5 Things You Should Know About Climbing Mount Tai
Mount Tai Fast Facts:
- Mount Tai is located in Shandong province, north of the city of Tai’an
- The tallest peak, Jade Emporer Peak, is reported to be 1,545 metres (5,069 ft) high
- Mount Tai is widely considered the most important of China’s 5 sacred mountains
- The mountain has a strong significance for those practicing the Taoist faith
- There are more than 7,200 steps leading to the top of Tai Shan
- A number of temples and other significant monuments are located on and around Tai Shan
- Mount Tai is a UNESCO Heritage Site
1.) There are 2 ways to climb Mount Tai
The main attraction of Tai Shan, aside from an exhausting climb and the views along the way, is seeing a magnificent sunrise from the summit. Most visitors make this a priority on their itinerary.
There are two ways to go about seeing the sunrise:
- Stay at the Top – A handful of hotels and hostels provide lodging at the very top of Tai Shan. This is the most convenient, and consequently costly, way of seeing the sunrise. Clamber up the mountain at your own pace during the day, sleep through the night a top China’s tallest peak, and have your hotel wake you up in time to walk over and snap a few sunrise photos. There are also tents and blankets available for rent on top of Tai Shan for around 200 RMB. Be advised that this is a pretty dirty and rather uncomfortable option, but if you are into camping, it may be your thing!
- Stay Down Below – Book a hotel at the bottom of Tai Shan, in the city of Tai’an. For a budget/mid-range option, I suggest Hotel Dongdu. This cost and comfort effective alternative requires a night climb. There is something bizarre and wonderful about ascending thousands of steps with thousands of people in the dead of night. Climbers are advised to embark on their climb around 1 AM in order to reach the top for sunrise. Speaking from experience, this suggestion proves to be pretty accurate for people climbing at a brisk pace. More leisurely climbers should leave even earlier.
2.) Mount Tai is the world’s most climbed mountain
The world’s most climbed mountain in the world’s most populous country can only mean one thing – crowds. Yes, Tai Shan is an extremely popular destination for domestic tourists, so don’t expect to be the only person on the mountain – even if you do the night climb.
However, you may still be the only foreigner on the mountain. I was.
3.) Don’t over pack food and water
A four – seven hour climb may sound daunting, but don’t make things harder for yourself by lugging a full pack of drinks and snacks with you. There is no shortage of vendors stationed all the way up the mountain selling food and drinks in addition to the typical Chinese tourist trinkets. Freshly made Shandong Jian Bing are especially popular snacks and ladies are set up to make them for you.
But be aware that the higher you get up the mountain, the higher the prices of drinks go. 2 RMB waters turn into 3 RMB waters, then onto 5 RMB waters. Still, at less than 1 US dollar per bottle, not too bad.
4.) Do bring good walking shoes
Mount Tai consists of around 7,200 steps. Many of these steps are steep and strenuous and you will be climbing every single one. Prior to visiting, people told me that climbing Tai Shan was tough. But hey, “I’m young,” I thought to myself. I dismissed their comments and figured a fit 24 year old would have no problem.
This was not the case.
I don’t care who you are, climbing 7,200 steps is tough (particularly in the middle of the night on almost no sleep). You will be tired. You will want to quit – especially during the ultra-grueling home stretch near the summit.
5.) Relish the Triumph, Savor the Sunrise
From the top of the mountain, Confucius is said to have declared that “the world is small.” Mao Zedong proclaimed that the “East is Red,” while looking out from the peak.
What will you proclaim?
For further reading on Mount Tai, please refer to the links below:
Interested in scaling China’s largest and most sacred mountain? Contact U China Travel to start planning a travel itinerary that fits your needs.
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