Mount Tai Travel Guide

Mount Tai, located just north of Tai’an city in East China’s Shangdong province, is a mountain of historical and cultural significance. The word tai in Chinese means stability and peace and the name Tai'an is attributed to the saying: "If Mount Tai is stable, so is the entire country" (both characters of Tai'an have an independent meaning of stability and peace). Mount Tai is crowned by Jade Emperor Peak (in Chinese mythology, the Jade Emperor is the most powerful god in heaven) with an altitude of 1,545 meters.

The formation of Mount Tai dates back to the Archeozoic Era, and now it is growing at the speed of 0.5 millimeters per year. It faces the Yellow Sea to the east and the Yellow River to the west, and is in the neighborhood of Confucius’ hometown, Qufu, and the City of Springs, Jinan. In 1987, Mount Tai was listed as both World Natural Heritage and World Cultural Heritage by UNESCO.

Leader of the Five Sacred Mountains

Among the Five Sacred Mountains of Taoism (the other four are Heng Mountain of Hunan Province, Hua Mountain of Shaanxi Province, Song Mountain of Henan Province and Heng Mountain of Shanxi Province), Mount Tai is only the third highest. Why it is seen as the leader of the Five Sacred Mountains? In absolute terms Mount Tai can not be considered as the highest of China’s mountains, but because it is close to the sea and rivers and rises abruptly from the relatively low rolling hills and Qilu plains, its relative height is quite impressive, with an altitude difference of 1395 meters within nine kilometers. Moreover, in Chinese culture, east is regarded as a sacred direction, since it is where the sun and the moon rise. Therefore Mount Tai is often regarded as the first of the Five Sacred Mountains. It is associated with sunrise, birth and renewal.

For thousands of years, Mount Tai has been the sacred mountain where Emperors held the ceremony of offering sacrifices to heaven and earth to pray and say thanks for peace and prosperity. Seventy-two emperors are said to have performed mountain worship ceremonies on Mount Tai. Among them, Emperor Wu of the Han Dynasty had visited Mount Tai eight times. It is the first and foremost thing for emperors to do when they ascend to the throne, because Mount Tai is seen as the symbol of the county’s peace and prosperity.

Mount Tai held a sacred position in state politics, and also enjoyed a high status in the world of Taoism and Buddhism. The temples on its slopes have been a destination for pilgrims for 3,000 years. View famous mountains in China.

Natural Beauty

Featuring antiquity, grace, serenity of seclusion, risk and wonder, Mount Tai boasts 156 peaks, among which Jade Emperor Peak, Heaven Candle Peak and Sun Viewing Peak are the most famous; 138 cliffs, the highlight of which is Fan Cliff; 72 caves; 72 grotesque stones, among which the Immortal Bridge is the most distinctive; 130 streams; 64 waterfalls, including the renowned Dragon Pool Waterfall, Yunqiao Waterfall and Santan Waterfall; and 72 springs. It lies in the zone of oriental deciduous forest, with about 80 percent of its area is covered with vegetation. The flora is known to comprise almost 1,000 species. Some of the trees in the area are very old and have cultural significance, such as the Han Dynasty Cypresses, which were planted by Emperor Wu of the Han Dynasty, Tang Chinese Scholar Tree (about 2,100 years old), Welcoming Guest Pine (500 years old) and Fifth Rank Pine, which was named originally by Emperor Qin Shihuang, but was replanted about 250 years ago.

Its distinctive natural environment gives Mount Tai four natural wonders: Sunrise on Mount Tai, Rime and Glaze Scenery, "Buddha’s Light" on Mount Tai and the Sea of Clouds.

Cultural and Historic Relics

The majesty of Mount Tai has profoundly moved many visitors at all periods of history: the emperors who claimed they were the sons of heaven, the proud high-ranking officials, brilliant poets, Buddhists, Taoists and ordinary people too. They left numerous cultural and historic relics. There are in total 2000 historical relics. There are 58 ancient building complexes, which are mainly in Ming and Qing Dynasty style, and 29 are well-preserved. They built at the foot of Mount Tai and along its slopes; among which Dai Temple, Bixia Temple, Hong Mountain Gate, Nantian Gate and Daizhong Arch Gate are masterpieces among ancient Chinese buildings and the representation of China’s culture of thousands of years. Interestingly, from Dai Temple, (the place for offering sacrifice to the Emperor of Earth) located at the foot of Mount Tai, to Jade Emperor Summit, the temples built along the slopes are said to compose a ten-kilometer road from the nether world to heaven.

Besides, there are countless inscriptions on the cliffs and steles from historic celebrities, using such laudatory descriptions of Mount Tai as “towering majesty in the east”, “supporting the sky and holding up the sun” and “as lofty as heaven”.

Questions and Answers About Mount Tai Travel Guide

Edward Fong 2013-07-28
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How congest it is the site going up mount tai, during the national holiday on the first week of Oct
Hello Edward, Thanks for your inquiry. Regarding your inquiry about the situation during the national holiday, I am sure you have heard that it is extremely crowded, here I can tell that as I ordinary Chinese, I would never go travel during these days, no matter Mount Tai or any other mountain. The official article on China Daily has proved everything: Please avoid travel to China during public holiday, hope it helps. Please feel free to let us know if any assistance is needed. Wish you a nice day! Robert Hui replied on 2013-07-28
caroline riedel 2012-12-13
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We would like a 5 or 6 day china tour to include mt tai and Wuzhen

Hi Caroline, we are more than please to assist planning your China tour. In order to give you an accurate quotation please help me with below the information:

1.  Number of people in your group including yourself

2.  Inbound / outbound city

3.  Starting date of the tour

4. Class of Hotel: 3 / 4 / 5 star

After getting further information from you, we will send you a detailed itinerary.

Whitney Liao replied on 2012-12-13
George Iosif 2012-08-15
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Hello! We are traveling to China, Beijing next week from 20 to 27 August and we are interested in some city tours for two persons excluding accommodation , because we already booked a hotel. We want to visit the main touristic points in Beijing and outside Beijing (excluding The Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square), the Great Wall (hiking from the Jinshanling Great Wall to Simatai). Also, we are interested in a trip to Ta''ian, for the hiking of Tiashan Mountain, if possible with one night sleep over on the top. Looking forward to hear an offer from you!

We can arrange Beijing and Taishan tour for you. I'll send you an email which including the itinerary and quote.

Leon Long replied on 2012-08-15
Sally Ang 2012-04-16
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Hi we have a group of 5 pax who needs 2 rooms, we will arrive from beijing to QuFu on 13th May, morning and would lke to take a short trip to some place of interest at Shandong, Please recommend and give me your price for the land tour. We would prefer only 3 days tours and the last night we will prefer to stay at 莱芜. Appreciate your reply soon
Dear Sally, Based on what I know of your requirements, I’ve designed a 3-day tour for you starting from May.13, 2012 to May.15, 2012) with a private tour guide and van for visiting Qufu, Tai’an (Mountain Tai) and Laiwu. Please check your E-mail box for the detail quotation information. Please feel free contact me if you have any question. Sincerely yours, Nancy Nancy Deng replied on 2012-04-17
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