Which bus company is better for Taipei-Kaohsiung?

I usually use trains to get around between cities, but for Kaohsiung, HSR is too expensive for me and TRA taking too long, wasting almost half-day, so I’m looking at the red-eye bus option to maximise my time, but I don’t have experience with intercity bus here(The furthest I’ve done is Taipei-Hsinchu on Kuo-Kuang). So I wonder if you guys here knows which bus company suits better for me, I prefer to have bus with the most comfort and I wouldn’t mind slightly longer time because the bus will arrive early morning anyway.
I searched the internet and it seems that 和欣客運(Ho-Hsin Bus) have an airplane business class like seat, but is more expensive than others. I wonder if this is the best bus option, or are there any other option which is better, or cheaper?

Thanks in advance

The Puyuma train only takes 3 hours and is half the price of the hsr. There’s only one a day, but it might suit your schedule? :blush:

1 Like

If you are going for comfort, I would probably suggest Aloha https://www.aloha168.com.tw/ (don’t know if they have an English website)
I only took the bus once some years ago, so I don’t remember much. However, my wife is from Kaohsiung and she preferred this bus company because of the comfort.

Q Square (京站)'s intercity bus station has buses going to all parts of the island at all times of the day. We’ve taken a nice comfortable bus from there to Kaohsiung many times. Usually stops only once or twice before getting to Kaohsiung.
Yes. Cheap, compared to TRA or HSR, and if you hit the right time of day, the traffic is very very good (i.e., normal speeds on highway).

Personally I found a bus is a bus. Usually some like Aloha or Ho Shin (as previously mentioned) are more comfortable due to bigger and plush seats but generally all buses smell a bit musty and not overly comfortable.
Personally I either use Ubus or Kuokuang because they are cheap and fast.

agree, and the gov’t buses have gotten a lot better in terms of comfort for a 4/5-hour ride.

1 Like

Thank you for all your reply, I guess I’ll try different bus companies for this trip. Probably Ubus/KuoKuang on the way there and Aloha/Ho-Shin on the way back as I have to return to class directly after the trip.

I prefer UBus. They have a front windshield you can see through.

All the buses are hairy

While l’d like the view, the front seats are not really where you want to be in an accident.

1 Like

Despite most collisions having the sides ripped apart?

Not related to the latest tragedy, but I have never liked travelling by train in Taiwan. Small seats and usually over-crowded. If Kaohsiung to Taipei by TRA was faster than by bus, I would go for it, but since there is no much difference, I would rather relax on a single seat, work on my laptop, read a book, watch Netflix, enjoy a nap, etc. without people walking around, standing around or making all kinds of noises, without mentioning the frequent stops and loudspeaker announcements.

Aloha and Ho Hsin do not cost a fortune more than Kuo Kuang and U-bus. I find them more than worth the extra dollar. The seat reclines until almost flat and I usually sleep like a baby for most of the trip, even when I swear to myself that I will do some work :rofl: :rofl: KK and U-bus have a 2-1 configuration, so the single seat is not guaranteed, especially if you don’t book well in advance before public holidays. KK buses are older and smellier, but the seats are bigger than U-bus. I haven’t taken KK since my uni years so I am not sure whether their seats have all been fitted with USB charging plugs or not yet. U-bus seats have.

Advertisement time. Like with Circles.Life, I’m not getting any commission. Just sharing what I find useful. I started using the Taipei Bus Station (臺北轉運站) app a few months ago to buy bus tickets online and I love it, although I don’t know whether it’s available in English. Seat selection, payment via credit card or LinePay (best!) and e-tickets stored inside of the app. You just need to show the QR code at the counter before boarding. Only note for the stingiest: beauty comes at the price of a 10 NTD handling fee. The Line Points that I get as rebates are usually enough to cover for it and I don’t find it a big deal compared to the convenience that the app offers.

Two thumbs-down on U-bus, since I use it often to travel to Changhua:

  1. Do not use their app. It gets stuck more often than not. There is an idiotic user registration page that mysteriously “bans” people from making purchases at its own will. I had to create three or four different profiles. And what is worse, once purchased the ticket does not appear anywhere within the app. You will need to show your user details at the U-bus counter and have the ticket printed before boarding. After the time that they claimed that I had not paid for it and we wasted half an hour contacting the Taipei office to back-track the credit card charge, I decided never again.
  2. U-bus only allows for seat selection from the departing point. For example, if in Kaohsiung you are not leaving from the main station but from Nanzih, you won’t be able to choose it. Same if you are departing from Changhua, which is considered an intermediate station on the route between Taichung and Kaohsiung.

It is if you get the Puyuma trains. They don’t cost more. 3½hr

But hot damn $500 is hard to beat with the bus.

What are the prices like? TPE > KHH

and I’ll be asleep or watching Netflix anyway, I’m planning to take the midnight bus to maximise time

There’s a chance of getting thrown outside as it’s exposed to the front windshield directly

Thankyou for the comprehensive reply, don’t worry I actually do read Chinese, although it’s far from perfect haha.

The earliest Puyuma arrival is around 11, I’ll prefer to arrive earlier if I were to pay more tbh, comfort wise they’re fine, took it from Taitung to Hualien last year

Bullet trains have advance purchase tickets about NT$900 as well student discounts FYI.

1 Like

By the time I know if I wanna go or not, then the discount is long gone.

Friends don’t wanna plan more than a week in advance

1 Like

They might slightly vary on weekdays/weekends/PH, but just an example from the app for tomorrow morning.

KK/U-bus: 590 NTD
Aloha/Ho Hsin: 730 NTD

Total duration almost the same (ard. 5 hours). They all stop once somewhere. U-bus in Taichung (10 minutes), I remember, and Ho Hsin in Xinying (3 minutes, counted!) with change of bus.

Damn. I confess my ignorance of this train :sweat_smile: Thanks, compatriot :it:

1 Like