Situated in Anhui Province Huangshan, or Yellow Mountain, is one of the crown jewels of China. It’s jagged peaks give way to breathtaking views that look like something right out of an old Chinese painting. You’ll find yourself mesmerized by the interesting trees, steep cliffs, and cloud sea. If you find yourself heading towards this beauty, check out these quick tips to make the most out of your trip.
1. Get travel advice from someone who can speak English.
Despite Yellow Mountain being an attraction to people from all across the globe, many of the people living and working in the area don’t speak English. If you aren’t going with a tour, or if you’re staying at a hotel where the staff don’t speak English, there are restaurants in the towns surrounding Yellow Mountain with signs advertising “English Tour Information”. Take it! They will sell you a map and tell you some good routes with the best views.
2. Plan to stay the night on the mountain.
When I went, we made the mistake of thinking we could make it down in time. However, once the sun set (which was gorgeous, by the way), it became very dark very fast. Since there aren’t any lights on the paths, and there are some dangerous cliffs and steps, it would have been impossible to make it down safely. We came across a hotel that had a vacancy that night, but we were very lucky! Save yourself the worry and just book a room to begin with. It’s worth the money, and you’ll get to see the sunset and sunrise worry free!
3. Wear layers and actual tennis shoes.
I don’t know how many times I changed my combination of layers on the hike. In the early morning it is very cool, but once the sun comes out it can get hot. Then, wandering into the shade makes you a little chilly! Dress in layers to stay comfortable and enjoy the day. Also, due to the altitude, it tends to be foggy and drizzly on the mountains, especially in the early mornings. Although this isn’t so much a hike as it is a massive stair climbing expedition, conditions can be dangerous in some spots. Make sure you pack good shoes so that you don’t slip on the slick rocks and stairs. Plus, your tired feet will thank you for every bit of extra cushion they can get.
4. Pack your camera.
This should go without saying, but I have to make sure it’s covered. The views are absolutely breathtaking. You won’t want to miss out of the hundreds of photo ops!
5. Don’t forget the snacks.
There are some snack stands on the mountain, but the food is very expensive! If you can, pack your own snacks and water for the day. You’ll have to splurge for dinner if you do stay the night.
6. And remember your sense of humor!
From oddly translated signs to all of the stares and “hello’s” you’ll receive, there’s no forgetting you’re in China. If you pause for too long at a scenic point, and you look foreign by China’s standards, someone will probably ask to take their photo with you. Try your best to be polite. The domestic tourists come from all over the country to see these mountains, and you might be the first foreigner they’ve ever seen! Also keep in mind that this is a major tourist attraction, not a serene nature experience.
7. If you have time, allow a few extra days to explore the surrounding area.
Yellow Mountain is surrounded by many small villages and natural attractions. Choose from ancient villages (like Hongcun and Xidi), enchanted waters (like Jiulong Waterfall and Emerald Valley), and don’t forget to sample and buy some tea along the way. This region is one of the largest producers of China’s teas, featuring varieties of green and chrysanthemum teas.