Travelling throughout Taiwan can definitely be difficult, especially if it is your first time there, or there might be a language barrier. The express train tickets are known to regularly sells out to travelers and daily commuters every day. Getting from areas like Taipei to Hualien may seem like an impossibility if you aren’t able to show up at the train station early or somehow book your train in advance.
The good news is there is a much cheaper option for traveling from Taipei to Hualien and you won’t ever have to worry about booking ahead.
This cheaper and easier option is called the Combo Ticket:
Combo transportation involves utilizing a shuttle bus as well as a train and this option almost never sells out. This ticket option is available for 209 TWD for one-way transit.
By partially following the freeway system from the Taipei city hall bus station you can get a bus ticket to the Luodong train station and then a train ticket to the Hualien train station. The tickets are only sold at the bus station on the day of travel meaning no advanced purchase but also a wide availability of trips.
If you check out the combo transportation route on Google maps you will also find that it is roughly 40 km shorter than the route that you would take by train. Buses arrive every 5 to 10 min. and this route runs all day. The total journey takes between 2.5 hours to three hours with a 50-minute bus journey and a one hour- 1.5-hour train trip.
Waiting for the connecting train at Ludong station needs to be considered so you should take the earlier bus to make sure you are available for the next connection.