A highlight from our last trip to Taiwan was our train trip to Hualien, on Taiwan’s east coast. We had originally planned to continue our train ride south from Hualien on to Tainan in southern Taiwan, where our sons’ orphanage is located. But those plans were derailed when a typhoon struck Taiwan the month before our trip and damaged the railroad on the southern route. Instead, we returned to Taipei via the train and transferred to the High Speed Rail for our trip to Tainan.
I doubt we will have extra time on our next trip to Taiwan, but if we did I would spend a few extra days traveling Taiwan’s eastern coast. The views are breathtaking, and far different from the more industrial western side of Taiwan. We found this great website that helps explain the train transportation available in Taiwan. Train tickets can only be reserved/purchased up to two weeks in advance. We thought it would be easier to reserve our tickets online, where we could choose the train and timetable that worked best for our schedule. Once we did that, we went to the main station in Taipei where we needed to pick up our reserved tickets. It ended up working out fine, but it was very challenging as we tried to communicate with the ticket agent and pick up our tickets. First, we were in the wrong line; once we moved to the correct line and showed the attendant our confirmation number she was able to print our tickets.
Some photos from our trip to Taiwan’s east coast, including Taroko Gorge, in September 2009: