How to Plan a Trip to Yellow Mountain / Huangshan
Huangshan (the Yellow Mountain) is one of the most popular mountains in China and it was listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1990. Its spectacular natural scenery attracts tourists all over the world. This travel guide will help you plan a trip to explore the Yellow Mountain.
What to See in Huangshan
The Yellow Mountain
The Yellow Mountain is the main attraction of Huangshan. Here goes the proverb, you won’t want to visit any other mountains after seeing Wu Yue, but you won’t wish to see even Wu Yue after returning from Mt. Huangshan. Spend one day for a flavor, two days to appreciate the sunset/sunrise and get a good general experience, and three days to see all the main areas.
Ancient Villages / Streets
Hongcun Ancient Village, close to Mt. Huangshan Scenic Area and about 70 km the northwest of Huangshan City, is a very photogenic village in Yixian County. It has landed a place in the World Heritage List for its long history, beautiful scenery and well-preserved buildings dating over 900 hundred years.
Walking through the narrow streets, you can visit many historic residences with antique furniture and beautifully carved wooden doors and archways. Famous attractions include Chengzhi Hall, Southern Lake (Nanhu) Academy, Moon Pond, etc.
Tunxi Old Street is located in the downtown Huangshan. It is a well-preserved ancient and bustling pedestrian shopping street. It offers visitors the chance to take in the ancient architecture and maybe buy some tea or other local products from the shops that line the streets. If you arrive in Huangshan too late to go to Mt. Huangshan Scenic Spot, there are some decent hotels to choose from.
Popular Huangshan Hiking Routes
There are 2 main cable cars for ascent and descent – Yungu (/yoon-goo/) Cable Car in East Sea (Back Mountain) and Yuping (/yoo-ping/) Cable Car in West Sea (Front mountain). Yungu Cable Car is recommended and it’s less crowded.
Route 1: From Yungu Cableway - Recommended
- Yungu Cableway (云谷索道) - White Goose Ridge (白鹅岭 Bai E Ling /bye-er-ling/) - Begin-to-Believe Peak (始信峰 Shi Xin Feng /shrr- sshin-fnng/) –Beihai Hotel (北海宾馆) - Dispelling Clouds Pavilion (排云亭 Pai Yun Ting /peye-yoon-ting/) - West Sea Grand Canyon (西海大峡谷)
Yungu (/ywn-goo/ ‘Cloud Valley') Cableway route begins near Cloud Valley Temple. Instead of walking option with 2 hours, most of travelers choose to take Yungu Cableway to save time and energy. It takes 8 minutes to reach White Goose Ridge (Bai E Feng /bye-er fnng/). White Goose Ridge is the landmark of Back Mountain of Huangshan and it’s one of the best viewpoints of Seas of Clouds. The best highlights of Back Mountain mainly locate around Begin-to-believe Peak and Lion Peak. Begin-to-Believe Peak got its name for its scenery and the different pines around it. Begin-to-Believe means You'll begin to believe how beautiful it is after your arrival. After hiking Begin-to-believe Peak, you can take a short break and lunch at Beihai Hotel, the best hotel on this path, and leave your bags at the hotel. Then head west to Dispelling Clouds Pavilion to hike West Sea Grand Canyon. And hike the Bright Top area later.
Route 2: From Yungu Cableway – the Crowded Classic
- Yuping Cableway at Mercy Light Pavilion (慈光阁 Ci Guang Ge /tsrr-gwung-ger/) - Jade Screen Pavilion (玉屏楼 Yu Ping Lou /yoo-ping-loh/) - Greeting-Guest Pine (迎客松 Ying Ke Song /ying-ker-song/) - Celestial Capital Peak (天都峰 Tian Du Feng /tyen-doo-fnng/) – Lotus Peak (莲花峰 Lian Hua Feng /lyen-hwah-fnng/) - Bright Top (光明顶 Guang Ming Ding / gwung-ming-ding/)
Yuping Cableway's bottom station is at Mercy Light Pavilion. The cable car takes 10 minutes to Jade Screen Pavilion. Jade Screen Pavilion is an excellent viewing point. You can first head south, past Greeting-Guest Pine, and take two hours or so to climb Celestial Capital Peak. This peak is a steep climb, but the views and surrounding rocks make it worthwhile. Greeting-Guest Pine must be the busiest place of Huangshan. Many Chinese tourists take photos in turns with this well-known tree. The route from Jade Screen Pavilion to Bright Top offers another diversion (1.5 hours) off to the highest summit, Lotus Peak, before reaching Bright Top.
Route 3: Morning Walk - with Amazing Sunrise
- Beihai Hotel (北海宾馆)- Dawn Pavilion (曙光亭 Shu Guang Ting /shoo-gwung-ting/) - Refreshing Terrace (清凉亭 Qing Liang Ting /ching-lyang-ting/) – Stone Monkey Watching the Sea (猴子观海 Hou Zi Guan Hai /hoh-dzrr-gwan-hi/) - Lion Peak(狮子峰 Shi Zi Feng /shrr-dzrr-fnng/)
From Beihai Hotel there is a path to the north of Huangshan Scenic Area, the less visited side. Along this path you can see Dawn Pavilion - a popular spot to see the sea of clouds and the sunrise. It's a good option to have a morning walk here. Refreshing Terrace, Stone Monkey Watching the Sea and Lion Peak are all along the way.
Classic Huangshan Tours
One-Day Huangshan / Yellow Mountain Tour
If you have limited time in Huangshan, you can take a one-day trip to gain a general visit of the Yellow Mountain. Take the Yungu Cable car up to visit the eastern part (Back Mountain) of Huangshan, including Beginning-to-Believe Peak, Black Tiger Pine, Refreshing Terrace, Stone Monkey Watching the Sea and Lion Peak.
Two-Day Huangshan Highlights Tour
- Day 1: Yungu Cableway up, White Goose Ridge, Begin-to-Believe Peak, Beihai Hotel to have a short break and leave your bags in the hotel, Dispelling Clouds Pavilion and West Sea Grand Canyon, Stay at Beihai Hotel.
- Day 2: Start from Beihai Hotel, Watch sunrise at Dawn Pavilion, Refreshing Terrace, Strone Monkey Watching the Sea, Lion Peak and take Yungu Cableway down the mountain.
Three-Day Yellow Mountains, Hongcun Village and Tunxi Old Street Tour
- Day 1: Arrival in Huangshan, Hongcun Village, Tunxi Old Street, stay in a hotel in downtown city.
- Day 2: Take Yungu Cableway up, White Goose Ridge, Begin-to-Believe Peak, Beihai Hotel to have a short break and leave your bags in the hotel, Dispelling Clouds Pavilion and West Sea Grand Canyon, Stay at Beihai Hotel.
- Day 3: Start from Beihai Hotel, Watch sunrise at Dawn Pavilion, Refreshing Terrace, Strone Monkey Watching the Sea, Lion Peak and take Yungu Cableway down the mountain.
Where to Stay
In Downtown Huangshan (Tunxi District)
If you arrive in Huangshan late at night or have to catch an early onward flight/train, you are suggested to stay in downtown Huangshan. Try Hui Boutique Hotel (in Tunxi Old Street) to experience traditional Chinese accommodation. For a star-rated or luxury hotel, you can try Huangshan International Hotel and Crowne Plaza Huangshan Yucheng.
On the Mountains
If you want to see the sunrise and go hiking, you are suggested to stay on the mountains. Be noted there’re limited hotel options on the mountains. Xihai Hotel (West Sea Hotel), Shilin Hotel and Beihai Hotel (North Sea Hotel) are the best ones.
In a Village
If you want to experience Chinese rural life, Pig's Inn is a good choice. It’s a warm hotel near Hongcun Village and Xidi Village. The inn provides bikes for guests to cycle around the village. There is a library with traditional Hui-style architecture and a quiet environment for you to enjoy an afternoon tea time. The hotel is renovated based on an old house so you may find it old.
What to Pack for the Hiking
Clothing and Shoes
- Comfortable walking boots and sports clothes are essential for the long-distance hiking with steep stairs in Mt. Huangshan.
- Waterproof and windproof warm clothes are recommended for protection from the rain and wind. Umbrella is not suitable as it can be dangerous in high winds and awkward on narrow trails.
- Walking poles are available at the foot of the mountain and one costs about CNY10. You can buy one to make climbing easier.
- Prepare toothpaste, toothbrushes, shower gel and shampoo, as most hotels on the mountain don’t provide them.
- Bring some high-calorie snacks such as chocolate and sugar to replenish your energy.
- Bring a camera to record the splendid scenery of Mt Huangshan and your memorable experience.
- In summer, sunblock is necessary as the ultraviolet light is relatively strong. In addition, prepare mosquito repellant.