Tai Shan (Great Mountain) is one of the five Daoist sacred mountains in China. Because of its history it is the most climbed mountain in China.
Tai Shan has been climbed by many people important in Chinese history including the first Chinese emperor, Confucius, and Mao Zedong. While watching the sun rise, Confucius was quoted as saying “the world is small,” and Mao as saying “the East is red.”
Mount Tai is located in the north of Tai'an city, in the middle of Shandong province. As one of the five most famous mountains in China, it is recognized as the head of the Five-mountain and defined to be East-mountain adoringly. Many emperors climbbed to the top for enthronement or other significant ceremonies in ancient China, for they considered it to be a symbol of Chinese power that given by master of nature. The earliest activities could go back to Xia dynasty and Shang dynasty, so it preserved a good many of cultural relics and historic sites. Famous literators, poets and celebrities were attracted here and thousands of poems and articles about Mount Tai are best-known nowadays.
Mount Tai is considered to be a cultural and historical museum. It is a famous place both of Taoism and Buddhism. There are four marvelous spectacles in Mount Tai, and they are sunrise watching on the peak, shine of sunset, Yellow River watching in sunshine and sea of cloud.
Flora and fauna
Trains run regularly from Qingdao to Tai'an and take 6 hours while costing 56-65RMB one way. Express trains also run from Qingdao and take only 3.5 hours. Both of these trains pass through Jinan. Trains are also available from Fuzhou and Shanghai.
To get from the train station to the base of Taishan by local bus, take bus #3. This only takes about 15 minutes and costs 1 RMB.
Taxis from the Tai'an train station are available to the foot of the trails up Tai Shan. A brisk walk experiencing some of the culture and atmosphere of the city is a wonderful option for those wanting to warm up for the hike up the mountain itself.
The hike to the top of Tai Shan is an experience of beautiful sites with flora and fauna as well as a rich history of the mountain. Hiking by foot, though physical in nature, is very achievable and is regularly accomplished by people of all ages. There are multiple paths up the mountain with the main path being bricked the entire length making it relatively safe. An added benefit of the hike to the top is the lore that anyone climbing Tai Shan will live 100 years.
Alternatively, buses are available to the mid-way point and are available 24 hours. A cable car is available for the remainder of the distance to the top. The cable car is open between 6:30am-5:30pm, although unpublished it may be open longer during peak times.
If you are interested in seeing the sunrise (a very popular activity) you will need to hike up the stairs at night or stay overnight on top.
As of 2007:
Admission was 125 RMB, 100 RMB During the off season, or 50/year if you are a local.
Student fares are available at 60 RMB and 50 RMB for on and off season respectively, but a student ID may be required.
Cable car fares are 80RMB one way or 140RMB return.
Bus fares to the midpoint base are 18RMB one way.
Winding stone and brick sidewalks link the different village areas on top of the mountain.
Tai Shan is very popular to Chinese visitors. This means it is often covered with tourists and the vendors that follow them. There are many nice paths up the mountain but the main climb is sometimes crowded with everything from beggars, to chickens, to monkey on chains that you can pose for pictures with.
- Views overlooking Tai'an and the surrounding areas
- Watch the sunrise in the east
- Mountaintop monasteries
- Carvings of prayers and phrases on the rock faces along the paths up the mountain
- Ancient altars, gates and archways along the hike up the mountain
- Hiking up the mountain can be tiring (about 4-7 hours of stairs) but there are plenty of places to stop along the way, buy water and drinks (prices get higher as you go up the mountain).
- A highlight is watching the morning sunrise from the top of the mountain
Shops and vendors line the first steps at the base of the mountain as well as on top of the mountain with the usual assortment of trinkets found at tourist destinations.
A common purchase is a red headband giving a blessing of long life and prosperity to those climbing Tai Shan.
- A restaurant and various vendors are located as you climb up the mountain.
- Multiple restaurants are available on top of the mountain.
- A variation of the famous Shandong "Jian Bing" is readily available from various stands on the mountain; it is made with egg, spread with a thick soy sauce and wrapped around a stalk of green onion.
- Beverages are available along the hike from vendors
- A teahouse serves drinks mid-hike up the mountain
Hotels and hostels exist on top of Tai Shan, giving you the ability to sleep overnight to watch the famed sunrise the next morning. Sales people will meet you to rent available rooms or reservations can be made in advance. Hot water is usually only available at certain times for showers; check with the hotel on hours of availability before renting to coordinate availability with your schedule.
Additionally, there are plenty of hotels at the base of the mountain in Tai'an.
Prices both on Tai Shan and in Tai'an often are negotiable.
The mountain is very safe, with many tourists. Just be careful of steep ledges and if you are hiking, of dehydration and the cold at the top of the mountain (vendors rent or sell Chinese military coats if you need one).
The same options available up the mountain (bus-cable car or hiking paths) are available for the trip down the mountain. Hikers will often take an alternate path down from the path taken up the mountain. Be warned the the cable car closes at 5:30pm, well before sunset. The cable car also closes when there is thunder in the area, so it is vitally important to check the weather report beforehand.
This page was last edited at 06:36, on 10 January 2009 by Jani Patokallio. Based on work by wenzong liu, Todd VerBeek, Andrew Haggard and Mitja Podreka, Wikitravel user(s) Morph, The Yeti, MurrayJ3, Ae-a, Suhobei and WindHorse and Anonymous user(s) of Wikitravel.