The name Tai'an (泰安) is from the word 国泰民安 (Peace of the nation and well-being of the people). It lies in the south of the sacred mountain Mount Tai or Taishan (泰山) in local language. This mountain is considered the palace for all the gods, which is similar to Mount Olympus. The city is historically considered the holly city where the three worlds annexes: World of Gods (Heaven), World of Human (Mortals), and World of Afterlife (Hell).
Apart from the fact that every year thousands of people visit Tai'an to admire its nature, to tour its slopes, and reach its peaks, historically, if an emperor is to seek peace of his dynasty, a national ceremony which last a month shall be arranged in which the emperor himself shall worship the mountain gods and keep on diet.
Flora and fauna
By train & bus
Booking a train is not an easy job for non-Chinese speakers. Online ticket agency might provide English interfaces but cost an extra. For Chinese speakers, online booking is the easiest way. Tickets can be payed online using Union Pay, Ali-pay or VISA card, at no additional fee. Otherwise, speaking to the ticket office at the station usually means a really long queue.
Online booked ticket can be collected at the ticket machine in ticket halls of a station. Most tickets are fixed-priced. There are no peak hour restrictions. Most tickets are seat-specified.
Ticket are in Chinese only.
During Chinese New Year or summer time or national day holiday etc. purchasing your ticket in advance is highly recommended.
There are several train stations that serves Tai'an including Beijing and Beijingnan (Beijing South), please make sure you are departing from what specified on your ticket. Regular trains (service starting with numbers, K, T, or Z) usually takes 5-7 hours, typically cost ¥78, there are 5 services per day. T31 (towards Hangzhou) is the fastest which takes 5 hours.
High speed services (G services) usually takes 2 hours, with a price starting from ¥214, 22 services per day.
If you are coming from Qingdao, regular trains run to Tai'an and take 6 hours while costing ¥56-65 one way, there are 11 services per day. Express trains also run from Qingdao and take only 3 hours, though the ticket price jumps to ¥148. As of Dec 2014, there are 6 express trains daily.
You can book the ticket online via 12306.cn (national rail official). Both the regular and express trains pass through Jinan, the capital of Shandong.
Alternatively, you can also take a bus from Qingdao's Sifang long-distance bus station. The trip takes 6 hours and costs ¥116. To book the ticket, call the free landline 4006-916-916.
If you are coming from Jinan, an express train takes only 15 mins, however regular trains, which cost only ¥5, takes 1 hour. Coaches take 1 hour, but usually is more expensive (¥15~¥50).
There are two different train stations in the city.
- 1 Taishan Railway Station (泰山火車站). This station serves high speed trains only. From there, bus route 7/4/3 will bring you to the Dai Miao Temple and other attractions.
- 2 Taian Railway Station (高铁站, 泰安站, High Speed Railway Station). From this station, bus route K18 (fee: ¥2) will bring you to Tai'an city center, where the other station is.
The nearest airport is Jinan Yaoqiang International Airport (JNA) where a shuttle service to the city centre can be found (~¥95)
Tai'an is a really small town compared to Qingdao and Jinan, however, there are more of places worth your seeing and potentially help you to understand the Chinese traditional beliefs.
The Mt. Tai is the mountain believed to be the palace of gods. With Mt. Helly (Haolishan, 蒿里山) the palace and entrance of hell. There is a river call River Null (Naihe, 奈河, which sounds like 奈何, means helplessness of the death of a life) which is believed to the boundary of the mortal world (Yang, 阳) and the afterlife (Yin, 阴).
There are mainly 3 ways to the top of Mt. Tai, since all are prepared for the royal visit, they are called Royal Way or Okimichi. East Royal Way is from Peak Candle (Peak Tianzhu, 天烛峰), West is from the Blossom Valley (Taohuayu or Tyohwa Valley or Peach Blossom Valley, 桃花峪). The Main Royal Way is the most popular choice since it is in the town centre. It goes from the Red Gate (Hom-Men, Hongmen, 红门), via Goddess Pool (Wangmuchi, 王母池), God's cave (Dongbin Cave, 洞宾洞), Confucius footpath (Kongzi Deng Lin Chu, 孔子登临处), then there are cable way to the Middle Haven Gate (Zhongtianmen, 中天门) and then a sharp mountain way called 18 Turns (Shibapan, 十八盘) to the main gate Haven Gate (Nantianmen, 南天门).
On the top there are Biha Palace (bixiaci, 碧霞祠, the palace of goddess and god of the ultimate power and who bless the people).
Bus route 3 (Hongmen (Hom-Men, Red Gate, 红门) - Fairyland (Tien-wai-cun, Tianwaicun, 天外村)) takes you to most historical sites in the old Tai'an town.
Bus route 16 can take you from the train station (main station) to Blossom Valley where you can find the beautiful rural area and the beautiful nature, especially the Red Flake Fish (Chilinyu, 赤鳞鱼) which is unique in Mt. Tai.
Bus route 19 can take you to Peak Candle where you can find the undeveloped peaceful mountain view which is tremendously different from the European. Also, a commercial program was launched to provide with the revival of how the traditional emperor worship the mountain Tai, where you will find the Chinese etiquette.
Buses might operate with a K in front, it runs the same route as the normal bus but air-coned which takes ¥2. All buses terminates in its fixed destination, no worry that you might take a short service.
- 1 Dai Miao Temple (the Temple of God of Tai Shan). one of the three most important temples in China, initially built 2000 years ago rebuilt around 1600. ¥40.
- 2 Tai Shan peak (Jade Emperor Peak, 玉皇顶). See main article.
- 3 Old Town Hall (Laoxianya, 老縣衙), 通天街. Nearby you can find various art collections to be sold.
- 4 Fairyland (天外村). The start point of New Middle Royal Path to the peak. Also bus terminus for service to Middle Heaven Gate.
- 5 Puchao Temple (普照寺). Buddist temple. ¥5.
- 6 Red Gate (红门, Hom-Men).
- 7 Daicong Gateway (岱宗坊).
- 8 Blossom Valley (Tyohwa Valley, Taohuayu, 桃花峪).
- 9 Helly Mountain (蒿里山).
- 10 Tiger Hill and Goddess Pool (王母池, 虎山公园).
- 11 Taian Railway Station Historic Site built in 1901 German Colony Age.
Supermarket called In-Zone and RT-mart are near the Taishan train station (not the high-speed rail station) where all kinds of Chinese daily foods are available, also KFC therein.
Local food can be found north to Taishan Station, called Kangfu Rd (Hospital Rd, 康复路).
- 1 In Zone Mart (銀座商城). Go to the underground floor for local food market!
- 1 Taian International Hostel.