This week, I had the chance to visit China’s renowned mountain range and UNESCO World Heritage Site – Yellow Mountain 黄山, together with a few of my friends. The scenery that I was presented with throughout the hike was absolutely spectacular and breath-taking!
Our trip kick-started on a really interesting note because we arrived at the train station (杭州东站) minutes late for our train scheduled to leave at 8am. Thankfully, we managed to change our tickets to a later timing and our excitement for the trip was not short-lived.
The departure hall was beaming with people as we ease ourselves through in search for breakfast. There were quite a number of food options in the waiting area – KFC, McDonalds, Pizza Hut and more. After grabbing some food, we entered the boarding gates to the platform to wait for our train to arrive.
The seats on the train was spacious and comfortable, even more so than the economy class seats onboard a plane! The interior was classy and there was sufficient space to move about. The train ride was smooth, comfortable and we arrived at Huangshan station (黄山北站) in an hour and forty-five minutes.
Upon exiting the train station, we proceeded to the scenic bus station to board a bus that will bring us to the tourist distribution centre.
At the centre, we purchased entry tickets to Mt. Huangshan (TIP: Show your ZJU student card to enjoy the discounted price at 95yuan which is half of the original price), internal shuttle bus and cable car tickets. We also rented a tent and sleeping bags for 3 people at one of stalls close to the centre. The owner offered to rent us at 190yuan but we managed to lower the price to 130yuan. (TIP: Bargain to get a better price. I’m sure it could be lower actually so try to bargain more haha)
There are 2 routes up the mountain – one from the front through Mercy Light/Ciguang Pavilion (慈光阁), and the other from the back through Yungu temple (云谷寺). The hike from the front of the mountain is tougher than that from the back as the steps were much steeper.
We decide to start from the front of the mountain so that we were able to hike to the highest peak first before making our way to our sleeping area closer to where we can watch the sunrise in the morning. Upon reaching Mercy Light Pavilion, we took the Jade Screen Cableway (玉屏索道) up to where we began our hike up to Lotus Peak (莲花峰). When we got out of the cable car, we were greeted with our first picturesque view :”) !!
After an hour and a half of hike up infinite steep flights of stairs, we arrived at Lotus peak – the highest peak of Mt. Huangshan. It was foggy and we were not able to catch much view up there but of course, we had to take a mandatory shot with the iconic stone carving of the height we ascended 😊.
We then made our way towards Beihai Scenic Area (北海景区) where we hiked across the Heavenly Sea towards the camping site outside of Baiyun Hotel (白云宾馆). The view throughout the hike was absolutely stunning and certainly invigorated us to continue hiking. Here are some of my favorite shots:
We also managed to catch a glimpse of the sunset!
After a short hike, we finally arrived at the campsite where many have already set up their tents for the night. There were traditional performances ongoing right outside the hotel and the area was bustling with people! A group that we met along the way helped us to set up our tent. Their help once again proved to me how generous and friendly the Chinese are and I really do look up to them for that. With their help, we managed to ease into the night much more quickly.
After our tent was set up, we were famished! We went on a search for dinner but only to find out that the hotel’s buffet was our only legitimate food option. However, as it cost 140yuan, we decided on a budget dinner comprising of bread and loads of biscuits from the mart beside the hotel to tide us through the night.
The night was chilly as the temperature hovered around 12 -13℃. 2 layers of clothing accompanied with snuggling in a sleeping bag was certainly not sufficient to have a good night’s sleep, so do bring along more clothing if you are planning to camp overnight on the top of the mountain.
Soon, it was 3.30am. We washed up, packed up and continued our hike to Bright Summit Peak (光明顶). At this time, despite it still being dark, there were already a considerable number of people hiking up to the peak. When we arrived, many have already secured a spot near the railings of the peak which were the best positions to catch the sunrise without anyone blocking. (TIP: Go earlier, preferably 45min – 1 hour before sunrise to get a good spot). We were lucky to find some empty spots and we sat there waiting for the sun to rise. In the meantime, the morning wind was terribly cold so do wear thicker clothes up there or the wait will be painful.
The sunrise was magnificent! Nothing beats watching it directly so do pay a visit to 光明顶 to watch it first-hand!
After watching the sunrise, we continued on our hike down to Yungu Cableway. The cable car ride lasted for about 10 minutes before we were finally back down on ground-level!
As it was still early, we decided to make our way to other famous tourist areas in Huangshan – Hongcun Ancient Village (宏村). It took us a 30-40 min bus ride from the tourist distribution centre to the village. Upon arriving, we had lunch at a local noodle shop, where we met a really friendly shop owner who was delighted to have us patronizing her shop. She talked about her past visitors and even told us what’s nice to see here at the village.
After lunch, we went on to the ticket booth but to our disappointment, we were not able to get the student price for the entrance ticket. Since, we were all exhausted from the Mt. Huangshan hike, we decided not to purchase the tickets and instead just walk around the area to see what it offers. It’s a really beautiful place but the constant approach by the locals every few minutes, asking us where we are going in hope that we would hop onto their vehicles for a tour or ride to our destination can be quite disturbing.
We also tried their local produce – baked biscuits with preserved mustard vegetable and meat filling (梅菜扣肉烧饼). It was savory and delicious but a little too oily.
Finally, it was time to return back and this marks the end of my 2D1N trip to Huangshan!
So many first experiences throughout this trip and I’m glad to have embarked on them with good company! Here’s to many more adventures in the upcoming weeks! 😊