Mt. Tai

Highlights:

  • Discover and explore the hometown of China’s greatest sage, Confucius, in the charming hamlet of Qufu. Temples, mansions, and mysterious cemeteries all pay homage to this great man
  • Spend time on Mt. Tai, China’s most sacred mountain, and a haven of preserved temples and stunning natural scenery
  • Qingdao, a beautiful coastal and beach city, was once a German colony. Thus, Qingdao has a great deal of European architecture. This foreign architecture -a remnant of the colonial past- now beautifies this seaside city. The red roofs, green trees, blue sea, and azure sky form a bright and colorful picture of Qingdao. The city is sometimes known as the Switzerland of the Orient

(B=breakfast, L=lunch, D=dinner)

Detailed itinerary:

Day 1 arrive in Qufu (by train-K51 22:25-7:36) (B, L, D)

You will take an overnight train to Qufu, and when you arrive you’ll be met by your English-speaking travel guide. With a history of more than five thousand years, Qufu is the legendary birthplace of many Chinese sages such as Confucius and Mencius.

In order to memorize these great sages, temples and cemeteries were built by local people. Later, these temples and cemeteries were open to tourists as attractions. The most famous attractions are Temple of Confucius (Kong Miao), Cemetery of Confucius (Kong Lin) and Kong Family Mansion (Kong Fu) which now called the Three Kongs. And the Three Kongs were listed in the World Cultural Heritage by UNESCO in 1994 with a comment that said: "The Qufu complex of monuments has retained its outstanding artistic and historic character due to the devotion of successive Chinese emperors over more than 2,000 years." If you are interested in Chinese culture and history, or if you want to search the spirits and wisdoms of ancient oriental sages, Qufu is a must-visit city.

After you arrive you’ll be taken to the Queli hotel for breakfast, and then we’ll get started on our sightseeing with a visit to the Kong Family Mansion, otherwise known as Kongfu. It is the place where Confucius’ descendants lived in. In Chinese history, Confucius’ descendants were called “Yanshenggong”. Confucius’ descendants strictly kept their family rules and rituals. By the influence of Confucian rituals, the buildings were designed with the rules and rituals of Confucian patriarchal system and ethics. Kong Family Mansion was designed exactly as Chinese traditions of “the hall in front, the living room in back.”. The front hall was divided into three individual spaces which were “Guanya” – the place for work, “Dongxue” – the place for reception and “Xixue” – the place for entertainments. The living rooms were designed for daily lives.

The scale of Kong Family Mansion is huge. It is almost as large as the mansions of the emperors in Ming Dynasty (1364-1683) and Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). There were more than 170 buildings with more than 560 rooms at the very beginning but remained 152 buildings with 480 rooms now some of these buildings were damaged and destroyed in the history. Lots of precious historical relics were preserved in Kong Family Mansion. Calligraphies of the emperors, royal poetries, books, royal instruments … almost everything were bestowed to Confucius and his descendants by the emperors of past dynasties in order to show their honors to them. And Confucius’ descendants had got into the habit of collecting the ancient relics to enrich the relics collection.

We’ll then head over to the Temple of Confucius, one of the most renowned Confucius temples in China, and certainly among the most important. Temple of Confucius was built to worship Confucius (September 28, 551 BC – 479 BC), the Chinese thinker and social philosopher, whose teachings and philosophy have deeply influenced Chinese, Korean, Japanese and Vietnamese thought and life by Chinese Feudal dynasty. It is a group of grand, majestic, oriental-featured ancient buildings. It is the second largest scale Chinese ancient buildings (the largest one is the Forbidden City in Beijing). The temple, now listed as China’s Top Three Ancient Buildings (the other two are: the Forbidden City in Beijing and the Summer Resort in Chengde) and played an important role in the world’s architecture history, was built at the site of Confucius’ former residence with a standard of ancient Chinese imperial palace.

Our last stop today will be the Cemetery of Confucius (Konglin). Confucius was died in April 479 BC and was buried in the north of Lu City (now called Qufu) where his descendants were also buried after their deaths. More than 1,000 trees were planted since the first tree planted by Zigong – one of Confucius’ favorite pupils. The Cemetery of Confucius was repaired and rebuilt 13 times by the emperors of many Chinese dynasties sine Han Dynasty (202 BC – 220 AD) and finally shaped its scale of two square kilometers with a protection wall of 5.6 kilometers in length, more than three meters in height and one meter in thickness.

Guo Moruo (1892-1978), one of the most famous Chinese modern writers praised:” The Cemetery of Confucius is one of the best nature museums as well as the annals of Confucius’ family.” Nowadays, the Cemetery of Confucius has played an important role for analyzing the development of Chinese ancient politics, economy and culture as well as the changes of Chinese funeral customs.

Day 2 Qufu-Mt. Tai (B, L, D)

After an early morning start, we’ll drive over to Mt. Tai, where after taking the cable car up, we will spend the day exploring the mountain and its surrounding temples. Mount Tai is a mountain of historical and cultural significance. The word tai in Chinese means stability and peace and the name Tai'an is attributed to the saying: "If Mount Tai is stable, so is the entire country" (both characters of Tai'an have an independent meaning of stability and peace). Mount Tai is crowned by Jade Emperor Peak (in Chinese mythology, the Jade Emperor is the most powerful god in heaven) with an altitude of 1,545 meters.

The formation of Mount Tai dates back to the Archeozoic Era, and now it is growing at the speed of 0.5 millimeters per year. It faces the Yellow Sea to the east and the Yellow River to the west, and is in the neighborhood of Confucius’ hometown, Qufu, and the City of Springs, Jinan. In 1987, Mount Tai was listed as both World Natural Heritage and World Cultural Heritage by UNESCO.

Among the Five Sacred Mountains of Taoism (the other four are Heng Mountain of Hunan Province, Hua Mountain of Shaanxi Province, Song Mountain of Henan Province and Heng Mountain of Shanxi Province), Mount Tai is only the third highest. Why it is seen as the leader of the Five Sacred Mountains? In absolute terms Mount Tai can not be considered as the highest of China’s mountains, but because it is close to the sea and rivers and rises abruptly from the relatively low rolling hills and Qilu plains, its relative height is quite impressive, with an altitude difference of 1395 meters within nine kilometers. Moreover, in Chinese culture, east is regarded as a sacred direction, since it is where the sun and the moon rise. Therefore Mount Tai is often regarded as the first of the Five Sacred Mountains. It is associated with sunrise, birth and renewal.

For thousands of years, Mount Tai has been the sacred mountain where Emperors held the ceremony of offering sacrifices to heaven and earth to pray and say thanks for peace and prosperity. Seventy-two emperors are said to have performed mountain worship ceremonies on Mount Tai. Among them, Emperor Wu of the Han Dynasty had visited Mount Tai eight times. It is the first and foremost thing for emperors to do when they ascend to the throne, because Mount Tai is seen as the symbol of the county’s peace and prosperity.

Mount Tai held a sacred position in state politics, and also enjoyed a high status in the world of Taoism and Buddhism. The temples on its slopes have been a destination for pilgrims for 3,000 years.

After our jaunt around Mt. Tai we’ll spend the night on the mountain at the Shenqi Hotel.

Day 3 Mt. Tai-Qingdao (B, L, D)

Today we’ll rise early to watch the magnificent sunrise over Mt. Tai, and then we’ll spend a little more time exploring. One major highlight that we will see today is the Dai Temple. Dai Temple, located at the south foot of Mount Tai, is the largest and best-preserved ancient building complex in the scenic area of Mount Tai. It was firstly built during Han Dynasty and greatly expanded during Tang, Song Dynasties.

It is a Taoist temple where emperors during the past dynasties offered sacrifice to the God of Earth to pray and say thanks for peace and prosperity. Dai Temple is in the palace style of ancient Chinese emperors, to compose over 150 ancient buildings in many kinds. It together with the Forbidden City in Beijing, “Three Kong” (Confucius Temple, the Cemetery of Confucius and Kong Family’s Mansion) in Qufu of Shangdong province and Chengde Summer Palace of Hebei province are considered as the Four Representative Ancient Chinese Buildings.

We’ll then take the cable car down from the mountain, and you’ll be taken to the train station, where you will make the 3 hour train ride to the nearby city of Qingdao. Qingdao is situated at the foot of Lao Shan Mountain and on the shore of the Yellow Sea. Its climate is pleasant and its scenic spots are very beautiful. Qingdao is a famous garden city in China and its coast has many lovely inlets. Qingdao's architecture presents a characteristic European style and is very harmonious on the whole. Red roof tiles, green trees, azure seas and blue skies mirror the beautiful manner of Qingdao. Its crimson reefs, gentle waves, colorful sailing boats and golden beaches help to make up the beautiful scenery.

Qingdao's history, religion, natural conditions, native customs and its festivals constitute the city's tourism culture. There are also some old buildings where famous figures in China's modern history once lived. The city's construction on the whole is a combination of European and traditional Chinese styles. Qingdao has two nicknames: "Oriental Switzerland" and "Asian Geneva". Qingdao, like a Shandong girl, is open and frank. The air is very clean in the city and the streets are very clean too. Houses along both sides of the street look bright against the background of the total clearness of the city. A person will feel very comfortable when leisurely walking along the streets of Qingdao.

You’ll be met at the Qingdao train station by your travel guide, and you’ll be taken to your 4 star hotel in the city, which is where you will spend the evening.

Day 4 Qingdao (B, L, D)

Today you will have a full city tour of this fascinating city. Our first visit today will be to the scenic area of Badaguan. What makes Badaguan so popular is not just its natural scenery, but also its garden-like villas and foreign-styled buildings. Badaguan used to be a place where people from more than twenty countries, such as Russia, Britain, France, Germany, the United States of America, Denmark, Greece, Spain, Switzerland, Japan and etc., constructed buildings in each of their unique national styles. After the People's Liberation, the government repaired the entire area and its buildings, symbolizing Badaguan's significance as one of the most important sanitaria in China. Many leaders of the Chinese Communist Party and foreign friends of China have stayed here for rehabilitation or simply, for pleasure.

We’ll then head over to the ever-popular Qingdao Beer Museum. In August 1903, German Beer Company Qingdao Branch, China’s first beer factory that built by European technology, was born in Qingdao. After a hundred years of vicissitudes, it has been developed into Tsingtao Brewery Company, a world-famous manufacturing enterprise special in Qingdao Beer production. At present, it owns 55 beer factories and malt factories in 18 cities and provinces in China. The one-hundred-year old Qingdao Beer has created its own history and culture.

Situated at No.56, Dengzhou Road, Qingdao City, the Qingdao Beer Museum is built on the site of German Beer Company Qingdao Branch. Being the first museum of its kind in China, the construction of the museum provides a spectacular showcase for Qingdao beer to oversea tourists, and has become the pride of the people of Qingdao.

Summing up the many merits of beer museums in many developed countries, the museum was designed by an outstanding architect and designer utilizing both Chinese and western culture. The project started in 2002 and completed in 2003, and was presented as a gift to the Qingdao Brewery Factory upon its 100th anniversary. Utilizing the century-old German architecture and equipment, the museum integrates the history, development and modern brewing techniques of Qingdao beer, making it a world-class one.

Our last point of interest today will be the No.1 Bathing Beach. The first bathing beach is surrounded by mountains on three sides. In the area modern buildings and traditional villas are blended together to make a beautiful scene. The first bathing beach is the best of its kind in Qingdao. It is famous for its gentle slopes, thin sands, clear water, and calm waves. Because of the erosion and the accumulation by sea waves, rocks around the bend have been eroded into thin grits continuously and the eroded grits are accumulated along the beach of the bend into a beach of full silver sands.

Day 5 Qingdao-departure (B, L)

Today we will have more exploration of Qingdao, and in the late afternoon you will be taken to the Qingdao airport, where you will fly on to your next destination, ending your tour with us.


         Sherri Gaines, Palm Harbor, Fl, USA:

Just a quick email to thank all at China Adventure Clubfor a brilliant 5 days tour in Qingdao, Qufu, and Mt. Taishan. All the guides spoke English really well and each had an amazing knowledge of the local area and history. This especially came in handy during my time in Qufu, where so much of the attractions have to do with the life of Confucius. The hotels were fantastic. I will be recommending China Adventure Club to anyone visiting China for the tremendous support I received both in person and over the phone. Please pass on my thanks to all of the local guides and keep up the good work.