Recently, I visited the Yellow Mountain in Anhui province. I didn’t hold many expectations for this trip, I just wanted to get out of the city and back to nature.
My expectations were smashed and obliterated. Huangshan should be a priority for everyone to visit when they are in China!
We took a train from Shanghai (around 5 or 6 hours on the fast train) and stayed in the town near the base of the mountain for a night before climbing the mountain the next day. There really isn’t much to do in the town; there are some local restaurants and not a lot else. (if you stay here before ascending the mountain, make sure you stock up on water and energy supplies).
We took a bus to visit the Jade Valley (around 30 minutes from the town). If you like forests, lakes and walking, then I’d recommend doing this. It was so peaceful – a definite change from the busy city of Shanghai. Peaceful atmosphere, beautiful views and hardly any people.
We started relatively early on our climb up the mountain; getting a bus from the main station to the base of the mountain. You can choose to climb up the mountain or take a cable car. We chose the stairs.
The views on the way up are pretty incredible. You’re surrounded by lakes and waterfalls, trees and flowers. We hiked up for around five hours before deciding to take “the road less traveled”, and taking the alternative route around the side of the mountain to get to the top. This bypass took an extra 2-3 hours, and was well worth it.
Not for the fainthearted, some points on this route involved climbing stairs so steep and eroded we had to hoist ourselves up using our hands and feet, and entering archways we struggled to fit through. In some places, the walls are crumbling and you teeter scarily close to the edge.
We definitely didn’t expect our hike to take eight hours. We found our hotel at the top of the mountain just as the sun was setting and we were engulfed in a ghostly fog. The food at the top of the mountain was mostly locally sourced and fresh, and pretty good replenishment after an exhausting day.