This is the first temple you come to along the central route up Tai Shan. It features a large statue of Guandi, the Taoist God of War but is unknown when the temple was built. In the 13th year of Emperor Qianlong (1748), he bestowed a huge horizontal inscribed board with four large characters: " Shen Wei Ju Zhen". There is a stage here that was...more
As its name suggests, this is the first gate you come to when you first start to climb the steps. It was built during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). Li Shude, the head of Shandong province in the Qing dynasty, rebuilt it in 1717. On either side are "The Wonder of the World" stele written by Yang Keda and "The Beginning Place of Eighteen Mountain...more
This palace with its wine-coloured walls was rebuilt during the late Ming dynasty in 1626. It is divided into two courtyards. The west courtyard is the Taoist temple where people offer sacrifices to the goddess of Tai Shan (Bixia) while the east courtyard is where the Maitreya Buddha is worshipped.Admission: RMB5.more
Known as the "Three Officials Temple", it is not known when it was built. In the Ming dynasty it was known as the "Human Ancestor Temple". Later the name was changed to the Sanguan Temple where people offered sacrifices to the official of heaven, official of earth and official of water.more
It is said that Emperor Cheng Yaojin of the Lu Kingdom in the Tang dynasty led many people to climb Tai Shan and planted four scholar trees here. The trees went through the process of growth, development, aging and death with two of them dying in quick succession before the Republic of China was founded. Owing to frequent rainstorms and years of...more
This pavilion, (translated as "Sky-in-the-Ewer Tower"), was first built during the Ming dynasty (1368-1644) and then expanded in 1747 during the Qing dynasty. Because the shape of the mountain from this viewpoint resembles an "ewer" (a large wide mouthed jug or pitcher), Taoists refer to it as an "Ewer Sky".more
This temple is also known as "The Temple of Three Great Goddesses". It was rebuilt during the Ming and Qing dynasties but it isn't known when it was actually built. It is the only Buddhist temple on Tai Shan and features the Guanyin Buddha, Wenshu Buddha and Puxian Buddha inside.more
As its name suggest, this gate marks the halfway point of the climb up Tai Shan but it actually is slightly higher up than halfway at 847 metres when the mountain is 1532 metres, so you can rest assured that you are slightly higher than halfway up at this point, although the worst is yet to come!more
This palace lies just below the Jade Emperor Temple near the summit of Tai Shan. It was first built during the Ming dynasty in 1586. Here people offered sacrifices to the Green Emperor who is also known as the God of Spring. The ancient Chinese thought that Tai Shan was in the east of the world where spring occurred and that all living things on...more
This stele is located in front of the Jade Emperor Temple at the very summit of Tai Shan. It is unknown when it was erected but some people say it was set up by Qinshihuang, the first emperor of the Qin dynasty (221-211 BC). Others think it was set up by Wudi, an emperor in the Han dynasty (140-88 BC) when he came to Tai Shan to offer sacrifices to...more
This famous temple lies at the very summit of Tai Shan and so is highly regarded for pilgrims. It is unknown when it was built but it is known that it was rebuilt in the Ming dynasty between 1469 and 1487. In the main hall people offer sacrifices to the Jade emperor. Here was once the place where emperors and kings offered sacrifices to heaven when...more
The Azure Cloud Temple lies at the end of Heavenly Street near the summit of Tai Shan. It is where people offer sacrifices to the Azure Cloud Goddess, Bixia. It was built in the Song dynasty in 1009 with special construction materials. The main hall is covered with copper tiles while the side halls are covered with iron tiles so as to protect the...more
I only saw a few snack stalls on the way up the mountain so it's probably wise to bring your own food and drink. There are, however, plenty of restaurants and snack stalls along "Heavenly Street" at the summit after you enter through the South Gate of Heaven. These are your normal Chinese affair and I think some of them have English menus as Tai Shan is also popular with foreign tourists.
To save your legs by not climbing up Tai Shan, you can take simply take a bus up to the halfway point where cable cars will whisk you the rest of the way to the summit. I took the cable car back down as I had climbed up the second half of the mountain and then walked down the first half. Mind you, it's not cheap - RMB140 for a return trip or RMB80...more
If you don't fancy the hard climb up Tai Shan, you can simply take a bus up to the halfway point where cable cars will whisk you the rest of the way to the summit. I decided not to climb the whole mountain but instead took a bus to the halfway point and then walked up to the summit from there. The bus costs RMB20 to go up and RMB18 to go down. They...more
What to buy:
There's a China Post booth at the start of Tian Jie selling various sets of Taishan postcards (we saw 4 kinds). Regardless of which one you buy, they'll stamp each of those with a commemorative postage stamp making this one of the best souvenirs for Taishan that I found. Note that these kind of stamps are only for commemorative value, it doesn't affect the "useability" of the postcard. This booth also sells stamps, and the post box is just a few steps away.
What to pay: The cheapest was 16 RMB and has no postage included. The most expensive was 35 RMB and has postage included.
You'll see a lot of these at the summit of Tai Shan. I think they're prayers that have been engraved onto padlocks which are then secured onto railings within temples. The largest collected are gathered together at the Jade Emperor Temple at the mountains summit where there is an engraver guy nearby.more
I remember watching Michael Palin visit Tai Shan during his Full Circle travel series where he was in complete owe of these guys carrying all kinds of things across their backs up the mountain. It's bad enough climbing up carrying just a small day-pack but just imagine what it must be like for these guys. They must be very fit and I hope they're...more
The part of the climb between the Archway to Immortality to the South Gate to Heaven is the hardest part of the climb up Tai Shan. Take your time, take plenty of rest stops and try and get in a rhythm whilst climbing. I actually found it worse coming back down again as all the steps affected my knees but they didn't ache afterwards.more
My friend and I went up by the "back way" and came down the central route to Zhong Tian Men (Midway Gate to Heaven). The "back way" doesn't seem to be advertised in the Lonely Planet or other guidebooks very much. This route starts from near Tianzhu peak (Heavenly Candle Peak) and it's not too hard to climb. Normal timing for climbing up should be around 3+ hours, I dilly-dallied too much and only finished it in about 5+ hours. The scenery along the way was quite good, green and lush when we went. Best of all, we met only 2 people along the route (they were walking downwards) and those were all, we felt like we had the entire mountain to ourselves! There're a few small places along the way which sell food and water, but we didn't need any because we brought plenty of our own. There were concrete steps for the entire route and those were well-made and quite new. I would highly recommend this route (in either direction) to anyone who enjoys the tranquility and greenery.
Here's a picture of me (front row, far left) with a bunch of American students I met on the way up to the South Gate to Heaven. It was good to meet them and chat with them as I was climbing on my own and it helped having them to talk to whilst taking your mind off climbing up. I think it's wise to try and climb with someone else instead of doing it...more
Tai'An is the town located at the foot of Tai Shan. If you take a train like I did, you would probably got off the train at Tai'An train station. From there, walk to the bus stop and get bus no.3 to the foot of Tai Shan.Tai'An has nothing much to offer travelers. The only one attraction in Tai'An is "Dai Miao Temple'. It is located almost at the...more