Asia

China: Taishan (Mount Tai, 泰山)

I lived in China for a year (2011-2012), so I have seen a fair bit of China. I decided to chop up some of these China stories, so it’s easier to read and find. I’m starting with Taishan, one of the holy mountains of China. China has 9 holy mountains and I’ve been to 2 of them that are considered in the top 5 holiest mountains. Taishan I have actually climbed twice so this text will be a mix match of those two times. I was living near by this mountain in a city called Jinan and because it’s a holy mountain word spread around fast that it’s a lovely climb and the view is amazing on sunrise. This is what Wikipedia (Mount Tai) says about Taishan: It is associated with sunrise, birth, and renewal. Mount Tai has been a place of worship for at least 3,000 years and served as one of the most important ceremonial centers of China.

The climb is best to start in the evening and wait up on the mountain for the sunrise. The sunrise is supposedly very beautiful, but I have unfortunately not caught the sunrise in it’s best terms. Both climbs that I have done the mornings have been awful foggy mornings and the pictures just didn’t come out perfect.

Both of my trips to mountain Tai have been done with friends, I do have to recommend this trip to be done with friends. It is so much more fun when you’re joking about everything as you go. Normally the climbing up the mountain takes about 4-6h, but if you’re climbing up with monkeys (like I was on the first time) we climbed it up in 3,5h. Although I don’t think I’ve been as sweaty without a shower. Oh and when you get up on the mountain and start sitting around waiting for the sunrise, IT IS COLD! So prepare a backpack of snacks and extra clothes! On the mountain there’s a lot of little shops and souvenirs being sold. Because it’s a holy mountain a lot people will buy scents or little memories to leave on the mountain (locks, red ribbons etc). On these shops you can also buy some drinks and snacks, but the quality won’t be the best, nor the prices.

First climb was end of June. And the mountain was FULL of wild cannabis leaves. And you could really smell the cannabis everywhere. Apparently (at least back then), because it’s a holy mountain, they’re not allowed to get rid of it. My friends were joking on returning in the autumn when the leaves would be blooming. But I didn’t see any cannabis anywhere on my second climb in the beginning of October. So who knows? Maybe there was crazy cannabis parties everywhere before my second trip?

Second time around when I did the climb, we made the error of entering the mountain on a public holiday. Public holidays in any other country might be ok, but in China there are A LOT of people. So the trains were totally full as well as was the mountain. On my way down the first time, we were so knackered by the climb, we went down on these cable car ‘eggs’. You don’t necessarily have to be a super sporty to do these mountains! On our way down the second time around we got totally jammed in the trails down. Everyone is leaving the mountain at the same time and there is no way you can avoid getting stuck in the crowd (at least if you’re doing this on a national holiday with thousands of other people). Also when it’s a national holiday, you can very easily get lost on the mountain. So my Finnish friend came to do the climb with us and she was lost for a good 2-3 hours on the mountain on her own. We were lucky enough to find her in the morning after the sunrise, because of my powerful lungs (more of that in Youtube from the same trip!).

Overall I think Taishan is quite magical and a feasible workout trip. To me it holds a special place in my heart, since me and Mr Merry had our official first public couple pic taken on this mountain. I truly recommend to go and experience this trip in China! Although this is not Shanghai or Beijing, so you are required to know some Chinese to survive!

Child of the World. Language enthusiast. Wanderlust running in my veins. Making the world Merry.

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