It is not a secret that China is home to some of the most ravishing mountains there is and unlike the big cities as Beijing, Shanghai or Shenzhen, Huangshan has the perk of having the most famous mountain belong to its city plus all the greenery around it. It was such a refreshing two day trip for everywhere you look there’s green and plenty of flora and fauna. The variety of plants and the shapes of each leaf, such perfection should not be ignored. I’ve actually seen pine trees on the way to the top of the mountain that I’ve only seen on television. The mountain, oh, the Yellow Mountain, is breathtakingly gorgeous.
I was currently on our first day of an impromptu backpacking trip to Yunhe to see one of the most hyped rice terraces in China, when one of my girls from Malaysia, Yanna, was already planning our trip to the Yellow Mountains in the beautiful province of Anhui. Wednesday evening we started our 11-hour train ride to Huangshan City. Thursday came and we were so excited to begin our journey. Arriving at our hotel, we could already see one of the cone-shaped mountains peeking through the buildings. It was so refreshing to see such view. Despite our long ride in a very bad condition on that train where we could smell the smoke of cigarettes. People chattering late at night, high pitched cries of a child and the tiny space you have between each seat.
The first week of October is a very crowded and busy time to travel. Especially within China as it is the celebration of their independence, also known as the Chinese National Holiday. But that didn’t stop me and my girls on going to a 2-day backpacking trip to see one of the many famous mountains in China, the Yellow Mountains (黄山). It is also the nearest mountain from Shanghai.
How to get to Huangshan from Shanghai:
I usually travel by train around China because it’s fast and comfortable. More importantly, you can also see some gorgeous landscapes along the way. But this time, since it’s the National Holiday, the second class seats and/or the fast speed trains that take about 3 hours and costs 300+ yuan are all booked out. We only got to book a hard seat. It was a 10 to 11-hour ride instead for 93 yuan. From Huangshan station to our hotel, which is at the foot of Mt. Huangshan, is an hour taxi drive and costs about 150 yuan.
I and my friends stayed at a hotel that we booked from Agoda, located at the foot of the mountain. You can also book hotels at the mountain. If you would like to explore more and see the sunrise early in the morning or the sunset in the afternoon. The cost of the hotels varies from ¥200-¥2000 per night.
What to Do:
- Mount Huangshan
Stand in awe as you witness the beauty of Mount Huangshan or the Yellow Mountain, a UNESCO world heritage and one of the top scenic spot in China. Most mountain paintings you see at a souvenir shop in China is actually inspired by this one for it is very famous throughout Chinese art history. I suggest riding the gondola down and hike up the mountain as it will take at least 3 hours to get to the viewpoint whilst queuing for the gondola is as much as the time spent on climbing and is a total waste of time standing on the queue. The gondola’s line descending the mountain is actually shorter. Also, buy food from the foot of the mountain. There were only chips and such snacks sold at the top.
Cost: ¥21 (one way) shuttle bus from Tangkou to Yungu Cableway; entrance fee of ¥230 applies (off-season entry fee is ¥150, e.g. early December), a 50% discount is available for students with IDs and seniors. (¥35 discount offseason) This discount is also available to foreign students. The fee is paid inside the scenic area near where the shuttle bus drops off; Cable car fees of ¥80 each way (¥65 off-season).
Tip: There is a viewpoint near the exit of the gondola, go climb down the stairs, stand in front of the rail and do the Titanic pose. Although do not lean too much or else you’ll feel like falling instead of flying. It’s scary but feels great!
- Nine Dragons Waterfall
Arriving in Huangshan City at around 8 AM, we didn’t have enough time or better to say it is not early enough to start the journey by going to the mountains so we decided to tour some worthy sights around the place. Our hotel helped us book a driver who would take us to the Nine Dragons Waterfall and The Emerald Valley. It is about an hour or fewer hikes to the top to see the main waterfalls. Along the way, you can also try the Smelly Tofu (臭豆腐） sold on small stands inside the park.
- The Emerald Valley
The Emerald Valley, also known as the Valentines Valley is located on the east side of Huangshan. Water runs down from the Liandan Peak and the Beginning to Believe Peak. This scenic area is about 6000m long, full of many kinds of colourful ponds, about several hundred in number, with some big and some small.
- Huangshan Hot Spring Resort
It’s a natural hot spring that is located on the foot of the mountain. The entrance fee costs 298 yuan. The hot spring was unplanned (so was everything on this trip) but is definitely a good way to relax after the slightly unbearable train ride especially at night as there are lesser guests. The bus that takes you back to the city leaves at 10 PM. Although it is quite pricey for the normal hot springs, the service is exquisitely good and the staffs are really friendly, especially the Auntie’s that would attend to your immediate needs.
- Hongcun Village
We didn’t actually get to see this UNESCO heritage site because of our time shortage. Still, it should be on the list of what you must see when visiting Huangshan city.
READ MY FIRST BLOG ABOUT HANGZHOU HERE!
Nine Dragons Waterfall
Yellow Mountain View Point