Cheapest and fastest way to go to Kaohsiung from Taipei, Taiwan

We had a situation here:

- Want to visit Kaohsiung but only have 2 days to spare
- Budget is kinda tight to prefer to avoid taking High Speed Rail (HSR) [if money is not an issue, taking a HSR is the best way to go to Kaohsiung as it only takes 89 minutes from Taipei to Kaohsiung).
- Willing to travel at weird hour (i.e. right after midnight)

If your situation is kinda similar to us, poor students, well this approach may be suitable for you.

1. Buy the cheapest midnight train ticket to Kaohsiung days before

Cheapest Train Fare from Taipei to Kaohsiung
1170NTD is the cheapest you can get if you want to travel by train to Kaohsiung. This is way cheaper than taking a HSR. A HSR ticket from Taipei to Kaohsiung costs around 3000 NTD. However, it takes 6 hours for the cheap train to reach Kaohsiung from Taipei. Make sure you book seats unless you want to regret it later like us (see below).

And that's the reason why we decided to take the midnight train. So we can just sleep inside the train and welcome morning sun in Kaohsiung. Sounds like a good plan?

2. Taipei Main Station at night

Taipei Main Station at Midnight Hour Taiwan
Since you are taking a midnight train, you must ensure you reach Taipei Main Station right before the end of Taiwan MRT's operation time. Just to be safe, we left our rented room near Taipower Building MRT Station around 11pm-ish. And this is how Taipei Main Station looks night at night. 

And now, if you are a solo-traveller, there's a thing that you may want to be a bit careful...

Homeless people in Taipei Main Station Taiwan
Other than those passengers waiting for the train, there are some homeless people taking "refuge" (or "making-their-own-home") at Taipei Main Station at night. During the day, they stay mainly outside the station because the security will make them do so. But at night, they are allowed to stay inside. Although they most likely just sleep, it's not recommended to approach them or pick a fight with them. In addition, they are smelly. Well they don't have a house, so you don't expect them to take a bath now, wouldn't you? #harshlife

3. Making your way to the train platform

Taipei Main Station Train Platform from Taipei to Kaohsiung
When it's around 15 minutes left to the departing time, you can start making your way to the train platform to wait for the train and board accordingly. 

4. The importance of booking a seat

Now, if you notice above, our tickets did not have seat number. And we only realised this when we are inside the train. This means, we can sit on whichever vacant seats as long as there are no people booking that particular seats. This created nightmare along our journey because we could not sleep peacefully as the train made a lot of stops (remember, this is the cheap train, peeps!) and hence, there is a risk whenever the train is making a stop that someone gonna come to us claiming him/ her seat. Oh my gawd. Some people has started sitting on the floor (yes, I'm not kidding you). 

Thanks goodness, nobody book our seats until 3AM. So we can sleep peacefully after that until we reach Kaohsiung. 

Lesson learnt, we quickly booked seat for the trip back to Taipei the next day to ensure that no such thing happening to us again. #lessoninlife

Train ticket from Kaohsiung to Taipei
Fyi, no additional cost charged if you book seats. So BOOK YOUR SEATS! #important

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