Taipei -- Taichung (By High Speed Rail trains) -- Travel time: About 50~60 mins. Taichung HSR Station is in Wurih District, the outskirts of Taichung city. It takes about 20 mins bus ride to Taichung downtown. Taichung HSR Station is connected to Xin Wurih TRA Station.
Taipei -- Taichung (By Taiwan Railway Administration trains -- Travel time: About 1 hr 49 mins to 2 hrs 58 mins (depending on type of train).
Taichung is big area, not just a bus/train stop. The best transportation depends on the location your hotel or your destiny.
For example, if you hotel is near Fenjia night market, where there are lots cheap hotel there, then shuttle bus is better for you since the the bus stop is just 1.5km away from the night market. If you take HSR, it take you about 40 minutes more to your hotel in Fenjia night market.
If you destiny is Sun Moon Lake or Cinjing, then HSR could be better since the bus terminal is located at the ground floor.
Thanks to everyone that replied. :) We used TR passes to go to taichung. No reserved seats and limited trains, but it saves us a lot in the long run.
Their website is pretty useful for planning. http://www.railway.gov.tw/en/
When in doubt, you can always ask for information in their information centers.
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