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Travel Guide: Great Mountains of China

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  • Travel to China

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Riccardo

CTS Horizons is the UK's number one operator for China and beyond. We offer superb private journeys and tailor-made holidays to the world's most fascinating destinations!

China has astonishingly beautiful mountain landscapes. Some are often mentioned together because in the traditional culture they're considered sacred for some religious groups. For instance, the so-called 'Five Great Mountains' or 五岳 (Wǔyuè), particularly important for their relationship with Buddhism. These and other important peaks that we'll mention, each one with its own unique features, have inspired the work of many artists and poets. Let's see where they are located, how to reach them and ticket prices.

Taishan 泰山 
Shandong Province, 1,545 m (5069 ft). After getting to the city of Tai'an usually from the capital Jinan is possible to reach the mountain taking a bus or train at Taishan Railway station or Tai'an Railway station. Tickets price is RMB 125 from February to November and RMB 100 from December to January.
By Charlie fong - Own work, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5327850
 
This mountain that we introduced in The Spiritual Heart of China has probably been for centuries the most important peak in whole China. It is one of the "Five Great Mountains" and a number of artists realised poems and paintings dedicated to it. In 1987 was added to the list of World Cultural and Natural Heritage by UNESCO. It is important for both Taoist and Buddhist religion. The whole complex is constituted by different peaks, the major and tallest one is the Jade Emperor Peak. Close to its summit is located the Bixia Temple (Azure Cloud Temple), first built during the Song Dynasty and renovated during the Qing Dynasty around 1770. Many other structures were built around the mountain. The sacred Mount Tai ('shan' means 'mountain') was the object of Imperial cult for nearly 2,000 years, the cultural heritage blend in perfect harmony with the natural landscape. 
By Original By w:User:Pfctdayelise , edit by w:User:Capital photographer - thumb|100px|left, CC BY-SA 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=50340396
 
Huashan 华山
Shaanxi Province (Shănxī), 1997 m (6552 ft). It can be reached by train from Xi'an's North Railway Station in 30 minutes to 2 hours time, depending on the speed of the train and then taking a bus to the mountain. It is possible also to take the subway and then the bus from Xi'an Fangzhicheng Bus Station. Tickets: RMB 180 from March to November, RMB 100 from December to February. 
By chensiyuan - chensiyuan, GFDL, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=15661084
 
Located around 70 miles to the east of Xi'an Mount Hua is also one of the "Five Great Mountains". It has five major peaks and it's characterised by some narrow and considerably steep passages. Among these peaks, the one to the east called Chaoyang Peak is one of the best spots in China to watch the sunrise. Among the temples and buildings built on the mountain, there are the remarkable Xiyue and Jade Spring temples. This site offers also the possibility to reach the north and west peaks with two different cable cars, for tourists who prefer to avoid a harder hike and comfortably reach the top. 
By chensiyuan - chensiyuan, GFDL, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=15762435
 
Huangshan 黄山
Anhui Province, the range is composed of different peaks the tallest of which is Lianhua Feng, 1864 m (6115 ft). After arriving at Huangshan City, the mountain and scenic area can be easily reached in around 1 hour by bus. Ticket prices vary from BMB 230 from March to November to RMB 150 from December to February.
By Arne Hückelheim - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=8557574
 
Mount Huangshan area covers 1200 square kilometres and was listed among the World Cultural and Natural Heritage by UNESCO in 1990. It's tightly connected with Chinese art history and thus it's a great place to get closer to Chinese tradition, as we suggested in A tale of Art and Porcelain. It is recognised especially for its "four natural wonders". The oddly-shaped pines, growing on the rocks with many different shapes and sizes. The bizarre rocks that sometimes resemble animals or even human figures. The seas of clouds and finally, the hot springs already famous during the Tang Dynasty for their healing properties. Three cable cars are available in this site.  
By Bgwwlm - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=7807612
 
Wutaishan 五台山
Shanxi Province, the highest peak of this range is also the tallest of north China with its 3061 m (10043 ft) thus called "the Roof of Northern China". Is possible to get to Mount Wutai from different cities, usually tours get there from Taiyuan by bus or by train to Wutaishan Station and then minibus to the scenic area. Ticket prices go from RMB 140 from November to March to RMB 168 from April to October.
 
Located in Wutai County, it is one of the four Sacred mountains for Buddhist together with Mounts Emei, Jiuhua and Putuo. Its name is derived by the characteristic flat-topped peaks of this range. The site has been listed by UNESCO in the World Heritage in 2009. Its surroundings are also very diverse with many beautiful caves and natural ponds. Originally, during the Tang period, over 300 temples were present in this area. Nowadays, 47 are still being preserved and among these, there are Foguang and Nanchan Temples, the two largest well-preserved wooden temples in China.
By Angus Cepka - Photo taken by Angus Cepka, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4235697
 
Emeishan 峨眉山 
Sichuan Province. The main peak is called Golden Summit, 3080 m (10105 ft). Mount Emei can be reached either from Chengdu by train to Emeishan City and then bus to the scenic area, or by train or bus from Leshan. The tickets cost RMB 110 from the 15th of December to the 15th of January and RMB 185 during the rest of the year.
By Staceynyx - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=15282162
 
Added to UNESCO's World Cultural and Natural Heritage in 1996. Together with Mount Wutai is one of the four sacred mountains for Buddhists. Mount Emei is recognised for its natural variety, luxuriant environment and quiet atmosphere. It counts over 3000 different kinds of plants and 2000 species of animals most of which are considered rare. Monkeys are quite common and represent another peculiarity of this place. Below the Golden Summit, the other three scenic spots are the Baoguo Temple, the Wannian Temple and the Qingyin Pavilion. 
By Ihtc2015 - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=44889256
 
Hengshan 恒山
Shanxi Province. 2016 m (6614 ft). To get to Mount Heng tourists have to take the coach from Datong South Coach Station to Hunyuan county. The entrance ticket to the area costs only RMB 55, there are additional tickets to other attractions on this mountain though. The Hengshan Temple ticket costs RMB 55 while the Suspended Temple ticket costs between RMB 125 and 130 depending on the period.
By Terence7 - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=17040816
 
Mount Heng is one of the "Five Great Mountains". It has different attractions and areas of interest. Tianfeng Peak is the highest spot and offers a great view over the surroundings. Jinlong or Gold Dragon Canyon and the old religious cave of Xianren both have amazing scenery. This mountain has also other absolutely unique features. The first is represented by the battlefield relics: fortresses, castles and beacon towers remained as a legacy of many battles fought here by past generals, but the most renowned one is Xuankong Si or the Suspended Temple. Built over 1500 years ago literally hanging on the side of the mountain and supported by wooden pillars.
By Zhangzhugang - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=32139108
 
These are some of the most stunningly beautiful and significative places that China has to offer from both a natural and cultural perspectives, make sure to include such important destinations in your next journey!

 

 

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