Mount Taibai, or Taibai Shan, as the locals call it (shan means mountain), is the highest point in China, outside the TIbetan Plateau and Central Asia regions. It is most definitely the highest point in the Shaanxi province, but not as popular with foreigners and locals as Huashan. Taibai Shan’s altitude is quite high, at 3767m. Because of this, it can experience snow even in July! It is worth noting that above a certain altitude and parts of the national park are off limits to foreigners.
Our itinerary/how we got to Taibai Shan
We stayed in a local hotel (Jing Yue Hotel, but it seems to be not available on English websites) at Baoji, a town close to Taibai Mountain. To get to Mount Taibai, we walked to the Taibai Mountain Visitor Centre. This is where you purchase tickets for the national park entry, and also for a bus to take you to the cable car station. Also, if you are a foreigner visiting China, you will also need to fill in some security details, such as your full name, your passport number, and location of residence. I’m not sure if locals have to, but I didn’t observe my colleagues needing to do this step. (P.s. all of this might sound very similar if you've visited other mountains in China, such as Huashan)
You’ll be ushered onto a shuttle bus at this point, and it is around 25km I think to get to the cable car station. During the trip, you’ll have around 3 - 4 compulsory stops. One of these is to look at waterfall, and another one is to look at some ancient Chinese wine holders.
After the shuttle bus, you can walk to the cable car station ticketing, and purchase a cable car ticket to go up the mountain.
You can choose either the long cable car ride or the shorter cable car ride. What a lot of people do is take the long cable car ride up, explore a little near the summit, and then take a hike back down to the 2nd cable car station, and catch the short cable car ride back down. The hike down from the summit to the 2nd cable car station apparently takes around 1 hour.
Due to time restrictions, we chose to purchase a return ticket on the long cable car route. This cable car takes around 15-20 minutes to get to the top. Enjoy the views!
Highlights hiking Tai Bai Shan
From the cable car, the hike is nowhere as hard as the one at Hua Mountain. In fact, all in all, it’s pretty much a one way road once you get off the cable car.
We continued on this one way path all the way up to the summit. We arrived at a building soon, which turned out to be a hostel where you can stay the night to watch the sunrise the next day. There is also a stone plaque saying ‘Taibai Mountain’ in Chinese, a popular photography spot.
To our dismay, foreigners are banned from progressing further to the summit. Local Chinese however, are free to continue.
What to wear and what to bring
We went in late October, and this is what we wore:
- Regular sports leggings without extra lining or warmth
- Thin cotton t-shirt
- Down jacket for outerwear
- Regular socks
It wasn’t too cold, perhaps around 5 - 6 degrees celsius. No need to overdress and wear a lot of gear. If you go up the cable car, I’d say you don’t even need hiking boots; regular sneakers would be just fine. However, this was what was suitable for us at the time. The Qinlong mountain range, of which Mount Taibai is a part of, is known for its unpredictable weather and coldness. Please dress appropriately when you travel there!
As for what to bring, it’s very similar to what you would bring to Huashan (as mentioned in our article). I personally brought the following:
- Small packets of tissues
- Basic first aid (paracetamol, bandaids, antiseptic, digestion medication were the primary items)
While Taibai Mountain is definitely off the beaten track for China, it’s definitely still a beautiful mountain to hike up. It’s probably not as spectacular as Hua Mountain is, but the lower numbers of tourists makes it an extremely scenic hike nevertheless. Definitely worth the trip!