Huangshan is one of the most famous mountains in China and the perfect place to visit for a break from city life . Also known as the Yellow Mountains, Huangshan can be fit into a one, two, or three day trip, depending on how much time you have.

I recently visited Huangshan and spent two total days in Huangshan and Hongcun, and 1.5 days traveling to and from Huangshan.

For a full guide on planning a trip to Huangshan, check out my post: A Guide to Hiking Huangshan

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Day 1: Traveling to Huangshan

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 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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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.

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Day 2: Hiking Up Huangshan 

MORNING: Shuttle bus to Yungu Cable Way, Xihai Grand Canyon

I started the morning early, arriving at the park ticket office around 6:30am. From here you can choose where to start hiking on Huangshan: the Eastern steps (Temple of Cloud Valley) or the Western steps (Mercy of Light). I bought a shuttle bus ticket for 19 RMB, and rode 30 minutes up the mountain to the Eastern entrance.

From the east side you can either hike up (which takes 2-3 hours) or take the cable car (8 minutes). I wanted more time to hike on the top, so I took the cable car up (80 RMB).

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Unfortunately it was really foggy for the first part of the morning when I started hiking from the cable car, so I couldn’t see much. I hiked for an hour around the Shixin Peak up to my hotel (The White Goose Hotel) and waited for the fog to clear a bit.

After the fog cleared up around 9am, I hiked to the Xihai Grand Canyon Area. This area was stunning and an amazing place for photos! There were lots of tour groups coming from this way, but I was able to walk ahead of them for a bit to get some photos.

 

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From the Xihai Grand Canyon area I took the Cable Car (tram) up to  and stopped to grab some food and rest. I also ran into a Chinese family who asked me to hold their baby!

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AFTERNOON: Turtle Peak and Lotus Peak

After resting, I hiked to the top of Turtle Peak, then headed over to Lotus Peak.

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Lotus Peak was a bit tough but totally worth all the stairs up! I almost waited to hike Lotus Peak because I originally planned to hike down the Western side of the mountain, but I decided to try it in one day then head back down the Eastern side the next day to see what I missed when it was foggy.

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EVENING: Hike to the hotel and sunset

I headed back down Lotus Peak, back up Turtle Peak, and then up to the Beihai Hotel to catch sunset around 5:30 p.m. Afterwards I walked back to my hotel to rest early for sunrise the next morning. 12 miles and sore legs, but a full and happy first day hiking!

Day 3: Hiking Down Huangshan & Hongcun Village

MORNING: Sunrise, Hiking Shixin Peak, Cable car down

I woke around 4:30 a.m. to catch the sunrise outside – it was so worth waking up early, and there wasn’t any fog like the previous day, so we had a nice clear view of the sun!

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After sunrise I went back to sleep a little longer, than began my hike down. I decided to go down the Eastern Side because I wanted to see what I missed when it was foggy. Shixin Peak was especially nice!

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I would have loved to get a photo here, but there were so many tour groups going through there was no way it was going to happen.

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I went down the mountain at an unusual time and an unusual route, so I got a cable car to myself which was nice. This route worked for me, because I did more hiking the first day than I planned and I didn’t want to go back up Lotus Hill to go down the mountain (that was a hard hike!)

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AFTERNOON: Hongcun Ancient Village

Once I reached the bottom of the mountain, I took a shuttle bus back to Tangkouzhen and made plans to go to Hongcun. Usually to get to Hongcun you take a bus from the bus station, but the buses only leave a few times a day so I would have to wait awhile. Fortunately my first hotel host Mr. Hu told me he knew of a private van going. Normally a bus ticket costs 15 RMB, but I paid 26 RMB to ride in the van – a cheap upgrade to leave earlier in the day and get more time at Hongcun!

Hongcun was a lovely place to stroll around, try local Anhui snacks, and enjoy the ancient village. There were lots of tour groups that came through in the afternoon, but if you avoided them and explored the little alleyways it was much quieter. For a break I stopped inside a cute little coffee shop, and they were nice enough to let me leave my big bag inside their shop while I went outside to take more photos.

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EVENING: Hongcun Railway OR Tunxi Old Street

Depending on your time schedule, you may want to leave Huangshan and go back to the airport or railway station from Hongcun, or if you have extra time you can go back to Huangshan City and spend the night near Tunxi Old Street.

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(Day 4 Optional: Leave Huangshan)

MORNING: Airport or Railway Station

I had an early train the next morning, so I left Tunxi Old Street at 7:15 for a 30 minute ride to Huangshan North Railway Station.

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Hiking the Yellow Mountains

If you’re looking for adventure and some breathtaking scenery, Huangshan is the place to be! There are plenty of stunning photo opportunities and despite the tour groups, there  are even places to avoid the crowds and get some space to yourself for a bit. If you have two or three free days while traveling in China, I highly recommend a trip to Huangshan.

For a full guide on planning a trip to Huangshan, check out my post: A Guide to Hiking Huangshan

*Note! My schedule was very tight is and is not for those wanting a leisurely holiday. I packed it full to make sure I had time to see everything and also hiked hard my first day. If you want more time on the mountain, feel free to skip Hongcun. If you don’t want to rush your hiking but still want to see Hongcun, skip some parts I did (like Lotus Peak or The Grand Canyon). It really depends on your timing and what you enjoy doing!

Check out some of my itineraries for other destinations in China:

See you in the mountains!

hiking huangshan itinerary and guide