How to Book Chiayi to Alishan Bus Tickets Online (Seat Guaranteed)

An Alishan shuttle bus with a Chiayi-to-Alishan bus ticket overlaid on the image

When taking the bus from Chiayi to Alishan (on of Taiwan’s top destinations), foreign tourists usually swipe their EasyCard. However, this gives them last priority for seats. At peak times (weekends, holidays, cherry blossoms season in March/April), the line is sometimes so long that they can’t even get on.

To avoid this, you should reserve seats Alishan bus seats in advance. The only way to do this is by using the FamiPort machine in any FamilyMart convenience store in Taiwan, but the machine is in Mandarin only – you’ll need to ask the clerk for help.

But guess what? You can actually do this online! In this guide, I’ll show you how to navigate FamilyMart’s online FamiTicket system and reserve your Alishan bus tickets like a pro before you go!

You’ll probably want to consult my table of bus times from Chiayi to Alishan while you go through this article. Also see my more general guide to Chiayi, guide to Alishan, and other options for getting to Alishan.

Things to Know Before You Book

  • If you find the below booking process too complicated and/or don’t want to take a deal with these buses to Alishan, just book a Taiwan car rental with driver via Tripool (book on their site or download app for Android / iOS). They offer point-to-point fares or an hourly rate. Find out the price here.
  • To book bus tickets online, you’ll need to sign up for membership first, with local phone number and address (I’ll show you how, even if you don’t have those).
  • You’ll be able to pay online with credit card, then pick up the physical tickets from any FamilyMart in Taiwan (additional TWD 10 fee per ticket).
  • Purchase your tickets up to one month in advance (buy early for holidays or cherry blossom season!) You can buy up to 4 tickets at once.
  • Under 6 (age 0 to 5) ride free but don’t get a seat. Kids age 6-12 get half-price tickets and get a seat. If you want a seat for your 0 to 5-year old, but a children’s tickets.
  • It’s also possible to buy partial tickets to stops on the way, such as Xiding (for Eryanping trail), Shizhuo (for hiking or staying on tea plantations), or Fenqihu/Shizilu (for connecting to Alishan Forest Railway.
  • But you can only reserve tickets starting from Chiayi or Alishan. In other words, you can reserve a ticket starting at Chiayi and get off at a smaller stop like Shizhuo or Fenqihu. But you CAN’T reserve a ticket starting at Shizhuo or Fenqihu.
  • You can buy tickets for one ride at a time. For return tickets, you’ll have to book them separately.
  • Tickets can be exchanged or refunded, minus 10% fee, up to one day before your trip.
  • Ripped or stained tickets won’t be accepted.
  • If you miss the bus that you have a booking for, you can still use the ticket to ride a later bus that day, but you won’t have a guaranteed seat. You’ll need to line up like everyone else, first-come-first-served.

See my similar guide to booking tickets on the bus from Taichung to Sun Moon Lake and the equally popular bus from Sun Moon Lake to Alishan.

How to Buy Alishan Bus Tickets Online

Here are the steps you need to follow to reserve and pay for your seats on the bus from Chiayi to Alishan.

Step 1: Sign up for Membership

Screenshot of the FamiTicket Mandarin language sign in page with the "register" button circled in red.
Click the circled button to sign up.

Go to the FamiTicket login and sign-up page. The bottom on the left (登入) is to sign in. The button on the right (註冊) is to register. Click on the 註冊 button to sign up.

A Mandarin language sign up page for registering for buying bus tickets online
Key in your personal info

Now you’ll need to fill in the above form. Here are the items in the order you’ll need to fill them in.

  • Click 海外國護籍 (born overseas)
  • Enter name as it appears in your passport (characters are limited so leave out middle name if necessary)
  • Male (男) or Female (女)
  • Passport number (護照號碼)
  • Enter date of birth
  • Enter Taiwanese mobile number (If you don’t have one, just make one up. It must be 10 digits and start with 09). Next line is to enter a second number (don’t need to).
  • Enter Address in Taiwan. I put the address for Amba Ximending, one of my favorite hotels in Taipei. First column choose 台北市 (Taipei city). Second column choose 萬華區 (Wanhua district, 5th option). Third column copy-past this address: 武昌街二段77號
  • Enter your email
Second page of personal info needed to sign up for membership
Scroll down and there’s more

Scroll down and there’s more info that needs to be entered, as in the above picture. Here are the items:

  • Password (must be 8-15 characters and contain 3 of the following 4 items: lower case letter, upper case letter, number, symbol)
  • Re-enter the password on the next line
  • Password hint (don’t need)
  • Receive newsletter, choose 是 (yes) or 否 (no).
  • Click gray button if you are disabled with ID to prove it.
  • Keep the blue check at the bottom to agree to the terms.
  • Click 送出 (submit) button.
A Mandarin language popup that says there's an error in the sign up information
Error message

If anything didn’t work, you’ll get the above error pop-up. The problem will be highlighted in red on the form. If it worked, you’ll get the below success screen.

Screenshot with words saying in Mandarin that the registration was successful and to check one's email
Registration success screen

The above screen says that the registration was successful and that you should receive an email in 3-5 minutes.

Once you receive that email, open the email and click the long link that it contains. The link will take you back to the FamiTicket website, with a notice which says you’ve successfully verified your email, as below.

Screenshot of a Mandarin website page saying that email has been verified
Your email has successful been verified.

Step 2: Book Your Bus Ticket

Now that you’ve successful signed up, go back to the sign-in page. This time, you don’t need to click anything, because it should already be on 登入 (sign in).

Enter your email and password that you created when signing up. Click the blue 登入 button at the bottom.

Homepage of FamilyMart's online booking system, with an ad for a basketball game at the top, and various options to click at the bottom
Homepage of the FamilyMart online booking system

Hover over “交通 Transportation” and choose “阿里山線 Alishan Route” at the bottom left (see image above).

You can also book other Taiwan Tourist Shuttles here by choosing the button on the right (I won’t cover those other routes here, but the booking process will be the same).

Thumbnails of 6 different Chiayi to Alishan bus routes
Six bus route options to choose from

There are now 6 possible buses you can book. I strongly suggest you use my Chiayi-to-Alishan bus timetable to figure out which bus you want to take.

#1 and #2 start at Chiayi station but don’t go all the way to Alishan. #3 and #4 start from Chiayi HSR station, with only #3 making the 20-minute detour to Fenqihu. #5 and #6 start from Chiayi Station, with only #5 making the detour to Feqihu.

The 6 different bus options are as follows (starting from top-left and going across):

  1. 7314 (嘉義大雅站達邦線) Chiayi Station to Xiding or Shizhuo, only two per day, very early or very late
  2. 7302 (嘉義大雅站-奮起湖線) Chiayi Station to Fenqihu bus which also stops at Xiding and Shizhuo
  3. 7329 (阿里山線(高鐵出發)經奮起湖) Chiayi HSR Station to Alishan bus which also stops at Xiding, Shizhuo, Fenqihu, only 1 per day
  4. 7329 (阿里山線(高鐵出發)) Chiayi HSR to Chiayi bus which stops at Xiding, Shizhuo, but NOT Fenqihu
  5. 7322 (阿里山線(臺鐵出發)經奮起湖) Chiayi Station to Alishan bus which also stops at Xiding, Shizhuo, and Fenqihu
  6. 7322 (阿里山線(臺鐵出發)) Chiayi Station to Alishan bus which also stops at Xiding, Shizhuo, but NOT Fenqihu

Note: all the buses make the return journey, too. So if you want to book from Alishan back to Chiayi, click on the relevant one above (the return routes will be included too, but need to be booked separately).

Once you figure out which bus you want to take, click the blue “購票” (buy ticket) button at its bottom-right.

For my test, I plan to buy a ticket from Chiayi HSR Station to Alishan, so I clicked bus #4. (Note: I could also choose #3, but that one will take about 20 minutes longer due to the detour to Fenqihu on the way).

Chiayi to Alishan bus ticket notes
Details about the bus I chose.

Above you can see the details for the bus I chose, including the three possible departure times for Chiayi HSR to Alishan (9:30, 10:10, and 13:10) and Chiayi back to Chiayi HSR (13:30, 14:40, 16:40).

The notes in Mandarin also mention that the date, time, and number of seats should be written on the ticket when purchased, stained or ripped tickets are not valid, and there’s a 10% fee to refund tickets.

Click on the blue 我要購票 (I want to buy tickets) button in the above image.

A list of 6 bus times from Chiayi HSR station to Alishan and back, with comments added to show which 3 are going there and which 3 are coming back
Chiayi HSR to Alishan bus choices (doesn’t stop at Fenqihu)

Now you’ll see a calendar at the top. Click on it and choose your date of travel (up to 31 days in advance).

Then you’ll see a list of the six possible buses (see above photo). This one is relatively simple (other buses are more confusing, as we’ll get to below). The first three times in the table are from Chiayi HSR to Alishan, and the last three are from Alishan back to Chiayi HSR. You can confirm this by consulting my Alishan bus timetable here.

In my table, you’ll notice there should be one more departure from Chiayi HSR to Alishan at 11:00, but it’s not found on the above screenshot. Same thing for a 10:10 bus from Alishan back to Chiayi HSR.

That’s because those two buses stop at Fenqihu on the way, so you need to go back and choose the 7329A bus with the words 經奮起湖 (stops in Fenqihu) at the end of it (bus #3 in the list of 6 different buses I provided above).

A list of two bus times from Chiayi HSR station to Alishan, with notes added to indicate which one is going there and which is coming back
Chiayi HSR to Alishan (stops at Fenqihu on the way)

There’s one more very confusing issue which I need to explain. If you’re buying tickets from Chiayi train station to Alishan, you might notice that some of the bus times don’t match my timetable exactly. Here’s why.

A list of bus departure times from Chiayi train station to Alishan with some notes about each one and blue button to choose it for buying tickets
Chiayi to Alishan bus time choices (doesn’t stop at Fenqihu). “Return Bus” means Alishan to Chiayi station.

Just to make things EXTRA confusing here, on the Chiayi train station to Alishan list of departure times, some of the times listed are from Chiayi train station (where almost everyone gets on).

However, for two departing buses labeled 班次 in the middle column (5:55 and 13:55), the time listed is for Daya stop (one stop before the train station), so you need to add 10 to 15 minutes to it for the Chiayi train station boarding time. This means the bus will depart Chiayi train station at 6:05 and 14:10, respectively, and these times match the ones in my timetable.

And once again, if you’re planning to take any of the buses which stop at Fenqihu on the way, you’ll need to select bus 7322 (阿里山線(臺鐵出發)經奮起湖), or #5 in my list of 6 buses above. Then you should see the below options.

List of 4 bus times from Chiayi train station to Alishan, with two of them noted as return bus times, and one noted with a time change
Chiay train station to Alishan bus times (stops in Fenqihu). “Return bus” = Alishan to Chiayi station

For the Chiayi station to Alishan (with stop in Fenqihu) route, there are four options. The 9:10 and 14:10 are from Alishan to Chiayi station. The 9:40 is a departing time from Chiayi station to Alishan, while the 11:55 is from Daya station, so you need to add 15 minutes, for a 12:10 departure time from Chiayi train station.

Now that we’ve got the confusing times sorted, it’s time to actually select the bus you want. Once you decide, click the blue 立即購票 (buy now) button beside it (see last 3 screeshots).

If the button is gray instead of blue, the reservable seats are sold out. This doesn’t mean the whole bus is sold out, since only about 10 seats per bus are reservable. You can still line up and swipe EasyCard to ride that bus.

Then you should see a screen like below. Just to confirm you’re on the right track, the first option should say 全票嘉義-阿里山 if you’re going from Chiayi to Alishan, or it will say 全票阿里山-嘉義 if you’re going from Alishan to Chiayi.

A list of possible stops between Chiayi and Alishan with their prices
Options for where to get off and prices

On this page, there is a list of possible stops with prices (top five are adult prices, bottom five which start with 半票 (half-price ticket) are child prices for the same five stops).

Starting at the top, the stops you’d be riding to are: Alishan 阿里山 (TWD 278), Shizicun 十字村 (240), Shizhuo (197), Xiding/Eryanping 隙頂 (172), and Longmei 龍美 (154).

Note that Shizicun is the same as Shizilu (十字路 or Shitzulu). The Alishan Forest Railway travels from Chiayi to Fenqihu to Shizilu, the terminal stop, so you can access the train from either of these two stops.

Since I’m buying a ticket for myself only from Chiayi to Alishan, I chose the first one and selected ‘1’ (see screenshot above). You can choose 1 to 4 people.

At the bottom, leave the two boxes checked to agree to the terms and click the gray 電腦配位 (automatically choose seats) button on the left or 自行選位 (choose your own seat) on the right. I chose right.

NOTE: When booking a ticket from Alishan back to Chiayi, you may notice the stop choices are different. They may include unfamiliar stops like 頂六, 觸口, and 龍美. They don’t include stops you might want to get off at (Shizhuo, Fenqihu, and Xiding).

If you want to ride the bus from Alishan and get off at one of these three stops, choose 龍美, which is usually the cheapest adult ticket option (around TWD 124). 龍美 (Longmei) is shortly after Shizhuo, Fenqihu, and Xiding. You will still be able to get off at the stop you want. If your desired stop is Fenqihu, just make sure you’re on one of the buses that actually goes to Fenqihu by checking my bus timetable.

A diagram of bus seats with options to choose a seat
Bus seat selection

Now you get to choose your seat(s)! Dark gray seats are taken, light gray are available, and my selected seat is in green.

Use the zoom in/out magnifying glass to see more seats. However, I couldn’t find a way to move to the back of the bus. I was using desktop – apparently this works better on mobile.

After making your selection, click the 確定 (confirm) blue button at bottom.

Screenshot of a page showing a booking for a bus ticket from one person from Chiayi HSR to Alishan in Mandarin
Order confirmation

The above is a just a confirmation page showing your booking number, date of travel, bus, row and seat number, destination, and price.

There’s nothing to do here. Just click the blue 下一步 (next step) button. Notice that a 10-minute timer to finish your order has started counting down (see the green circle in the above and below screenshots).

A page showing all the details of a bus booking to Alishan and option to click for 10$ ticket pickup fee
Payment Page

You’ve now reached the payment page. You must click the circle beside the words 取票手續費10元. This means you agree to pay TWD10 to pick up the ticket later at FamilyMart.

Scroll down and enter your credit card information. Click the blue 結帳 (checkout) button at the bottom when ready.

A voucher for a booking for one person on the bus from Chiayi to Alishan
Yay, your seat is booked!

If your credit card doesn’t work (some international cards sometimes just don’t work for certain things in Taiwan), try a different one.

If the payment goes through, you’ll see the above confirmation screen. Congrats – your seats are booked!

I suggest you screenshot the booking as I have above. You can also click the blue 列印 button at the bottom if you want to print the ticket. However, you should also receive an email with all the same details.

Step 3: Pick Up Your Tickets at FamilyMart in Taiwan

Your final step is to pick up your physical Alishan bus tickets from any FamilyMart in Taiwan.

According to some readers, when they tried at certain FamilyMarts, it didn’t work or the staff didn’t know how to help them. Tell the staff that it was booked on FamiTicket, which will help them click to the correct section on the machine. If they still can’t figure it out, just try a different FamilyMart.

There’s no deadline to pick up the ticket, it just has to be before your ride. However, due to the above issue (you might not succeed at certain FamilyMarts), I don’t suggest leaving it to the last minute.

If you can read Mandarin, you can try to use the FamiPort machine in FamilyMart yourself. I’m not going to cover how to do this here, because there are several steps.

If you can’t do this yourself, just show your booking to the FamilyMart clerk – the email you received is best, but the screenshot will also work. If you have multiple bookings, you’ll need to show each one.

The clerk will go to the machine for you. After keying in your booking info, the machine will print a receipt. You’ll need to take that receipt to the counter and pay the booking fee (TWD 10 per ticket). Then the clerk will print the actual ticket for you.

And just like that, you’ve got reserved seats on the bus to/from Alishan! At the bus stop, you can still line up like everyone else, but when the bus arrives, the driver will ask anyone with reserved seats to step forward first.

Step 4: How to Cancel Alishan Bus Tickets

Unfortunately, canceling your FamiPort or FamiTicket bus tickets to Alishan is not super easy.

According to the online booking system, in order to receive a refund to your credit card, you’ll need to mail in your ticket to 3F, #61, Zhongshan North Rd. Sect 2, Taipei 104 (104台北市中山北路2段61號3樓), and they must receive it at least 1 day before the bus departure.

A member of my Taiwan Travel Planning group also reported that they were able to refund their ticket at a FamiPort machine in a FamilyMart in Taiwan. To do this, a Taiwan phone number must be entered. If you don’t have one, you can try to make up a 10-digit number starting with 09. I’ve done this in similar situations in Taiwan and it usually works.

27 thoughts on “How to Book Chiayi to Alishan Bus Tickets Online (Seat Guaranteed)”

  1. Hi Nick,
    Great guide – but! One item in the registration form is missing from your guide – the one where you should fill in your ID info (between you sex and your email address). Foreigners should put in their passport number there.
    On my third try my credit card was finally accepted – phew! Hopefully I bought the right tickets… 😉
    Question – is it necessary to pre-book the bus back to Chiayi from Alishan as well?
    Cheers!

  2. Nick, if I were to return from Xiding to Chiayi, do I purchase a ticket from Alishan to Chiayi and board at Xiding stop?

  3. Thank you so much, I’ve added it! Glad your card worked. I would say that the demand for the bus from Chiayi to Alishan and Alishan back to Chiayi is equal, so yes, you should book it if you’re able to choose a time and stick with it. You wouldn’t want to miss the last bus and get stuck up there!

  4. If you want to book the ticket online, you can only book tickets starting at Chiayi or Alishan. You can reserve a seat starting at any smaller stop in the middle like Xiding. That’s because they will totally fill the bus before leaving Chiayi or Alishan, as there is always a long line of people wanting to board the bus. They can’t just leave an empty seat for someone who will board the bus somewhere in the middle. So if you want to board at Xiding or any other small stop, you can only wait at the bus stop and swipe EasyCard to ride it. In other words, you can reserve a ticket starting at Alishan or Chiayi and get off at Xiding or other small stops. But you just can’t reserve a spot boarding the bus at Xiding or other small stops.

  5. Dear Nick,
    Thank you for your clear instruction in booking the Alishan bus Ticket. I have ordered my Alishan Bus Ticket online. My departure date is about 1 month from now. Can I just collect the ticket on the actual day of departure from FamilyMart?
    Thank you.

  6. Yes, that should be no problem. Just make sure not to leave it too close to the departure time and that there will be a FamilyMart where you planning to get it.

  7. Hi Nick,
    Thanks for the useful guide!
    I didn’t manage to book the Alishan train and planned to take the bus up instead.
    I can’t find the 7329A bus from Fenqihu to Alishan at 12.50pm. Does it mean it’s fully booked?

    And also, have you tried booking through Klook? Not sure if it will be easier?

    Thanks!

  8. Hello, I faced an error at the payment page. Once I clicked the option of ticket collection fee of 10 yuan, it does not allow me to input my credit card details. Why is this so?

  9. Note these words in the article: “You must click the circle beside the words 取票手續費10元.” Can you confirm, did you try that?

  10. Unfortunately you can’t book a seat on the bus starting from Fenqihu. You can only book a seat starting from Chiayi or Alishan. That’s because the bus seats are very high demand and they will also fill all seats before departing. Thus they can’t just leave one seat empty for someone to board halfway, such as Fenqihu. The only option to board at Fenqihu is to swipe EasyCard. Usually some passengers get off at Fenqihu, so it opens up some seats for more people to get on. But since there is often a line of people hoping to get on, I suggest you line up early, such as 30 minutes before the bus is coming. You can’t reserve bus seats on Klook. You can only buy a voucher which will give you a QR code to swipe when boarding. But the QR code does not guarantee a seat. It will be first-come-first-serve just like those swiping EasyCard.

  11. Hi Nick! Thanks for this guide!

    I just wanted to confirm…So even I were to pay the full fare to reserve tickets from Chiayi to Alishan and board at Fenqihu, the seats purchased could potentially still be filled by other passengers and the bus operator wouldn’t let us sit in those seats?

  12. You can’t reserve tickets if you are boarding at Fenqihu. If you buy a ticket from Chiayi and don’t show up, they’ll assume you no-showed and less others sit in the seat. The buses to Alishan are always packed and have long lines of people waiting for them. There’s no way they are going just leave one seat open for someone because they booked it but then didn’t show up at the spot they booked from.

  13. Hi Nick,
    thanks a lot for this guide!
    I’m having the same problem as Caren: once I click the circle beside the words 取票手續費10元, the credit card data input fields disappear and I cannot proceed buying the tickets. Do you have any idea how to solve this?

  14. I’m sorry but I’m not sure. I’ve just tested it myself and that doesn’t happen for me. I suggest that you try it from a different browser or device if possible. Please let me know how it goes.

  15. Agreed that also not all their staff are firm on the FamiPort machines. What helped me and my friendly staff get started was the fact that we should select the FamiTicket option/app, instead of searching for some bus option/app, etc.

  16. Hi Nick, thanks for the useful guide! For the return trip from Alishan to Chiayi HSR, is it possible to purchase the earlier bus rides at 1010am? Didnt seem to find this option from the booking page. Appreciate your advice! Thank you!

  17. Yes, it is. The 10:10 bus goes to Chiayi HSR station, and it stops at Fenqihu on the way. So you need to make sure to choose the bus called 7329 (阿里山線(高鐵出發)經奮起湖), which means Alishan Line (HSR) via Fenqihu. You’ll see the 10:10 bus there.

  18. Hi Nick,

    Thanks so much for your guide! very helpful! just wanted to check for the return buses from Alishan to Chiayi, what does the 班次 mean? Cos i wanted to book the 17.10 bus from Alishan but unsure of what the 班次 mean for the return leg! We booked a night stay at Shi Zhao and plan to head there after our day at Alishan! As per your guide, i shld get tickets heading to 龍美 right?

    I also plan to visit Eryanping, you think we can just hop on to any of the buses that go there from Shi Zhao without booking tickets?

    Also, if i book the bus from Chiayi to Alishan, I can drop at any of the stops in between right and do i need to take the same bus number when I board again or can i take any of the bus that is heading to Alishan?

    thank you!

    Val

  19. 班次 just means “departure” or “shift”, I’m not sure why they even put that. When departing from Chiayi, their notes say that for any with the words 班次, the denoted time is from Daya (one stop before the train station), while ones with other words, the time is really for Chiayi station. When departing from Alishan, there’s no difference so you can ignore it. And yes, since strangle they give no option for Shizhuo, you can book for Longmei and just get off at Shizhuo. Every bus will pass Shizhuo. And yes you can just hop on any passing buses, as long as there is space. Most drivers will let you on even if there are no free seats though and you just have to stand. The drive from Shizhuo to Xiding/Eryanping is only like 10 min. You can see the timetable in my Eryanping guide for all the times, but sometimes buses are not on schedule – often they come up to 10 minutes early or late. If you reserve a ticket from Chiayi to Alishan, you could surely get off anywhere you want, but you wouldn’t be able to then get back on another bus with the same ticket. You’d have to swipe EasyCard to pay for any subsequent bus you take. Hope that all makes sense!

  20. Hi Nick. If I were to purchase the ticket from Famiport machine, can it also be done at any Family Mart store or only at the ones in Chiayi?

  21. Hi! Thanks for amazing guide! Just booked my onward ticket.
    However, cannot find in FamiTicket the bus 7322C departing from Alishan at 11:40. Do you know, is it cancelled? I need it Saturday 22th of June.

  22. Yes, you are corrected, I just noticed a note in the Mandarin details on the booking page that they canceled the 11:40 one last year. I apologize for the inconvenience and I have removed it from my table.

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