Mt. Tai, Shandong Province, China

The highlight of Tai’an trip is of course the man himself, Mt. Tai.  As one of the five major mountains in Central Plains, it is also one of the most popular tourist attractions in China.  Fortunately, you could finish your homework in one day since this mountain is not that big and most of the facilities are well-established.

Hiking up takes about 6 hours. Our bus took us half way up the mountain, saving us the first three hours of the hike (which is mostly just trees).  There everyone in the group was supposed to take the cable.  As an avid trekker, cabling up a mountain is like not been to the mountain at all.  So I insisted hiking up instead of taking the cable – I don’t want to miss all the interesting parts on the way up.  Two other like-minded hikers also jumped out from the group.  So the three of us set out on foot by ourselves.

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A small shrine by the entrance of the park.

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This is the gate at the mid mountain.  Since this is where the mountain bus stops, where the cable starts, and also a major break area for those traveling on foot, the area is more crowded than usual.

Our first gate is named as “Welcome from Sky”.

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Mount Tai is famous for hundreds of Chinese calligraphy imprints, some along its path up to the top, while others hanging on vertical walls of the cliff deep in the mountain.

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Not sure what this word is… anyone’s guess?

Mt. Tai is also famous for its 6,666 stairs.  6 means luck in Chinese. Four 6s symbolizing blessing for four seasons of a year.  It takes 6 hours on average to complete all 6,666 stairs from start to finish.

The first waterfall – and the only waterfall we have encountered along the way

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Inscription: “Flown Rock”

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Love locks witnessing tourist passersby over the years.

Pine Gate

Calligraphy inscription along the cliff, not sure how they got it up there.

Long ways up.  The top is the famous South Gate.

South Gate.

James (left) and San (right).

up we go!

Impressive, this guy carries the purse for his lady

We have numerous shops and shrines along the way

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Grandma Tai

Inscription: First among the millions.

 

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San with his counting beads. “I’m not counting the steps,” he explained, “but it calms me down.”

Approaching the famous South Gate

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South Gate, the most famous gate on Mt Tai, noted for its obvious position towering over the mountain.  It is the first stop for the park on the top of the mountain.

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We also met those who took the cable up – they have been up here all this time when we were climbing, and they were about to take the cable back down now.

The newest eatery street still under construction.

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Plaza behind South Gate.

A tiny little gazebo overlooking the plaza

We still got another half hour to the real top – first up, Heaven Street

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You could pretty much see the top from here

A cave under the Street

Mt. Tai is also famous for its Daoism.  It is also the original source of Taichi. The temples up here have been very well known throughout the country.

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Overlooking the mountains

Not suitable for staying long.

A bell covered by locks.

That’s my house Smile

Inscription over the temple: “thousands of generation looking up”

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Wall of numerous inscriptions, including those from emperors of Qing Dynasty.

Visiting a temple

 

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Colorful incense saying, “For those who ask will get answer – endless wealth.”  Not so pure intentions, huh?

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San with his fan.

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At one of the peaks sits a hotel decorated in dozens of cell phone towers.

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Hi!

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Overlooking the temples

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The so-called Immortals Bridge.  We were hoping to cross it to become immortals, but it is quite short and dangerous for a bridge.

Inscription: “Overlooking the ocean”

Danger Sign with funny English.

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The hotel and its cell phone towers.

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Inscription: Sadly stupid

We wondered if rock come out here looks like the god Shigandang.

The temple on the peak.

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It is covered by locks from people seek blessings.

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We found an interesting, shiny structure at the foot of the mountain.

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Turns out to be the Ramadan Hotel, a local five-star hotel, we have stopped by on our way to the mountain this morning.  It kinda looks like a stadium from up here.

Way down.

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Since we were VIPs of a local trade show, we were told that the cable is free.  But when we got there the cable guys wouldn’t let us get on for free since we did not follow the rest of the VIP tour group.

We called Richard, who tried to tell the cable guys that we were actually with the group.  The guys refused to believe him.  When they hang up the phone, the cable guy said, “if you could let the tour guide confirm with us, then sure.”

So I called Richard again, then Richard found a name. I immediately contacted that guy, “Hi, this is Jenny.  We were trying to catch this cable but the cable guy wouldn’t let me go on for free.  I got a train to catch.  Please help.”  I was about to pass the phone to the cable guy, but he said, “tell him to call this number.”

“No, you said let him confirm with you and he’s here.” I insisted.

“Tell him…”

“No, you tell him.” I stuffed the phone into his hands.

Then the cable guy told the guide to call the cable company’s manager.

We waited another 10 minutes.  A phone call came, the manager gave the Ok to let us pass.

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