Our tour guide Lee Chin was relating wonderful reviews of Mount Laoshan, the old temple, the old cypress trees and the scenic sights. As we arrived at the ticket counter our eyes wondered afar and see nothing fantastic. But as soon as the environment friendly bus took us along the route up to Mount Laoshan, we can understand why it is so famous for its scenic sights.
I read somewhere that there are three tourist routes for Mount Laoshan. I don't know which one this is but we soon arrive at the age-old temples. We were met by a temple guide. He explained with all enthusiasm the way how we should clasp our hands to pray to the gods of heaven, male with the right hand and females with the left covering the right.
Soon we were led to the ancient cypress tree and the evergreen one just outside the entrance to one to the temples.
As if by prior arrangement, we were led to a hall, full of people and servers giving us sachets of amulet. We were asked what our zodiac signs are and told to pray to one of the gods protecting us in this year of the dragon. Then we were asked to pay for six of the sachets, one for CNY 30. When asked, we wanted to have only one, but relented upon the persuasion of the server - CNY 180. We don't know what we will do with these sachets!
Next we were told to enter another hall where we could light a merit lamp for the gods. A total of six were displayed for us to accept - CNY 100 each, that is a total of CNY 600!
As we usually light a merit lamp, we asked for one and after a few minutes of bargaining, we bought one. It was lighted and left on an earthern pot with unlighted merit lamps floating on waters.
We were forewarned but the warning was very subtle. We were told that when Emperor Qin Shi Huang was alive and seeking the pills of longevity, he visited Qingdao many times. Each time he came, he lived here and so we could see that there were many temples and also folklores surrounding this island, eg, the eight immortals crossing the water! The Emperor was misled to believe that there was pill of longeviity! So it is not surprising that we were also `fleeced'!
For those who were more alert, they rejected the sale of the sachets and the merit lamps!
I asked the guide what tourist route was this, but it appears that this is the only one as the others were closed.
It was winter time and almost all the trees looked barren and dry. But the calmness, minus the two prayer halls I mentioned was there. And the mountainous landscape bordered by the sea was a wonderful scene for photos! As we reached the viewing point of one of the temple, we looked out to see the misty island, said to be a living paradise as the people are rich and happy.......
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.