• This is the Beginning of the Eastern route (the one which has stairs all the way to the top).
    IMPORTANT: Leave your extra luggage at the train station, buy your departing train ticket as soon as you arrive, buy some food down in Tai'an because food is more expensive up on the mountain!
  • Each padlock - one wish! Thousands of the Chinese climb this mountain 24/7
  • Taishan is 1545m above sea level, there is approx. 8km to hike from this point to the summit
    First part of the Eastern Route is fairly flat. The second part (which is the same for both Eastern and Western Route) is much steeper and more difficult. I suggest you stay overnight at the Mid-Point and continue your ascent the following morning.
  • Someone counted exactly 6660 steps to the summit; take enough time even if you are in good shape
    These pictures were taken in September of 2005, the weather was good however expect sudden showers and other types of rain.
  • This is the official start of the Eastern Route, 500m from the beginning of the path.
    This is Honmen Gong (Red Gate Palace), emperors used to change into more casual clothes at this point to allow for more comfortable ascent. You will have to buy your ticket here (Y100).
  • Bixia - The princess of the Azure Clouds is a Daoist deity
    This is the path walked by the founder of Qin Dynasty, another 72 emperors climbed it (emperor Qianlong climbed it 11 times), Confucius climbed it even Mao climbed it. You will be walking in the footsteps of the great personalities of the Chinese culture and history.
  • You should plan 2-3 hours for the hike to the Mid-Point and 3-4 for the second half of the trail.
    You can walk up and down in one day but that is not recommended even if you are in very good shape. You can take a bus along the Eastern Route and then walk to the summit or take cable car to the summit. From the top down you can either walk or, again, use cable car and take a bus from the Mid Point to Tai'an.
  • Half-way to the 'Midway Gate to Heaven' (or Zhong Tian Men)
    As you can see this section of the route is not that steep. "Stone Sutra Ravine" is on the right hand side of the road, just across a small river; you will see people going there and returning to continue their ascent.
  • This could be Doumu Hall (Doumu Gong, constr. 1542) aslo called 'Dragon Spring Nunnery'.
    These is the hall for Daoist nuns.
  • This is 'Zhong Tian Men' - Halfway Gate To Heaven
    I was carrying 15kg backpack so when I reached this point I was so tired I could not go any further up. You may also decide to stay here and continue your hike the following morning.
  • This is 'God of Wealth Temple' (Caishen Miao).
    Very close to this point is 'Five Pine Pavilion' (Wusong Ting) where in 219BC the emperor who created China (Qin Shi Huang - terracotta warriors in Xi'an were his army) was met by a violent storm so he found shelter under the pine trees. Later he promoted those pine trees to the fifth rank of minister. Qin Shi Huang (Shi Huang means 'First Emperor', his real name was King Zheng) ruled only for 37 years (came to the throne as a boy of nine, after 3 assassination attempts he focused on finding 'elixir of immortality' which lead him to death).
  • These incense sticks may not make you wealthy but they look cool
  • This is the guesthouse at Midway Gate to Heaven where I stayed 3 days
    It is caled Yuyequan Binguan (Spring Guesthouse 822-674, the manager did not speak English) and probably this is the least expensive accommodation option on the mountain. I paid Y50/day in 2005 (Chinese tourists were charged Y20 for the same dorm bed). It's easy to find it; it's just 20-30m away from the Midway Gate to Heaven stone gate, along the path leading up, on the left hand side of the pathway.
  • Inside the Spring Guesthouse - dorm room (there are other types of rooms too).
    Please note: this guesthouse is not expensive BUT there is no locker, washroom/toilet was in a very sad state, people come in and out of this dorm room most of the night (just to take a nap before they continue their ascent) so you won't be able to sleep. Bed sheets are changed and washed (manually) when they get real dirty, not after they have been used for the first time.
  • View through the dorm window
    Cable car takes tourists from The Midway Gate to heaven to the summit (and back) and the boarding station is just 50m behind the guesthouse so if you pick the same bed like me you will have a beautiful view and hear never-ending stream of pilgrims any time day or night.
  • Mighty Mt Taishan
    I just loved that mountain! Every evening, through that window, I heard the sound of bells echoing through the mountain, summoning Daoist priests/nuns or announcing the time for ritual chants or other daily events.
  • Eaves Tiles (Wadang)
    Eaves tiles are small accessories in classical Chinese architecture fixed at the end of rafters for decoration and for shielding the eaves from wind and rain. They as a culture on it's own during the Zhou (11 century BC to 771 BC) and reached their zenith during Qin and Han Dynasties (Han 221BC-220AD). These are the Eaves tiles on the Spring Guesthouse roof.
  • Time to continue ascent at 2:00 AM the following morning
    Many people who visit Taishan hope they will see the spectacular sunrise. The downside of that plan is that one needs to get up before the sun rises but when in Rome...
  • After a couple of hours I finally reached the summit...
    (along with some friendly Chinese tourists from Guandong Province).
  • Found the best spot to watch the sunrise...
  • The sunrise was a nice scene but far from spectacular...
  • Beacuse of the cloudy sky... maybe next time...
  • The view was very beautiful, nevertheless...
  • The city down there is Tai'an (population 5.3mill)...
  • It's always exciting to be above the clouds (1545m above the seal level)...
  • These are inscriptions in the walls alongside the path from the Mid-point to the summit...
  • They all have their own (hi)story but I don't know it...
  • This is a fine example of running style of Chinese calligraphy...
  • One more view at the top of Taishan before heading down to Tai'an...
  • This is the beginning of the Western Route (but that's anotehr gallery)
    As you can see this it 'the path less traveled" because there is no stairs, practically no other tourists walking down (they either use the Eastern Route or take a bus down to Tai'an) and sometimes it's hard to make out the trail in the forest... Please check out the next gallery!
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