Wudang Shan (Wudang Mountain)

Wudang Shan (Wudang Mountain) Overview

Wudang Shan's (Wǔdāng Shān, 武当山) legendary martial arts have inspired numerous kung-fu filmmakers and hip-hop mastermind RZA of the Wutang Clan—not to mention many centuries of Chinese poets, artists and wushu practitioners. And though the Wudang legend is better known today than is the actual mountain range, that's slowly changing.

A former retreat of emperors, a training ground for monks and a refuge of rebels and bandits, Wudang Shan's 72 pinnacles, studded with Taoist temples just as they have been since the the Tang Dynasty, are becoming increasingly popular with hikers, cultural tourists and, of course, martial arts enthusiasts.  

Best known for its martial arts, which command at least as much respect as those of Henan's Shaolin Temple, Wudang Shan's monks teach martial arts to students from around the world interested in Wudang boxing, from which the internal form Taiqiquan is derived.

Those who don't come to the mountain to learn kung fu will still appreciate the area's considerable natural and historical endowments. The hike up to the top of Tianzhu Peak is breathtaking, both literally and figuratively. The entire trail is paved with steps and dotted with bridges criss-crossing pretty rivulets. You'll come across several temples and stunning viewpoints offering increasingly majestic vantages over Wudang's many peaks on the way up too. 

Days can be spent exploring temples and fortresses perched on cliffs, in places like Nanyan Temple and the Purple Cloud Palace, where you can enjoy free tea tastings, observe Taoist ceremonies and take some stunning photographs. 

While in the area you'll also have the chance to haggle over swords and other kung fu memorabilia, see plenty of fauna and flora, take cable car rides, get your palms read by traditional Chinese hand doctors and get treated by the area's renowned blind masseur.

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