During Chinese public holiday it’s best to stay in Shanghai because it’s going to be crowded everywhere you go. So when told my friends that Joop and I will be going to Huangshan, they warned me that we will only see heads of the people. Despite of this and gloomy weather forecast, we still decided to go for it thinking we will never travel if we think of all these excuses.
Huangshan Mountain is one of famous destination for even Chinese , where it’s located at the south end of Anhui Province (安徽). Already preparing trip, gave us thrill just thinking of get out of city and enjoy nature.
Flights were already fully booked so we had 3 options with transportation. Night train takes 13hours (from 17:45 to 06:55 next day-264RMB), Public long distance bus takes 6 hours, or joining tour group (1350 per person). As we hate to follow flag and train seems too long, we decided to go for a bus. Bus departs from Shanghai South Bus station, located at 666shilong road (near shanghai south railway station-Line 1/3). Luckily we purchased last 2 tickets of 07:58. (Time table of bus SH->Huangshan=06:28, 07:58, 10:12, 14:14, 148RMB)
NOTE: Bus will first arrive at Tunxi- downtown of Huangshan city and then Tangkou- nearby Huangshan Mountain. If you want to go to Huangshan straight, need to get off @ Tangkou!
Bus took longer time than we expected (about 7.5 hours including 30min of lunch break) but still did not kill our excitement. In the bus we met nice Chinese people from Tunxi, who gave us lots of tips that we actually changed whole route that we originally planned.
We arrived at Tangkou bus terminal around 4pm and immediately took local bus to Huangshan entrance. Ticket booth is right outside bus terminal station. Ticket costs 19RMB and takes about 20-30 min to get you to Yungushi(云谷寺站) or any other enterence you would like to go. Note:Bus wouldn’t leave until it’s full.
We would have climbed all the way up, however since it was getting dark and started to rain, we decided to take cable car. Cable car cost 80RMB and Entrance is 230RMB (peak season, and you get discount if you have student card)
Our route was;
04:00 arrival of Tangkous bus terminal–>Bus to Yungushi(云谷寺站)–>04:30 take cable car to baielingzhan(白鹅岭站)–>Shuqin (竖琴松)–> heihusong (黑虎松) –> beihai (北海)à xihai (西海)–> 07:00 Paiyunlou (排云楼)
Chinese said from Baielingzhan to Paiyun lou will take about 1 hour of walking, but we were busy taking photo and enjoying the view on the way, so took us about 2hours to get to our base camp. Later on I realized, Chinese people tend to overestimate with walking time.
Hotel on the top of the mountain is expensive where most of room is over 1000RMB and price differ depends on season. Due to holiday season, all the room was fully booked yet we found better option which was borrowing a tent, which we find it romantic. Paiyunlou rent tents and can reserve in advance. (250 RMB per tent including hot drinking water and blankets) It was very convenient, because tent was located right next to Paiyunlou hotel, can use hotel toilet and able to get some information except there was no shower system. Also you can bring your own tent and set up next to hotel (30RMB) or can sleep in a big hallway in the hotel, where they provide just mattress and hot water for 200RMB.
Next morning we woke up at 4am to see the sunrise, which was the reason why we decided to stay on top of the mountain.
2nd day route:
04:30 climb to Danxiafeng (丹霞峰) Can enjoy sunrise view it’s only 20min walking from Paiyunlou hotel. –> Paiyunlou (排云楼)–> feilaishi(飞来石)–> Guangmingding(光明顶)–> Tianhai (天海)–> Baibuyunti (百步云梯)–> Aoyufeng (鳌鱼峰)–> Lianhuafeng (莲花峰)–> Yubinglou(玉屏楼)–> Yubingzhan (玉屏站)–> Yingkesong (迎客松)–> Back to Yubingzhan (玉屏站) to take cable car–>Ciguanggezhan (慈光阁站)
Hiking From Paiyunlou (排云楼) to Yingkesong (迎客松) took about 6 hours. Baibuyunti (百步云梯)à Aoyufeng (鳌鱼峰)à Lianhuafeng (莲花峰) was the most difficult part of hiking yet it is totally worth it!
We were very lucky with weather-not too hot not too cold. It was foggy and cloudy time to time but did not mind, since it made even more mysterious feeling of mountain.
Funnily it turned out this route and timing was perfect. Because we started late afternoon, we did not had to wait for cable car while during the day you can wait max 2 hours queuing for cable car. The next day we started our day very early (4:30 am!) mountain was much quiet with less people. By the time other people and tour groups were waiting for cable to climb, we were out of the mountain. No need for queuing and that makes big difference in saving time especially in China. (Sometimes you have to wait an hour just to get an entrance ticket)
We were done with hiking by lunch time and able to buy 15:30 bus ticket back to Shanghai. Meanwhile we enjoyed nice lunch and food massage nearby bus terminal station.
Some TIPs for exploring Huangshan:
- Carry food and water as much as you can. On the mountain everything is 10times more expensive than usual price. So 1RMB water will cost 10RMB up there. It is reasonable price consider that everything is still carried up by human starting from garbage to even cement to build stairs. I wonder how they carried bed for the hotels!
- Map is very convenient and when you are lost, Chinese (especially people with flag or microphone) will kindly tell you the direction. For planning you can see the link below but better to buy map at the spot (5RMB)
- Walking stick and glove can be useful. Since most of walking path is stairs and very steep, stick is very helpful (5~20RMB). Some stairs are too steep and narrow; I constantly need to touch rails and rocks for the balance.
- If you stay in tent and sensitive to noise, recommend to bring ear plug. If you are close to young group of Chinese students, you won’t be having any sleep. For reserving tent, you can contact 0559-5581558
- If you are going to watch Sunrise in the morning, flash light is necessary. Sunrise time would differ by season but it is 5:30 in May
- If 6.5 hours of bus drive is too long, then consider going to Hangzhou (45min fast train from Shanghai) and get bus (4hours) from there.