Taiwan High Speed Rail Business Class

The modern, sleek Taipei HSR bullet train pulls into Chiayi Station.

The modern, sleek Taipei HSR bullet train pulls into Chiayi Station.

I have come to love the Taiwan High Speed Rail system since moving to Taiwan two years ago. It has redefined convenience to me, shortening a 5 hour trip on the highways of Taiwan, to a 1 and 1/2 hour journey in a quiet, comfortable setting. More importantly, it has allowed trips throughout the north and south Taiwan to become reasonable, efficient and less damaging to the environment.

The Standard Class seating in the Taiwan HSR Bullet Train.

The Standard Class seating in the Taiwan HSR Bullet Train.

I have always taken Standard Reserved Class, and it has always been nothing short of perfect. But on my latest trip to Taipei, I decided to take Business Class to experience for myself what the differences are.

On Sunday, May 8th, 2011, I took the train from Chiayi to Taipei to attend the Urban Nomad Film Festival. Instead of paying NT 1080 (US $36) for a Standard one-way ticket, I chose the Business Class ticket for NT 1455 (US $48). As I walked onto car #6, I noticed a difference immediately. Instead of 6 seats per row, there were 4 seats. The seats were larger, and also included a 110 volt electric outlet and a jack for music that was streaming on different channels. The aisle was carpeted, and there was a padded footrest.

Business Class seating is more spacious, with 4 seats per row.

Business Class seating is more spacious, with 4 seats per row.

The service in the Business Class car was better. An attractive attendant provided passengers with free coffee, muffin and a selection of daily newspapers. There was an extra pictorial magazine just for Business Class as well. It was a more relaxing experience, reading the paper to jazz music, and the trip seemed to pass much more quickly.

Free amenities are provided with the Business Class fare.

Free amenities are provided with the Business Class fare.

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15 responses to “Taiwan High Speed Rail Business Class

  1. But was the coffee good? It was awful when I took the HSR business class two years ago.

    • The coffee was OK. They provided the cream and sugar packets, so I could make it the way I liked. Of course, it was not as good as the NT 150 coffee from Starbucks.

      • Interesting guide. Had the same impression. Superb.railway.system.

        But.you can’t call Starbucks coffee good in any sense. Its not even coffee.. Haha except for Americans I guess

  2. I really want to take the high speed train in Taiwan. =o)

  3. I took the Bullet Train, the first time while visiting Tainan (home) in 2007. I was just taken aback by the ease, relaxing, air conditioned comfort of it all. I got to thinking that ALL Taiwanese should get the chance to take a ride in it. Also I would hope that visitors get out and visit the smaller country towns and hamlets, and meet the local people. This train, with it’s fantastic panoramic views, creates a sort of distance, culturally, between the peoples.

  4. I talk of Tainan, being home. I was stationed at Tainan AFB., 1972-1974. I served in Tainan and TDY CCK with the Security Police Forces. I married a Tainan girl. Still married after 39 years. My wife has a rather large family and I thoroughly enjoy a visit with them when I get a chance to make a visit. They take me to places in Taiwan off the beaten track, where American’s and visitors seldom visit. My beard, dark suntan, and size 13 shoes always seems to invokes and perplexes the local children and adults.

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  6. Pingback: Taipei City of Taiwan « thecityoftaipei

  7. Not sure about the HSR being better for the environment than other forms of travel. Those trains use a lot of electricity, much of which is produced by burning coal. Also, building the railway meant pouring a vast amount of concrete, and green fields were torn up for several of the stations.

  8. After almost five years in Taiwan, I’m finally going to ride the HSR for the first time on Sunday, from Taoyuan to Zuoying station. I can’t wait!

  9. Another thing I noticed is that business class has wifi.. not sure if standard class has wifi? There’s also a “quiet” policy in business, meaning people need to keep any phones on silent and keep voices low if on the phone and to keep conversations short etc

  10. Is it worth the additional cost? It doesn’t seem all that more expensive and if food / drinks are included then it might even pay for itself

  11. I’ll be taking the train from the airport (after a bus ride) to Chiayi, and then heading up to Yushan to bag the peak. This thread convinced me to spend an extra $10 USD.

  12. How big/small are the overhead compartments?

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