Smangus is an Ayatal tribal village deep in the mountains of Hsinchu. At an altitude of 1500 meters above sea level, it is also known as Taiwan's most remote aboriginal village. It has become a tourist hot spot not only for the aboriginal culture here, but also for the grove of giant Cypress trees which are close to 3,000 years old.
The name Smangus is the Ayatal name of the Netleaf Oak tree (querus rugosa 銳葉高山櫟) that grows here. The Ayatal tribe has inhabited this area for thousands of years. After the ROC took control of Taiwan, most of the tribe converted to Christianity thanks to western missionaries.
The village of Smangus was electrified only in 1979, and a road to the village was only completed in 1995. Before that, it was a three hour walk to the nearest town.
After word got out about the grove of giant Cypress trees in the area, the village quickly became a tourist hot spot and remains so today.
You can book a tours to Smangus on Klook here.
Where to stay:
Most of the accommodation you will find is near the city center. If you will only visit downtown, you can consider a day trip from Taipei.
We have stayed at and recommend the Golden Motel a high quality motel near Green Grass Lake (you can book on Agoda here, Booking.com here, Hotels.com here, Expedia here, or Trip.com here), and CD Motel, another high quality motel in downtown Hsinchu (you can book on Agoda here, Booking.com here, or Trip.com here). Unfortunately I cannot recommend any further hotels that I have stayed at in Hsinchu because usually we stay at my wife's uncle's house.
You can find out where to stay in our Taiwan hotels guide or search for the best hotel deals in Taiwan here.
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How to get there:
By car/scooter: From eastern Hsinchu, take highway 109 to Jianshi Township until you reach the turnoff to Smangus. It's about a 2 hour drive from Guanxi township in Hsinchu. If you are looking for car rentals in Hsinchu, you can also search Qeeq here, Klook here, or KKDay here. You can also check out our car rental guide here.
Looking for scooter rental in Hsinchu? You can search Klook here or KKday here to look for options. You can also check out our scooter rental guide here.
Bus: There is no public transportation to Smangus. You can book tickets to travel to Hsinchu via inter-city bus on Klook here. You can book tickets to Hsinchu via high speed rail (HSR) on Klook here or KKDay here. Book tickets via the normal train (TRA) on Klook here.
Bicycle: Cycling is the best way to enjoy Taiwan's landscapes if you have the time and energy. Looking for bicycle rentals in Taiwan? You can search on KKday here and Klook here. You can also check out our Taiwan cycling guide here.
Tour: You can take a day tour to Smangus with Klook here.
Please see below:
Ever since reading Joshua Brown's Article about Smangus in 2017, I always wanted to go. Also, I had planned a trip to go with my friend whose mom lives up there, but that never worked out. We decided to go up the mountain after our trip to Neiwan.
A bridge and grown-over field on our way up from Neiwan.
Our first grand view on the way up the mountain.
The road to Smangus.
Amazing views of the mountainous valley in Jianshi Township.
Another view from the road.
Looking down at a small farm surrounded by bamboo.
View of the mountains in on the way to Smangus.
Another view from near the road.
Another view of the scenery.
There are lots of hiking trails here too.
Finally made it to the fork in the road that goes up to Smangus. But by this time, my daughter had thrown up all over the car. So we had to call it quits.
Even though we didn't make it all the way, you can still go. Tell us how it was!
More photos from the road to Smangus above.
You can find more tours and activities in Hsinchu such as river tracing, wild hot springs, white water kayaking, backpack rafting, Little Ding Dong Theme Park, Leofoo Village Theme Park, Window on China Theme Park, glamping, camping, stone spa, horse riding, and more on Klook here or KKday here.
You can check out our full guide to Hsinchu here.
You can also check out our full travel guide to Taiwan here.
We are US Expats that have extensive experience living, working, and travelling in Taiwan. In our day, we had to learn many things about Taiwan the hard way. But we have come to learn that Taiwan is one of the best places in the world for Foreigners to live. Our blog does not represent the opinions of every foreigner in Taiwan. We are just trying to help others learn more about this beautiful country.