Hiking Huangshan | 萸山

China’s mountains hold an immense draw. Having moved to Shanghai and been city-bound initially by Covid-19 restrictions, finally getting out during golden week felt like a great adventure!

Mount Huang, or Huangshan (黄山) in Chinese, is one of the 5 sacred mountains.

I caught the bullet train for about $20 and arrived in Huangshan city after 3 and a half hours. From the train station there was an hour long bus journey to the small town of Tangkou, where my hotel was.

The hotel was a little more expensive than usual, about $50 a night, as golden week is a peak time to travel in China, but I chose a hotel so close to the edge of the National Park that it was convenient enough to get in and find transport to other areas of interest. It was also a very comfortable double, just for me!

I spent two days in Huangshan itself; on the first day the weather wasn’t so great, so although the clouds parted every now and then to reveal the landscapes I had been chasing, it wasn’t what I imagined…

I chanced another visit on my last day in the area… and I’m so glad I did. Despite bad weather at the bottom of the mountains staying pretty grey, I thought I’d risk it and try to get the views… and damn, was it worth it.

The cable car up into the national Park (80RMB) climbed up into the clouds… and finally popped out the other side. The clouds sank below, while steep, green peaks popped up all around, yes like they were floating.

The crowds can be pretty crazy during the holidays in China, and this was no exception. I tried to ‘go backwards’ around the routes.

I managed to climb all the peaks, including Lotus Peak, the highest peak, purple cloud peak and Mount Huang itself (although that was slightly disappointing and commercial).

It’s not exactly the natural bliss most outdoorsy people are after, but the views of the surrounding landscape are so beautiful that it really was worth braving the crowds.

One day the weather was pretty miserable, so instead of heading up into the clouds I decided to go to Nine Dragons waterfall in the morning…

Which included some walking along the river, with some small temples to explore along the way. Afterwards I jumped onto a bus to the small town of Hongcun.

This beautiful little traditional village was a surprise delight, with traditional architecture, wildflower meadows and delicious traditional food; it was a perfect afternoon for wet weather.

I had been slightly dubious about travelling solo in China, I’d been worrying that the language barrier might be a big challenge… but it was all surprisingly easy! I booked everything through Trip. com and managed to find so much vegetarian food that I was full the entire time, despite the hiking and hills!

Cost summary

  • Hotel: Qiyun Shanju Hotel 2, 348RMB for 5 nights
  • Bullet train: 190RMB each way
  • Bus to Tangkou: 40RMB each way
  • Huangshan NP ticket for two days: 280RMB
  • Cable car each way: 80RMB
  • Hongcun ancient village entrance ticket: 50RMB
  • Nine Dragons waterfall entrance ticket: 80RMB
  • Average meal: 60RMB
  • Bus from Tangkou to Hongcun: 20RMB each way

Kit list

  • Waterproof coat- it’s rainier up in the mountains!
  • Warmer layers- it’s also colder!
  • Trainers will do, there are lots of small, steep steps in Huangshan, walking boots will be too big in my opinion and it’s not muddy or wet enough to need them!
  • It is possible to camp in Huangshan, there is a campsite, but I’m not sure how well kitted out it is!
  • Day pack, but you don’t need to carry too much around, it’s pretty easy!

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