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Taiwan is a large island south of Japan and east of the Chinese mainland. When the communists took over in China in 1949, ousted leader Chiang Kai Shek retreated to Taiwan with his government,…
Taiwan is a large island south of Japan and east of the Chinese mainland. When the communists took over in China in 1949, ousted leader Chiang Kai Shek retreated to Taiwan with his government, defiantly retaining the name 'Republic of China' (ROC). It should not be confused with The People's Republic of China (PRC) on the mainland.! A modern rail system links most large towns and cities in Taiwan, and a new high-speed (300km/h) railway opened in January 2007 between the two biggest cities, Taipei and Kaohsiung. Taipei - Kaohsiung (by 300 km/h high-speed trains)... A brand-new high speed (300 km/h) train service using Japanese bullet train technology started running in January 2007 between Taipei and Kaohsiung. It is run by the Taiwan High Speed Rail Corporation, www.thsrc.com.tw (English button top right). ***** The 300km/h trains link Taipei and Kaohsiung every half hour throughout the day, or at times more frequently; ***** journey time is 1 hour 40 minutes on the faster trains, 1 hour 55 minutes on the slower services; ***** The fare is 1,490 Taiwan dollars (£25 or $40) in economy class, 2,440 Taiwan dollars (£40 or $70) in business class. ***** The station in Kaohsiung is actually at Zuoying in the north of the city. You can take a frequent local train service from New Zuoying station (in the same building as the Zuoying high speed station) to Kaohsiung main station in the city centre, journey time 10 minutes. You can buy tickets for this local train from the ticket machines or staffed kiosks. Buses are also available to the city centre, and a metro is under construction and due to open in late 2007 or early 2008. An extension of the high-speed line to a station in Kaohsiung city centre is planned for the future. In Taipei, the high-speed trains use the same station as the Taiwan Railways Corporation conventional trains. ***** For times and fares, see www.thsrc.com.tw (English button at upper right). Keelung - Taipei - Kaohsiung (by conventional rail network)... The mainline links Keelung, Taiwan's capital Taipei and its second city and major port, Kaohsiung, for a route map, see http://service.tra.gov.tw/EN/index.aspx, for train times and fares and online booking, see the official Taiwanese Railways website, www.railway.gov.tw (English version available). The best trains are the 'Tze Chiang' expresses which run at up to 130 km/h (80mph), are fully air-conditioned and take as little as 4 hours. Only one very comfortable class of seating is provided on these trains, with an at-seat trolley refreshment service. The Tze Chiang train fare is NT$ 845 (£14 or $27) one-way. The next best train type, with slightly less comfortable seating but also air-conditioned, is the Chu Kuang train service, Taipei-Kaohsiung fare NT$ 544 (£9 or $17), journey 6.5 hours. The next train type down the range is the Fu shin, with less legroom, not all trains air-conditioned. http://www.seat61.com/Taiwan.htmMore...Less...