Taiwan: Getting around

Taipei is very easy to get around. One of the easiest, cheapest and most reliable ways is the subway or MRT. Built since the turn of the century, it is world-class, comprehensive, clean and reliable. Announcements, signage and maps in English make it particularly simple. As with almost everywhere in Taiwan, personal safety is simply not an issue. Fully air conditioned throughout and with a number of underground malls between stations, the metro system can serve as welcome refuge from the often intense heat outside.

Navigation is easy, with many stations at the intersections of major roads on the city grid. Zhongxiao-Dunhua, for example, lies where Zhongxiao East Road crosses Dunhua South Road on the Nangang (blue) line. Most lines are relatively shallow and follow main roads, making it easy to find the numbered exit you require – usually one at each corner of the station corresponding to the four corners of the road junction above.

Taxis are also cheap and reliable with fares starting at $70 NTD – between one and two pounds. Given the speed, cleanliness and ease of the MRT, there is little advantage in taking a taxi if your start and end points are close to directly connected stations. If your destination would require a walk in the blistering heat or is more difficult to find, taxis are well worth it. Elevated expressways crossing the city also make road journeys relatively painless.

Beyond Taipei, the High Speed Rail makes travel from north to south simple, via the major cities of Taipei, Taoyuan, Hsinchu, Taichung, Tainan and Kaohsiung. The route is 350km long, trains run at up to 300kmph and end-to-end, the journey can take as little as one hour and 45 minutes.

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