Yellow Mountain

Huangshan Travel Blog

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Photos of the mountains need no comment. This was one of the most majestic places I have ever visited.

People who made my travels more enjoyable: Michelle (USA) 

We woke up early in order to take a shuttle with guests from the hostel. The shuttle drove us for about 45 minutes, through the Chinese countryside, toward the base of Huangshan. The scenery became increasingly beautiful as we drove upward toward the national park. Mountain streams, trees and small country homes were visible along the way. Huangshan itself is a huge tourist area and there are several entrances to the park itself. To put it in perspective, think of a smaller version of Yellowstone that is centered around one large mountain area. Huangshan means Yellow Mountain, but the title is a bit misleading because there is not just one mountain.

Crazy lines, and it was only a tuesday!
Rather, there are many peaks connected throughout a larger area. 

Once out of the shuttle, Michelle and I did not enter the park immediately. Instead, we took a taxi away from the entrance toward a small hotel where we had a reservation. It was rather early in the morning, but luckily they had a room that was ready for us. We dumped our luggage and then took a taxi back to the original Huangshan entrance that we had arrived at over an hour earlier.  

Like most of China, Huangshan was completely over-crowded. Tour groups full of wide-eyed tourists, a phenomenon that I had become familiar with in Asia, filled the area where we were supposed to purchase our tickets.

Austrian gondola
Like most national parks, a fee was required for entrance. I believe that it was possible to avoid paying the fee if you decided to climb the mountain, but Michelle and I were more interested in taking the gondola. After purchasing our tickets we waited in line for about half an hour, meanwhile I noticed there were three kinds of tourists at Huangshan: 

1. Chinese nationals: Usually traveled in tour groups, generally unprepared for the elements, but excited about seeing one of their nation's natural wonders. 

2. Asian tourists: Usually Korean and equipped with enough mountain gear to survive a winter blizzard. They were interested in the climb and also the surrounding nature. 

3.

Silly faces!
Other foreign tourists: Michelle and I included, were lightly equipped with only the bare necessities. We were few and far between.  

Once we beat the line and reached the gondola, one thing popped into my mind, "this thing wasn't designed by the Chinese was it?". No offense to Chinese engineering, they've done some amazing things, but their track record for safety is not that stellar. Considering what's happened with high-speed bullet trains, high-rise housing projects and other technical failures, I was a bit nervous to ride a Chinese built gondola up the side of an incredibly steep mountain. Luckily, the machinery had been designed by Austrian engineers and the gondola was also installed by the same company that was contracted to design it. With that in mind we set off! 

We rode the gondola upward and a comment that I had heard about the mountain immediately popped into my mind.

Deng Xiaoping loves Huangshang too!
Most mountains look majestic from the base, but to truly witness the beauty of Huangshan, one needs to see it from the summit. A common landscape painting from China almost always features slim pine trees grasping to the steep granite face of a mountain. The rock has been worn smooth by the elements and a rolling mist is often present, allowing the viewer just a glimpse of the landscape in the distance. If there was ever an inspiration for such a painting, it was Huangshan. The beauty was so tremendous that my words cannot do it justice, and frankly, neither can my pictures. I would encourage all travelers who visit China, to take a slight detour and visit the majestic beauty of Huangshan. 

After snapping what seemed like 100 pictures, Michelle and I began our hike around the mountain.

Some kids asked to take a picture with me, I happily obliged them
We visited outlook after outlook before we stopped for some snacks. The food on top of the mountain was not particularly good, so we mostly stuck to the bread and jam that we had brought along with us. As the day wore on, the mist increased in intensity, and pretty soon the heavens opened up. It felt as if we were at the origin of the storm, surrounded by one giant cloud, caught in the torrential downpour. As the tour groups stumbled to open umbrellas and throw on ponchos, Michelle and I set off at a furious pace. We dashed, jumped, bobbed and weaved our way through the crowd as we attempted to reach our exit. It was an exhilarating experience. We sprinted past hundreds of tourists with a slippery granite face on one side and a cloud-filled bottomless chasm on the other. Finally we reached the gondola, and not a moment too soon as lightning and thunder made their appearance felt in earnest.  

We breathed a sigh of relief as we descended out of the clouds toward the bottom of the mountain.

The fish are our friends :)
I had a moment to reflect before we touched down at the base and two thoughts popped into my brain. First, what a beautiful experience and second, this was the first time in Asia that I hadn't been uncomfortably hot! Like literally, I had stopped sweating, even if just for a moment...  

Michelle and I descended a bit further on foot until we were able to hire a taxi. Once at the hotel we changed and went to have dinner at a tiny restaurant that was near the hotel. We downed our local fare, surrounded by mosquito coils that kept the pestilent beasts off our necks and out of our food. Exhausted from the day, we settled in and watched some Family Guy before getting some well deserved rest. Tomorrow, we would return to the big city, but little did we know that some serious adventure was still in store for us.  

 

spocklogic says:
Great views!
Posted on: Jul 12, 2012
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Photos of the mountains need no co…
Photos of the mountains need no c…
Crazy lines, and it was only a tue…
Crazy lines, and it was only a tu…
Austrian gondola
Austrian gondola
Silly faces!
Silly faces!
Deng Xiaoping loves Huangshang too!
Deng Xiaoping loves Huangshang too!
Some kids asked to take a picture …
Some kids asked to take a picture…
The fish are our friends :)
The fish are our friends :)
Weather station on top of the moun…
Weather station on top of the mou…
Entrance to Huangshan (At the base)
Entrance to Huangshan (At the base)
I think this basically means, don…
I think this basically means, don…
Stop!
Stop!
Hoops on the top of Huangshang
Hoops on the top of Huangshang
Hotel at the top of the mountain
Hotel at the top of the mountain
Cool Pine trees
Cool Pine trees
Another hotel
Another hotel
A restaurant
A restaurant
Locks (Usually representing a coup…
Locks (Usually representing a cou…
Friendly fish
Friendly fish
This section was terrifying
This section was terrifying
Rescued tree
Rescued tree
Interesting shot
Interesting shot
Looking over the ledge
Looking over the ledge
A plaque explaining a strange rock
A plaque explaining a strange rock
The strange rock. Geologists belie…
The strange rock. Geologists beli…
Lake on top of the mountain
Lake on top of the mountain
Huangshan Hotels & Accommodations review
Nice Little Lodge at the Base of Huangshan
The Pine Ridge Lodge is located at the base of Mount Huangshan in Huangshan City. This area has been built up and now resembles a sort of Chinese reso… read entire review
Huangshan
photo by: saioli