How to go around free & easy in Taiwan?
Local Bus station in Chiayi, just outside the Railway Station
I will going to visit Taiwan free and easy in Oct,2011 for 11 days. I plan to visit Taipei, Taichung, Chiayi and Kaohsiung. I will be staying in Taipei for 4 days and intend to stay in Chiayi Alishan for one night. I would need your kind advise on how to getting about the places. Your help are very much appreciated. Thanks
in Taipei you can easily go around with Easy Card
(500 NTD) or 1-2-3-5 Days passes (180-310-440-700 NTD).
You can reach Chiayi from Taipei or Taichung with the High Speed Railway (especially suggested from Taipei - 1.5 hrs only), the "normal" train TRA or frequent buses (I recall Hohsin or GuoGuan-National Glory buses).
If you use the HSR you have to reach Chiayi train station from the HSR station that is quite far from the city - about 20-30 minutes with a shuttle bus.
From Chiayi Railway station there are regular buses to Alishan. The bus station is the one on the right, just outside the railway station. You can see the pictures above. The last picture reports the schedule and fare for Alishan Shuttle Bus - that probably will take not less than 3 hrs.
If you are lucky, at the bus station you can be approached by taxi drivers that received a call from Alishan - in that case they will offer a very low price for a tax ride to Alishan - something as 200 NTD per person.
Inside Chiayi Railway station there is also a helpful tourist office that can offer advice, leaflets and some simple english.
It that can be that in October the whole railway line to Alishan will be open again - I don't think so honestly. In that case you can catch the train from Chiayi Railway station - platform 1 on the right of the station.
I hope it helps