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Guides / Itineraries

Watch the sunrise from the top of Mount Tai

By Linting Hou

December 6

With a unique landscape and cultural significance, Mount Tai attracts a lot of visitors from home and abroad.

With a unique landscape and cultural significance, Mount Tai attracts a lot of visitors from home and abroad.

A Chinese legend says that after creating the world, the god Pan Gu died and his head and limbs became five mountains. Mount Tai, according to the legend, was the head, and has become the favorite of ancient emperors. As one of the highest mountains on China’s east coast, it’s a great spot to watch the sunrise.

Mount Tai has eight ancient temples and more than five hundred steles.

Azure Cloud Temple (碧霞祠) [Image Credit: photostock.china.com.cn/Liao Zuping]
Azure Cloud Temple (碧霞祠) [Image Credit: photostock.china.com.cn/Liao Zuping]
Besides its cultural significance, Mount Tai has a unique landscape, boasting 156 peaks, 138 cliffs, 72 caves, 130 streams, 64 waterfalls and 72 springs. In 1987, it was listed as both a World Natural Heritage and World Cultural Heritage by UNESCO. The highest peak on Mount Tai, Jade Emperor Peak (玉皇顶), is about 1,545m above sea level. It’s also growing at 0.5 millimeters per year.

Jade Emperor Peak [Image Credit: photostock.china.com.cn/Liao Zuping]
Jade Emperor Peak [Image Credit: photostock.china.com.cn/Liao Zuping]
Before climbing the mountain, you should prepare. In addition to the food and water, warm clothes and flashlights are necessary, especially in winter.

The mountain paths are made up of more than six thousand steps and very steep in some places, especially the Shibapan (十八盘) stairs between the Halfway Gate and South Gate.

Shibapan [Image Credit: photostock.china.com.cn/Liu Shaomin]
Shibapan [Image Credit: photostock.china.com.cn/Liu Shaomin]
If you want to push yourself, you can climb by foot. Otherwise take a bus from the foot of the mountain to the Halfway Gate, then climb to the peak or take a cable car.

The cable in Mount Tai [Image Credit: photostock.china.com.cn/Li Jianhui]
The cable in Mount Tai [Image Credit: photostock.china.com.cn/Li Jianhui]
The best spot for watching the sunrise is Sun-viewing Peak (日观峰), southeast of Jade Emperor Peak. Waiting for sunrise can be a little boring, but the wait is worth it when you see the glorious sun peaking over the mountains.

Sunrise over Mount Tai [Image Credit: photostock.china.com.cn/Liu Shaomin]
Sunrise over Mount Tai [Image Credit: photostock.china.com.cn/Liu Shaomin]
Best time to visit: September – November

Entry: 125 yuan/person (February – November) 100 yuan/person (December – January)

Transport: take a train to Tai’an, then take the No.3 bus and get off at Red Gate Palace (红门). Or take the high speed train to Tai’an, then take the No.37 bus and get off at Red Gate Palace.

Opening Hours: all day

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