Mt. Song
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Top ways to experience Mt. Song and nearby attractions

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4.5
4.5 of 5 bubbles91 reviews
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57
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Michael
Beijing, China8 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2023 • Friends
One of the best holy places in China. Very beautiful and breathtaking. Come here early in the morning (cablecars start working at 8 a.m or go up 2-2.5h on foot). The length of a road carved into the rock up and down above the abyss is about 9 km. Plus almost the same distance if you want to go up on foot. So you need a good physical health to pass it and go back. Take enough water and some food. And do not shout under the cliffs as many Chinese do. The total time to go up plus the tracking from the one end of the path to the other and back plus to go down will be not less than 7h, in the morning. Add 1.5-2 h if you come in the afternoon or do not hurry.
Written December 28, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

LG_Kay
Singapore, Singapore7,488 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2018 • Solo
Let me share with you my experience hiking Mount Song, one of the famous five mountains in China.

I took the bus from Zhengzhou to Dengfeng the previous day. There are many buses per day, fare 28rmb, journey 2 hours. The Zhengzhou long distance bus station 郑州市长途客运站 is just next to Zhengzhou subway and railway stations, hence very convenient.

There are 2 options to hike Mount Song. First option is most popular, start from Shaolin Temple and end at SanHuangZhai 三黄寨. Second option is the exact reverse direction. Advantage of first option is at SanHuangZhai, you are walking down hundreds of steps to exit, less strenuous though tough on the knees. Disadvantage is at SanHuangZhai exit, there is no public transport back to town, need to haggle with tout cab for transport. The second option is exact opposite - disadvantage is to climb up hundreds of steps at SanHuangZhai entrance, advantage is public transport available at Shaolin Temple exit.

I decided to take the first option. I took a cab at 0730hr from hotel and arrived at Shaolin Temple entrance at 0800hr, 30rmb. Entrance ticket is 100rmb. The first stop is Shaolin martial arts hall. The first show starts at 0930hr. Since I was too early, I proceeded to visit the Shaolin Temple first. After that I needed to walk back to watch the 1030hr show. Hence I recommend you time your visit, such as arriving at 0830hr instead. Fyi, the performance show times are 0930hr, 1030hr, 1130hr, 1400hr, 1500hr and 1600hr, with additional 1700hr slot during summer.

The sequence of visits should then be watching the performance at Shaolin martial arts hall, visit Shaolin Temple and finally Pagoda Forest of Shaolin Temple. As all the local tour groups only visit the Shaolin Temple and left, hence from Pagoda Forest onwards, the place is rather peaceful and quiet.

From Pagoda Forest onwards, I began my hike in Mount Song. After about 20mins walk, there is a split junction to 2 cable car stations. Take the right path, with a sign “Cable car to SanHuangZhai”. Cable car ride is about 12mins, fare 50rmb. Ensure you indicate you want single ride, else you will be charged 80rmb for return rides. Great that there is no queue, and I was alone in entire cabin.

Cable car brought me somewhere near the mountain top. The hike is essentially walking along the cliffside on concrete steps, relatively easy though there are lots of steps to climb up and down. Railings are provided at certain sections, hence it is safe. Direction signs with English translations are placed at many spots, hence it is very easy to navigate around. There are also explanations in Chinese and English about the rock formations along the trail. The view is amazing and I took many photos.

After about 80mins hike, I arrived at a suspension bridge, which is new and sturdy. After crossing the bridge, I took another hour to SanHuangZhai monastery, and another 30mins of downhill steps to reach the exit at 1500hr. All in all, my steps tracker recorded more than 20,000 steps.

At SanHuangZhai exit, I needed to haggle with a tout cab to bring me back to Dengfeng hotel. He initially wanted 80rmb and refused at 50rmb. Finally, we settled for 60rmb. Try your bargaining skill, you may do better than me.

If you find this post helpful in planning your trip, kindly click "Helpful". Thanks so much.
Written March 31, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

mattodowd
Beijing, China170 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Sep 2016 • Solo
This is absolutely beautiful scenery, with some really fascinating rock formations on the way and is great for those who enjoy a hike.

General information:

Mount Song (嵩山, songshan), is within the Shaolin Temple scenic area, entry for which costs 100 RMB. If you go into the Shaolin Temple scenic area via the main entrance, you reach the Shaolin Temple after 15 mins walk, and the bottom of Mount Song in another 10 mins, where you can take the cable car up or walk. A single ride on the cable car costs 50 RMB, return costs 80 RMB. Once you get to the top, there is a hiking route which takes you along the top of the mountain, then all the way down, finishing in Sanhuangzhai (三皇寨). The signs all say it takes 3-4 hours, but I did it in just under 2.5 hours. Bear in mind that this is a completely different point of the mountain to the Shaolin Temple. I have found on some websites that there is a bus from there to Dengfeng, but there was no sign of it when I went. I had to take an illegal taxi.

Instead, what I would recommend is that you do it the other way round, starting at Sanhuangzhai, walking up and then taking the cable car down to the Shaolin Temple. Do bear in mind that there are a LOT of steps if you are walking up, so it is only for those who are fit. I don't think the scenery on the way up the mountain is actually fantastic, I'm just recommending it this way for practicality based on the transport available, and because it will be quieter this way. The scenery once you reach the top of the mountain is fantastic, so it will be worth the hike!

How to get there from Luoyang (NB - I would only recommend doing it this way if you can speak some Chinese):

I went to the Shaolin Temple Scenic Area from Luoyang, where there are buses from the Luoyang Jinyuan Coach Station (洛阳锦远汽车站)at 5am and 8am for 19 RMB one way. Ask for the Shaolin Temple (少林寺,shaolinsi). This is the coach station NEXT TO the Luoyang train station - don't get it confused for the Luoyang Coach Station (洛阳汽车站), which is diagonally opposite the train station. Ensure you buy the ticket from the official ticket windows, ignoring the unofficial "travel agencies" that try to pester you outside the station. If you are going for the 5am bus, you might need to buy the ticket a day in advance, as I'm not sure the ticket windows are open that early in the morning. The coach station is a bit chaotic, so you might need to ask a few times before you find the right bus. The right one to get is the coach which says 洛阳=少林寺 in red bold letters on the front.

The bus takes about 2 hours to get there and you can buy tickets for the return bus back to Luoyang on the way there. Return buses are at 3:30 and 4:30. If you want to see both the Shaolin Temple and Mount Song, then definitely go for the 4:30 one. The driver just told me that he would be somewhere outside the main entrance, so I'd advise getting there early in case you can't find it. There is a phone number on the ticket that you can ring if you can't find it.

On the way there, the bus driver might offer to take you to some smaller places too, which I went to, but it is not worth it. You need as much time as you can get for Mount Song and the Shaolin Temple. So just ask him to drop you off at the entrance to the Shaolin Temple.

Itinerary that I would recommend if starting and finishing in Luoyang:
1. Bus at 8am from Luoyang Jinyuan Coach station, arriving at the Shaolin Temple about 10am.
2. Catch a taxi to Sanhuangzhai, which is the bottom of the mountain, arriving 10:30am.
3. Hike the mountain to where the cable cars are, arriving about 14:30. Just follow the signs to the Shaolin Temple.
4. Catch the cable car down to near the Shaolin Temple, then walk 10 minutes to see the Kungfu martial arts show at 15:00.
5. Visit the Shaolin Temple and the Pagoda forest.
6. Catch the bus back to Luoyang at 16:30 from the car park outside the main entrance to the Shaolin Scenic Area (bear in mind it takes about 15 mins to walk to the car park from the Shaolin Temple).

NB - The itinerary above would be if you did the hike fairly quickly. If you want to spend more time on it, I recommend staying the night in Dengfeng, which can be reached cheaply by taxi from the Shaolin Temple.
Written September 23, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Debbie
Zhengzhou, China56 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2018 • Solo
Went to Mount Song and I must say it was amazing.

I live in Zhengzhou so I took the 7am bus from the Long distance bus station by the railway station. It costs 28 RMB. The bus literally stops at Shaolin Temple so no need to worry. Missed the first Martial Arts show for 9:30am so I had to walk for about 15 mins to Shaolin Temple to look around and walked back to the Martial Arts Hall for the 10:30am show. Entering Shaolin and watching the show costs 100RMB. Nothing really fancy in the show, was expecting brick breaking and all. Then, started the hike to the mountain. There are two ways to hike and I started mine from Shaolin Temple to Shanghuazhai because there’s no bus at Shanghuazhai ending if you do the hike in reverse, which makes your going home harder and you have to struggle for an illegal taxi. There are two signs for the cable car, use the one on the right (it’s pretty new). Specify if you want a single ride or return ride but I opted for a return ride and I was glad I did cos my legs couldn’t take it anymore. Return trip is 100RMB, single is 80RMB. The cable car takes up to the top of the mountain and you walk the rest of the way. I did mine in about 1.5-2 hours. Got to the suspension bridge and walked back down to get the cable car.

Take water up there, cos the ones being sold along the hike is expensive. DONOT wear slippers, you’ll hurt yourself. Don’t drink too much water along the hike (there are no restrooms). If you love photography, bring your camera.

When I was done, I walked back out through Shaolin Temple to the bus station and caught a bus going back to Zhengzhou (28 RMB). Got back to Zhengzhou by 6:30pm.
Written August 30, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Markku S
5 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2017 • Friends
I spent a couple of hours walking on the footpath along the cliffs. My observations were the following:
- The cable car ride to the top is a must, otherwise it will take a long time of trekking to reach the best views
- Make sure that you have reserved enough time for the visit as the walk from the cable-car to the temple-site takes 3-4 hours one way.
- Bring water with you as the prices on the mountain are significantly higher that those outside the park-area
- Bring your best walking shoes as there will be a lot of walking up and down the cliffside
- If you enjoy photography: Bring a wide angle lens.

With these notes, I recommend this for anyone, who has time to spare
Written June 11, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

KIM8899
London48 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2014 • Friends
We were dropped off at the beginning of the hike and headed towards Shaolin temple. The hike was a highlight of the day as the temple itself was a bit too touristy.

We started early in the morning and it took us about 4-5 to reach the Shaolin temple. The hike is very beautiful and worth doing especially if the weather is nice. We were not so lucky in this respect as the day was very fogy. Despite the fog we still saw some very nice things. There was a beautiful monastery right after we climbed the steps to the top of first peak. The monastery newly build, but really bountiful and you can see monks meditating there. More unique and quiet place than Shaolin.
The other highlights were the hanging bridge and a plank way (which is not plank any more). The views were the best here. Once you reach the cable car don't hesitate taking it as further hike is boring and still about 1-2 hours walk to the temple.
Written July 19, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Vnyc80
New York City, NY133 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
We started early morning at Shaolin temple and then walked the hike towards Sanhuangzhai. I would suggest doing it the opposite direction bc the kungfu shows don't start until later (10am I think) so we missed them. I'm sure they're cheesy but also would have been a fun thing to watch while we rested. And you will want to rest, the hike is a few hrs long and is tough! Lots of stairs! Also if we started in Sanhuangzhai the steps trail would have been less crowded so also a little more pleasant. Not that it was horrible, since it was not peak summertime it was actually not overly crowded. We took both cable cars, the smaller one wo windows we just went up, walked around a bit ten came back down (nice, but if you are short on time you can skip). The other cable car w the windows we took one way and then continued the hike, I'm not see there's any benefit to walking instead of taking the cable car. It would have taken hours and the path looks not interesting - like you see shrubs instead of vistas. Everything was worth it - the mountains are beautiful, v interesting rock formations, the views are great, the temples are fantastic (even Shaolin, although it's not necessarily more fabulous then the other big temples in China).
I would recommend this as a full half day for everyone! It took us from 8am-1pm and we're pretty for but did not rush ourselves.
Written November 11, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Caroline T
Zhengzhou, China19 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2016
Be prepared for a bit of a hike.There aren't really english warning signs, but be warned, it's like a 3 hour hike. I saw some girls doing it in platform heels. They looked like they hated their lives. Don't be those girls.

It's a really nice mountain, but definitely go during the spring. I went during fall/winter time and it was pretty barren. It did have na interesting eerie effect, but like most things in China, it is decidedly better in the spring.
Written September 4, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Ponuponas
Vilnius, Lithuania1,150 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2016 • Friends
Hiking and meditation combined. It took 7hours to make 15km hiking in SongShan path. I really loved monasteries! Choose your favorite and meditate
Written August 12, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

snorkel-luvin
Chicago, IL2,043 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2016 • Couples
We took the cable car up from near the Pagoda Forest at Shaolin Temple. The 100 RMB admission to the temple includes hiking areas. Definitely take the cable car, which are new, from 2015, and Swiss-made. We hiked all the way to the Sanhuangzhai, Buddhist temple at the end, and would not have made it if we had hiked to the start of the main trail. So pay the 80RMB for the cable car. This hike was stunning, passing through one of the coolest landscapes I have ever seen. The railings were strong, and the path was laid with flagstone. Maybe not great if it is raining, and you need to be fit enough to hike and up and down, and bring plenty of water. There are water vendors along the way, though. We are fit, but in our mid 50s. I picked this hike because I wanted to visit the Yellow Mountains but couldn't fit that into my schedule. This is another of the five sacred mountains, and there is history in the area. This was a GREAT alternative! So beautiful, esp. in the spring, when we visited, and the trees and bushes and wildflowers were starting their bloom. The temple at the end was finished in 2013. If you like nature, landscapes and hiking, then do this! We were the only westerners up there midweek. Super cool.
Written April 10, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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