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I'm taking a short vacation in northern Taiwan around January 1 and I want to travel about 90 minutes away from Taipei the weekend before New Years. I've had some difficulty reserving the train tickets I want online for the express trains. I can reserve some trains on the days I'm traveling, just not the exact ones that I want.

I've also observed that hotels are all nearly booked up (I have already made reservations).

However, I understand that I can always get on a local train without a reservation. How busy are the local trains from Taipei to Yilan and back the weekend before New Years? I can stand for 1-2 hours if I have to; I will have a large backpack as luggage, though. Thanks.

  • It appears that Jan 1 in Taiwan is also Republic Day. – Nate Eldredge Dec 15 '18 at 4:25
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I ended up traveling on local trains around Taipei, New Taipei City, and northern Yilan County during the day on December 27, 28, 29, and January 5. I avoided normal rush-hour times on all of these days.

I was almost always able to get a seat on the trains. Even if one wasn't available when I stepped on, it would become available later. They are not always the fastest way of getting around (Google Maps sometimes claims buses are faster; I think long-distance buses might be delayed more often, though, and this isn't reflected in their information).

However, they are very inexpensive, comfortable enough, have toilets onboard, require no reservation, and are usable with the EasyCard payment system. I personally prefer them to buses.

I also avoided traveling on what seem to be the most intense travel days around New Years. However in general I rarely felt crowded in the Taipei area.

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