The first time you arrive in a metropolitan city like Taipei, you might be confused and overwhelmed by this amount of people and the traffic. You have to figure out how to get to your hostel/hotel and how to get from one interesting attraction to another during your stay.
A quick, easy and comfortable way to travel through Taiwan`s lovely capital of Taipei is by using the metro, also referred to as MRT (Mass Rapid Transit). The Taipei Metro is one of the most expensive rapid transit systems ever constructed. Compared to other metro systems you will definitely appreciate the space and cleanliness of the metro which is due to the fact that drinking and eating is not allowed once you entered the metro area. At every metro station you will find MRT maps for navigating through the metro as well as for the area outside of the station. Moreover you find very clean toilets and drinking water at every stop. All the announcements and signs are in Chinese and English, so you won`t get lost. It operates from 6 am to midnight daily and depending on the time and line, operates at intervals between 1.5 to 15 minutes. There are 5 lines for over 107 stations so you can reach pretty much every part of the city. If you will only be taking a few metro trips you can purchase a single journey ticket or a one day pass (TaipeiPass). Another very convenient and recommended option to travel throughout Taipei is by using the EasyCard.
Taipei`s EasyCard is a ‘touch-and-go’ IC ticketing system. I mainly use it for the metro. You just place the card over the sensor area to scan your card and the gates to the metro will open. When you arrive at your final destination you scan your card at the exit gates again. At that point a transaction will be made. On the screen of the gate you can see how much the ride cost you and how much value is left on your EasyCard. Value can be added to the card at any time, there is no need to purchase new cards when your card runs out of funds. An EasyCard can be used for years. If there is insufficient value on the card it will be deducted from the deposit. Value must be added to the card before it can be used again. Maximum deduction from the deposit is NT$60. The maximum value you can have on the card is NT$10,000. I recommend keeping your balance relatively low in case you lose the card. The card is available at EasyCard kiosks in the airport or at an EasyCard Sale & Add Value machine in all Taipei Metro stations. When purchasing there is a non-refundable deposit of NT$100. But as a EasyCard user you enjoy a 10% discount on fares for traveling distances under 70 km.
Besides the Taipei metro you can use the EasyCard at the following places:
- Kaohsiung Metro
- Bus systems in Taipei, New Taipei, Keelung, Taoyuan, Hsinchu, Taichung, Tainan, Kaohsiung (In Taichung, users can enjoy an 8-kilometer free ride)
- TRA trains from Keelung to Miaoli and Fulong Station and all Southern stations within Tainan City (All passenger trains allow payment with the EasyCard with a 10% discount, except Taroko Express, Puyuma Express, group trains, tourism trains, and specified operating trains)
- designated car parks, stores and government agencies
- Ferries (Taipei Blue highway)
- Admission into the Taipei Zoo, and a some museums and festival activities
- Library cards allowing the user to borrow and print materials from Taipei or Yilan Public Libraries
- YouBike bicycle sharing system (Registration with the U Bike system with registered mobile telephone is required) – click on the link to check out our blog on taking the YouBike