I want to start this series with telling you how to get to Taichung. The city is two hours south of Taipei but could be more depending on which mode of transportation you will be choosing. We were thwacked with all these technicalities when Klook sent me an e-mail telling me that our driver could not pick us up in Taiwan but could however meet us at Taichung station. With that, we started winging our way around Taipei main station on the day we were to start our Taichung itinerary. It was not so bad, really, in fact getting lost and finding our way around the was half the adventure itself.
First things first.
Purchase a ticket at Taipei Main Station which we did on the day itself. The automated ticket machines are in mandarin and english, therefore it will not be a problem for foreigners like us. Keep in mind that you will need to ride the Taiwan High Speed Rail (THSR), that will shorten your cruising time from 2.5 hours to 40 to 60 minutes, assuming that you want to get there at the shortest amount of time possible.
If you do choose THSR, there are two kinds of tickets: reserved and non-reserved. Andre told me that if we chosee the non-reserved and were caught at a rush hour schedule there is a possibility that we will NOT have a seat and will be forced to stand up during the entire duration. It is a first come, first serve arrangement. That kind of sealed the deal when we were deciding between the two options last December 31; New Year’s eve meant a lot of people were trying to scurry their way to Taipei to watch the fireworks. The advantage of the non-reserved seating is that it IS relatively cheaper. The reserved on the other hand meant that you have a specific seat and car, all you have to do is to line up at your designated stand. All train platforms are labeled so you know exactly where to position yourself when it’s time for boarding. It was amazing how the Taiwanese were so organized so rest assured this will all be a breeze when you get there.Continue reading