transportation.
1. Taiwan Railway Administration
The slower variation of Taiwan’s intercity rail system offers 241 stations that run along both coasts. However, they do not provide service within Taiwan’s Central Mountains.
While riding these trains, you can purchase bento boxes or souvenirs from train attendants.
The TRA offers various services or classes that’ll suit the needs of different travelers. These classes include:
|TRA Type||Price Per km (NT$/USD)||Stop Frequency|
|Local||1.46 (0.05)||All stations|
|Fast Local||1.46 (0.05)||Some stops|
|Fu-hsing||1.46 (0.05)||Some stops|
|Chu-kuang||1.75 (0.06)||Some Stops|
|Tze-chiang||2.27 (0.08)||Only major stations|
|Taroko Express||2.27 (0.08)||Few stations|
|Puyuma Express||2.27 (0.08)||Few stations|
Tze-chiang, Chu-kuang, and Fu-hsing all offer reserved seating. Local and Fast Local don’t. Therefore, if you intend on taking the Taroko or Puyuma classes, you’re required to reserve seating.
2. Taiwan High-Speed Rail
The THSR only runs on the West Coast and costs more than the commuter. However, if you’re looking to save time, it’s well worth the investment.
For instance, going from Taipei to Kaohsiung will take you 60–120 minutes. Whereas, if you take the bus or commuter, it’ll take 270–360 minutes. When taking the Taiwan High-Speed Rail, you’ll have access to food and snacks and feel like you’re on an airliner.
Think of it like Japan’s Shinkansen (bullet train). But more affordable.
Taiwan’s THSR has 12 stations on its route that include:
|Nangang (Taipei)||Taipei Main Station||Banqiao Station (New Taipei)|
|Chiayi||Tainan||Zuoying District (Kaohsiung)|
If you’re saving expenses from other parts of your vacation, I highly recommend using the THSR for zooming across western Taiwan. To make the most of your time.
Taiwan High-Speed Rail Passes Compared
Let’s compare THSR passes:
|Kaohsiung Pass Type||Adult Price||Child Price|
|Flexible 2-Day Pass||NT$2,500||NT$1,250|
|THSR & TRA Joint Pass 5-Day Standard||NT$2,800||NT$1,400|
|THSR & TRA Joint Pass 5-Day Premium||NT$3,600||NT$1,800|
What does “Flexible” mean in the 2-Day pass?
You don’t need to take the train for 2 consecutive days. Say you need to take the HSR on Monday and Wednesday. So long as you don’t use the pass on Tuesday, it’s possible to use this pass during those days.
The Joint Standard passes work best for anyone who wants to take Fu-Hsing Semi and Chu-Kuang Express TRA trains. The Premium pass gives you access to the above trains, along with the other available train types.
How to Purchase a Ticket in Taiwan
Here are different ways to buy a HSR ticket in Taiwan:
- Ibon kiosk at any 7-Eleven: bring your passport
- Everything’s in Chinese: here’s a good tutorial to help you buy a ticket from the ibon
- Book online at visit thsrc.com.tw: it’s possible to change the site language to English
- HSR station counter
The HSR allows passengers to order tickets 12 days in advance in person (14 online). Buy your tickets 5 days earlier, and you’ll get 35%, 20%, or 10% off your ticket . Their website lists what early bird discounts you’ll receive based on the time you preorder your ticket.
Don’t dispose of your ticket. You’ll need it to enter and depart from the train.
One of the various boats that’ll transport you through Taiwan’s bodies of water.
To reach Taiwan’s offshore islands, fly or take a ferry. If you’re not in Taiwan during typhoon season, it’ll be safe for you to use marine transport.
Some of the many sea travel routes that you’ll find include:
- Kaohsiung – Magong
- Chiayi – Magong
- Matsu – Keelung
- Taitung Fugang – Orchid Island (Lanyu)
- Chiayi – Penghu
Ship prices for a 1-way trip are at least NT$860–NT$1,700.
For certain islands like Kinmen, there’s no way to take a boat from Taiwan’s main island. You must arrive by flight or a ferry from China.
Essential Tips To Get Around Taiwan
Keep these tips in mind when on Taiwan’s public transportation:
- Invest in a contactless card: EasyCard, iPass, or icash: use them to enter/exit public transportation & make purchases at supported shops
- Download a bus- or MRT-related app: know when your public transportation arrives, the costs, & time it takes to reach your destination
- Stand on the right side of escalators: walk along the left side
- Don’t eat food on public transportation: it is fine to eat on some trains
Explore this list of commonly asked questions to clear any questions that you may have about getting around Taiwan.
Find more frequently asked questions about Taiwan here.
Is LYFT in Taipei?
You won’t find LYFT in Taipei or the rest of Taiwan. You will only find Uber or other private driving services.
Do You Tip Uber Drivers in Taiwan?
In Taiwan, you don’t have to tip your Uber or taxi drivers. However, if you feel generous, tip the driver—it likely won’t offend them.
Is There Grab or Uber in Taiwan?
The island nation does have Uber. Grab does not offer its services in Taiwan.
Getting around Taiwan is convenient and affordable. While the developed country doesn’t have as many ride-share options as other places, it does offer plenty of additional ways to get around.
If you’re in the countryside or on offshore islands, you’ll find yourself more limited to transportation options; however, you won’t have any problems if you’re in the city.
Are you traveling to Taiwan? Don’t make this piece the last guide you read. You’ll need more preparation before you leave. Explore the various Taiwan travel guide articles to prepare for your trip.
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