Tianjin the city with northern China’s biggest port is a good hour from Beijing. 357km/221 miles further on and seven hours by train on the same railway line lies Jinan the capital of Shandong province. It is situated close to the Huanghe and is famous for its many springs.
Tai’an is just over an hour by express train from Jinan. After a brief visit to the Dai Miao Temple a climb to the top of the Taishan, China’s most famous holy mountain, is well worth the effort. If the four to seven hour ascent seems too demanding, then a bus service links Tai’an town centre with Zhongtianmen, where a cable car runs almost to the top. Adventurous visitors can stay the night on the summit ofthe Taishan and with luck enjoy a truly magnificent sunrise.
A few more hours by train from Tai’an lies Yanzhou and Qufu, Confucius’s birth-place is a 20km/13 mile bus ride from there. A visit to the principal Temple of Confucius, the Kong Miao, is essential. Nearby lies the home of Confucius’s descendants. Now converted into a hotel, the building retains all the typical features of a Chinese house including a series of pretty courtyards surrounded by single-storey buildings.