South Wutai Mountain in Xian

Why Visit South Wutai Mountain?

  1. Rising 1,688 meters (5,538 feet) above sea level, South Wutai Mountain is a major scenic spot in Zhongnan Mountains and one of the most famous holy places of Chinese Buddhism.
  2. There are five strange peaks, the highest one is called the great peak, and the four peaks are the five peaks of Qingliang, Manjusri (文殊), Lingying, Sheshen and Guanyin, also known as Wutai, hence the name Wutai Mountain.
  3. South Wutai Mountain has more than 40 temples since the Ming and Qing dynasties, which have exquisite architecture and unique layout. The mountain is steep and the scenery is beautiful.

Where is South Wutai Mountain?

South Wutai Mountain is located 5 miles (8 kilometers) east of Ziwu Town in Chang’an District, about 18.6 miles (30 kilometers) south of Xian city. Wutai, literally meaning five terraces, refers to the five main peaks of the mountain (Datai, Wenshu, Qingliang, Lingying and Sheshen). To distinguish this from the King of Medicine Mountain (Wutai Mountain) in Tongchuan to the north of Xian, it is named the South Wutai Mountain (Nan Wutai Shan). Rising 5,538 feet (1,688 meters) above sea level, this is a major scenic spot in Zhongnan Mountains and one of the most famous holy places of Chinese Buddhism. Moreover, since the establishment of Zhongnan Mountain National Forest Park, the area has become a wonderful summer resort.

How to get to South Wutai Mountain

Travel with ChinaDragonTours (top recommended)

If you want to get out of the traffic and hassle of navigation, you can book a private tour package that includes visiting, dining and transfer from us. Our local guide and driver will escort you to the Xian South Wutai Mountain in the fastest and most convenient way and take care of all the details. You just have to focus on the visiting.

Independent Travel

  • By Bus:
    1. Take bus No. 215, 229 or 323 from the city center to Chang’an Bus Station (or Weiqu Nan, Xizhai). Then change to bus No. 4-04 and get off at the last stop.
    2. Take bus No. 500 from Xi’an Railway Station and get off at Nanwutai (South Wutai Mountain) Station.
  • By Metro:
    Take Metro Line 2 and get off at Weiqu Nan Station. Get out from Exit A. Walk north for around 4 minutes to reach Xizhai Shizi Station and change to bus No. 500 or 4-04. Get off at the last stop.
  • By Shuttle Bus:
    Take Huanshan Tour Line 2 to South Wutai Mountain on the east side of the north square of the Big Wild Goose Pagoda in Xi ‘an.

Best Time to Visit

South Wutai Mountain has beautiful scenery all year round. Viewed from the foot of the mountain, the five mountains stand like a pen rack, and can be seen in a glance. The distance is 7 miles (12.5 kilometers), beginning at bamboo valley, the entrance to Datai Peak, with many streams and valleys along the way. The mountain is a great botanical garden. There are more than one thousand verdant plants spreading throughout the valleys, including many rare and valued species, such as special living fossil, Cyathea spp, Ophioglossum thermale, buckeye, and Magnolia biondii Pamp. Chinese herbal medicine ingredients also abound in the area.

Main Attractions

In the mountain range are some unique natural attractions, such as Flowing Stream Rock, Lover Trees (Lian Li Zhi), Rhinoceros Rock. Besides, influenced by Buddhist culture, some Buddhist temples of different shapes and sizes were delicately built. Some famous temples include Sacred Longevity Temple (Shengshou Temple), Maitreya Temple, and White Clothes Temple.

  • Flowing Stream Rock
    In the mountain, there is a Flowing Stream Temple, which is one kilometer (3,200 feet) from the entrance. It is noted for the waterfall behind. The cascade has a height of 12 meters (39 feet), like a long silver-white silk belt flying over the cliff. Particularly in summer, it can bring cool air to the visitors and ease visitors’ tiredness.
  • Lover Trees
    Near the bamboo forest stands two old oaks, which look like two lovers embracing. By implied meaning, people express the longing for pure and faithful love.
  • Rhinoceros Rock
    As if sleeping beside the cliff, Rhinoceros Rock takes up a prominent location above Solitary Pine Tower, in the middle of the mountain. This amazing spot is very special, magical, because its image changes when appreciated from different angles.
  • Sacred Longevity Temple (Shengshou Temple)
    Located in Taisi Valley, Shengshou Temple is the largest and oldest on the mountain. It was built in 601-604 in Sui Dynasty (581-618). Throughout the intervening 1,400 years, the temple has been destroyed many times, and reconstructed again and again. Today, it has a total area of more than 9,000 square meters (2 acres). Within the temple grounds, stands the square, seven-layer Scared Longevity Tower, which is 23-meter-high (75-feet-high) and was the earliest surviving Buddhist tower in Xi’an city. It is said that the well-known Big Wild Goose Pagoda was built on the basis of its style. In front of the temple stand towering larches that were sent by the former Prime Minister of Japan Tanaka Kakuei. Besides, the temple complete with ancient stone tablets, and monuments depict important figures of early Chinese history.
  • White Clothes Temple
    Guan Yin, or ‘Born of the Lotus’, is a deity known across all Asia as ‘the Goddess of the Mercy’. She is usually depicted wearing white clothes, as in this temple built in dedication to her. It is said that the hall was built in Sui Dynasty. Journey across the Flowing Stream Rock, along the bamboo forest, and walking from the Guojiang Tower, one can see White Clothes Temple covered in trees, as if protecting her modesty.
  • Maitreya Temple
    It is said that the Maitreya Temple, situated at the foot of the mountain, was built in Sui Dynasty. The temple, surrounded by green mountains, is very majestic and secluded. Inside, the visitor is welcomed by Chinese parasol trees, weeping willows, and fresh flowers. The temple consists of five halls that enshrine many Chinese Buddha figures. The wall of the temple is carved with Arhats and surrounded by colorful paintings.

Recommended Visiting Routes

Climb the natural forest belt (pass by Xilin Villa)⇒ Doushuai Platform⇒ Guanyin Platform (Yuanguang Temple)⇒ Wenshu Platform⇒ Qingliang Platform⇒ Lingying Platfoem⇒ Xinglong Temple Site (not open, but can take the slide down to Zizhu Forest)⇒ Zizhu Forest ⇒ Black Tiger Hall⇒ parking lot to return.

Nearby Attractions

Useful Travel Tips

  • There are 10 kilometers (6 miles) from the ticket office to the entrance of the mountain. Visitors can take the shuttle bus (CNY 20 for a single trip) from near the ticket office. If you are a hiking lover, the trek will take you about two to three hours. In the mountain, one can stay and have meals in Shengbaoquan Villa and Solitary Pine Tower.
  • From June 1st to 19th according to Chinese lunar calendar, a temple fair will be held. People from all over China, and beyond, will congregate to pray for their family, and health in the temples. Monks will perform ancient Buddhist activities.
  • Accommodation: If you need accommodation, some hotels nearby are recommended: Landiss Holiday Hotel, Xi ‘an Wenping Express Hotel, Xi ‘an Tianliang Hotel, Youting Mountain Hotel, etc.
  • The scenic area telephone: 029-86397666