Huangshan, or Yellow Mountain, is truly my favorite place to visit in China. It is not far from my hometown, Hangzhou. The first time I visited Yellow Mountain, I was about 10 years old. At that time, there was no cable car, so we climbed up on foot. The second time was in 2016 summer, when I took D there. Although most people are using the cable car to climb up and even come down, we chose the tougher way.
Chinese people say: you do not need to visit any other mountain after you come back from Yellow Mountain. Maybe that’s why I have not been to other famous mountains in China 🙂
Yellow Mountain is known for “Four Specialties”: unique pine-trees, strange rocks, cloud sea, and hot springs.
However, my favorite part is the newly opened West Sea Canyon (西海大峡谷). I will talk about it more in the next blog, but here is a photo:
In this blog, I would like to share some tips.
How many days in Yellow Mountain?
Depends on how much you want to see, and whether you plan to use the cable car (which significantly saves time). We climbed up from the front (慈光阁) side of Yellow Mountain, which is the more difficult side. In order to see sunrise and sunset, we stayed in Yellow Mountain for two nights.
Day 1 Hangzhou –> Tangkou (汤口) Hotel
Day 2 Tangkou (汤口) –> 慈光阁 –> 迎客松 –> 光明顶 –> 飞来石 –> 排云亭 (sunset) –> 排云楼 (hotel)
Day 3 排云楼 –> 丹霞峰（sunrise） –> 排云楼 –> 狮林大酒店（hotel checkin） –> 排云亭 –> 西海大峡谷 –> cable car to 天海 station –> 光明顶 –> 狮林大酒店
–> 狮子峰 (猴子观海, sunset) –> 狮林大酒店
Day 4 狮林大酒店 –> 始信峰 (sunrise) –> 云谷寺 –> Tangkou (汤口) –> Hangzhou
* Day 2 was tough. Probably better to have stayed at 白云宾馆 or 光明顶.
* Tiandu Peak was closed due to weather. Lotus Peak was closed till 2019.
* In my opinion, it’s worth to spend a day in West Sea Canyon, if the loop is fully accessible. West Sea Canyon is like a fairyland, and is very quiet. Tour groups do not go there, because they do not have much time. We really enjoyed the peaceful hiking there.
Bus from Hangzhou: Buses depart from Hangzhou West Bus Station. Attention! The destination should be Tangkou (汤口), from where one can take shuttles to Yellow Mountain. Private cars are not allowed to drive to Yellow Mountain.
Shuttles from Tangkou (汤口) to Yellow Mountain: There are two shuttle stations inTangkou (汤口): East (东岭) and West (寨西). When you buy tickets there, you need to specify whether you are going to the front (慈光阁) or back (云谷寺) side of Yellow Mountain. One-way ticket costs about $3, and the ride takes about 25 minutes. Shuttles run every 20 minutes. We used the East Shuttle Station (东岭) to go to the front side (慈光阁) of Yellow Mountain. The station is quite small. In comparison, the West (寨西) Shuttle Station is huge, and it’s close to Tangkou (汤口) Bus Station, which harbors inter-city buses.
Here is our itinerary:
Hangzhou West Bus Station –>
Tangkou Bus Station — >
picked up by hotel staff to go to hotel –>
walk to East Shuttle Station –>
front side (慈光阁) of Yellow Mountain –>
Yellow Mountain –>
back side (云谷寺) of Yellow Mountain –>
shuttle bus to West Shuttle Station –>
walk to Tangkou Bus Station –>
Hangzhou West Bus Station
Hotels and Restaurants
[Day 1] In Tangkou (汤口): 黄山自游人客栈, close to the East Shuttle Station. ~ $20 per night. Basic and clean. They have a very nice and popular restaurant. We had dinner there: spicy pepper fish (泡椒鱼) and mountain veggie, both are delicious. Actually we intended to order some local specialties, but were warned that we probably wouldn’t like. We also had breakfast the next day: noodle soup, and it’s really good. We then ordered a fried rice to take to Yellow Mountain (as our lunch). The hotel offers free pick-up from Tangkou Bus Station, so just give them a call when you arrive. It’s a very short ride. The owner of the hotel is nice. He sat down with us after dinner to discuss about our plan! They also have wooden hiking pole free to borrow.
[Day 2] In Hunagshan: Paiyunlou (排云楼), three star hotel. $125 per night. It is located on one end of West Sea Canyon (西海大峡谷). It is very close to Danxia Peak (丹霞峰) and Paiyun Pavilion (排云亭), two good locations for sunrise and sunset. Seems like many tour groups like to stay there, probably due to the good location. The room is good size, but quite wet, very wet. Interestingly ,winter coats are available for use. Breakfast is provided, but better to get there early to have good selections.
[Day 3] In Huangshan: Shilin Hotel (狮林大酒店), four star hotel. $140 per night. Photographers’ pick. It is very close to Lion Peak (狮子峰) and Qingliangtai (清凉台), great for sunrise. In the lobby, there are a lot of photographs on the show. The hotel is newer, thus the room is clean, bright and dry. The restaurant is good as well. We had great dinner and breakfast there.
Tickets to Yellow Mountain can be purchased from hotels, to skip the lines. Or, you can get tickets at the gate.
You should definitely buy a disposable raincoat (no more than 5 Chinese yuan a piece)! It rains a lot in Yellow Mountain. Umbrellas just won’t do.
Hiking poles are very helpful, but not necessary.
Water and snacks. In the mountain, there are not that many places selling stuffs.
Only take necessary things – travel light!