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
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.