My friends and I decide to travel to Anhui province to visit Huangshan mountain, Xidi and Hongcun villages in Autumn. This isn’t the first time I hike to Huangshan. At that time I went alone but this second time I go along with a couple of friends from Chinese class. I pair with Intan again like when we went to Suzhou & Tongli, but part ways for Xidi and Hongcun villages.
Our trip start with Huangshan mountain (黄山), famous for the beautiful granite cliffs, pine trees and sunrise. It inspired the gardens of Suzhou, Hangzhou and Shanghai areas. Writers and novelists write poems and painters ink paint about the majestic of the mountain. Huangshan is named after the Yellow Emperor, Huangdi (黄帝) in honor of the great Emperor whom legend said ascended to the Heaven from Huangshan.
The cliffs also inspired the animators and creators of the movie Avatar by James Cameron. Huangshan is named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1990 for its beauty and nature research for flora and fauna varieties native to the region.
Snake wine, I think. It’s in a restaurant where we have early lunch while waiting for the bus to take us the the Eastern Scenic area.
We leave Shanghai at 6 AM with with long distance bus from Shanghai South Bus Station to Tunxi (屯溪) Bus Station, a little outskirt of Tangkou (汤口镇). Bus ticket is 140 CYN amd the trip takes 3-4 hours. From Tunxi to Huangshan Mountain Scenic Area (黄山风景区), we take the National Express shuttle bus to the entrance Cloud Valley (云谷, Yúngǔ) cable station at the Eastern scenic area. The shuttle bus ticket is 20 CYN and the journey takes about 1 – 1 1/2 hours.
Normal ticket for the mountain pass is 230 CYN but since we’re technically students, we have 50% discount so we only pay for 115 CYN each. Alas, we still have to pay for the full amount riding the cable car for 80 CYN. I mention I go to Huangshan twice. The first time is going up without using the cable car and wanting to safe up that 80 CYN, but the second time with the cable car since I’m going with friends. The view is obviously different for both trips from the eastern side.
Going up via stone stairs
Right after the entrance we see the long, long, long way up the stairs. Let me tell you, hiking all these steps really sober you up after a night out of drinking with friends. The frigid icy crisps air knock you awake.
As mention above, Huangshan is mostly mountains and towers of rocks made of granite, plagioclase, quartz and biotite.
An Immortal, painting the way.
The day is almost over and I’m only 1/4 way. The mountains view is quite different from down here than up there with cable car. I didn’t get to see sunset at Beihai or the northern sea.
Going up with cable car
Obviously I prefer the cable car option even though we didn’t get to see the sunset. We save up time, our feet and of course we get to take photographs of the mountain range that made of Huangshan mountain.
Cloud Valley (云谷, Yúngǔ) cable station to White Goose Ridge station (白鹅岭站, Bái é lǐng zhàn).
Where to stay?
This is a mostly expensive bunk beds during peak season. Most hotels/guesthouses are fully booked. At night, the only option we get is either a bed with shared toilet and/or staying in a tent inside the hotel at Beihai hotel. It’s around 300 to 550 CYN a night per person. For the price, we only given thin blanket and no pillow. It’s a miserable cold night for me.
The Sunrise view made out the trip
At 4 AM we wake up and check out. Since I’m following my friends itinerary, we hike up to the Stone Monkey Gazing over the Sea of Clouds (猴子觀海).
In honestly, I prefer the first time I go alone up to see the sunrise at Bright Summit Peak (光明顶, Guāngmíng dǐng). Bright Summit is the second highest peak in Huangshan and closest from the Beihai hotel at 1860 m above the sea level. Granted, once the sun is a bit higher, we’re fighting for photo spot with the weekend’s tourists and tour groups.
Another thing to do, a pair of lovers/married couples can buy a padlock and attached it to any railing or a large nail together then throw away the key to the valley bellow. It is said that if no one find the key, the couple’s love will (hopefully) be ever lasting and strong like the mountains.
As the mist descent and the crowds are thinning, we decide to go down through the west scenic side. The weather is not predictable during autumn, sometimes it’s sunny and many time misty.
Turtle/Aoyu Peak (龟高峰, Guī gāofēng)
We go through several path ways between the hard granite walls to reach the viewing top at Turtle/Aoyu Peak (龟高峰, Guī gāofēng) at 1780 meters above sea level.
Right under the turtle’s neck
The mountain range view from Turtle peak
Going behind the mountain
One Hundred Ladders (百梯子, Bǎi tīzi) from our POV
The view along the way. The weather slightly cooler and misty.
Going up One Hundred Ladders or Ladders of the Cloud (梯子的云, Tīzi de yún). The steps are pretty steep and because of the mist, a little slippery.
Resting area. I just dig this monk’s outfit. So red among the pine trees. Woops, I’ve been spotted!
Schistosity belt, around 2-2.5 meters wide, formed to make way to the other side
This look like a Buddha Palm pointing upward
The rock formation from the side
Pine trees on the side, even grow from the granite
Another option going up with the two people carriage made from bamboo
Bellow are several landscape photos I took because the full view is breathtaking.
Jade Screen Peak (玉屏峰, Yùpíng fēng) and scenic/viewing area
Jade Screen Pavilion (玉屏亭, Yùpíng tíng) at 1.668 meter above sea level
Not sure what this is. I just take it because it’s ‘interesting’ phallic stone. Reminds me of my trip to Tongli and the Sex Museum. It’s all natural.
The famous Guest Greeting Pine (迎客松, Yíng kè sōng). The pine tree is like a host with two arms open to welcome guests. That is why it becomes the representation of Huangshan’s pines. It’s famously photograph, painted and inspired art decoration. It won an award by the China World Records Association as the “First Pine of China”.
Lovely autumn colors!
The descent from the Jade Screen Peak is quite easy after that. One or two hours tops. My friends and I went to separate ways while Intan decided to go back to Shanghai. I continue my journey to Xidi and probably met up with the others in Hongcun.