Rising to a height of more than 3,280 feet, Mount Lao (Lao Shan) is just as scenic—though not as famous— as Shandong neighbour Mount Tai. A place of pilgrimage for centuries, the craggy slopes of Laoshan once boasted nine palaces, eight temples, and 72 convents. Most have been lost over the years, but those remaining are worth seeking out for their elegant architecture and stirring sea views. With sheer cliffs and cascading waterfalls, Laoshan is the source of the country's best-known mineral water (a vital ingredient in the local brew, Tsingtao). It's possible to see the mountain's sights as a day trip. Tourist buses to Laoshan leave from the main pier in Qingdao, or hop on to public bus 304. Mount Lao is 40 km (25 miles) east of Qingdao.