Hiking in the clouds

Yellow Mountains. Cloud hiking

Huangshan is one of the most famous and well known mountains in China. Commonly referred to as ‘yellow mountain’ it is a popular and well traveled hiking spot for Chinese and expats alike. Located in Anhui province, this has some of the best views I’ve ever witnessed and is well worth a weekend of your time

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I suggest you get here early to start the hike as at 1864M high it is not just a casual climb. I stayed at a nearby hotel overnight (there are many) and arrived bright eyed and bushy tailed ready to tackle the ascend. The paths up are all regrettably stone steps, which does take some authenticity out of the experience. You can choose to take the cable car up to the top if you wish, that is up to you, however it is perfectly achievable to hike up and down in the same day There can be a large number of people hiking at the same time as you, and it can indeed be a bit of a frustrating experience, but don’t let that put you off, the juice is worth the squeeze. The highlight of the climb up was the workmen carrying sacks of rice up on a donkey, not something you see every day. The stairs are stable and have arm rail for most of the way up, there are plenty of rest stops along the way, and many viewing platforms as ascend into the clouds.

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The nature going up is not terribly memorable to be honest, but its the views from the top that makes it worthwhile. There are several view points, such as lotus peak, celestial peak and bright peak, each with their own charm and appeal. You could visit all 3 if you liked, the signposts are very straightforward and easy to follow. The view will be radically different depending on the weather that day if it rains in the morning, you’ll likely see the ‘sea of clouds’ and if it s a sunny day you’ll get a view as far as the eye can see.

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The above 2 pictures demonstrate the difference in the view depending on the weather, time, season, etc.

To go back down you again have the option of cable car or you can take the stairs down. Take these carefully as these can cause havoc to your knees and ankles.

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Stone stairs with arm rail

To get to yellow mountains you can fly or get high speed train to TungXi. Suggest you use http://www.trip.com to book

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If you have a 2 day trip, then I suggest the next day you go to Hongcun village. This is one of the most picturesque places I’ve seen in China. And it was the setting for some scenes from Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon movie. It is also a UNESCO world heritage site for its long history, country scenery, and well preserved buildings dating hundreds of years.

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  • Chinese: 宏村 Hóng cūn /hong tswnn/
  • Age: About 900 years
  • Population: 1,500 people
  • Highlights: charmingly landscaped rural architecture, Chengzhi Hall, ponds, countryside
  • Popular activities: Sightseeing, walking in the countryside, shopping, dining, photography
  • Suggested time for a visit: half a day
  • Best times: March and April for spring scenery, October and early November for autumn scenery
  • Must sees: Moon Pond, Reflecting Pond, the countryside in fall, the flowers in spring
  • Suited to: history lovers, nature lovers, hikers
  • Claim to fame: set of the epic kung fu movie Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.

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Getting there from Downtown Huangshan

Take a tour bus from Tunxi Bus Station in downtown Huangshan to Yi County (1½ hours). Buses from Yi County Bus Station to Hongcun depart every 15 minutes, take 20 minutes, and cost 2 yuan.

If you go by tour vehicle or taxi, the ride takes 1 hour and 10 minutes.

From the Yellow Mountains…

Sea of cloud of the Yellow Mountains
  • By taxi: about a one hour drive
  • By bus: there are three buses running from the Yellow Mountains to Yi County, via Hongcun, at 7:20, 13:40, 15:40. The bus fare is 13 yuan.

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