Top ChoiceTaoist Temple in Tai'an

Dai Temple

This magnificent Taoist temple complex is where all Tai'an roads lead, being the traditional first stop on the pilgrimage route up Tai Shan. The grounds, enclosed within mighty walls, are an impressive example of...

Mountain in Tai'an

Tai Shan

Tai Shan

The most climbed mountain on earth, and the most revered of China's five sacred Taoist peaks, Tai Shan is one third of Shandong's claim to having 'yī shān, yī shuǐ, yī shèngrén' (一山一水一圣人, 'one mountain, one...

Taoist Temple in Tai Shan

Doumu Hall

The name of this hall means 'Hall of the Goddess of the Northern Star' and it was first constructed in 1542 under the magical name ‘Dragon Spring Nunnery’. The back of the temple yard offers a quiet view of a...

Taoist Temple in Tai'an

Hall of Heavenly Blessing

The main hall of Dai Temple is the colossal, twin-eaved, nine-bay-wide Hall of Heavenly Blessing, which dates to AD 1009. The dark interior houses an exquisite, 62m-long Song-dynasty mural depicting Emperor...

Buddhist Temple in Tai Shan

Pervading Light Temple

One of the few Buddhist shrines in the area, this simple temple dates to the Southern and Northern dynasties (AD 420–589), its arrangement of ancient pine trees and small halls rising in levels up the hillside...

Taoist Temple in Tai Shan

Azure Clouds Temple

The sublimely perched Azure Clouds Temple is dedicated to Bixia. The iron tiling of the temple buildings is intended to prevent damage by strong winds, and chīwěn (ornaments meant to protect against fire)...

Historic Site in Tai Shan

Path of 18 Bends

Prosaically labelled '18 Twistings' on signposts, the gruelling Path of 18 Bends is an extremely steep 400m ascent to the mountain’s false summit; ascending the path is performed in slow motion as legs turn to lead.

Taoist Temple in Tai Shan

Jade Emperor Temple

The cloud-swathed Jade Emperor Temple stands at the summit, the highest point of the Tai Shan plateau. Inside is an effigy of the Jade Emperor, who governs all mortal realms.

Landmark in Tai Shan

Rear Rocky Recess

At the rear of Tai Shan is this quiet spot, popular for viewing pine trees and where some ruins can be found tangled in the foliage.

Viewpoint in Tai Shan

North Pointing Rock

The main sunrise vantage point is the North Pointing Rock; if you’re lucky, visibility extends over 200km to the coast.

Viewpoint in Tai Shan

Zhanlu Terrace

This terrace and viewpoint is the spot from where Confucius looked out over the Kingdom of Lǔ.

Taoist Temple in Tai Shan

Red Gate Palace

The Red Gate Palace is the first of a series of temples dedicated to Bixia, the compassionate daughter of the god of Tai Shan. She wears a headdress adorned with phoenixes and is accompanied by nine attendants,...

Gate in Tai'an

Zhengyang Gate

This gate lies in the south of the Dai Temple, facing the southern aspect. Purists enter the temple through this gate to follow the traditional passage through the main temple and up Hongmen Lu to the start of...

Taoist Temple in Tai'an

Yaocan Pavilion

This pavilion contains a hall dedicated to deities including Bixia, the daughter of Tai Shan, who became the focus of worship by the 11th century, and Songzi Niangniang, her attendant to whom couples wanting...

Taoist Temple in Tai Shan

Guandi Temple

Many climbers start their ascent at the bus stop by the Guandi Temple, the first of many dedicated to the Taoist protector of peace. Note the old performance stage (dating from 1671) by its south entrance.

Gate in Tai Shan

Midway Gate to Heaven

This gateway marks the point where shuttle buses arrive from Tianwai Village and where some hikers, seeing the mountain steps disappearing into the clouds, make a run for the cable car.

Gate in Tai Shan

Archway to Immortality

This archway was once believed to bestow immortality on those dedicated enough to reach it. Emperors made sure to get off their huge litters to amble through.

Gate in Tai Shan

First Gate of Heaven

The first of the major gates on the climb up the mountain, this gate marks the official start of the ascent for Tai Shan's determined band of climbers.

Landmark in Tai'an

Rock Valley Scripture

Located along the first part of the climb up Tai Shan, this massive inscription of a Buddhist text on the rock face was once hidden behind a waterfall.