How to buy a train ticket around CNY?

I’m running into the same darn problem I had last year. I want to go from Tainan to Hualien next Monday, the 19th. I tried to buy the ticket last week at the station, and was told that you can only make a reservation or buy a ticket one week in advance. So, this morning I tried via that really awful train ticket site to buy one. No tickets available. Went to the station. No tickets available.

Same thing as last year. They tell you you can’t buy a ticket more than a week in advance, but if you go exactly one week in advance, they are still all sold out. So how do those people get their tickets?

And any ideas how I can get to Hualien by the 21 when I have a meditation retreat there? I tried planes as well, and guess what, sold out! Trying to travel during CNY sure stinks!

in all sincerity, have you considered hitch-hiking? sorry about the train tickets. they sure do go fast, don’t they?

Try that row of bus stations on Beimen road directly across from the train station. There are about a dozen companies. Surely you can reserve a ticket with at least one of them. Slower than the train but cheaper and on the posh ones you can watch a movie & play Super Mario Bros.

Have you tried for a ticket for the route round the south and up the east coast?

Asked around to see if there are anybody that is heading up that direction, or check back on the train cuz sometimes ppl do decide to back up on it… buses is a great idea as well!!!

good luck!!

I got my bus ticket to Tainan on Saturday from one of the companies mentioned by Mod Lang. We just went there in person, waited about 2 minutes for the lady to help us… There’s no crowd of people standing on the busses, it’s cheaper, and you can actually get a ticket (at least you could buy a ticket on Saturday). Most of the busses have an Internet connection. Can your train do that?

I stood from Taitung to Hualien once on the day new year’s vacation ended. Didn’t require leg muscles–all the people squished in around me held me up.

I think I’d do it again if the only other option was a bus that would be stuck in traffic for 15 hours. It makes three hours in a squishy train car seem quite nice.

As for getting seats, even if you DO have a seat on a big travel day, you have to be prepared to allow the old woman standing next to you to sit on your armrest, and the flock of children to lean up against the back. People are so tightly packed in that you’d be a truly evil foreigner to expect some “personal space” around you chair.

That’s just my personal experience… maybe things have changed in the last 3-4 years since I did that.

Best bet: travel when no one else is traveling, and do it by bus.

Last time we were in Taidong, we couldn’t get a ticket home. Then when we went to leave, a couple of days later, there were tickets available about an hour before the train left. That’s happened before too.