Friday, January 3, 2020

Huangshan: The Most Beautiful Mountain in China

Huangshan is said to be the most beautiful mountain in all of China. Known for its striking sunrise and sunset and jaw dropping scenery, it's not surprising for this mountain to attract a lot of visitors. And when I found out that this was part of our itinerary last March, I was excited to step foot in what bested the other gorgeous mountains in the country. 

Hello, Huangshan
Huangshan or Yellow Mountain has been regarded by many as the prettiest mountain in China. In fact, it was tagged as a UNESCO Heritage Site. Such reputation definitely piqued my interest and made me excited for our quick trip in the area. 
Since our whole trip was arranged by a travel agency, we had no problem with getting to Anhui province from Shanghai
Huangshan seems to be quite strict with the number of vehicles entering its premises that we had to take a short hike (about 10 minutes) from the bottom of the mountain till the cable car area. We did notice a few buses entering though to bring visitors to the entrance.
We were handed two tickets by our tour guide when we reached the Cloud Valley Cable Car section. One ticket was for admission while another was for the cable car. Admission fee varies depending on the date of visit. Ours was 190 RMB. It costs 150 RMB when you visit between December 20 to January 21. Cable car rides are a bit costly at 80 RMB per way. But this is perfect for travelers with tight schedule or are not very physically fit. 
The cable ride takes about 10 minutes and covers 1.7 miles. (It would take visitors an average of 3 hours to reach the end of the cable car if they opt to hike.)
The ride alone was already scenic as we saw a lot of beautiful granite peaks embraced by clouds. It's no wonder why this mountain is often used as the muse of many photographers and poets. 
I still wonder though how the small rocks balancing on top of other rocks were placed. Were these placed naturally or someone actually went up to do it?
Since we were staying at Huangshan for the night (at a mountain hotel), we had to pack light as we had to take an hour long hike up and down the mountain to reach our hotel. 
Find the monkey
We did get to stop by some areas before reaching our hotel. Some spots worth checking out are Begin to Believe Peak and Monkey Gazing at the Sea (of clouds, that is).
We also tried to get a glimpse of the sunset but we were too slow walking to the peak that we missed it. 
Tired from the hike, I totally forgot to take a photo of our room at Beihai Hotel. It was pretty basic with limited toiletries. But I was surprised that its internet is pretty reliable.
Plus points for the dinner buffet which offers a good variety of dishes. There was even a dessert section with yummy Chinese candies!
To make up for missing sunset, we made sure to wake up early morning for the sunrise
I was so glad that our hotel offered thick jackets for us to wear as it came in handy to face the freezing mountain weather.
We went out around 5:15 a.m. and it was still pitch dark outside. We had to use our phones' flashlight to guide us to the view deck. However, there it was already a bit crowded when we got there. Thankfully, R found a nice spot in between the lower and higher view deck.
And it was magical
Before heading back to the cable car, we explored the other side of the mountain and took a 2 hour hike up and down the area. We were promised a better view of Huangshan. But I think I've seen enough granite peaks for me to appreciate the other site we had to take thousands of steps to reach. 
Our walk back was just as tiring. The countless steps up and down definitely helped us burn a lot of calories.
Huangshan is without a doubt beautiful. It is highly recommended to spend the night there to witness its beautiful sunrise. The only downside of staying here is that everything's overpriced. Water costs triple to quadruple from how much you'd get it from the city. Then again, all these products are brought up by porters too as only a small of the mountain is accessible by cable car.
How to get to Huangshan:
One thing I love about China's mountains is how accessible it is to many. With China's efficient public transportation, you can have an epic weekend, pretty much every week! 
Located 410 kilometers from Shanghai, Huangshan is a 5 hour drive from Pudong International Airport, Shanghai. We rode a tourist bus to get to the mountain range but there are other options via air or train. 
If you opt to go via air, you can take bus number 19 from Huangshan Airport to the Passenger Transport Terminal. There, you can take the regular bus to the Huangshan Mountain Scenic Area. The bus fare is about 20 RMB per person. You may also opt to take taxi with an estimated fare of 200 RMB. 
Alight from Huangshan North Railway Station if you take the bullet train then take the tour bus situated in the front square. Bus schedules are from 8:00 a.m. to 8:20 p.m.. You may also take the taxi from the station to bring you to Huangshan for an estimated fare of 160 RMB.
There are also several long distance buses in several cities that would bring you to Huangshan. 

To book your accommodation at Beihai Hotel, click here.

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