Mount Laoshan lies about 30km east of the downtown Qingdao, on the southeastern Shangdong Peninsula. With its highest peak rising 1,133 meters above sea level, Mount Laoshan is reputed as the “No.1 Mountain on the Sea”. Facing the Yellow Sea, the mountain is characterized by the imposing canyon, undulating peaks, clear streams and waterfalls, and mystery mist.
Since ancient times, Laoshan Mountain has been known as the home to immortals, a place where Taoist rites are performed and the second monastery of Quanzhen Sect of Taoism. In its heyday, there were 9 great palaces, 8 great temples, and 72 nunneries.
Many of the Taoism temples and nunneries in Laoshan Mountain have been destroyed or ruined in the years past. The present preserved Taiqing Palace Taoism Temple, also named Xiaqing Temple, is the largest and oldest one, built at the beginning of North Song Dynasty (AD 960-AD 1,127). Taiqing Palace, with more than 150 rooms, consists of Sanguan Hall, Sanhaung Hall and Sanqing Hall. It looks grandeur even of very simple style.
Taiqing Temple is surrounded by mountains in three sides and faces the sea in the front. There are many scenic spots around the Taiqing Palace Temple, such as the Shenshui Spring, Longtou Yu, Stone Inscription and so on. People also have chance to catch the sight of flyaway mirage sometimes. The weather in Mt Laoshan is moderate with plenty of rainfall. The ancient trees inside and outside the temples and palaces are well-known to all.
There are two very old cypresses in Sanhuang Hall, which were planted in the Han Dynasty (BC 206-AD 220 ). Another old rare camellia in front of the Sanhuang Hall has been 700 years old. The tree is 8.5 meters high and the diameter of trunk reaches 1.78 meters. In winter days the trees remain green still and different flowers are blooming most often.
There is an old elm tree on the east side of the entrance to the Sanqing Hall. The tree is some 1,000 years old and the oldest one of its kind in the country. It is 15 meters high and its main trunk is 3.7 meters in diameter. It got its name of Dragon Elm Tree or Old State Elm for its dragon head-shaped trunk.
The Laoshan Mountain mainly includes scenic areas of Jufeng Peak(the summit of Lao Mountain), Liuqing(the best site for sea view), Taiqing Palace (the most famous Taoist temple in Laoshan), Chessboard Stone (with great Buddhist features), Yangkou (beach resort), Beijiushui (gorgeous scenery of waters and peaks), and Hualou Peak (with layers of rocks). The Jufeng Peak is the excellent spot to enjoy the splendid views of the sunrise and the sea of clouds. In particularly, the wonder of the sunrise over the sea here is the most famous scene of Mount Laoshan.
Mount Lao is accessible via three land routes (eastern, southern, and central). The Taiqing, Yangkou and Hualou cableways have been completed and boat touring routes opened as well.
When taking the southern route there are not only marvelous landscapes but also sacred Taoist Palaces. Significant points of interest include the Taiqing Palace, Xufu Islet and Longtan Waterfall (Dragon Pond Waterfall). The central route leads you to Beijuishui (North Nine Waters). Enjoying the fame as Jiushui Gallery, it offers many beautiful sceneries on both banks along its 9.5-kilimeter way. The eastern route to YangKou Beach passing through Taiping Palace and Chessboard Stone Area is ideal for photographers to capture a magnificent sunrise over the sea.
There are also odd stones, cliffs and odd caves in Laoshan Mountain, yet most of them are covered by clear springs and waterfalls. Laoshan Mountain is also famous for its spring water. Many clear springs and waterfalls dot the areas of Laoshan Mountain. Laoshan mineral water is a local specialty and is said to have therapeutic effects.