Travelling in Taiwan by Combing Taiwan Railway & Your Bicycle
Most of us are not professional cyclists, but just a biker loves traveling and wants to see more places and people during one single trip. Now, you can have them both without having to give up one another easily. Taiwan has many cycling routes or bike paths, however you wish to call them. Bike tour may be the best way to explore one city in more depth. Taiwan railways are well connected in all major cities and small towns by local trains. Therefore, try to take your bike on the train should be an important thing for you to know in order to make your trip more efficient and enjoyable.
First of all, where to find the train time tables:
Taiwan Railway Administration has an English website for foreign tourist to book the tickets or finding helpful information all about traveling in Taiwan by trains. There is one page where a map of Taiwan along with some items to select for you to find out trains available for each day and type of trains. (type is important, we will explain later on). Just choose your TO and FROM on the map and the list of stations, and then decide when you want to take the train. Click GO, you will have the train information. LINK to Taiwan Railway Administration Train Time and Ticket Search (http://www.railway.gov.tw/en/TimetableMap.aspx?n=20128)
Secondly, how to know which trains can be loaded with the bicycles:
According to Taiwan Railway Administration's current policy, there are at least three ways of traveling along with your bike.
1. Bike packed in bike bag: no additional charge for bike, OK to get on any trains as long as the bike is placed inside a bike bag of which maximum length is 150cm and total sum of length+width+height is less than 220cm.
2. Bike without bike bag: 50% of the adult ticket fare would be charged for bicycle (only one bike per person), OK to get on almost all "local" trains but you do need to make a reservation or request at least 20mins before the train departure. BUT, it is better make the reservation the day or couple hours before because each local train can place up to 8 bicycles. There is one other limitation on this, this service would not be available during any 3 or more consecutive holidays. *Taipei main station does not have this option!!
3. Special trains operating daily between Kaohsiung and Taitung, and also other ones on weekend with the special car for bicycle and owner. (send inquiry for more information on this one since it does change quite often)
Last, how to move or carry your bike inside the train station and platform:
More and more train stations in Taiwan is becoming more bike friendly so they have put the bike-walking ramp on the stairs, so you can walk your way up or down. Of course, most stations in the city also have the elevators, so you can use whether your bike is in a bike bag or not.
Travel in Taiwan can be so much fun if you are open to try new things! Next time, thinking of going somewhere in Asia, plan a trip to Taiwan and you will be amazed on what you can see and who you will meet on the journey, and do not forget to plan a bike tour in your trip to Taiwan. ^_^