With nearly 3 billion years of natural evolution, Mount Taishan aka Mount Tai was formed through complicated geological and biological processes, with a gigantic rock mass and dense vegetation about 1545 meters towering over the surrounding plateau and sea. It forms a unique landscape, boasting 156 peaks, 138 cliffs, 72 caves, 130 streams, 64 waterfalls, and 72 springs. This majestic mountain is an outstanding combination of a beautiful natural landscape and a splendid process of Chinese civilization for thousands of years. Hence, it has been listed as a cultural and natural heritage of UNESCO in 1987.
But far beyond this contemporary title, Mount Tai has crowned himself as the greatest of five China sacred mountains, the King of numerous Chinese mountains, symbolizing ancient Chinese civilizations and beliefs, and widely known as the sacred site of its special ceremonies and sacrifices, especially the Fengshan Ceremony. During the ancient times, a total of 72 emperors were recorded as visiting it, and six of them carried out the Fengshan including Qin Shihuang (219 BC) who unified China for the first time, Wudi (110 BC) of the Han dynasty, Xuanzong (726 AD) of Tang Dynasty, etc. Royals, scholars, celebrities, writers, authorities, came to Mount Tai to hike, acquire inspiration, compose poems, write essays, paint, carve inscriptions, and set up monuments, let alone the greatest sage of China Confucius. He reached the peak, overlooking his country Lu, and sighed with one of the most philosophical words, “the world is small”. Besides the influence of Confucianism, Mount Tai has also witnessed the development of both Buddhism and Taoism. Hence, a great many cultural relics were left on the mountain, like grandiose temples, stone inscriptions, and tablets, etc.
Landmark Site of Mount Tai
Ancient Mural of Fengshan Ceremony of Gaozhong of the Tang Dynasty
The profound cultural impact of Mount Tai has been manifested and recreated, known as a number of Chinese sayings and poems: “Stable as Mount Tai”, “Has eyes but doesn't recognize Mount Tai”, "Mount Tai & Big Dipper", etc.
Significantly towering at home, Mount Tai has also been world-renowned since the ancient time. In 666 AD, Japan, India, the Persian court in exile, Goguryeo, Baekje, Silla, the Turks, Khotan, the Khmer, and the Umayyad Caliphate all had representatives attending the Fengshan sacrifices held by Emperor Gaozong of Tang at Mount Tai. Till the present, there are still places, idioms in Vietnam, Japan, and many other Asian countries related to Mount Tai.
Besides the beautiful natural sites, from the foot area to the summit of Mount Tai, there are also numerous stone tablets and inscriptions and ancient buildings on the way. Here are several unmissable attractions in Mount Tai, Taian.
Jade Emperor Peak - Yuhuangding, located in the north of Bixia temple, is the highest point on the top of Mount Tai With an altitude of 1545 meters, formerly known as Taipingding, also known as Tianzhu peak. It was built to worship the Taoism God, the Jade Emperor, the Lord of heaven. The East Pavilion is one of the best sites to appreciate the sunrise, while the sunset seen from the West Pavilion is like a "golden belt of the Yellow River".
Bixia Temple, aka the shrine of the Blue Dawn (Chinese: 碧霞祠; pinyin: Bìxiá Cí), is another grandest building complex at the top of the mountain, with a special combination of metal components, wood, and bricks and stone structures. It is dedicated to the Taoism goddess Bixia (Blue Dawn).
Daimiao, meaning the temple of the God of Mount Tai, known as the Dai Temple or Daimiao Temple (Chinese: 岱庙; pinyin: Dàimiào), is the museum of Taian, also the largest and most complete ancient building complex in the area. Located at the foot of Mount Tai in the city of Tai'an, Daimiao covers an area of 96,000 square meters. It is a must-visit site before your hiking journey to Mount Tai. The temple was first built during the Qin Dynasty, having five major halls and many small buildings. The centerpiece is the Palace of Heavenly Blessings (Tian Kuang), built in 1008. The site contains a number of well-preserved steles, sculptures, carvings, jewelry, golden and bronze wares from different dynasties.
The sunrise of Mount Tai is one of the most spectacular wonders of Taishan mountain. At dawn, visitors stand at the top of Mount Tai and look out to the East. The skyline changes from gray to pale yellow, and from yellow to orange. The most suitable place to watch the sunrise of Mount Tai is Sun-watching peak (日观峰) and Zhanlu terrace (瞻鲁台). If you will not stay at the top of the mountain or you don't have enough time to get to the top before sunrise, you can watch the sunset instead, which is also very spectacular. The best sunset viewing point is near the Tianjie (天街) archway. At the same time, due to the unpredictable weather at the top of Mount Tai and the low temperature at dawn and at night, you can rent a green winter coat from the vendors on the mountain or bring an extra layer to keep warm, and always check the weather forecast in time.
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Jade Emperor Peak
Sunrise Seen from Gongbei Terrace
Although the altitude of Mount Tai is only 1545 meters, the vertical height from the foot of the mountain to the summit (Jade Emperor Peak) is 1391 meters, and there are four trails leading up to the summit from four entrances, namely Hongmen, Tianwaicun, Taohuayu, and Tianzhufeng. Among them, Hongmen Gate is the most popular starting point for many first-timers, and it is said that tourists need to hike some 6,666 steps from Hongmen gate to Nantianmen (South Heaven Gate) with the most historical attractions along the strenuous hiking path; Tianwaicun is also a recommended one for tourists who would like to hike less and take a tourist bus to the Zhongtianmen instead; Tianzhufeng gate close to Fengshan Night show is tranquil with interesting paths keeping the wildness of Mount Tai; Taohuayu gate is less crowded with beautiful peach blossoms and wildflower during spring and summer. The followings are four recommended traveling routes for your Mt. Tai tour plan.
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1. the “Imperial Road” & the most classic Mount Tai Hiking: Hongmen – Zhongtianmen - Nantianmen - Heaven Street - Bixia Temple - Jade Emperor Peak
Distance: 9.5km (about 4 ~ 6h on foot)
2. The essential Hike: Tianwaicun - Sightseeing Bus - Zhongtianmen - Cable Car - Nantianmen - Heaven Street - Bixia Temple - Jade Emperor Peak
Distance: 4.5km (about 2 ~ 3.5h on foot)
3. The adventurous Mount Tai hiking: Taohuayuan - Sightseeing Bus - Taohuayu - Heaven Street - Jade Emperor Peak
Distance: 13km (about 4 ~ 5h on foot)
4. The tranquil hiking path of Mount Tai: Tianzhufeng - Houshiwu - Cable Car (or not) - BeiTianmen - Jade Emperor Peak
Distance: 5.4km (about 3 ~ 4h on foot)
Imperial Hiking Path
Located at the east foot of Mt. Tai, near the entrance of Tianzhufeng, is based on the Fengshan events of Mount Tai during five representative dynasties of Qin, Han, Tang, Song, and Qing to represent the essence of each dynasty and Taishan culture, with historical stories of the rise and fall of the Chinese nation, and it truly reproduces the characteristics of political life, ancient Chinese society and the scene of emperor's offering to the heaven. The total duration of the performance is about 80 minutes. With over 500 performers, the performance is grand and magnificent in scale, integrated with beautiful music and the landscape changes of Mount Tai in four seasons.
Performance time: 19:30 - 20:50 (April to March & October to November); 20:00 - 21:20 (May to September)
▶ Learn More about: Fengshan Ceremony
The annual average temperatures in Taian city is 12.8 °C. However, the climate in the upper and lower parts of Mount Tai shows a very obvious vertical change. From the foot of the mountain to the top of the mountain, the temperature gradually decreases. The average temperature at the foot of the mountain in January is - 3 ℃, while that at the top of the mountain is - 9 ℃; the average temperature at the foot of the mountain in July is 26 ℃, and that at the top of the mountain is 18 ℃. You can visit Mount Tai all year round: enjoying peach blossom and spring, escaping the summer heat, appreciating red leaves in autumn, skiing in winter. The winter is very long and cold and the average temperature is from -10°C to -2°C, especially on the mountain top area. Therefore, for most of the hikers, we would recommend you to visit Mount Tai from March to mid-October.
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Mt. Tai in Spring
1.Mount Tai Ticket Price
Entrance Ticket for Mt. Tai - CNY 115 (valid for 3 days)
Ticket for Daimiao Temple - CNY 20 (optional)
2. Cableway Fare (One-way ticket)
From Zhongtianmen to Nantianmen - CNY 100
From Taohuayuan to Tianjie (Heaven Street) - CNY 100
From Shihe to Beitianmen - CNY 20
▶ Learn More about: Mount Tai Cable Cars
3. Scenic Bus Fare
From Tianwaicun to Zhongtianmen - CNY 30
From Taohuayu to Taohuayuan - CNY 30
Zhongtianmen Cable Car
Taohuayuan Cable Car
Mount Tai (116° 20'- 117° 59'E, 35° 38'- 36° 28'N), subordinate to Tai'an City of Shandong Province, is located in the western Shandong Province, about 72 km from Jinan, the capital city of Shandong, 85 km from Qufu, the hometown of Confucius, 455 km from Beijing and 800 km from Shanghai.
Currently, there is no flight to Mount Tai, and tourists can get to Mount Tai via three main transportations: by high-speed bullet train, normal train, and bus. If you take a bus/train, you can go directly to Tai'an city, and there are four entrances to Mount Tai (Hongmen, Tianwaicun, Taihuayu, and Tianzhufeng). Tourists can easily grab a taxi or take a bus to any one of the starting points according to their hiking plan. If you want to take a flight, the nearest airport to Mount Tai is Jinan Yaoqiang Airport (IATA: TNA). After landing at Jinan, you can take a bus from Jinan to Mount Tai.
There are two railway stations in Tai'an, namely Tai'an Railway Station (high-speed train station) and Taishan Railway Station (normal train station). The former one mainly serves high-speed bullet trains to/from Jinan, Qufu, Qingdao, Yantai, Beijing, Shanghai, Xian, Tianjin, Huangshan, Zhengzhou, Wuhan, Shengyang, Fuzhou, etc, while the later one, Taishan Railway Station is a stop-over station for normal trains from/ to Jinan, Qufu, Qingdao, Zhengzhou, Shanghai, Beijing, Xian, Hangzhou, Guangzhou, Xining, Harbin, etc. Traveling in Shandong province, tourists usually choose to travel Mount Tai with Jinan, Qufu, and Qingdao by high-speed bullet train.
There are four bus stations in Taian city and the most frequently used one is Tai’an Bus Station (泰安汽车站) located in Longtan road, and it serves buses to the majority of important counties and cities of Shandong Province and even long-distance buses to Beijing, Shanghai, etc.
It’s easy to grab a taxi from the train stations and the bus station of Taian to Mount Tai. Usually, the most popular arrival gate of Mount Tai is Hongmen Gate and the distance from Taian Railway Station to Hongmen is about 13km (40min by car), and the distance to Tianwaicun from Taian Railway Station is about 11km (30min by car)...
Taian Railway Station
It usually takes about 1 to 2 days to visit Mount Tai. Many tourists will choose to stay at or around Mountain Tai scenic area. There are mainly two accommodation sites. One is at the foot of the mountain and the other is located around the peak area. Although you can not expect to have the same accommodation facilities as many other Chinese cities, like Beijing, Xian, and Jinan, most of them can meet the basic needs of tourists and offer you a cozy stay.
Recommended Hotels at the foot of Mount Tai: Four Points by Sheraton Tai'an 泰安宝龙福朋喜来登酒店 ★★★★★; Ramada Plaza Tai'an 泰安东尊华美达 ★★★★★; Home Inn Plus 如家精选酒店(泰安红门路岱庙店) ★★★
Recommended Hotels at the summit of Mount Tai: Shenqi Hotel 泰安神憩宾馆 ★★★★
▶ Learn More about: Where to Stay on & around Mount Tai
Four Points by Sheraton Tai'an
How to Get to Mount Tai: You can take both high-speed trains and normal trains to Tai’an from Beijing, Shanghai, Xian, Tianjin, Qingdao, Jinan, Weihai, Yantai, Zhengzhou, etc.
Best Time to Visit Mount Tai: From March to mid-October. It might be very crowded on weekends and the Chinese holidays.
Located in Tai'an City, Shandong, Mount Tai (aka Taishan Mountain), is regarded as the greatest of the Five Sacred Mountains in China, and listed as a UNESCO World Natural & Cultural Heritage Site in 1987. The highest Jade Emperor Peak is recorded about 1545 meters above sea level. Hiking uphill you can trek along the worshiping spots path the ancient Chinese emperors had come for; Reaching the top, you can have a panoramic view of the whole Taian city and enjoying the stunning sunrise and sunset, and it is recommended to spend 2 full days exploring the best highlights of Mount Tai including the Daimiao Temple (Museum of Taian City) at the foot of Mount Tai. You can also visit Mount Tai in a single day by taking sightseeing bus to Zhongtianmen, then hiking to the summit and descending by cable car.
Taking a high-speed train and spending 2 more days, you can extend your trip to the nearby “City of Spring”, Jinan which nourishes a number of famous springs and lakes of China, such as Baotu Spring Park, Daming Lake, Black Tiger Spring, etc. Also, about 85 km to Mount Tai is Qufu, the hometown of the greatest sage of China, Confucius, and you may understand the deep-rooted Chinese culture as you stepping into the Confucius Temple, Kong Forest, and Kong Mansion.
Besides these cities near Mount Tai, Shandong greets you with not only the splendid culture but also the beautiful coastlines. The refreshing ocean air from Qingdao blows the fragrance from the old Beer factories; the colorful kites fly over the city Weifang and swans in pairs nestle in the havens of Weihai by the shimmering sea...all of these highlights of Shandong can be covered in about 8 days. Beyond Shandong, travelers often extend trip further to Beijing, Xian, Datong & Pingyao (in Shanxi), Luoyang & Shaolin Temple & Kaifeng (in Henan) and more stunning heritages and nature sights in China.
✔ 6 Days Jinan, Qufu, Mount Tai & Qingdao Tour
✔ 9 Days Beijing Shanghai Speed Train Tour with Confucianism Exploration
✔ 9 Days Shandong Panorama Tour
✔ 11 Days China World Heritage Tour in North China
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