After a hectic day of walking and shopping on our first day in Taipei, our second day began early with us leaving Taipei city for the beautiful coastal city of Hualien (花蓮).

We had already collected our train tickets (pre-booked online) to Hualien at Taipei Train Station (台北火車站) the day before.

As we checked out of the CityInn Hotel Taipei Station Branch III (新驛旅店),  one staff member who heard that we were going to Hualien asked us to remember to try 第一家燒烤 if we are at Zhi Qiang night market (自強夜市) in Hualien! More of that later in our review of the night market in a later post.

At Taipei Main Station (台北火車站).  Usually, there will be meals in the form of bento boxes (便當) sold on board the trains, but it so happened that it is not available Puyuma trains.  So we snuck into this convenience store to buy some breakfast.

At Platform 4A, waiting for our 7:40 am Puyuma train to Hualien.

Woo…our Puyuma train looks stylish and brand new!

Our pre-assigned seats.

I was delightfully squirming in my seat because it is just so spacious and comfortable.  It feels absolutely like a first class seat in a posh train for just a cheap ticket price.  It cost us NT$418, which is about SGD $18 one way per person!

My seat, fully reclined. Each seat comes with their own cup holders, coat hangers and a hand drawn blind if you do not like the sun.  What more could I want?

Look at the amount of leg space we have after full recline!

The train to Hualien was full despite the early hours.

Bidding a temporary farewell as we leave Taipei city for a one-night stay at Hualien.

We went on to explore Puyuma train since the journey from Taipei city to Hualien would take around 2 hours.

No bento box sold on board, but they definitely have got vending machines on-board!

Each carriage comes with its own public restroom – which is designed just like those we get on board an aircraft. There is even a breastfeeding room for mothers.

The only thing I didn’t like about taking trains were that the luggages had to be stowed in a compartment that was obstructed from view from the seats.  That meant there was no way I could keep an eye on my luggage – what if some blur sotong took my luggage by mistake and alighted at some stop before Hualien?

As we got nearer to Hualien, the landscape changed to a more rural one. At certain point, we could catch sight of the coast line (I think this is visible only if you are sitting on the left side of the train as we were), but the train was moving too fast to get some good shots.

As the sun keeps rising up, we started lowering our shades.

The train was a few minutes late when it pulled in at Hualien train station.  Definitely not as timely as the Swiss trains.

Hualien Train Station

We had made arrangements with our Hotel (Hotel Bayview Hualien) to assign a cabby to take us on a one-day tour of Hualien.  The taxi uncle was already waiting by the train station when we arrived!

Snapped a few shots of the coastal map of Hualien before we boarded the taxi, to give us an idea of where our tour will bring us.

Based on the map, we will be travelling upwards to Taroko Gorge for our one-day tour.

Join us next as we check in at Hotel Bayview Hualien and explore the Taroko Gorge.

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  1. Thank you for your wonderful detailed description of your Taiwan trip. Do you mind sharing how did you manage to arrange with your hualien hotel to engage the service of a taxi driver for full day sightseeing ? Mind sharing the charges as well.

    Thank you very much

  2. Hey can I check with you, how you book your train ticket from Taipei to Hualien? Because when I visited the website, the only train is Chu-Kuang Express and it took 10h travel time.

  3. ok i think I know why, on the timetable though it says shulin -> Hualien, shulin is just the starting point, taipei will be 1 of the station within this route. is it correct?

  4. Hi,

    The driver was arranged by the Hualien Hotel that we are staying.

    His name is Mr 何胜利。
    We did not retain his contact number after our trip.

    If you are interested in obtaining his services and are staying at 七星潭度假酒店, you may request for him from the hotel! 🙂

  5. Hi, very inforamtive! thank you very much. I have a couple questions.
    1. were you able to choose your train seats when you collect your ticket? I tried to book online, but there is no seat selection.
    2. i see your train timing is 7:40am. so how much in advance do you need to arrive to collect ticket at Taipei main station?

  6. @Unknown


    Thanks for visiting our blog!

    I believe the seats are system assigned by the online system. Thus, we can't choose the seats that we want.

    We collected our train tickets to Hualien at Taipei Train Station (台北火車站) the day before.

  7. Hi – Thanks for the great information and your blog!
    My family and I are thinking of taking the Puyuma Express in December from HUALIEN – TAIPEI.

    1. Could you advise if the station platform indicates where to wait – For which car number (e.g. Car 6) and which seat?
    2. Could you please advise if EVERY car/carriage has a place at the entrance to store larger luggage please?
    Can it take large size luggage – if possible, could you please advise the size of your luggage that you placed in the Puyuma Express.

    Many thanks!

    • Hi Lyn,

      Thank you for visiting our blog! 🙂

      You would have to check the signboards at the train station on the day itself which will indicate the platform number that correspond to your train number.

      Signboard that indicate the platform number

      The car numbers and seats are indicated on your ticket.

      Car numbers and Seats

      Each car would have a luggage storage area to store your luggages. We had a big 30 inch luggage and a medium luggage.

      Storage area for luggage

      Hope the above helps and have a great trip in Dec!

  8. Hi Tommy,

    Thank you so much for your response. Your blog has certainly helped me a lot in planning the trip as I was debating the best and shortest way how to get the family back from Hualien to Taipei.

    I read that it is very difficult to get tickets on this route. Did you book yours immediately when it opened 2 weeks from departure date? I’m traveling on Monday and doing the Hualien-Taipei.

    Thanks again!


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