Tai’an City is located in central Shandong and south of the famous Mount Tai. Tai’an controls Taishan and Daiyue districts, Ningyang and Dongping counties, as well as Xintai and Feicheng county-level cities.
Tai’an has a very long history and a rich culture, naturally most of which surrounds the glorious Mount Tai (the name Tai’an loosely translates to “adjacent to Mount Tai”). The mountain has been worshipped as well as written about in poetry and literature and is considered to be a symbol of immobilization. It is regarded as the first of the five sacred mountains and a place where emperors would go to speak to heaven and pray for good fortune for the country. Mount Tai is also very important for local religions and belief systems such as Buddhism and Daoism. Today, people still spend hours carefully climbing the steps of Mount Tai’s peaks to worship at its temples, praying for health and vitality for themselves and their families. If you aren’t ready to take the hike up, take advantage of the cable car system that carries guests up and down the mountainside. During your journey, look for hidden inscriptions and temples dotting the hilly terrain, including the Grand Dai Temple, the most well preserved and largest temple on Mount Tai.
But Tai’an is home to more than just Mount Tai. Other attractions worth visiting include the Peach Blossom Ravine, considered to be the holy land of peach flowers as well as the hometown of Chinese Buddha Peach; and Culaishan National Park, a beautiful spot perfect for hikers or history seekers.
A UNESCO World Natural and Cultural Heritage site, Mount Tai has many cultural relics and artworks including the Heavenly Queen Pool, Red Gate Palace, Mid Heaven Gate, Azure Cloud Temple, and more. There are also many stone carvings such as the Buddhist Diamond Sutra in Jingshi Valley, Scripture of Mount Tai, and Mo Ya Tablet. Besides historical and cultural relics, Mount Tai has beautiful natural scenery including waterfalls, interestingly shaped rocks, and ancient trees. There are also the four wonders: the sunrise from the east, sunset glow, sea of clouds, and the golden belt along the Yellow River.
Feicheng City is considered to be the holy land of peach flowers as well as the home of the Chinese Buddha Peach. The peach orchards are 16.5 thousand acres in size; according to the Guinness Book of World Records, this peach orchard is the largest of its kind in the world. A Peach Flower Festival is held in Liutai Village every April. Tourists from all over China and the world attend this festival.
This scenic natural area is a popular destination for local vacationers and is home to Culai Mountain, considered to be the sister mountain of Mount Tai. Home to different varieties of trees such as pines, cypresses, gingkoes, and wisteria, the park also has many historical attractions including three temples, 50 stone tablets, and more than 100 inscriptions on the sides of cliffs.
Built at the base of the Dawenkou archeological site, the museum showcases relics from the Dawenkou culture, which existed from 4300 BC to 2500 BC during the Neolithic Age. Look for stone tools and pottery as well as explanations of the lifestyle of this ancient culture.
Home of Dongping Lake, the second largest freshwater lake in all of Shandong, this area is famous for an uprising lead by Songjiang during the Song Dynasty. Lashan Mountain is also a famous historical attraction for the Quanzhen Daoist sect. Some other attractions in this area that have been restored include the Qiuzu Pavillion, the Paoma Spring, and the Yaowang Temple named after the God of Medicines.
Tai’an is close to the yellow river, the second longest river in China, and the cities of Jinan, Qufu, and Zibo. The city got its name from one of the most renowned mountains in Chinese history, Mount Tai.
Tai’an is also the birthplace of Chinese civilization. Human remains from 500 thousand years ago were discovered here. This important archaeological find is an exciting milestone for the Chinese culture.
A UNESCO World Natural and Cultural Heritage site, Mount Tai has many cultural relics and artworks including the Heavenly Queen Pool, Red Gate Palace, Mid Heaven Gate, Azure Cloud Temple, and more. There are also many stone carvings such as the Buddhist Diamond Sutra in Jingshi Valley, Scripture of Mount Tai, and Mo Ya Tablet. Besides historical and cultural relics, Mount Tai has beautiful natural scenery including waterfalls, interestingly shaped rocks, and ancient trees. There are also the four wonders: sunrises from the east, sunset glow, sea of clouds, and the golden belt along the Yellow River.
To the north of the Yitian Gate of Mt. Tai stands a stone memorial archway with an inscription reading the “Site Where Confucius Started Climbing the Mountain.” The memorial archway was constructed in 1560 (the 39th year of the Jiajing reign period of the Ming Dynasty) to commemorate a well-known saying by Confucius: “At the top of Mt. Tai, the world looks small.”
Also known as the Second Heavenly Gate, the Central Heavenly Gate has an elevation of 847 meters and stands at the juncture of the eastern and western mountain-claiming roads. By the memorial archway, there is a lying stone tiger with stripes where visitors can view the summit of the mountain, towering peaks, serene valleys and the belt-like Wenhe River, making them feel as though they are halfway to heaven.
Nestled between the low-laying area between Flying Dragon Rock and Flying Phoenix Range, the South Heavenly Gate looks like an open gate to heaven. It was created in 1264, the fifth year of the Zhongtong reign period of the Yuan Dynasty.
Located at the mountaintop, Azure Cloud Temple was built to commemorate Goddess Azure Cloud of Mt. Tai. The temple consists of a group of magnificent and well-designed buildings. It is a masterpiece of all the buildings in the mountains.
Wang Shizhen, a famous man of letters of the Ming Dynasty, once said: “Even legendary phoenixes will be startled at this inscription on the precipice in the clouds and mist” located on Grand View Peak. The most famous letter is the “Tang Engravings on a Cliff,” known as Inscription of Mt. Tai written by Emperor Xuanzong of the Tang Dynasty in 725.
The emperors of ancient China came to Jade Emperor Summit to offer sacrifices to heaven, and pay homage to all mountain gods. The main peak of Mt. Tai, Jade Emperor Summit, also known as Heavenly Pillar Peak, was named after Jade Emperor Temple. To the east of the temple stands Sun Watching Pavilion, where you can watch the red sun rising from the east. To the west, there is River Overlooking Pavilion, where you can appreciate sunset glow, the golden Yellow River, a sea of clouds, and jade plates.
Mountaineering tips: There are four routes for tourists to climb Mt. Tai.
Located in the center of the city proper of Tai’an, Daimiao Temple is a complex of magnificent ancient architectures on the imperial road leading to the place where the emperor offered sacrifices to heaven. This ancient temple boasts steep and tall halls and towers. Tiankuang Hall, the main hall in the temple, the Hall of Supreme Harmony in the former imperial palace in Beijing, and the Temple of Confucius in Qufu are three major ancient palaces in China. Daimiao Temple has ancient towering pine and cypress trees, and a large number of styles and cultural relics. A stone inscribed with an article by Li Si of the Qin Dynasty in the temple is the first-class national historical monument.
Also known as the Peak of the Jade Emperor, this is the highest spot on Mount Tai. See the temple where Emperors and millions of people have come to pray to Heaven. Here you will find tablets of praise to the God of Mount Tai, and a blank tablet that continues to baffle archaeologists and scholars.
With more than 6,600 steps from the base of the mountain to the top, this expedition may very well take between 5-7 hours. Of course, buses and lift cars are available to those who are not able (or simply prefer not) to walk up. We highly recommend that you walk if you are able, so as not to miss the beautiful temples and calligraphy on the way up. This walk has long been considered to cleanse the mind and soul, as the walk up gives you much time to think.
Mount Tai, with its height and location, is the very first place in China to be met with light from the morning sunrise. In the early morning, stand on the peak of the mountain and enjoy the sensory overload as everything changes from pitch black darkness to a wealth of color and activity. Even without a camera, this is one opportunity that you’ll remember your entire life.
Also known as Haoli Mountain Insect Fossil, Yanzi stone is produced in Haoli Mountain. Yanzi stones can be produced into stone slabs, paperweight bars, pen containers, pen racks, vases, and snuffs.
As precious and special products of Mt. Tai, red glossy ganoderma is generally used to make medicines, which can treat deafness, improve the joints, invigorate spirits, consolidate stones, relieve deficiency and fatigue, and improve health.
Ranking first of all precious medical herbs found in Mt. Tai, the tuber of multiflower grows between rocks on the slope and under the trees in the wetland. The medicines prepared with it can nourish the blood, liver, and kidney, improve muscles and bones, and make hair retain black color.
Also known as Buddha Peach, the peaches produced in Feicheng are large, full, juicy, sweet, and fragrant. The largest, known as the “largest peach in the world,” weighs over two pounds. Peaches can be made into various kinds of food, beverages, and wine and seeds can be made into medicines.
Also known as Chicken Head Rice, this annual herb can be eaten or used to make starch or medicines.
With an aroma of chestnut and rich flavor, this tea is so heavily praised that it was favored by Chinese emperors of old. Not only does it stimulate the taste buds, this tea was often used for its medicinal purposes.
Mount Tai has no shortage of plants. Many of these plants were recognized by ancient physicians to have medicinal properties. Even today, plants like ginseng and the gingko root are praised. But you may have trouble deciding what to bring back, as Mount Tai is home to over 400 species of medicinal plants!
The locally harvested mahogany has long been an important part of Taian’s history. Recognized worldwide as a beautiful wood, here you can find it hand-carved into creatures, amulets, legendary figures, and more.
An old saying goes, “Mt. Tai is known for three delicacies: Chinese vegetables, bean curd, and water.”
Also called Tai’an Divine Bean Curd, bean curd made in Tai’an is fresh, tender, and white. Over 100 kinds of dishes can be prepared with bean curd for a banquet.
Taoist cuisine consists of a wide variety of well-prepared vegetable dishes. Taoist cooks pay great attention to the color, smell, and taste of dishes.
Prepared with green foods, Taishan thin pancake is suitable for both old and young, making it an ideal food to be served at a banquet or presented to guests as gifts. Flavors include millet, Chinese chestnut, black sesame, walnut and peanut, jujube and various vitamin pancakes.
Boiled with soybeans, millets (highly variable small-seeded grasses), and rice, Dongping Porridge, originally known as the Xu’s porridge, has a 300-year history. After one finishes eating a bowl of porridge, the bowl always looks as if it were cleaned.
Bean curd is famous at Mount Tai for its great flavor. As a result, many dishes have been created around this key ingredient. We would tell you which one is best, but we can’t decide on a favorite!
The first is the East Route. This is also considered to be the imperial route because emperors took this ascent to make sacrifices. Along the path there is natural scenery, stone inscriptions, palaces, and temples. On this route, you will start from the largest and most well-preserved temple, Dai Temple. From there you will see Dai Zong Archway, Red Gate Palace, Jing Shi Valley, Hu Tian Pavilion, Eighteen Bends and more. The most famous which is Dai Temple, where emperors stayed and offered their sacrifices. Dai Temple was first built in the Han Dynasty and was renovated and expanded in the Tang and Song dynasties. Eventually, it became the largest and most well-preserved temple on Mount Tai. There are 6,666 steps on this route (all 6’s mean good fortune in ancient Chinese numerology). On this route, it takes roughly four hours to reach the summit. The East Route is the ideal choice for most tourists who want to see cultural relics.
The second is the West Route. This route can be divided into two parts: the high road from the Heaven and Earth Square to Mid Heaven Gate (notice that the names signify the ascent to Heaven), and the second part is from Mid Heaven Gate to the summit. The West Route is considered to be the most fashionable way to reach the Jade Emperor Summit because it has modern facilities such as the cable car from Mid Heaven Gate to the top of the mountain. Some attractions include Heaven and Earth Square, Black Dragon Pool, the Tomb of General Feng Yuxiang as well as the Longevity Bridge.
The third and most convenient way is the Peach Blossom Ravine Route. This route can be reached by taking the No. 104 National Highway and then go directly from the parking lot to the cable car. By taking this route, it is possible to reach the summit in just a few minutes. There is also a ropeway that is designed for sightseeing from the air. This gives a clear view of the scenery. The best time to take this route is in Spring and Summer when the peach blossoms are out.
The fourth and final route is known as the Tianzhu Peak Route. The word, Tianzhu 天烛 is also known as heavenly candle). It was given this name because of its candle-like shape and the pine tree standing on top of the peak which looks like a flame on a candle. This route is the most rugged and difficult of the four. On this route, you may also enjoy General Peak, Eight Immortals Cave, Big Tianzhu Peak, Small Tianzhu Peak and more. This route also offers a beautiful view of pine trees at Hou Shi Wu.
Option 1: Take a train to Taishan Railway Station and then transfer to bus 3 to reach Red Palace Gate or Tianwai Village. The starting point of the hiking route is the Red Palace Gate and Tianwai Village. It is the location to get a sightseeing bus to the Mid Heaven Gate. If you arrive at Tai’an High-Speed Railway Station, then you will need to transfer to bus 37 or a tourism bus to reach the above-listed locations.
Option 1: Take buses 1, 4, 6, 13, 15 East Ring Road Line or 33 or39 East Ring Road Line from Taishan Railway Station to Dai Temple. After you visit the temple, walk north for approximately 1,300 yards (1.2 km) to get to Red Gate Palace.
Option 2: Take bus 16 from Taishan Railway Station to Peach Blossom Ravine. The bus stops after 5:00 PM every day.
Option 3: Take bus 2, 3, 32, 36 from Taishan Railway Station and get off at Daizongfang Station. After that transfer to bus 19 to the terminal station at Tianzhu Peak. This bus stops after 5:00 PM every day.
Option 4: Walk north about 900 yards (823 m) from Tai’an Bus Terminal at No 1 Longtan Road to Taishan Railway Station and then choose one of the routes mentioned above.
Option 5: Take bus 9 or 15 East Ring Road Line, 16, 25, 33, 37 or 50 from Tai’an New Bus Station at No. 139 Dongyue Street to Taishan Railway Station.
The first day of the tour, you will visit the Dai Temple. The Dai Temple is known as the first temple in China. Along with the Confucius Temple, the Dai Temple is regarded as the most important temple design in China.
Start the hike up Mount Tai.
Enjoy the beautiful sunrise in the morning. Then, start the hike down from the mountain.
Depart to the Hot Spring Resort area. Enjoy some time at the hot springs!
Depart to Dong Ping after breakfast to visit the Outlaws of Marsh studio.
Stroll around Old Town and take a boat out on Dongping Lake. Dongping Lake is the only lake described in Outlaws of Marsh that still exists today.