Our experience with Huangshan Mountain was not an easy one. First, it was near impossible to get to the place due to National Week where the entire population of China goes on holiday. Most people book their train/bus tickets well in advance, but because we do not have a Chinese ID or bank account, it was impossible for us to do this. As such we had to rely on the people at our hostel for bookings, most of whom are not familiar with the area around Huangshan, which was a bit more complicated than expected. For anyone looking to visit here, there are three places to keep in mind:
1. Huangshan city: this is about one hour from the base of the mountain. Some people stay here then take a bus to and from the mountain in the same day, basing themselves in the city.
2. Tang Kou: this is the small village at the base of the mountain. Kyle and I stayed here with a local (who pretty much saved us from being homeless), and it proved to be a great spot for climbing the mountain in one day.
3. Huangshan mountain: also known as the “Yellow Mountain,” many people climb here and actually stay at the various hotels situated on the mountain itself.
The people we spoke to at our hostel when booking our bus did not know that Huangshan city and Huangshan mountain were about an hour apart, with the small village to stay in at the base. Just keep this information in mind when booking accommodation.
Again, National Week really did put a dent in a few experiences of China, Huangshan mountain included. We ended up waiting for the cable car to take us to the top for a good three hours, surrounded by pushing people who somehow thought this would get them up to the top of the mountain faster. Perhaps the ones who decided to scale the chain-link fence to the side of the line got a leg up, but for the most part this method of queuing only results in a complete violation of personal space. If you aren’t hear for National Week, you should be alright to take the cable car up. For those with a bit more stamina, you can also climb to the top of the mountain from the base after taking a short bus from Tang Kou village.
Once on the mountain we hiked to the tallest peak. The plan was to go further but it became impossible to even move at certain points. However, all complaining about the number of people aside, the views were spectacular. As Canadians from the western part of the country we are constantly spoiled by amazing scenery, but these mountains were like nothing I’ve ever witnessed. James Cameron found most of his inspiration for the movie Avatar at another set of mountains in China called Zhangjiajie, but Huangshan is very similar to the ones seen in the blockbuster film.
Overall I would highly recommend visiting Huangshan mountain while visiting China. The views are stunning, the hike is strenuous and you can even buy medals at the peak with your name on it (tacky, but sometimes necessary after the climb). My only point of advice is to not go during National Week (or really anywhere in China for that matter).