Booking the Taroko Express

52 Replies

Hualien Taipei Taiwan

There’s two types of trains going between Hualien and Taipei, Tze-Chiang Limited Express and Chu-Kuang Express.  When you book the tickets online from the official Taiwan Railways Administration website, look for the Taroko Express (太魯閣號)

 as it is the fastest way to go from Taipei to Hualien at only 2 hours 10 minutes.  On the online train schedule, you won’t see “Taroko Express”, but you will see “Tze Chiang Limited Express” with two little green triangles underneath.  You can book your tickets either by train type, or train number so have these information ready when you are booking.

The booking opens 2 weeks before your travel date. I would book the tickets as soon as possible because these tickets are in high demand especially during peak season.  On my way back from Hualien to Taipei, the express tickets were sold out so I had to take the Tze Chiang Limited Express which took 3 hours to get back to Taipei.

Once you have booked your ticket online, you can print out the e-ticket.  When you get to the railway station, you will need to go to the ticket counter and collect the magnetic ticket as shown in the picture.  Once you have your ticket collected, you are good to go !

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  1. Sue

    Hi there, i Plan to go hualian coming January 2013. But i saw on website that they require me to pick up the tickets within 3 days. If that is the case, how could i book the ticket online from overseas 2 weeks before my departure date?

    1. KJ

      Hi Sue

      Picking up the ticket 3 days before your travel is not necessary. You can book your ticket online 2 weeks prior to your travel date, print out a paper copy. Bring the paper copy on your actual travel date to the station, and exchange that for a magnetic ticket at the ticketing counter as that’s what you need to pass through automated ticketing gates. Have fun in Taiwan !

  2. Wei Lin

    Hi, is it a must to take tze-chiang express train with the green mountain logo below? or can I take chu-kuang express or tze-chiang (without the logo)? What are the difference?

    1. KJ

      It’s not a must but since it’s an express it takes only 2.5 hours to go to hualien. Tze chiang and chi kuang go to hualien too but they can take up to 3-4 hours as they will have more stops along the way. So if you want to save time, the best is still the express.

  3. VO

    Hi, you said that it is not necessary to pick up the booked-ticket 3 days earlier, is that mean I can do it on the day of my departure to Hualien? Because it is impossible for me to pick up the ticket earlier than the departure date.
    Thank you.

  4. Pingback: Taiwan Travel Itinerary – Taipei & Hualien in 8 Days. | Always Travelicious !

  5. sesamis

    Hi may i know what did you go in the internet web to start booking the taroko express train? Because i googled and a lot of travellers couldnt get the taroko express tix online! The tix are snatched up so fast, u mus been v lucky to get it online!

  6. sesamis

    Hi! May i know what time did you go into the tw railway web to book your taroko express train tix??
    Because i read online a lot of travellers couldnt get their taroko express tix /: u mus have been very lucky to get it online!

    1. KJ

      Hi! The taroko express tickets open up online for sale 2 weeks before your travel date. So for example if you are going from taipei to hualien on 15th May, and coming back 20th may, you should book your two tickets separately. Book the 15th of May (taipei-hualien) ticket on the 1st May, and book the 20th May ticket on the 6th of may so you are grabbing the tickets as soon as they open up for sale. Good Luck getting the tickets!

  7. Allan

    Hi KJ,

    If I don’t purchase the express train, is it possible to purchase the tickets on the date of travel? What is the nearest train from Taoyuan International Airport?


    1. KJ @

      Hi Allan. It depends on when you are travelling. If you are going to Hualien during weekend and public holiday, it might be difficult to get tickets. If you are going on weekdays, you should be able to get some. But it’s always best to pre book to avoid disappointment 🙂

  8. susanissima

    Hi KJ. I love your blog and especially this post. My son has lived in Taipei for eight years now and I travel to Taiwan every couple of years. The Taroko Gorge was amazing. The thousands of blue morpho butterflies blew our minds. The train up to Alishan to see mountains beyond mountains beyond mountains at dawn was also a view we’ll never forget. I look forward to reading more of your posts. I’ll also be writing about Taiwan in the future. Going to Taipei in late January for Chinese New Year. All the best.

    1. KJ @

      Hi Susan! looks like you have been to a lot of places in Taiwan! I am from Taiwan but I migrated at a young age so it’s a pitty that I am missing out on lots of lovely places in Taiwan. Have fun in Taiwan when you go and look forward to reading your adventures 🙂

    1. KJ @

      Thank you ! A lot of people seem to find this post when they are doing the booking 🙂

      1. Benjamin Tan

        Hi wanna check how I enter the “random number” when in confirmation? I have try a lotof time but i enter the number I saw but is still invalid… Please help me solve dis thanks very muchy

  9. Benjamin Tan

    Hi wanna check how I enter the “random number” when in confirmation? I have try a lotof time but i enter the number I saw but is still invalid… Please help me solve dis thanks very muchy

  10. phoebe

    Hi, you mentioned “You can book your tickets either by train type, or train number so have these information ready when you are booking.” is the train type: taroko express/tze chiang? and how do you find the train number? thanks

  11. Joslyn

    Hi! Saw your travel blog! It’s very useful!
    May i ask the details for the “Taroko Express” is there a two-way ticket? Because i’ve saw many reviews about the train limited departing times but no one mentioned about the return trip.

  12. fanfankwok

    HI can I ask you , can I take the taroko express from taichung to hualien ? I went to see the time table but bit confused. When does the train depart from taichung ? Thanks in advance.

  13. Gee

    Hi. In your post you are travelling from Taipei to Hualien. But in my case I am going to travel from Hualien to Taipei. If i were to buy the tickets on the spot itself, can i buy them at Hualien Railway station? And i am a little confused by the High Speed Rail and TSR. Do advice. Thank you!

    1. KJ @ Post author

      Hi Gee. You can buy it at Hualien, but most likely you will be buying the slower trains (around 3 hours plus) because the Taroko Express (2.5 hours) gets sold out very fast. It’s also best to roughly see the schedule of the train if you are going to buy it at the station. Pre book it if it’s holiday season.

  14. yongkie

    Hi, just found your website. I plan to go to Hualien on Sept.14,2015 from Taipei. Is it easy to go to the trainstation in Taipei on this day, buying the ticket and get on the train? How about the returnticket from Hualien to Taipei on Sept. 16,2015?
    Thanks in Advance.

    1. KJ @ Post author

      Best to buy in advance online if you want the faster Taroko train. If not, you should be able to buy on the spot, but most likely slower trains.

  15. 888

    We are going to Hualien from Tainan on 28/12/15 and from Hualien to Taipei on 30/12/15. The train system is just killing me. lol. So, for Tainan to Hualien, I know we have to travel via Taipei. Is it possible for us to buy the train tickets at Tainan HSR Station all the way to Hualien or do I need to purchase the two legs tickets separately? I better put a reminder in my calendar to book the Taroko Express train.

    1. KJ @ Post author

      Hi Leon. you can purchase it at the HSR counter, they should be able to help you advise the tickets for Tainan to Hualian. You won’t have to worry about the journey from tainan to taipei, because there are lots of trains daily, you can just go to the station whenever and hop on. But for taipei to hualian, you might want to book the taroko express tickets online ahead because it gets booked out early. the train opens for booking 2 weeks ahead. It’s ok too if you don’t book it, you’ll still get to Hualien but just on a slower train. Hope that helps .

  16. 888

    Hi, it’s finally time for me to book the express train from Taipei to Hualien return for 28/12/15 to 30/12/15. Unfortunately, it keeps saying there is an error with the ID No. when I get to the online payment step. It seems like it doesn’t like my passport number as the form of ID no. What should I do?

    1. KJ @ Post author

      Hi, I am not so sure about that… perhaps you could check with the railway website. Sorry 🙁

      1. 888

        No worries. I just figured out that it’s a browser issue! I was using Google Chrome but tried Internet Explorer and it worked!

  17. Michelle

    Hi kj, Thanks for the very informative post. Can I check if it is a must to book only via IE (Internet Explorer), I seem to be having trouble booking via chrome/safari.

    1. KJ @ Post author

      Hi Michelle. Sorry for the late reply, but I think other chrome and safari should be ok as well.

  18. Annie

    hi there! really like your blog as we find it very useful. We are looking forward to explore Taiwan for the first time. We will arrive in Taipei on second week of April and we decided to go to Hualian on a day tour on the 17th of April (sunday). Thank you for giving us the heads up to book 2 weeks in advance. Ive checked the Taiwan Railways website youve mentioned but got a bit confused with some details: There are only 3 green triangles available on that day and i would prefer to take an early trip which is Tze Chiang Limited Express (Taroko) – 620am to 820am exactly 2 hours with the origin written as shulin to zhihben. Does this mean we go to shulin station to catch the train and where do we exactly go down? Is there an exact Hualian station in between? (ex. how many stops?)

    Is there also a way to book a round trip? can i choose other alternatives that doesnt have a green triangle? whats the difference between Tze-Chiang Limited Express (Taroko) from that of (Puyama)? is it nearer to Taroko?

    Many Thanks!

    1. KJ @ Post author

      Hi Annie. Thanks for visiting my blog. For the green triangle trains, Shulin to Zhibei means the whole route that the train takes, so it doesnt mean that you have to go to Shulin to take the train. It just means that the train starts at Shulin and will pass through Taipei, with the end station at Zhibei. If you’ve keyed in your search destination from Taipei to Hualien, it gives the departure time in Taipei and not in Shulin. Yes there is a stop called “Hualien”, you can get of at Hualian Station. It’s a big station so many will get of at this one. I won’t know how many stops in between. Yes you can choose Puyama. Not much difference between the Taroko Express, but it’s just a new line added on top of Taroko in 2013 (and runs similar route as the Taroko Express) to help ease the heavy traffic on the Tarkoko Express (my post was writeen in 2012 so I didn’t mention anything abotu Puyama). Have fun in Taiwan.

  19. Amanda

    Hello! Thank you so much for this post related to the Taroko express! My friends and I are having a headache trying to plan trips out of Taipei as the railways are a little confusing for us. I do have several questions though. We are planning to head to Hualien for a day from Taipei and the nearest convenient railway stop for us is the Taipei main station. When I tried searching on the TRA website, I realized that the trains depart from shulin to hualien. Does that mean we have to board at shulin only? Does the train pass by Taipei main station though? Hope to hear from you and thank you so much! 🙂 I really love your blog!

    1. KJ @ Post author

      Hi Amanda. It can get confusing looking at the chart. When it says depart from shulin, it doesn’t mean that you have to board at shulin; shulin only indicates the very first stop along the route. Look at the chart again, it should tell you the arrival time at the taipei station 🙂

      1. An Nguyen

        Hi KI,

        Thanks a lot for the information.

        I have the same question as Amanda asked above.

        When I was checking the website , it says to there are Tze-Chiang Limited Express(Taroko) from Shulin to Jhihben or Hualien so which one should I book? Also, can I depart from Taipei Main Station cause I checked the chart as you said but it does not say anything about Taipei Main Station arrival time. Please show me where to find this information.

        And for returning trip, does this train stop at Taipei Main Station too?

        Sorry for bothering you and thank you very much.


        An Nguyen

  20. Anne

    Hi, I plan to travel by train from Taipei to Taichung. Can I know what is the ticket price by taking Puyuma or Taroko Express? How many trips per day? I tried checking from the Taiwan Train Administration but unable to get any information. The timetable is very confusing & unable to locate the above destination. Can anybody help

  21. Toff


    I’m doing a day trip to Hualien from Taipei on Oct. 22, 2018.

    I’m taking the Taroko Express (402) to Hualien in the morning, and Tze Chiang Limited Express (439) to Taipei in the evening.

    Since online booking is already available 14 days prior to the travel date, the tickets for Oct. 22, 2018 are already available as of this date of posting.

    I was able to book my tickets but I’m apprehensive to pay because of this clause on the website:

    “Payment and Collection Deadline

    Ticket collection or online payment must be completed no later than 2 days from the date of booking. If the travel date is within 2 days from the date of booking, ticket collection or online payment must be completed before 24:00 of the previous day of travel date.”

    While I understand that payment must be made within 2 days, is it required that I “collect” or pick-up my tickets within 2 days as well?

    If this is the case, I am unable to do so since I’m not in Taiwan and will only arrive on Oct. 21, 2018.

    By the way, the online payment site also states the following:

    “Tickets not picked up after payment:

    Purchased tickets are kept in a database and cannot be resold. Whether you pick up your ticket or not, ticket payment will be collected if you do not cancel payment before the deadline.”

    Would appreciate if anyone can clarify if I can (book and) pay for the tickets already, and still be able to pick them up on Oct. 21, 2018. Or will the tickets be voided if I don’t pick them up after payment?

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