The Four Famous Taoist Mountains in China
Initiated in Heming Mountain of Sichuan from Zhang Daoling in East Han Dynasty, Taoism is the local religion of China that distinguishes from the Buddhism introduced from foreign countries. Although Taoism got flourishing until the Northern and Southern Dynasty, the four famous Taoism Mountains already established Taoist temples and palaces as early as East Han Dynasty. Legend going around even says Taoism was propagated much earlier than Buddhist in many other well-renowned mountains like Mount Wutai and Mount Jiuhua. The Mount Qingcheng, Wudang Mountain, Longhu Mountain and Qiyun Mountain are the most influential and famous Taoism mountains worshipping Ancestral Celestial Masters of founder of Tianshi Taoism - Zhang Daoling, Lord Lao Zi, originator of Quanzhen Taoism - Qiu Chuji and Zhenwu Tati respectively.
1. Mount Qingcheng in Sichuan - Most Tranquil Taoist Shrine
TripAdvisor Impression: Mother Nature, Ancient Temples and Excellent Mountain Views, Picturesque & Totally Presented
Type: Sacred & Religious Sites, Mountains, Natura & Parks, Sights & Landmarks
Elevation: 1260m (4134ft)
Location: Qingchengshan Town, Dujiangyan City, Chengdu, Sichuan; about 65km of southeast Chengdu City & about 10km from Dujiangyan Irrigation System.
Best Travel Time: March ~ November
Ticket: 90RMB for Front Mount Qingcheng & 20RMB for Back; Cableway Fees are Excluded.
Recommended Visiting: One Day
Honored as World Cultural Heritage, Mount Qingcheng is one of the famous cradles of Taoism and holy land in China, as well as great sites ranked in Top 10 attractions of Chengdu. It is named Qingchengshan for the location in green and quiet forest throughout the year, which also wins it reputation of Mount Qingcheng - Most Secluded Land (青城天下幽) in the World and Exploration of Taoist in the Shrine - Mount Qingcheng (问道青城山).
The whole scenic area covering area of 200sq km includes the front mountain with lots of cultural relics like Taoist temples and pavilions and back mountain where keeps original nature scenery. If hiking upward from the front, you can take boat to tour Yuecheng Lake (月城湖 - huge mountain lake originated from Summit of Mount Qingcheng), and continue climbing by cableway, or walking through Yuqing Palace (玉清宫) and Yuanming Palace(圆明宫) to Shangqing Palace (上清宫 - ancienty taoist temple where Chinese painting master Chang Dai-Chien chose as seclusion and created thousands of paintings). A second choice to Shangqing Palace is hiking the western route from the entrance to Tianshi Celestial Cave (天师洞 - ashram of founder of Tianshi Taoism preaching) and Zushi Temple. Laojun Pavilion (老君阁) on summit of Mount Qingcheng is another major spot at elevation of 1260m. Besides Taoist sites on Front Mountain, nature lovers can luxuriate in the pristine beauty on the Qingcheng Back Mountain.
Highlights: Laojun Pavilion, Tianshi Cave, Yuecheng Lake, Five Heavenly Caves, Zushi Temple, Shangqing Palace
Activity: Taoist Culture Festival
1. Thanks to the thick forests, you will enjoy pleasant fresh air whenever you visit Mount Qingcheng and lovely natural sceneries. Meanwhile, you should walk cautiously on wet and slippery due to the high humidity.
2. One day is only enough for one side trip. If you plan to hike both ranges, you need to get another day for further discovery.
2. The Wudang Mountains in Hubei - Cradle of Tai Chi from Wudang Taoism
TripAdvisor Impression: Tai Chi Mountain, Admire Tai Chi, Beats Shaolin, Absolutely Surreal Scenery, Famous Taoist City
Type: Ancient Ruins, Religious & Historic Sites, Sights & Landmarks
Elevation: 1612m (5289ft)
Location: Danjiangkou, Shiyan City, Northwest Hubei Province; about 35km of southeast Shiyan City & 450km to southeast Wuhan City (capital of Hubei Province).
Best Travel Time: March ~ May & September ~ November (Spring & Autumn)
Ticket: 240RMB for Entrance Ticket & Tour Bus; 15RMB for Purple Clouds Palace; 27RMB for Golden Summit; 5RMB Insurance Fee & 3RMB of Tourist Map; Cableway Fees are Excluded.
Recommended Visiting: Two ~ Three days
Wudang Mountain is the famous Taoism sanctum where Wudang Martial Arts – Tai Chi originated. It is a World Cultural Heritage and the most beautiful national Geopark for three yeaes in northwest Hubei Province. Ennobled as royal mountain from Ming Dynasty, Wudang Mountain is worshipped for the immortal Taoist culture and natural landscape up to now.
Covering about 312sq km, Wudang Mountain owns many attractions surround or located in the center Tianzhu Peak (天柱峰 – highest peak of Wudang Mountain with elavation of 1612m). Ticket package including paid tour bus connects most major sites on Wudang Mountain. Pass through Needle Grinding Well (磨针井: 487.2m), Prince Slope (太子坡, Fuzhen Temple - the most-preserved and biggest temple in Wudang Mountain which was built on abrupt slope in Ming Dynasty) to Rambel Valley (逍遥谷) where holds Macaque Play & Wudang Martial Arts Performance, then tourist will visit Purple Clouds Palace (紫霄宫 - large royal Taoist temple groups) and Nanyan Temple (南岩宫 - sacred site where Zhenwu Tati got enlightenment). The Golden Summit or Golden Palace (金顶 - the highest holy Taoist Hall on Tianzhu Peak) via Chaotian Palace.
Highlights: Golden Summit, Purple Clouds Palace, Fuzhen Temple (Prince Slope), Nanyan Temple, Ramble valley.
Activity: Martial Arts Performance (Wudang Tai Chi)in Ramble Valley, Fantasy Wudang in Tai Chi Theater
Nearby Attractions: Three Gorges Dam Project (Yichang) - Yangtze River Cruise, Shennongjia National Nature Reserve.
1. A friendly advice is that arrange your Wudang Mountain tour more leisurely by taking tour bus in some sections.
2. Accommodation in Wudang Mountain mainly concentrates in Rock in South and Qiongtai, where you can reach Golden Summit through hiking or cableway separately.
3. Longhu Mountain in Jiangxi - World Geopark with Danxia Landform
TripAdvisor Impression: Boat Trip Inside, A Surprise Treat, Highlight of Jiangxi
Type: Historical Sites, Mountains, Nature & Parks, Sights & Landmarks
Location: 20km of West Yingtan City, Jiangxi Province; about 180km to northwest Nanchang City.
Best Travel Time: April ~ October
Ticket: 260RMB for Entrance Ticket & Tour Bus & Bamboo Rafting Once
Recommended Visiting: One Day
With an elevation of 1300m, Longhu Mountain is a World Geopark and Natural Heritage in southwest Yingtan City of Jiangxi. This unique Danxia Landform scenic area is still birthplace of Chinese Taoism as the ashram for Taoist masters and successors. Even the name comes from folk story which tells dragon and tiger appear when the initiator of Zhengyi Sect of Taoism successfully in making alchemy.
Most scenic spots spreading by westshore of Luxi River are easy to reach by tour bus. The essence Longhu Mountain tour departs from tourist center and get to Trunk Mountain (象鼻山 - a typical Danxia Landform spot of Longhu Mountain Geopark - like a giant stone elephant is wicking) firstly, then following sightseeing goes to the activities you may interested in, like the Hanging Coffins Performance (悬棺表演) in Peach Sandbank near South Gate of Trunk Mountain. Later you can take the Bamboo Rafting to enjoy natural scenery on the river banks, including No Mosquito Village (ideal summer resort), Mushroom Rock, Lotus Stone, Old Man Peak and etc. Sihan Taoist Master Mansion (嗣汉天师府 - sacred Taoist site to honor the god and served as residence of Taoist Masters, about 1km to Great Shangqing Palace), Shangqing Ancient Town (old town with over 1000 years history) and Great Shangqing Palace (大上清宫 - ) are the highlights in the peak of Longhu Mountain tour.
Highlights: Taoist Master Mansion, Great Shangqing Palace, Zhengyi Temple, Trunk Mountain.
Activity: Bamboo Rafting & Hanging Coffins Performance& Landscape Live Show – Dream of Tao
1. Transportation: Tourists can get to Longhu Mountain from Yingtan Railway Station by taxi or local bus. And there are two sightseeing vehicles: tour bus and special mini-train which departs less than every 15mins.
2. Ticket of Dream of Tao is 228RMB separately, and the ticket package of show and Longhu Mountain tour with sightseeing vehicles is 268RMB, 358RMB for show, tour bus, bamboo rafting and sites visiting.
3. Hanging Coffins Performances are scheduled four times a day at 10:00, 12:00,14:00 and 16:00 and lasts about 30mins.
4. Qiyun Mountain in Anhui - Beautiful Fairyland of Taoism
TripAdvisor Impression: Fairy and Spiritual Mountain, Exhausting but Super Nice Trip, Interest Little Mountain
Type: Religious Sites, Mountains, Nature & Parks
Elevation: 585m (1919ft)
Location: Qiyunshan Town, 15km of West Xiuning County, Huangshan City, Anhui Province; about 330km of southeast Hefei City (capital of Anhui Province) & 45km to Mount Huang (Yellow Mountain) and Huizhou Ancient City.
Best Travel Time: March ~ November
Ticket: 60RMB in March ~ November & 50RMB in December ~ February; Tour Bus and Cableway Fees are Excluded.
Recommended Visiting: One Day
Qiyun Mountain is the lowest one with hundreds’ elevation among the China’s four famous Taoist mountains, and previously praised by Emperor Qianlong from Qing Dynasty as the only beauty in China and the top famous mountain in Jiangnan. Originally known of Baiyue, Qiyun Mountain is named for its summit is on the same level with clouds. In the 110sq km area of Qiyun Mountain, attractions include 36 exotic peaks, 72 odd cliffs and many peaceful caves, lakes and springs, making up a dreamlike elfland when Clouds Sea emerges around.
Climbing up to the Highest Peak and Yuehua Heaven Street - terminal of Qiyun Mountain tour needs departure from Tourist Center. For the beginning roads, you can hike from Dengfeng Bridge (登封桥), pass through 13 pavilions in 9kms to the end Wangxian Tower (望仙亭 - good viewpoint between Wangxian Peak and Zhonghe Peak), or take the direct cableway to Feiyun Pavilion ahead of Wangxian Tower, then to Xianglu Peak (香炉峰 - shaped like censer at 945m above sea level), Yuehua Street (月华街) (small Taoist village half hanging on the cliff), later to Taisu Palace (太素宫 - holy ancient Taoist temple constructed in Ming Dynasty), Yuxu Palace (玉虚宫 - major Taoist temple built in Ming Dynasty) and Inscription Stele of Purple Cloud Palace & Xuan Emperor(紫霄宫玄帝碑铭 - the only reserved ancient inscription of Tang Bohu), pass through Hanging Walkway to the Highest Peak (585m - highest point of Qiyun Mountain once visited by Tang Bohu and Danxia Landform site) where you will get breathtaking mountain views. For return trip, tourists can take the bamboo boating near the Five Old Peak to Dengfeng Bridge at foothill.
Highlights: Yuxu Palace, Taisu Palace, Yuehua Street, Xianglu Peak, Highest Peak
Activity: Taoist Fair
1. The viewing platform down Moon Pavilion on the Highest Peak is the best viewing point of Qiyun Mountain for the sightseeing from the pavilion will be blocked from surrounding trees.
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If you have more questions about Taoist or Buddhist travel in China, please click here to get more recommended Taoist & Buddhist tour information in Sichuan, or you can feel free to contact us for our professional travel consultants are always ready to help!
Top Popular Mountains in China
- Mount Qingcheng
- Wudang Mountain
- Yellow Mountain (Huangshan)
- Mount Everest
- Mount Kailash
- Mount Wutai
- Putuoshan Mountain
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