2019 Taitung Hot Air Balloon Festival at Luye Gaotai - How to go, tips and tricks | Travel in Asia

2019 Taitung Hot Air Balloon Festival at Luye Gaotai - How to go, tips and tricks

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Taitung Hot Air Balloon Festival

Taitung Hot Air Balloon Festival at Luye Gaotai. Also known as the Taiwan Hot Air Balloon Festival, this is the most anticipated event in Taiwan every summer. Come and join the event this 2019. The one-man team luomujie blog created this travel guide to help you have a wonderful hot air balloon experience. From the various ways to go to Taitung up to the scheduled events, everything you need to know about the festival is on this page.

Taitung Hot Air Balloon Festival at Luye Gaotai - How to go, tips and tricks
Taitung Hot Air Balloon Festival

Taitung Hot Air Balloon Festival

Taitung Hot Air Balloon Festival

Taitung Hot Air Balloon Festival

Taitung Hot Air Balloon Festival

Taitung Hot Air Balloon Festival

Taitung Hot Air Balloon Festival

1. When is the 2019 Taitung Hot Air Balloon Festival?

The 2019 Taitung Hot Air Balloon Festival will run from June 29 to Aug. 12

2. How to go to Taitung

The easiest way to go to Taitung is to fly from Taipei Songshan Airport, but most people prefer to ride the TRA train to Taitung Station. If you're coming from Taipei, it will be difficult to get tickets for the Taipei-Taitung trip. The demand is so high that it becomes impossible to go to the east coast of Taiwan. Luckily, the High Speed Rail along the west coast of Taiwan makes it possible to travel to Kaohsiung, and then transfer to a TRA express train at Xin Zuoying Station to get to Taitung Station.

People from Taoyuan, Taichung, Chiayi and especially Tainan, should just go south to Kaohsiung via the High Speed Rail network. I have included the klook links so you will get 20% discount for your HSR tickets. To book a train ticket for the TRA, just follow the link that I have given. You will be directed to the English version of the Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) online booking website [Reserve here]. Select your origin, destination (ex. Taitung Station) and the date you want to travel. The train timetable will be shown for your chosen date. To book a seat, click the ticket icon under the "Order tickets" column. A new page will open where you will type your passport number. Press the inquiry button again. You will know if there is a seat or not. If you got a seat, continue the booking process. If not, just opt for the HSR method.

Read the table below to know more about the different ways to go to Taitung.

Comparison of the different ways to go to Taitung, where to buy tickets online, prices and expected travel time
RouteMode of transportationTerminalWhere to buy tickets onlineTicket priceTravel Time
TAIPEI to TAITUNGby train via TRATaipei Main Station

[to Taitung Station]
[Google Map]
Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA)
online booking website
[Reserve here]
NTD 783 3.5 to 4.5 hours
(Puyuma or Tze-Chiang Limited Express)

[high demand]
[difficult to get tickets]
by plane via
UNI Air
Taipei Songshan Airport (TSA)[Google Map]

[to Taitung Airport (TTT)]
UNI Air website
(Select English language)
[Reserve here]
>NTD 1,566 (promo)

NTD 2,280 (regular)
65 minutes
by plane via
Mandarin Airlines
Mandarin Airlines website
(Select English language)
[Reserve here]
>NTD 1,560 (promo)

NTD 2,303 (regular)
50 minutes
TAIPEI TO KAOHSIUNG

(then follow the Kaohsiung to Taitung route below)
by train via HSRTaipei Main Station (or HSR Banqiao Station or HSR Nangang Station)

[to HSR Zuoying (Kaohsiung) Station]
NTD 1,1921.5 hours to
2 hours and 15 minutes
KAOHSIUNG TO TAITUNGby Bus 0978
[route and timetable]
via
Kuo-Kuang bus
and
Kaohsiung Bus company
Kaohsiung Main Station (Kuo-Kuang bus terminal)
[Google Map]

[to TRA Taitung Station]
[Google Map]
buy your tickets at the bus stationNTD 1863.5 to 4 hours
by Bus 1778
[route and timetable]
via
Kuo-Kuang bus company
Kaohsiung Main Station (Kuo-Kuang bus terminal)
[Google Map]

[to Taitung Bus Station/Taitung Transfer Station]
[Google Map]
NTD 540
by train via TRATRA Xinzuoying Station[Google Map]
(connected to HSR Zuoying Station)

[to Taitung Station]
[Google Map]

Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA)
online booking website
[Reserve here]
NTD 294
(Chu-Kuang Express)

NTD 370
(Tze-Chiang Limited Express)
3 to 4 hours
(Chu-Kuang Express)

2.5 to 3 hours
(Tze-Chiang Limited Express trains)
TAIPEI to HUALIEN

(then follow the Hualien to Taitung route below)
Taipei Main Station

[to Hualien Station]
NTD 340
(Chu-Kuang Express)

NTD 440
(Puyuma, Taroko or Tze-Chiang Limited Express)
2.5 to 4 hours
(Chu-Kuang Express)

2 to 3 hours
(Puyuma, Taroko or Tze-Chiang Limited Express)
by bus then local train
via combo ticket
Taipei City Hall Bus Station to TRA Luodong Rear Station [Google Map]
by bus

TRA Luodong Station to TRA Hualien Station [Google Map]by train
Taipei City Hall Bus Station (MRT Taipei City Hall Station [Blue Line] Exit 2

[buy the combo tickets at Taipei City Hall Bus Station]
NTD 209
(if there are no local trains when you arrive at Luodong Station,
will need to add ~NTD 70 to upgrade for an express train ticket)
3 to 4 hours
(the earlier, the better)
HUALIEN to TAITUNGby train via TRAHualien Station


[to Taitung Station]
[Google Map]
Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA)
online booking website
[Reserve here]
NTD 220
(local train, no need to reserve)

NTD 343
(Puyuma or Tze-Chiang Limited Express train, book online to reserve)

more than 3 hours
local train

1.5 to 3 hours
(Puyuma, Taroko or Tze-Chiang Limited Express)
TAICHUNG to HUALIEN

(then follow the Hualien to Taitung route above)
by plane via
Mandarin Airlines
Taichung Airport

[to Hualien Airport]
Mandarin Airlines website
(Select English language)
[Reserve here]
>NTD 1,159 (promo)

NTD 2,318 (regular)
60 minutes

(after arriving at Hualien Airport, board a taxi to TRA Hualien Station)
[Google Map]
TAICHUNG to TAITUNGby train via TRA

(2 or 3 trains depart per day)
TRA Taichung Station[Google Map]

[to Taitung Station]
[Google Map]
Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA)
online booking website
[Reserve here]
NTD 641 to NTD 8065.5 hours
TAICHUNG TO KAOHSIUNG by train via HSR

(then follow the Kaohsiung to Taitung route
by transferring to a TRA express train
at Xinzuoying Station)
HSR Taichung/Taoyuan/
Hsinchu/Chiayi/
Tainan Station

[to HSR Zuoying (Kaohsiung) Station]
NTD 632~1 hour
TAOYUAN TO KAOHSIUNGNT$ 1,0641.5 to 2 hours
HSINCHU TO KAOHSIUNG NTD 9601.5 hours
CHIAYI TO KAOHSIUNGNTD 32830 minutes
TAINAN TO KAOHSIUNG NTD 11213 minutes

3. Airport transfer options to the nearest TRA/MRT or HSR Stations

The Kaohsiung International Airport (KHH) is the best gateway to go to Taitung for travellers planning to enter Taiwan. Just look for an airline like AirAsia that has a direct flight to KHH. If you are able to book, then congratulations! You are just one step closer to Taitung.

List of international airports and transfer points to MRT/TRA/HSR Stations
AirportTransfer PointWhere to go
Taoyuan International Airport
(TPE)
Airport MRT A12 (Terminal 1)
or A13 (Terminal 2) Station
Taipei Main Station (A1 Station)

or
HSR Taoyuan Station (A18)
Taipei Songshan Airport
(TSA)
MRT Taipei Songshan Airport Station [Brown Line]Taipei Main Station

or fly directly to Taitung Airport
Taichung International Airport
(RMQ)
Bus 156
(Taichung Airport to HSR Taichung)
HSR Taichung Station
Kaohsiung International Airport
(KHH)
Kaohsiung MRT R4 Station [Red Line]
(Kaohsiung International Airport)
Kaohsiung MRT R16 Zuoying Station [Red Line]
(HSR Zuoying Station/TRA Xinzuoying Station)

4. What to do after arriving at TRA Taitung Station

After arriving at TRA Taitung Station, you can go to your hotel or go directly to the festival if you are too excited to see the hot air balloons. Follow the links that I have given below on the table, to know the location of the bus stops.

Transfer options at TRA Taitung Station bus stop[Google Map]
DestinationBus number
Taitung Bus Station/
Taitung Transfer Station (臺東轉運站)[Google Map]
Urban Anticlockwise Circular Line
Bus 8168
Bus 8167
Luye Highland aka Luye Gaotai[Google Map]

(if you want to go
to the hot air balloon festival directly after arriving at Taitung Station)
Bus 8168 [Taiwan Tour Bus East Rift Line]

(Ask the driver first if the bus is going to Luye Gaotai,
or else the vehicle will go to Taitung Bus Station)

5. Schedule of events for the 2019 Taiwan Hot Air Balloon Festival

Tethered balloon activity, Morning Glow and Night Glow Show schedules for the Taitung Hot Air Balloon Festival
DateVenueTimeActivityComments/Notes
June 29 to Aug. 12Luye Gaotai[Google Map][Tethered Balloon Activity]
5:30 to 7:30

[Shuttle Bus Departure time from Taitung Bus Station/Taitung Transfer Station (臺東轉運站)][Google Map]
04:10
04:30
04:50

[Return to Taitung Transfer Station]
07:10
07:30
morning tethered balloon activityReserve online or register on-site to join the tethered balloon activity

The 5:30 am and 5:00 pm tethered balloon activities
is also the the time to watch the hot air balloons
while sitting on the grass at Luye Gaotai.

morning bus fare: NTD 75
afternoon/night bus fare: NTD 120
[Tethered Balloon Activity]
17:00 to 19:00

[Shuttle Bus Departure time from Taitung Transfer Station (The bus will also make a stop at TRA Taitung Station after 18 minutes.)]
14:00
14:30
15:00

[Return to Taitung Transfer Station]
18:40
19:00

[Return to Taitung Transfer Station
after the Night Glow Show
on June 29 and Aug. 12]
20:30
20:40
20:50
afternoon tethered balloon activity
June 29 and
Aug. 12
19:00Night Glow ShowBalloon tethered activities are affected during these dates
(ex. The afternoon balloon tethered activity for June 29 is suspended to give way for the preparation of the Night Glow Show at 7:00 pm

If you want to attend the Night Glow Show at Green Island, you will have to stay there for at least 1 night.

For the Dapo Lake venue: walk from TRA Chishang. It is possible to go back to Taitung Station before midnight but you will need to ride a taxi to go back to downtown

For the Zhiben Hot Spring venue: there is bus that will take you from TRA Zhiben Station
July 13Green Island[Google Map]
July 20Dapo Lake[Google Map]
Aug. 3Zhiben Hot Spring[Google Map]
Aug. 16Taitung County Stadium[Google Map]
July 6Sanxiantai[Google Map][Morning Glow Show]
4:00

[Shuttle Bus Departure time from Taitung Transfer Station to Sanxiatai]
02:40

[Shuttle Bus Departure time from Taitung Transfer Station to Taimali Dawn Park]
03:10

[Shuttle Bus Departure time from Taitung Transfer Station to Dawu Coast Park]
02:30

[Return to Taitung Transfer Station from Sanxiatai,Taimali Dawn Park or Dawu Coast Park]
06:00
Morning Glow Show
July 27Taimali Dawn Park[Google Map]
Aug. 10Dawu Coast Park[Google Map]

6. Online Booking for the Tethered Balloon Experience

To join the tethered balloon activity, you can book a slot online (only the July 29 to Aug 12 are available) or just go to Luye Gaotai to register on-site. If you are able to book online, just show the QR code to the Taitung Fun Card representatives.

Just a reminder, if you will join the tethered balloon activity, then you might not have time to sit on the lawn area to watch the hot air balloons. To catch the hot air balloons soaring in the sky and not just held by a rope, when you go to the event the weather forecast must be super good. I suggest going for the 5:30 am sessions to get the best viewing experience.

Online selling of tickets for the tethered balloon activity
Online selling datesScheduled datesStatus
June 10 to June 23June 29 to July 13Online tickets are SOLD OUT!
(must register on-site to join the activity)
June 17 to June 30July 14 to July 28
June 24 to July 7July 29 to Aug 12Open
[Reserve here]

7. Where to stay in Taitung?

The technique during the Taitung Hot Air Balloon Festival is to choose a hostel or hotel which is walking distance from the Taitung Transfer Station (Taitung Bus Station). So if you want to go to the 5:30 am event or even on the Morning Glow Show, you can just walk from the hostel or hotel to the bus station.

When I went to Taitung, I stayed at Hostel Who Knows. The dorm rates at that hostel was very affordable and the host speaks good English. He even helped me buy a ticket to Green Island and Orchid Island. If ever the owner asked you about who recommended Hostel Who Knows, just tell this: "that guy from the Philippines who travels every week in Taiwan".

Recommended hostels and hotels to stay in Taitung during the Taitung Hot Air Balloon Festival
NameLocationDistance from Taitung Transfer Station/
Taitung Bus Station
Estimated price per night
(1 adult)
Hostel Who Knows [Reserve here][Google Map]450 metersNTD 375
Le Da Backpackers Hostel [Reserve here][Google Map]400 metersNTD 600
Inn by the Village [Reserve here][Google Map]220 metersNTD 2,900

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