In a display of one of China’s many baffling paradoxes, hallowed Wudang Shan is not actually considered one of China “Five Sacred Taoist Mountains,” but it is somehow known as the nation’s number one Taoist Mountain (perhaps this is meant to reflect the dual nature of yin and yang). In any case, mighty Mount Wudang is one of Hubei’s most sacred gems.
Renowned as the birthplace of tai chi and sacrosanct in martial arts communities around the planet, Wudang has one of the most venerated histories in all of China, and its legends of martial arts masters, quirky hermits and wandering immortals has made its mysticism beyond comparison. That’s why the mountain’s blatant and seemingly unrepentant commercialism is so disappointing. There’s little doubt that Wudang is worth your visit while in Hubei, espeicially if you have any inclination towards Chinese metaphysics, Taoism or martial arts, just be ready for hordes of souvenir hawkers to all but outnumber the chanting Taoists here.
Most of the tourism in Shiyan County is geared towards Wudang Shan, but if you’re looking to avoid some of the crowds and want to find your own mountain, Shiyan has a few other choices. As for Wudang Mountain, it’s split into seven individual zones, each with a dozen or more sites. Viewing all seven zones in one day is impossible, so give yourself three to four days if you want to tackle them all.