Mt. Manabang (1407m) is a small, round peak that’s located in Dahu Township, Miaoli County. I did this hike alone in the middle of summer 2020 and it took me about 3 hours round-trip. If you don’t stop every 5 minute to take pictures like I do, you could easily complete this hike in 2.5 hours.
I wouldn’t recommend this hike to visitors to Taiwan who don’t have a lot of time on their schedule. The hike is not too bad, but it’s nothing exceptional either. It’s not my favorite mountain that’s for sure! There are many more much better peaks to hike on this island.
That being said, I think Mt. Malabang might interest you if you live in Taiwan, you’re really into hiking, and you’d climb anything, just because it’s there or to stay in shape. That’s me! Again, it’s not that bad… It’s got very thick, jungle vegetation, the paths and stairs are very well maintained, and the trail are clearly marked.
My main issue with Mt. Malabang is that there are basically no views at all the whole time you climb – apart from the trees and plants. When you get to the top, if you are lucky, you might see Snow Mountain (雪山 xue shan) in the distance, but chances are that it will be obstructed by either clouds, fog, pollution, or all three of them.
Another thing that was a bit of a pain in the a**, were the flies and mosquitoes. I never, I repeat I NEVER have any problem with flies in Taiwan. Especially not while hiking. I don’t know why, but there were flies and mozzies trying to get in my nose, eyes, and ears from start to finish on Manabang. Weird…
My Experience on Manabang…
As I said, I climbed Manabang in summer, when the thermometer was showing 37 degree Celcius in Taichung. My wife told me I was mad to go as it was too hot. But as I was super bored in the city and had nothing to do, I still decided to go. I had wanted to climb at Hehuanshan or Guguan, but my Google Maps had shown horrible traffic to those two destinations. It was Sunday and people still couldn’t travel outside Taiwan due to Covid, so all the main touristic spots were packed.
The drive from Taichung was about 1 hour and 20 minutes. It went fast as I drank my coffee and listened to a Joe Rogan podcast. I took freeway 1 all the way to Tongluo 銅鑼, then provincial highway 72 inland toward Dahu Township. From there, road #3 south, until you reach Nanhu 南湖. From there it’s country road 55, and then one last turn onto a super-steep road that is barely wide enough for two cars.
Be warned that if you have a front wheel drive car with old tires, you might not make it to the top. My 2×4 Delica was spinning badly at some of the steepest parts in the switchbacks and it felt as if my van was about to start sliding backward.
When I arrived at the parking lot near the trailhead to the Manabang trail, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that only a handful of cars were there, a nice sign that the trail wouldn’t be busy – yeah!