General Impression of Laoshan Mountain
Laoshan Mountain, also known as Mount Lao or Laoshan National Forest Park, is situated at the seashore of Yellow Sea, in the east of Qingdao city, with a total area of 446 km². Thrusting from the sea, Laoshan is linked with the sea, extending in four directions from its center - Jufeng (the highest peak): low and flat ranges running to far distance in the west, high, steep and towering peaks with deep valleys and waterfalls in the east. The coastal line is winding around the mountain with various rocks, islets and bays staggered.
Laoshan Mountain is a famous Taoist mountain with spectacular peaks and beautiful coastal scenery. The Taoist temples, sunrise and sea of clouds have enjoyed a high reputation for a long time. It also bears many honorable names such as “No. 1 coastal mountain” and “fascinating and blessed place” which make it a famous scenic spot for sightseeing and a hot choice for spending holidays.
Main Scenic Spots in Laoshan Scenic Area
There are mainly seven scenic spots in Laoshan, among which Taiqing, Yangkou, and Jufeng are the most popular ones.
Taiqing Scenic Spot 太清游览区
In the southeast of the Laoshan Mountain, Taiqing scenic spot gets its name from Taiqing Palace, the biggest and earliest Taoist temple recorded in Laoshan. Taiqing Palace (太清宫) covers an area of 30000 square meters, with a construction area of 2500 square meters. The main body of the temple is divided into three parts: Sanguan Hall, Sanqing Hall and Sanhuang Hall; in addition, there are more than 150 rooms and other ancillary facilities. Taiqing Palace (firstly built in 140 B.C.) has a history of over 2000 years and has been repaired in almost every dynasty. Now its architecture still retains the typical style of the Song Dynasty, which is very rare in domestic religious buildings. Therefore, Taiqing scenic spot is the representative site of Taoist culture.
In addition, Taiqiang scenic spot is surrounded by 7 peaks in three sides, which block the cold air from the north and form a Taiqing Bay. So it is neither too cold in winter nor too hot in summer here. The warm and humid climate brings various species of luxuriant plants and makes a pleasant environment for sightseeing.
1. Taiqing Cable Car: CNY 45 for one way, CNY 80 for a round trip
2. Taiqing Palace needs an entrance fee of CNY 27 per person.
Yangkou Scenic Spot 仰口游览区
Yangkou scenic spot is in the northeastern part of Laoshan. Facing the Yellow Sea with ripples and backed by the mountain peaks, Yangkou scenic spot is where you can enjoy the magnificent mountains, endless sea, breezy bay, and sandy beach at the same time.
Steep ridges and peaks one after another, on the mountain top lies a natural huge stone called Tianyuan, where people can get a great view overlooking Yangkou Bay. But to get there, you need to go across Mitian Cave, where the path is narrow and dark, a little challengeable for some people. Taiping Palace, a Taoist temple, is hidden in the green bamboo and pine trees. It has the reputation of “Palace on the Sea” for its location. Yangkou scenic spot is also a good place for viewing sunrise. People on the top of the Lion Peak are able to enjoy the marvelous scene. By taking the cable car in Yangkou, tourists can see the huge Chinese character “Shou 寿”, which means longevity, engraved on the stone and the vast spectacle of the sea and sky merging into one.
1. Yangkou Cable Car: CNY 35 for one way, CNY 60 for a round trip. As this cable car is not enclosed, for your safety, tourists over 70 years old are not allowed to take.
Jufeng Scenic Spot 巨峰游览区
Jufeng Peak, 1,133m above the sea level, is the highest peak of the Laoshan Mountains. It is the nearest mountain to the sea and the highest above the sea along the 18,000 km coastal line of mainland China.
It is beyond question that Jufeng scenic spot will offer you the most marvelous sea and mountain landscape. It is also a good spot to see the sunrise. You can see sea of clouds when the weather is favorable. But on the way, there is not much to see or do except hiking. The core sites are distributed on an undulated annular path, which will take about 5 hours to hike. Cable car is available to take you to the starting point of the annular path. From the path walking for about 15 minutes, you will get to the second highest peak in Jufeng Scenic Spot - Lingqi Peak. It is also where you can get the best view. Another worth-going site is Danlu Peak with a broad vision.
1. Jufeng Cable Car: CNY 40 for one way, CNY 80 for a round trip.
2. Tourists can not get to the top of Jufeng Peak, which is called Laoding (Laoshan Top), because it is a military area. The highest point people can reach is Lingqi Peak, best viewing point on Jufeng peak.
Liuqing Scenic Area 流清游览区
Liuqing scenic area is just next to Dahedong Tourist Center. There are not many sites and tourists can enter here freely. The sightseeing bus in Laoshan will stop here at Bashuihe (Bashui River). Along Bashuihe, you can climb up to Longtan Waterfall, Shangqing Temple and Mingxia Cave. From here you can take Taiqing cable car to Taiqing Palace.
Longtan Waterfall is the grandest waterfall in Laoshan. It may look no special on ordinary days, but in spring after the flood season, you will see the water rushing down with great momentum. Shangqing Palace was fist built in the Song Dynasty and the remaining building was reconstructed in 1991. There is a ginkgo tree planted more than 1000 years ago which was worth seeing.
Qipanshi Scenic Spot 棋盘石游览区
Qipanshi (Chessboard Rock) scenic spot is situated in the east of Laoshan, with Taiqing scenic spot in the south, Yangkou scenic spot in the north, Jufeng scenic spot in the west and the sea in the east. Huayan Temple (华严寺) here is the only existing Buddhist temple in Laoshan. It was first built in the Ming Dynasty (A.D. 1368-1644) but was destroyed later. Now the temple we see is reconstructed in 1999.
Qipanshi (Chessboard Stone), 637 meters above the sea level, is a giant rock on the top of Qipan Peak, protruding towards the sky. Because of its peculiar shape and position, it is favored by many hikers. But the path to Qipanshi is not well paved. It is more like you are walking in the wildness so it is recommended to hike with someone who is familiar with the surroundings.
Beijiushui Scenic Spot 北九水游览区
Beijiushui Scenic Spot, characterized by beautiful natural waterscape, is located at the north of Laoshan in Jiushui Scenic Area. It has an abundance of vegetation species and you may encounter various glossy stones in the running streams. Walking in this area, it is like you have come to a natural park.
The water of Beijiushui runs down from Tianyi spring in the north of Jufeng Peak at a height of over one kilometer, forming eighteen ponds in total. These ponds are in different sizes and depths and have various styles and poetic imagery, all of which demonstrate a perfect combination of elegant landscapes and Taoist thought featured as “Nature Rules”. By virtue of their unique cultural meaning and natural beauty, these ponds now constitute a much more gorgeous vista.
Note: The ticket of Jiushui Scenic Area is sold in Jiushui Tourist Center separately from the other scenic spots, which is CNY 60 from April to December, CNY 40 from January to March.
Hualou Scenic Spot 华楼游览区
Hualou Mountain lies in the northwest of Laoshan and is seldom traveled by tourists. So it is quite primitive. Hualou Peak is 350 meters above the sea level. It is a natural stone peak. There is no way to climb up there, so you can only see it from the distance. The original Hualou Palace was built in the Yuan Dynasty (A.D. 1271-1368). It has been severely damaged and rebuilt in 1990s. But the pines and ginkgo trees are planted hundreds of years ago.
Since Yuan Dynasty, Hualou Mountain has been the blessed place where many men of letters will surely come when they visit Laoshan, which leaves a large number of epigraphs here. The famous “No 1 Coastal Mountain” inscribed by the imperial inspector of Shandong, Zhao Xian is engraved on a stone in this scenic area.
Recommended Visiting Route of Laoshan Mountain
There are three land routes covering different parts of Laoshan Mountain. It usually takes one day to travel each of the three routes.
Southern route: Liuqing - Taiqing - Qipanshi - Yangkou (Most Chosen)
Southern route is a classic and the most popular Laoshan visiting route. It has rich tourism resources such as mountain, sea, Taoist temple, and Buddhist temple. Here you can better see how the sea melts into the sky, an experience other routes can not offer. You can start either from Liuqing near Dahedong Tourist Center or from Yangkou. If you do not have enough time for the whole route, you can only visit Taiqing (Bashuihe - Shangqing Palace - Mingxia Cave - Taiqing Palace) or Yangkou with Huayan Temple in Qipanshi. The only flaw is that you can not climb to the Jufeng Peak.
Middle route: Jufeng (Climb to the Highest Peak)
The highlight of middle route is certainly the Jufeng Peak. The sea and mountain scenery you can see here is unparalleled. If weather permits, the magnificent cloud sea will amaze you. But there is not much to see along the way to Jufeng peak. If you are a hiking enthusiast, it would be a nice hiking experience for about 5 hours. If not, you can take a cable car to save your time and energy.
Northern route: Beijiushui (Beautiful Waterscape)
Beijiushui scenic spot has a relatively flat terrain, which is suitable for the elderly and children or who want a relaxing hiking. Summer is the best season to come here with ample water, abundant oxygen, gurgling streams, and gentle breeze. As Beijiushui is famous for the waterscape, you are recommended to check the water volume before visiting, so that you can have a better experience. The defect is that you can not appreciate the seascape in Beijiushui as it is blocked by the mountains.
Note: You can choose one or more routes to visit Laoshan according to your interest and itinerary, or customize your Laoshan tour with us China Discovery.
Best Time to Visit Laoshan Mountain
Considering the weather and natural scenery of Laoshan Mountain, the best time to visit there is in spring and autumn, especially from April to May, and September to October. Start from April, a wide range of peach blossom, cherry blossom, and apricot blossom will cover Laoshan Mountain. You can easily find them in the scenic spots especially from Liuqing to Yangkou and in Jufeng. In May, azalea takes the stage and becomes the most beautiful flower in Laoshan. In the invigorating autumn with clear sky and crisp air, you will meet the most impressive mountain and sea scenery. Know More about Qingdao Weather >
How to Get to Laoshan Mountain
Laoshan Mountain is located at No. 29 Meiling Road, Laoshan District, in the eastern part of Qingdao City.
- 22 km away from Qingdao downtown (May Fourth Square), about 1 hour by car, 1.5 hours by bus;
- 36 km away from Qingdao Liuting International Airport, about 1.5 hours by car, 2.5 hours by bus;
- 30 km away from Qingdao Railway Station, about 70 minutes by car, at least 1.5h by bus or subway;
- 28 km away from Qingdao North Railway Station, about 70 minutes by car, 1.5-2h by subway or bus;
How to Get to Qingdao: You need to get to Qingdao first and then travel to Laoshan Mountain. Qingdao can be reached by a few international flights, some domestic flights and many high speed trains. If you are already in China, it is easy to take direct flights to Qingdao from Beijing (1.5h), Shanghai (1.5h), Xian (2h), Luoyang (1.5h), Zhengzhou (1h45min), Chengdu (2h40min), Guangzhou (3-3.5h), etc., and high speed trains from Beijing (4-5h), Shanghai (7h), Tianjin (4-4.5h), Jinan (1.5-4.5h), Tai’an (3.5h), Yantai (1.5-2h), etc.
Qingdao to Laoshan Mountain: There are many buses to Laoshan Mountain. How to get there depends on which part you want to visit. For the southern scenic spots starting from Taiqing or Jufeng, you can get to Dahedong Tourist Center. If you want to visit Yangkou Scenic Spot first, you can enter through Yangkou Tourist Center. If you prefer the waterscape, you can visit Beijiushui Scenic Spot from Jiushui Tourist Center.
It is strongly recommended to travel with China Discovery. Our local travel guide and driver will pick you up at the airport or train station as you arrive with an air-conditioned and non-smoking vehicle, and then escort you to your hotel or every attraction listed in your itinerary. Great freedom will be given to you when you need to stop for sightseeing and photograph if possible. You are sure to enjoy a comfortable, safe and efficient experience.
Transportation inside Laoshan Scenic Area
As Laoshan coves a wide area, it would be quite time-consuming and weary to travel totally on foot. So you can take tourist bus or city bus to travel around.
Tourist Bus: There are tourist buses in frequent schedules covering the southern route: from Dahedong Tourist Center to Jufeng Scenic Spot and Taiqing Scenic Spot, from Yangkou Scenic Spot to Huayan Temple. The ticket is CNY 60 per person and valid for 2 days. Tourist bus in Jiushui Scenic Area is CNY 30 per person and valid for 1 day.
City bus: As there are many locals live in the villages in Laoshan, city bus is also available. If you are visiting the southern route, you can take Bus 618 running between Yangkou and Yakou in Taiqing Scenic Spot.
Useful Tips of Visiting Laoshan Mouantain
- Ticket Information: You can buy tickets in the 3 tourist centers (Dahedong, Yangkou, Jiushui). The tickets for southern route scenic spots (Taiqing, Jufeng, Yangkou, Qipanshi, etc.) and tourist bus are valid for 2 days, while those for Jiushui Scenic Area are valid within the day.
- Food and Water: There are not many stalls selling food in Laoshan, especially in Jufeng scenic spot, so you are supposed to bring some snacks and water to replenish energy.
- Luggage Storage: All the three tourist centers provide free luggage storage service for tourists.
How to Plan Qingdao Tour
Best time to visit Qingdao: March to November, especially mid-August to early September if you want to join Qingdao Beer Festival
How to get to Qingdao: High speed train from Beijing (1.5h), Jinan (2-2.5h), Tianjin (4~4.5), etc., and flights from Beijing (1.5h), Shanghai (1.5h), Xian (2h), Luoyang (1.5h), Guangzhou (3.5h), etc.
Where to Stay in Qingdao: Most recommended to stay in Qingdao downtown near May Fourth Square and along the coastline to Zhanqiao Pier for the convenient transportation and comfortable living environment.
Generally, a classic Qingdao tour takes 2~3 days, with the top attractions of Qingdao covered. It is recommended to spend 2 full days exploring the best highlights of Qingdao, including Qingdao Beer Museum which showcases the hundreds of years' history of Tsingtao Beer, Xiaoyushan Park which offers a valuable panoramic view of Qingdao City and nearby attractions, Zhanqiao Pier - the symbol of Qingdao and Badaguan Scenic Area with old villas of different architecture styles of over 20 countries. If you have more time, don’t miss Laoshan Mountain where you are able to appreciate the beautiful mountain view and seascape together.
Qingdao is just a small piece of charming Shandong. If you want to add cultural savory into your trip, we strongly suggest you visit Mount Tai and Qufu. Mount Tai is the first UNESCO World Natural & Cultural Heritage site while Qufu is the hometown of Confucius. Spending another 2~3 days visit these two destinations will deliver you an unforgettable experience of Chinese culture discovery.
Of course, you may be extremely interested in the best beaches and coastlines of Shandong province. It is also worthwhile to visiting Yantai, Penglai and Weihai in 3 more days. Or you could enjoy a comprehensive tour throughout the whole province to taste the brilliant culture and fascinating nature of Shandong in the most aspects in one go. Feel free to browse our all Shandong Tour Packages>
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