Enjoy Taichung With Its Affordable Public Transport Network 台中自由行:毋須包車也能輕旅行

Located in central western Taiwan, Taichung may be the second most populous city in Taiwan since July 2017 with a population of about 2.79 million people, but it is somehow not the first that comes to mind for travellers to the Formosa Island. Why? Maybe because it is an industrial city & not highly publicised on the tourism front. Or maybe because there is no MRT network in the big city so many think that it is less accessible to move around compared to Taipei or Kaohsiung.

自2017年7月,位于台湾中西部的台中的人口已达约279万,晋身为宝岛第二大人口密集城市。但奇怪的是,许多旅人想到台湾,通常都不会先想到台中。为什么?或许是因为台中市并不是旅游观光局强打的地区。也或许是因为台中不像台北或高雄有便利的捷运服务。

Just to give you an idea of the area covered under Taichung, here’s a map divided by district:

先了解一下台中的区域包括哪里,涵盖那些地区:

Extracted from Taichung Travel Net, with English names added

If you do some homework, you will realise that Taichung actually has quite a comprehensive public transport network of buses & trains. To sweeten the deal, travelling in Taichung is cheap & affordable, because you get to travel on the bus free for the first 10 km of your journey! But first, you need to get yourself an Easy Card (which works like our EZLink Card in Singapore) available from convenience stores such as 7-11 or Family Mart, as you need to tap in & out of the bus so the distance travelled can be calculated. So cool right? In addition, the Easy Card is not just good for travelling on the bus, it can also be used for train / MRT travel, or even paying for your purchases in convenience stores etc. So having the Easy Card definitely makes your Taiwan trip more convenient.

如果你出游前已先做了功课,会发现台中虽然没有捷运,但有相当完善的公共交通服务,即公车与火车(铁路)。除此之外,在台中乘搭公交是很便宜的,因为乘搭公车的首10公里路程是免费的!不过,你必须使用悠游卡(可到各便利商店购买),上下车时都得打卡,以便计算路程里数。超酷的,对吧?😎 当然,悠游卡不限于乘搭公车时使用,搭乘火车、捷运,甚至到便利商店购物等都能使用。所以到台湾游玩,绝对是悠游卡在手,通畅无阻。😁

Taiwan Easy Card for convenient travelling all around the country (Source: Wikimedia) 台湾悠游卡:一卡在手,通畅无阻

During my recent 3-night Taichung trip, we didn’t engage any driver nor did we join in any private tour. This was because we could move around easily by taking a bus and/or transfer to a local train if we needed to. It is a cheap way of transport, compared to engaging a private driver for at least 3,500 TWD/day (~S$158/day) which is not economical for just 2 pax. It also helped that just less than a 10-min walk from our hotel, is the bus stop where we could find several buses that connects us to major attractions such as Tung Hai University, Taichung Railway Station & Gaomei Wetland.

最近的台中3天3夜游,我们就因为可以乘搭便捷的公交而没有包车旅游。反正只有两个人,包车并没有很划算,因为一般包车八小时起码也要3500台币以上吧。况且,我们下榻的旅店步行不到10分钟就有公车站,可以带我们到许多主要景点如东海大学商圈、台中火车站以及高美湿地等。

My favourite bus stop along Taiwan Avenue near the hotel 😉 在台湾大道的新光/远百公车站是我们每天都会“报到”的公车站,就在旅店附近。

At the above bus stop, most of the buses (#300 series mostly) will go to Taichung Railway Station where you can transfer to the local train or elsewhere to explore the big city. I like that all buses in Taiwan will not only flash the name of the next bus stop on the display behind the driver’s seat, but also announce the next bus stop (in Mandarin) through its speakers, so just make sure you know the name of the stop you are supposed to alight & you won’t miss it.

上图摄入的公车站就是我们每天的必经之路。从新光/远百公车站,可以搭乘许多公车(多是300系列编号公车)前往台中火车站,转乘区间车(火车)或其他公车到别处游玩。而且,搭乘台湾的公车不怕下错站,因为车里不只有显示下一个车站的名称,车长也会即时广播下一站会是哪里。只要你清楚你应该在哪一个站下车,就肯定不会忘了下车。

There are many private day tours available in the city, but the cost is typically around 1,000 TWD (~S$45) per pax or more. Using the popular Gaomei Wetland in Qingshui district as an example, which is a popular site for enjoying the beautiful sunset, Hotel Mapp wanted to charge us 1,600 TWD (~S$72) per pax for a 2-way transfer (1 way distance is about 26 km from the hotel). But if you take the bus, it will cost you a mere 32 TWD (~S$1.45) per pax given that the first 10 km is free! At Shin Kong Mitsukoshi / Top City Dept. Store bus stop, there is bus #309 which you can board for an approximately 1-hour journey to Gaomei. Enroute, you can also stop by Tung Hai University where the famous Luce Chapel is, or enjoy some affordable & trendy shopping in the shops nearby the university.

或许有些人会说,包车贵,但拼车应该比较便宜吧。不错,拼车是比较便宜,但一个人还是需要付约1000台币左右的价钱。以热门景点高美湿地(在清水区)为例,我们下榻的希堤微旅告诉我们往返高美湿地的价格为每人1600台币(从旅店到高美大概26公里)。相比之下,只需花费32台币乘搭公车,就能在约一小时抵达此地,因为首十公里是免费的!而从新光/远百公车站就可乘搭309号公车直达,沿途还会经过另一热门景点:东海大学。到大学区除了可以参观台中市定古迹路思义教堂,还可在热闹的商圈逛逛。

Besides the cheap public buses, we also made use of the local trains frequently throughout our stay in Taichung. While they are not free, they serve as a good & reasonably priced mode of transport to connect to buses. For example, to get to Houli district in the north where Zhongshe Flower Market is, it will take almost an hour’s drive from Xitun district (about 25 km). We decided to take the free bus to Taichung Railway Station then take a 25-min train ride to Houli district at just 31 TWD (~S$1.40) per pax followed by a quick taxi ride to the flower market.

除了便宜方便的公车服务,我们也常乘搭区间火车到台中市区以外的地方探访。虽然火车并非免费,但相对于包车,绝对是不错的选择。况且,大火车何尝不是另一种融入当地生活的体验啊…… 举例来说,著名的中社花市在北部的后里区,从西屯区一带驱车前往,大约需要一小时(25公里)。我们选择自行搭公车到台中火车站再转乘火车到后里火车站,全程只需每人31台币,然后再共乘约10分钟计程车直达花市。

Having shared so much about the cost savings & convenience of opting for public transport in Taichung, I must put a disclaimer here. This option works better if you are the type who prefers to go slow & easy & fine with just exploring 2 or 3 destinations in a day. This is because as we all know, all public transport networks run on a schedule. So you will need to fit your itinerary to suit the bus or railway schedules, which may not be as frequent as you wish, or there may be traffic jams, a common sight for city areas. Transfers between different modes of transport may also be required just like examples I quoted above. If you are travelling in a big group, i.e. more than 4 pax, it may be worthwhile checking out private driver rates since the cost can be split amongst many while you save on travelling time. Nonetheless, using the public transport network of buses, trains & the occasional taxi certainly worked for 2 of us throughout the 3 days to enjoy Taichung at a relaxing pace affordably.

说了这么多关于自行乘搭公交的好话,我得先在这里声明,这类旅游方式较适合喜欢轻旅行的游人,一天不想赶太多景点。因为,众所周知,公交都有固定的时间表。因此,你的行程必须配合公交的时间表,所以一天要跑很多景点,是蛮困难的。有时,还会遇上塞车,所以景点之间的时间安排,不能排的太密。此外,不是每个景点都可以乘搭一种交通工具直达的,就如我所提到的中社花市一样。而且,如果多过4人同行,或许包车是更符合经济效益的,也能让你更舒服地抵达目的地。如果是像我们只有两三人同行的话,搭乘公车、火车及适时地使用计程车,绝对是在台中轻松旅行的好方法。

Below is a snapshot of our 3-day itinerary where we relied entirely on buses, trains & the occasional taxi:

以下是我们在台中3天游的轻旅行,仅使用公共交通的行程:

Day 1: As it was about 4 pm when we reached Taichung’s Xitun district, we didn’t travel out that day. Instead we only explored the nearby Maple Garden, checked into Hotel Mapp & rested for a while. After that, it was time to shop & eat to our heart’s content at one of Taiwan’s biggest night markets – Fengjia Night Market.

第一天:由于抵达台中市已将近下午4时,我们当天没有搭乘任何交通工具出游。走访了邻近的秋红谷之后,就到希堤微旅办入住手续。傍晚时分,步行到台湾最大的夜市之一 —— 逢甲夜市买东西、吃东西。

Day 2: Being some sort of a railroad fan, I decided to check out Zhuifen & Chenggong Railway Stations in Dadu district. If you can read & understand Chinese characters, you will know that combined together, the 2 stations have a lucky meaning “Pursue to Success”. Furthermore, both stations have been around since the Japanese Occupation & are quite unique in their own way. Thereafter, we continued the train journey to Qingshui from Dadu so that we could proceed to Gaomei Wetland to try catching the much-raved-about sunset. In the evening, we took bus #309 back to Xitun district directly, where we checked out the trendy UNO Container Market, as well as hunted down more yummy treats & shopped at Fengjia Night Market again.

第二天:自从上次的台湾行之后,我好像渐渐地变成一名铁道迷了,所以这次安排探访大肚区的追分及成功火车站。虽然已经远离需要追分的日子,但因为觉得这个火车名字组合很有趣,而且听说这两个火车站都是从日据时期就兴建的古迹,就更要前往参观了。之后,我们继续搭乘火车前往清水火车站,从那里再共乘计程车前往高美湿地。傍晚时分,我们直接搭乘公车回到西屯区。除了到正夯的 UNO 货柜市集逛逛,也再度到逢甲夜市继续血拼和品尝台湾美食。

Day 3: Today was a day for beautiful flowers. The day started with a train ride to Houli district where the popular Zhongshe Flower Market was. Around lunchtime, we took a short taxi ride to Taian Police Station in the vicinity, where the Cherry Blossom Festival was held till 18 March 2018. Thereafter, our original intention was to head to a traditional night market – Hanxi Night Market in East district. However, the heavy downpour prevented us from exploring this open-air night market so we settled for dinner near Taichung Railway Station before returning to the hotel.

第三天:今天是赏花的好日子。早餐过后就到台中火车站搭火车前往后里火车站,再转乘计程车到中社花市,沉浸在花海里。约午餐时间,我们乘搭计程车到附近的泰安派出所,因为正值樱花季(至2018年3月18日),所以刚好赶得及。在泰安樱花区悠闲地赏花后,搭火车回返台中火车站。原本是想到位于东区传统的旱溪夜市走走,但天不作美,突然下起滂沱大雨,只好放弃到那儿寻访美食,而改到火车站附近解决晚餐,才返回旅店。

Stay tuned for subsequent posts on Taichung where I will share more about my experience navigating around the city on a free & easy mode! You may also click on the hyperlinks in above itinerary to access to the detailed posts quickly. 🙂

记得留意我接下来的贴文,我将会分享更多关于我在台中自助轻旅行的经历!😊

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