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A Guide to Huangshan: The Yellow Mountains of China

If you’re looking for an adventure outside of the big cities in China, Huangshan Mountain is the perfect destination. Located in the Anhui Province, Huangshan became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1990 and is well-known for its sunsets, hot springs, and granite peaks. Huangshan literally means “yellow mountains” in Chinese and is often the inspiration for traditional Chinese paintings.

Huangshan is well-worth seeing, but a trip here definitely takes some planning in advance. I just recently visited China’s famous Yellow Mountains and put together a guide for visiting Huangshan, including how to get there and which sites on the mountain you can’t miss!

An Overview to Huangshan:

  • How To Get To Huangshan
  • Where To Stay In Huangshan
  • Planning a Trip to Huangshan
  • Packing for Huangshan
  • Which Route To Hike on Huangshan
  • Scenic Areas on Huangshan
  • Tips for Huangshan
  • Other Places to Visit Nearby Huangshan

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How To Get To Huangshan City

Huangshan City is located in the Anhui province, south of the province capital Hefei. Huangshan City is actually not where the mountain scenic area is located, but you’ll more than likely need to arrive here first before going to the mountain.

To get to Huangshan City you can:

  • Fly to the Huangshan Tunxi International Airport
  • Take a train to Huangshan Railway Station
  • Take a high-speed train to Huangshan North Railway Station
  • Take a long-distance bus to get to Huangshan (from close cities like Shanghai)

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How To Get To Huangshan Scenic Area (Tangkouzhen)

The Huangshan scenic area where Huangshan Mountain is located is actually 40 minutes north of Huangshan City.

After you arrive in Huangshan City (黄山市), then need to take a bus to the scenic area. Go to the public transportation hub and get a bus ticket to Tangkouzhen, the little city right next to Huangshan Mountain.

The last bus leaves Huangshan City around 6pm, but you should check the latest time schedules. If you’re taking a bus from Shanghai, there are direct buses that go straight to the scenic area.

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My route from Beijing:

  • 9:45am – 3:15pm: High speed train to Huangshan North Railway Station
  • 3:30pm – 4:25pm: Bus from Huangshan North to Huangshan Scenic Area (Tangkou zhen)
  • Check into hotel in Tangkouzhen

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Where To Stay In Huangshan

There are three different locations to stay at when you’re in or near Huangshan, each with price options that range from cheaper hostels to nicer 4 star hotels.

  1. Huangshan City (Tunxi): Close to the railway stations and airport – convenient if you’re arriving late at night into Huangshan City
  2. Tangkouzhen: Right next to the mountain area – best if you want an early start to one day on the mountain
  3. Huangshan Mountain: Inside the park on the mountain – best if you want to see sunrise and sunset

I stayed in Huangshan for 3 nights at a different place every night. I’m a budget traveler and stayed at these places:

  • 1st night: Mr. Hu’s Hotel (Tangkouzhen  – private room 90 RMB)
  • 2nd night: White Goose Hotel (on the mountain – hostel bed 160 RMB)
  • 3rd night: Old Street Hostel (Tunxi, close to the railway station – hostel bed 35 RMB)

This is the small city of Tangkouzhen where I stayed my first night in Huangshan. It’s a good base to start your time in Huangshan before you hike the mountain.

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Packing for Huangshan

The weather in Huangshan can change quickly, and you can experience cold, heat, and rain all in one day no matter what season it is. It’s good to bring lots of layers and versatile clothing to be prepared! Usually late spring and fall are the best times to visit Huangshan, but the park is open year round.

There are shops, restaurants, and hotels on top of the mountain to buy food and water, however it will be more expensive to buy them on the mountain. Normally water is 2 RMB, and on the mountain I paid up to 10 – 15 RMB for a bottle. I found it worth paying the higher cost to save space and energy because I was packing very light, but you may want to stock up beforehand if you don’t want to pay extra.

Some important things to pack when hiking Huangshan:

  • Water
  • Hiking stick – especially in winter
  • Snacks
  • Clothing for all weather (dress in layers!)
  • Umbrella
  • Sunscreen/hat/sunglasses
  • Huangshan Mountain Map (I used Baidu Maps to navigate on the mountain too)

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Huangshan Park Hours and Entrance Fees

Huangshan is open year round, but the park hours and admission fees will be different depending on which season you go during. It is best to avoid weekends and holidays because Huangshan will be especially crowded then.

Huangshan Park Hours:

Sunday to Friday 06:30 – 16:30
Saturday 06:00 – 16:30

Park Admission and Cable Car Fees:

Mar. – Nov. Dec. – Feb.
Admission Fee CNY 190 CNY 150
Cable Car
single trip ticket
Cloud Valley/Taiping CNY 80 CNY 65
Jade Screen CNY 90 CNY 75
West Sea Valley CNY 100 CNY 80

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Planning Your Route on Huangshan

There are multiple routes to hike inside the area! Ultimately which route you take depends on how many days you’ll stay at Huangshan and if you’re planning to spend the night on the mountain.

To start your trek onto Huangshan Mountain, you’ll go to the Park Transportation office in Tangkouzhen and take a shuttle bus up to the park (19 RMB). You can choose to start from the Western steps (Front Mountain) or the Eastern steps (Back Mountain). The Eastern side is the more popular option to start from, and many people will opt to take the cable car up.

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1 Day Hike:

For a one day hike, it’s recommend to hike or take the cable car up the eastern side, walk around to the Begin-to-Believe (Shixin) Peak, go past Baiyun Hotel, hike up Lotus Peak, then walk down the west side.

2 Day Hike:

If you have two days, you can still start from the Eastern side, but walk towards the West Sea Grand Canyon. After completing that part, take the Paiyun Cable car up to the Tian Hai station, and stay near the Baiyun Hotel. For day two, you can hike up to Lotus Peak and finish your hike down the west side.

My Route:

It really depends on how much time you have, what you want to see, and how fast you can hike. I did a long hike my first day and packed a a lot into one day, combining the Eastern side, Grand Canyon, and Lotus Peak into one hike. It was a long and tiring day and more than 12 miles, but worth it to me because I wanted to leave the mountain early and have a shorter hike the next day.

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Scenic Areas You Should See on Huangshan

There are many scenic areas and peaks to hike on Huangshan. These are some of my favorite places I hiked around.

Xihai Grand Canyon

This was one of the best areas for photos! Start from the back by the Taiping Cableway and make your way towards the Track Rail Cableway (if you do it backwards you’ll be going only uphill and be in a lot of pain).

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The Yellow Mountains of China ⛰

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Turtle Mountain (Aoyu)

This might be my favorite place in Huangshan – it was easy to find a place by myself and take photos without many people around!

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As I was leaving my hotel in the morning a man stopped me and said, “Excuse me I think I have a photo of you. I was confused why he had taken my photo at first (but this is China afterall) then he airdropped me a photo he took when I was on Turtle Peak. It turned out to be an awesome pic I never could have gotten on my own!

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Lotus Peak

Lotus Peak is a real leg work out, but totally worth it for the view at the top!

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Beginning to Believe (Shixin Peak)

The first time I walked up Shixin Peak it was incredibly foggy and I couldn’t see anything! But on my way back down I came back here and really loved the views.

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Tips for Hiking Huangshan

  • Huangshan is huge! There are lots of different routes to hike, depending on how much time you have. Plan your route carefully so you don’t waste time or exhaust yourself.
  • Cable cars save time! There is plenty of hiking to do on the mountain itself with incredible views, so I recommend taking a cable car up part way then saving your energy for hiking at the top.
  • Stay on the mountain for a night. It’s more expensive than staying in the town below but worth it for the sunset and sunrise.
  • Pack light! My first night I stayed in Tangkou and my hotel let me keep my big bag there so I could hike with a lighter bag. Or you can drop your things at your hotel first, but it is still a hike up to most of the hotels.
  • Your photo might be taken. When you hike to popular tourist locations in China, people might ask for your photos. Some Chinese people are traveling from smaller cities and may not have encountered many foreigners before. Most will be nice in asking for your photo. When I sat down for a rest one person asked for a photo, which started a line of other people in their tour group asking me for a photo, too.

I was even asked to hold a baby for a photo (this happens in China sometimes!)

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Other Locations Near Huangshan Mountain

If you have extra time in Huangshan, there are other scenic locations to visit nearby.

Hongcun Village

An ancient village more than 900 years old, Hongcun became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000. It’s a popular place to walk around and take photos. (Fun fact: scenes from the movie Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon were filmed here!)

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Tunxi Old Town

In Huangshan City there’s a famous area called Tunxi Old Town. It mostly is a walking pedestrian street where you can find markets, shops, and scenic places to take photos.

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Hiking the Yellow Mountains in China

Hiking Huangshan was always on my China Bucket List and I’m so excited I finally had the chance to go. Although I was sore for days afterwards and my legs wanted to fall off, I highly recommend visiting the Yellow Mountains and seeing Huangshan for yourself!

As I was leaving the mountain I met a few Chinese ladies who were making videos of themselves hiking some tall stairs. They were shouting: “山我爱你, 但是我怕你” (Huangshan wo ai ni, danshi wo pa ni) which translates to “Huangshan I love you, but I am afraid of you!” It was so funny and a great description for Huangshan and it’s many stairs.

If you’re looking for other places to hike in China, check these out:

Have you visited Huangshan before? Where should I hike next?

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16 comments

      1. If I ever find the wherewithal to pursue even a few of your itineraries, I suspect the rest of my list can stay in the bucket. Something to look forwardly to.

        Liked by 1 person

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