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Anhui : Huangshan
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(Trail Closures)
(Trail Closures)
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* Celestial Capital Peak trail is closed until 2014 (a 5 year closure that started in 2009).
 
* Celestial Capital Peak trail is closed until 2014 (a 5 year closure that started in 2009).
 
* The Xihai Grand Canyon is closed from the end of the 2nd loop.
 
* The Xihai Grand Canyon is closed from the end of the 2nd loop.
* The entire Xihai Grand Canyon area is closed every winter from December 1st to around the beginning of April. Some closures may apply till the end of April when the new cableway to the bottom of the canyon opens.
 
  
 
===Trail Maps===
 
===Trail Maps===

Revision as of 05:54, 21 June 2013

Huangshan (黄山; Huángshān; lit.: Yellow Mountain) is in Anhui Province in China. It is on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Contents

Understand

The distinctive peaks of Huangshan

Huangshan is a granite massif consisting of 36 separate peaks, rising above 1,800 m. Famous throughout Chinese artistic history, Huangshan represents the typical mountain in Chinese paintings. Frequently shrouded in mist, the many peaks appear to float on clouds and have very fanciful names such as 18 Arhats Worshipping the South Sea, Lotus Flower Peak, Celestial Capital, Paint Brush, etc.

Landscape

Jagged granite peaks clothed in uniquely shaped pine trees create a spectacular landscape of great interest to artists and photographers. The development of walking tracks and cable cars makes this landscape accessible to most active travelers.

Flora and fauna

Over 1,450 kinds of plant are found within the Park. The most spectacular tree is the unique Pinus huangshanensis which grows precariously clinging to rock faces. Many of the trees have names such as the Welcoming Guest and the Seeing-off Guest Pines. Carpinus, Cornus, Enkianthus, Fraxinus, Rhododendron and Weigelia are some of the species of flowering tree to be seen. 470 species of animals have been recorded. The most frequently seen ground animals are squirrels and small skinks.

Climate

Cold at night, (think: 1,800 m above sea level). Dangerously slippery ice on paths in winter.

Get in

By plane

The nearest domestic airport is at Tunxi, about an hour drive from the base of the mountain, the flight to Shanghai Hongqiao is less than one hour. Taxi from the airport to Laojie in downtown Tunxi is ¥30 (2013) which is high for the distance but agreed by the local drivers.

By train

The nearest station is at the town of Tunxi, but the station is actually called Huangshan. There is an overnight train from Shanghai that takes about 13 hours, which is far longer than a direct bus, but it does save a night at a hotel, so it is a popular option.

By bus

Frequent direct buses run from Shanghai and Hangzhou. The buses from Hangzhou run either to Huangshan City (nearly two hours away) or direct to Tangkou (close to the base of the mountain). The buses to Tangkou are less regular, but easy to catch if you phone up the bus station and get a timetable. Getting back, make sure to get your tickets in advance, Tangkou bus station often sells most of its seats via hotels.

Fees/Permits

An entry fee of ¥230 applies (off-season entry fee is ¥120, e.g. early December), a 50% discount is available for students with IDs and seniors. If you take the tram to the top, it costs ¥80 each way. Prices for food are about twice as high on the top as they are on the bottom.

Get around

Unfortunately, the town of Huangshan is not too close to the actual Yellow Mountain. Taxi from the airport to the Xinyungu cable car is between ¥200 and ¥100 depending on your negotiating skills.

Alternatively, upon arrival at the train station, airport, or long-distance bus station, a convenient method of transportation is by bus to the small town of Tangkou. The bus ride to Tangkou takes about an hour, and offers great views of the rural Anhui Province. There are a great deal of buses located outside the train station, these should cost ¥15-20 for a one-way ticket.


From the town of Tangkou (汤口镇, TangKouZhen), at the foot of the mountain, a shuttle service operates every 20 minutes to the Hot Springs Area; Yuping Cable Car and Xinyungu (New Cloud Valley) Cable Car. Tangkou is quite walkable but taxis are available to scenic spots around the foot of the mountain. You cannot go direct to the mountain entrance by taxi: only the National Express buses are allowed into the scenic area.

Once at the Tangkou bus station, the entrance to the Yellow Mountain Park is quite accessible. Travellers desiring a longer hike up the face of the mountian can embark from the town of Tangkou. For those wishing to ascend the mountain more rapidly, there are tour buses that depart from Tangkou to the cable car lifts, these are easily booked for about ¥20.

The actual ascent starts from the entrance to Huangshan mountain. There is around 20 minutes bus ride from Tangkou town to the entrance (and this distance is not recommended for site seeing, if you are not interested in road construction), you can easily get a bus for ¥19 in Tangkou Town.

Beware of scammers who try to cheat you with restaurant and public bus ticket offers.

Better take a taxi and drive to the western part of Tankou's city. There, near to the freeway station is the long distance bus station. Here you can buy the ticket without getting cheated. Bus ticket price back to shanghai was in april 2012 140rmb. Back to Hangzhou 100rmb.

Trail Closures

  • Celestial Capital Peak trail is closed until 2014 (a 5 year closure that started in 2009).
  • The Xihai Grand Canyon is closed from the end of the 2nd loop.

Trail Maps

Huangshan map
Hiking map showing distances and time to walk (not to scale)

See

Huangshan 12.jpg
The main entrance to the ancient village of Hongcun
  • Mount Huangshan. The main tourist destination is Mount Huangshan itself and the complex of paths rouund the peaks. The easy option is to take one of the cable cars up, either the Yungu New Cable way on the east side of the area or the Yuping Cable Way in the centre. There is also the Taiping Cable way from Songgu Nunnery near the bottom of the valley up to Purple Cloud Peak. All of these cable ways take about 15 minutes and cost about 80 RMB each way. You can get up to the mountains, do a good days walking around and get down again easily in one longish day. If you want to stay overnight, there are mountain top hotels within a fairly easy walk of the top station for each cable way. Yungu Cable way: delivers you near to Beihai and Shilin hotels. Yuping Cable way: delivers you near to Yupinglou Hotel. Taiping Cable way: delivers you near to Cloud Dispelling Hotel. If you are not very fit, you can take one of the sedan chairs in which you are carried by two porters. But most of the paths are well enough made for anyone to walk, even if they walk slowly. You can walk up if you are fit. From the Yuping Cable Car/Mercy Light Temple entrance the "Western Steps" lead up for about 14km over spectacular terrain. Allow 6-7 hours for the ascent. From the Yungu Cable Car carpark the ascent by the "Eastern Steps" is easier, taking as little as 2-3 hours. If you choose to descend by the Eastern Steps you can extend the hike by including the Nine Dragon Waterfall area (Jiulongpu) for an additional charge. Huangshan is most famous for its sun rise and sea of cloud at dawn. However, all these wonders are subject to weather condition. In off seasons, Mount Huangshan can be extremely foggy in the morning. Approach your hotel or hostel counters for some travel tips in this area, normally they are very experienced locals.
  • Zhuhai, (Buses do not run at night though, so if you want to go after 5PM, get a cab for ¥100-200.). Do not miss this nearby gorgeous valley covered with a bamboo forest. Some very nice restaurants and rustic inns you can stay in (preferable to Tunxi). ¥30.
  • Hongcun, (Buses do not run at night though, so if you want to go after 5PM, get a cab for ¥100-200.). Water village. Hongcun is slightly prettier than Xidi, but much more crowded; if pressed for time, you do not need to see both villages. Some very nice restaurants and rustic inns you can stay in (preferable to Tunxi). There is a charming little tea and coffee shop (real coffee) next to the central Moon Pond. ¥80.
  • Chengkan Ancient Village, (An ancient village showing the Yin-yang theory of traditional Chinese Philosophy). Chengkan village is one of the top attractions of Huangshan area, famous for its wonderfully preserved Ming Dynasty buildings and beautiful presentation, laid out in accordance with the eight diagrams of the I Ching. This is also a water village with clear streams alongside the paved paths inside the town. It's a maze, but delightful and not full of tourists and yelling guides. Take your time, and go outside the village to look back across the fields. There is a good hotel called 818 Country Club within the preserved area, and other hotel accommodation outside the preserved area. You can get a bus for the 30 kilometres to Chengkan from Tunxi city, or go by taxi for about 70 - 100RMB
  • Xidi, (Buses do not run at night though, so if you want to go after 5PM, get a cab for ¥100-200.). Water village. Some very nice restaurants and rustic inns you can stay in (preferable to Tunxi). ¥80.

Do

The main thing to do in Huangshan is walk around and take photographs of the scenery which is spectacular, beautiful, different and varying in appearance with every change of weather. The same view looks quite different by day in fine weather or with cloud, early morning or late evening.

The walkways in Huangshan mountain area are properly engineered 2m wide paved paths over the main routes from the cable car stations and probably on the steps up from the valleys. Handrails and parapets are done well, and that's a good thing because when you look over the side of some of these paths, you will see a long sheer drop. You'd better be willing to climb a lot of steps, and you'll be sharing these paths with a lot of other people including many loud tour guides. But it is really worth while making the effort, and the paths feel safe.

However. The hand-out map we were given shows paths which are not yet in existence and paths which are closed. If you are planning a walk based on a map, do try to find out whether you can actually do it.

Highly recommended is the walk to the Fairy Bridge near Baiyun Hotel in the centre of the mouuntain area. Peace and quiet (a rarity in China) and stunning scenery. It takes around 30-40mins to walk (the writer probably means from the Baiyun Hotel), at the bridge it is possible to then do the canyon walk which is great however it is closed every winter (approx: December 1st-April 1st). Still worth going to the fairy bridge and back with a good camera!

The walk down the Xihai Grand Canyon is excellent, but in 2013 you couldn't continue down to the bottom of the canyon. It looks a long way down, but actually you can do the two circuits and get back to Cloud Dispelling Hotel in one and a half to two hours.

Buy

An English language map is available in Tangkou and is worth purchasing as signage can be confusing. Many local couples buy padlocks and inscribe their names on them, then lock them to various places on top of the mountain. Others buy medals commemorating their successful summit of the peak.

In Tunxi, the most cited tourist destination is Laojie (old street with lots of souvenir shopping). This street is over commercialized and has little to offer over the more authentic ancient towns nearby (Hongcun, Xidi, both on the UNESCO World Heritage list). But it is near the airport and train station, and can be entertaining if you need to kill time before leaving town. The Laojie is a great place for buying high quality red, black and green tea at reasonable prices. Also worth a try is the tea tofu.

Eat

Food options are limited on the mountain. There are (expensive) restaurants in all the hotels but it is hard for a solo traveller to find cheap food. There are several small grocery stores selling snacks & drinks. Stinky tofu of a particularly stinky variety seems to be popular as well. On top of the mountain in peak season, water was ¥6-10, beer ¥10, meat sticks 3 for ¥10, instant noodles ¥10, cucumbers 2 for ¥6.

  • Laojie Diyilou (老街第一楼), 249 Laojie (老街249号). Bright, tastefully decorated restaurant with examples of the food so you know what you are ordering. Not high cuisine, but not bad and predictable! ¥50-70 per person.

Drink

Take plenty of water as the price rises steeply on the mountain (up to ¥10 per 600ml bottle). Local beer, such as Huangshan Beer (黄山啤酒), costs ¥10-20.

Sleep

On Huangshan, most tourists choose to stay overnight at one of several hotels in the Beihai region of the mountain to watch the sunset and sunrise. In Tangkou there are a lot of cheap hotels available for around ¥80. And there are also some options in Tunxi.

  • Beihai Hotel. Expensive hotel, and we were only offered dormitory style rooms. OK buffet restaurant but quite expensive. On the mountain top near the Shilin Hotel, about 1km from White Goose Ridge Cablecar station. Also has small tents where you get an airmatress, a filthy sleeping bag and an extra blanket, but no pillows, and there are no facilities, except for a public toilet, if you want a shower you can get one for extra money. 200-2000.
  • Baiyun Hotel. Expensive hotel, but well equipped modern rooms and a central location from which to walk. About 3km walking (lots of steps) from either White Goose Ridge new cablecar station or Yuping cablecar station. Food court nearby or breakfast 70RMB. 200-2000 RMB.
  • Yupinglou Hotel. Expensive hotel, but well equipped modern rooms. Restaurant. Only about 500 metres from the top of the Yuping Cableway though still lots of steps. Great views over the surrounding mountains and valleys. 200-2000.
  • Shilin Hotel. Also has a bunkhouse with very primitive facilities. On the mountain top near the BeiYai Hotel, about 1km from White Goose Ridge Cablecar station. ¥200-2,000 for doubles, ¥150-200 for dorms.
  • Other hotels on the mountain top. For completeness, the following hotels are also shown on the area map and you can probably find them through directories:- 1. Xilai Hotel (stylish and probably expensive). 2. Cloud Dispelling Hotel. 3. Dormitory style hotel next to the meteorology centre with the white dome that you can see from most areas of the mouuntain top.
  • Huangshan International Youth Hostel, Tangkou. Their food is not very good, but the rooms are cheap and clean with warm water and western toilets. They arranged various tours for us and were generally good. Rates start at less than ¥100 and peak out at ¥300 for a private room in peak season.
  • Huangshan Old Street International Youth Hostel, 266 Laojie. Based in Tunxi. Decent looking hostel. Great at helping organise transport to Huangshan area and accommodation on the mountain
  • Huangshan Tangkou Hotel, Tangkou (10 minutes by car from Huangshan South Gate), +86 559 5563366, [1]. Upmarket with comtemporarily furnished room. The place to stay if you want something classier and cleaner than your average china-run hotels. In house reasturant with good food also. They sometimes have a packaged deal that includes three nights of accommodation, airport pick up, free breakfast, and one complimentary lunch/dinner.


Camping

It is possible to camp on the top of the mountain for around ¥180, but conditions involve tightly-packed camping is on concrete flooring space in mist is so heavy that most wake up cold and wet. Dorm beds in a relatively clean place cost ¥200, which may be a better option.

Backcountry

Stay safe

Get out

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