Hualien Station Taiwan Guide + Photos 2024

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Taiwan’s Hualien Station is your likely arrival point in Hualien from Taipei – it is also a popular pick-up point for Taroko Gorge tours from Hualien County (花蓮).

Hualien Station Taiwan

One of the busiest train stations in Taiwan, Hualien Station is the terminus for Taiwan’s popular North Link line that runs between Hualian and Su’aoxin and welcomes tens of thousands of tourists and local commuters from Taipei every single day.

From shops and restaurants to how to grab bento boxes for your return journey, here is the Taiwanderers guide to Hualien Station Taiwan in 2024.

Hualien Station Taiwan train platform

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History of Hualien Station Taiwan

One of the most modern stations in Taiwan, Hualien Station was extensively rebuilt and updated in 2018. It is also set amongst a stunning backdrop to the nearby mountains, a precursor to the gateway delights of Taroko National Park.

Built in 1910, it is said that over 10 million Taiwanese and overseas visitors use Hualien train station every year – many of these travellers come directly from Taipei.

These days, whilst there are still traditional ticket counters, there are vast rows of automated Taiwan train ticket machines as it is a very modern, sleek and shiny station.

Hualien Station Taiwan train platform

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How to get to Taiwan Hualien Station from Taipei

You can reach Hualien Station from Taipei in as little as two hours (when using the Taiwan Express trains).

In fact, many visitors who don’t wish to stay in Hualien get the first express train out of Taipei Main Station to arrive in Hualien to do a day tour of Taroko National Park / Gorge.

The first express train from Taipei to Hualien usually departs at 6.13am and arrives at 8.19am, costing around NT$440 (around £11 or $13.50 USD).

The first train to depart Hualien for Taipei is 6am.

Hualien Station Taiwan train platform

Non express trains from Taipei to Hualien usually take from 3 to 4 hours and cost around NT$283 ($9 USD or £7).

The last train to depart Taipei for Hualien Station (and vice-versa) usually leaves around 10pm.

Also note that the same Hualien / Taipei train also goes through Songshan station in downtown Taipei which may be a more convenient place to board /alight depending on where your hotel is.

Hualien Station Taiwan train platform

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Taxis and buses from Hualien Station

To the front of Hualien Station, there is a taxi rank immediately in front of the station as well as a public bus terminal. 

Hualien public buses accept EasyCards as payment – just tap on when you jump on the bus.

Hualien bus Station Taiwan
Bus station

Based on our own experience, a metered taxi from Hualien Station to anywhere central should cost between NT$140 and NT$180.

We paid NT$150 to go from Hualien Station to Park City Hotel. We like this Hualien hotel based on its downtown location, close to the Hualien Creative Park, plus excellent breakfast, clean rooms and free laundry. Check out Hualien Park City Hotel rates on here >

We’ve read online that some Taiwan taxis charge extra for large luggage and big bags etc but we never experienced this and were travelling with a large suitcase and massive backpack between the two of us.

Hualien train Station Taiwan

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Hualien Station Taiwan railway ticket machines

The ticket machines at Hualien Station are open from 5am to 10.30pm every day – there are also several staffed ticket counters but these are open shorter hours.

Hualien Station Taiwan train ticket counter

We found that the Taiwan Railway Ticket machines were fine to accept overseas debit cards. If you need to pay cash or get some travel advice, you can use the ticket counters next door

Taiwan TPass machines can also be found in Hualien Station.

Hualien Station Taiwan train ticket machine

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Having a ‘Whale of a Time’ / I Heart Hualien

Hualien is famous for its whale-watching and throughout the station, you’ll see lots of whale references like whale mosaics and installations in the transfer tunnels plus the concourse outside.

Hualien Station Taiwan whale mural

There is even a 3D whale-art installation where you can pose with a whopping whale seemingly bursting through the station walls, next to I Heart Hualien sign – very cool!

i heart Hualien sign at Hualien Station Taiwan

Outside the station, keep an eye out for mosaic style Taiwanese manhole covers, depicting express trains and other highly decorated designs.

train manhole cover at Hualien Station Taiwan

On our last visit in early 2024 (just before the earthquake struck), there were also several large painted ducks outside the station but these may be temporary.

ducks at Hualien Station Taiwan

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Hualien Station Taiwan Facilities – Food and Drink / Gift Shops

There is plenty to see and do at Hualien Station, if you have time to wait for a train or have just arrived from Taiwan.

restaurants at Hualien Station Taiwan

There are around 20 or so food stalls, cafes and shops (including a rather excellent Hualien Station Taiwan Railway shop selling bentos and toy trains) plus a cool ‘I Love Hualien’ sign.

Most of the train station shops and restaurants are located on the upper level in the ‘Hualien Shopping Plaza’.

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Popular convenience stores at Hualien Station include 7-Eleven Taiwan and Family Mart.

7 eleven Hualien Station Taiwan
family mart Hualien Station Taiwan

On the ground floor outside the main entrance, there is a Hualien Station Starbucks coffee shop plus a Hong Kong style dim sum spot and Dingguagua fried chicken shop.

As well as a Taiwan Railway bento box (more on this in a moment), we grabbed some takeaway sushi from GoGo Sushi to munch on our train journey to Taitung.

GoGo Sushi  Hualien Station Taiwan
GoGo Sushi

Other shops and food and drink outlets at Hualien Station include bakeries such as Hualien toast / Uncle pan, mochi stalls (Tzen Mochi & Amis Mochi) plus Xin Yuan dining room.

Fried chicken Hualien Station Taiwan

We also grabbed some NT$60 bags of guava from a handy fruit stall.

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Hualien Station Taiwan Railway Gift Shop / TRA Bento Box

Most of the big railway stations in Taiwan have a Taiwan Railway gift-shop and Hualien is no different.

On the upper level across from the ticket counters and automated machines, there is a small Taiwan Railway Gift Shop that sells train related merchandise and gifts.

Hualien Station Taiwan Railway Gift Shop

This is really big business in Taiwan; there are even Taiwan Rail cartoon characters and comic book gifts.

Hualien Station Taiwan Railway Gift Shop
Hualien Station Taiwan Railway Gift Shop

The Hualien Station Taiwan Railway Gift shop is also the place to a Taiwan bento box style snack – people were queuing out the door to get their hot bento boxes.

Taiwan Railway bento boxes start from NT$100 TWD (around £2.50 / $3USD) and there are usually two or three meat bento box choices, often one fish choice plus a vegan bento box.

We tried the latter (on our train to Taitung from Hualien) and really enjoyed it – a meal in itself, a NTD$100 bento box represents a tasty treat and top value for your money.

Taiwan Railway bento box  Hualien station
Taiwan Railway bento box

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Hualien Station – has it been affected by the 2024 Taiwan earthquake?

Although the April 2024 Taiwan earthquake epicenter was close to Hualien, the station itself is largely unaffected and continues to operate as normal.

However at the time of writing (April 2024), all tours and tourist visits to Taroko National Park and Gorge are closed whilst repair work is undertaken to fix the roads and bridges.

There is talk of Taiwan Taroko Gorge tours reopening in summer 2024 but nothing has been confirmed yet.

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Other things to know

  • There are drinking water fountains should you wish to fill up your own bottles

  • The main Hualien Train Station is accessible by escalators at either end of the station – there are also elevators / lifts at each end to assist with accessibility issues
  • Toilets at Hualien Station can be found both inside the station as well as a small outdoor block to the right of the main entrance as you exit.

  • Moped and car parking is available – the drop off zone outside allows 30 minutes free parking.

  • Luggage storage facilities are available at Hualien Station (plus Taipei Main Station if it is easier to leave your luggage there).
  • There is an ATM machine on the upper level.

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Hualien Station opening hours

Hualien Station is open from 5am to around midnight. Automated ticket machines are operational from 5am to 10.30pm only – times correct as of April 2024


Hualien Station, No. 100, Guolian 1st Rd, Hualien City, Hualien County (花蓮), Taiwan 970

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