As of May, 2010, there are 3 express trains per day, which take about 3hr and a half journeys from Beijing South railway station to Tai Shan railway station. The fare of standard class is 176 yuan. And the train is fast, clean and comfortable.
There are other 9 regular trains from Beijing railway station (main) stop at Tai Shan railway station. The travel time of regular trains varies from 5 hours to 9 hours. Some of them are night trains, which depart from Beijing at midnight. Not only on night trains, both sleeper and seat services are available on all the regular trains. The fare of air conditioned seat service is around 80 yuan, while of the sleeper service is around 150yuan.
Train tickets could be bought from all rail stations, as well as hundreds of other ticket sale agencies around the city. Buying from an agency, you need to pay a 5 yuan administration fee per ticket. Normally, your hotel may book for you, but may ask for a higher administration fee. Tickets could not be booked online. BE AWARE that in the rush season, it is sometimes possible that a seat ticket doesn't have seat reserved. In this case, it may be hard for you to find a seat on board. So please buy the ticket in advance.
Although it is not recommended, it is still possible to take the plane from Beijing to Jinan. At the Jinan airport, there are regular buses go to Tai'an directly. Long-distance coaches are also available from Beijing to Tai'an, which are slower, but more expensive than train services - So only choose it when no train tickets available.
From Tai Shan, Express train services covers some provinces and major cities in the eastern part of China, like Beijing, Shanghai, Shenyang, Tianjin, Zhengzhou, Nanjing, Jinan and Qingdao.
Trains run regularly from Qingdao to Tai'an and take 6 hours while costing ¥56-65 one way. Express trains also run from Qingdao and take only 3.5 hours, though the ticket price jumps to ¥148. As of July 2009, express trains only leave from Qingdao at 6AM and 10:30AM. Purchasing your train ticket in advance is a must during busy season, unless you don't mind standing in the aisle for the entire trip. Both the regular and express trains pass through Jinan. Alternatively, you can also take a bus from Qingdao's Sifang long-distance bus station. The trip takes 6 hours and costs ¥116. Unfortunately, it is virtually impossible to figure out the bus schedule without going to the bus station (there is no number to call and nobody in town seems to be familiar with the schedule), but Sifang is a short cab ride from town (only about ¥12-15 from the train station).
Taxis from the Tai'an train station are available to the foot of the trails up Tai Shan and cost about ¥7 (Taishan Bus Station) to ¥10 (Red Door). A brisk walk experiencing some of the culture and atmosphere of the city is a wonderful option for those wanting to warm up for the hike up the mountain itself.
The hike to the top of Tai Shan is an experience of beautiful sites with flora and fauna as well as a rich history of the mountain. Hiking by foot, though physical in nature, is very achievable and is regularly accomplished by people of all ages. There are multiple paths up the mountain with the main path being bricked the entire length making it relatively safe. An added benefit of the hike to the top is the lore that anyone climbing Tai Shan will live 100 years.
Alternatively, buses are available to the mid-way point and are available 24 hours (¥30). A cable car is available for the remainder of the distance to the top. The cable car is open between 6:30am-5:30pm, although unpublished it may be open longer during peak times. (¥140 roundtrip, ¥80 single ride)
If you are interested in seeing the sunrise (a very popular activity) you will need to hike up the stairs at night or stay overnight on top.
Tai Shan is very popular to Chinese visitors. This means it is often covered with tourists and the vendors that follow them. There are many nice paths up the mountain but the main climb is sometimes crowded with everything from beggars, to chickens, to monkey on chains that you can pose for pictures with.