A complete travel guide to the Yellow Mountain, Mt Huangshan
The Yellow Mountain (Huangshan) is located in Huangshan City in the south of Anhui Province, which is the provincial most famous tourist attraction. Huangshan Scenic Area is adjacent to Zhejiang Province in the east and Jiangxi Province in the south. It is the watershed of the two major water systems of the Yangtze River and the Qiantang River.
The Yellow Mountain Scenic Area covers an area of 160.6 square kilometers. It is one of the top ten famous mountains in China and also a dual heritage of world culture and nature. Yellow Mountain has eighty-two peaks, the main peak Lianhua Peak is as high as 1864.8 meters. The strange pine, strange rocks, the sea of clouds, hot springs, and winter snowfalls here is the most beautiful scenery that people talk about, as well as the Huangshan's top highlights during their China tour.
In addition to the magnificent scenery of the Yellow Mountains (Huangshan) Scenic Area, Tunxi Old Street, which has thousands of years of history in the downtown area of Huangshan, as well as the Huizhou Restaurant and Four Treasures of the Study Store (Chinese traditional brush, ink, paper, inkstone) with the same history on the old street, are the best places to learn about Huangshan and Huizhou culture. Moreover, there are many Huizhou-style villages near Huangshan, like Hongcun, Xidi, Nanping, Guanlu, etc. These Huizhou-style villages are basically maintained with wooden structures and brick walls. The alleys, streams, and buildings are arranged in a suitable way. The spatial variations of villages have a distinctive charm, and the architectural tones are simple and elegant, all of which are of high historical, artistic, and scientific value. Please note the ancient Huizhou refers to the current Huangshan City.
Best time to travel to Yellow Mountains
Every year from March to May and September to October is the best time to travel in the Yellow Mountains. The spring and autumn seasons of Yellow Mountains are pleasant, neither cold nor hot, and there are not as many tourists as in summer. In spring, flowers start blooming and Pine branches spit out green, the azaleas are particularly eye-catching. While in autumn, the green pine, Cang stone, red maple, yellow chrysanthemum... drew a colorful three-dimensional scroll, which is so beautiful!
June to August is the summertime in the Yellow Mountains, and it is also the season with the most tourists. Travelers will enjoy the green mountains and gorgeous scenery, and the view is also very broad. However, there are many tourists at this time, please do not be surprised to line up for the cable cars, and the hotel on the top of the mountain also needs to be booked in advance. From mid-June to early July is the rainy season, travelers will encounter the rainfalls when visiting the Yellow Mountains.
November to February is the winter and early spring of the Yellow Mountains, and with the fewest tourists. It's the best period for travelers who plan to enjoy the cloudy seas, winter snowfalls, rime, and ice hanging. However, please be prepared for the cold weather, and some attractions may be closed in wintertime.
Top attractions in Yellow Mountains and surroundings
1. Yuping Scenic Area
Yuping scenic area is the central scenic area of the Yellow Mountains also known as the front mountain, which is the most popular scenic area by tourists. The must-see sites include Tiandu Peak and Lotus Peak (the two of the three main peaks of Huangshan), as well as the most famous spot in the whole Yellow Mountains: Guest Greeting Pine (Known as Yingke Pine). Yuping Scenic Area is centered on Yuping Tower, hiking along the front mountain route to fully enjoy the gorgeous scenery of Yuping Scenic Area. It is also an ideal place for a bird's eye view of the magnificent panorama of the Yellow Mountains.
2. Beihai Scenic Area
The most popular experience in the Beihai Scenic Area should be to watch the sea of clouds and splendid sunrise. The cool terrace on the Lion Peak here is the best place to watch the sunrise and sea of clouds. Huangshan's last main peak Bright Summit is located in the Beihai scenic area, together with many other peaks.
3. Menghuan Scenic Area
There are many strange rocks in the Yellow Mountains and the most famous are located in the Menghuan Scenic Area. The Dream Scenic Spot is the newly developed scenic spot in recent years. Therefore, Unlike the noisy Yuping and Beihai scenic areas, Menghuan Scenic Area is the newly developed scenic spot in recent years with fewer visitors. Travelers can not only find the ingenious combination of strange rocks and strange pines but also feel the rare tranquility of the Yellow Mountains.
4. Baiyun Scenic Area
Baiyun Scenic Area is located in the west of the Yellow Mountain, integrating pines, rocks, and springs, which is unique in the Yellow Mountains. The Baiyun River is full of water, with waterfalls and pools connected, and there are more than 10 hanging waterfalls along the stream. The core of this scenic spot is Buxian Bridge, the peak of the stone bridge below is the abyss, quite steep. As a passageway connecting the scenic spot of Menghuan and Baiyun, the Buxian Bridge is a must-pass for all tourists visiting the Yellow Mountains.
5. Hot Spring Scenic Area
The most famous scenic spot in the hot spring area is the snowy hot spring, which has thousands of years of history in the Yellow Mountain. Many visitors will come down here to soak in hot springs to relieve the fatigue of the journey once they complete their Huangshan journey. Surrounded by peaks, the scenery is quiet and elegant. The nearby Huangshan Museum was remodeled from a former famous temple.
6. Hongcun Scenic Area
Hongcun is located in the northeast of Yixian County, Huangshan City, 30 kilometers away from the Yellow Mountain Scenic Area, 45 minutes by driving. Hongcun is surrounded by mountains on three sides and faces south direction. From the overall appearance, Hongcun is a peculiar ancient cow-shaped village. The buildings here have profound cultural connotations. The oscar-winning foreign language film “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” was shot here.
7. Xidi Ancient Town
Xidi belongs to the east of Yixian County, Huangshan City, and was founded in 1047 AD. It is about 40 kilometers away from the Yellow Mountain Scenic Area, 1 hour by car. It is known as the junction of ancient Chinese and modern history, the museum of ancient dwellings in the Ming and Qing Dynasties, and the art treasure house of ancient dwellings. Hundreds of ancient Ming and Qing residences remain in the village. The buildings and roads are paved with marble. Two clear springs pass through the village, and 99 high walls and deep lanes are like a maze.
8. Tunxi Old Street
Tunxi Old Street is located in the center of Tunxi District, Huangshan City, Anhui Province. It is about 60 kilometers away from the Yellow Mountain Scenic Area, 1.5 hours by car. Tunxi is surrounded by mountains in the north and lakes in the south. It is the most complete ancient street market in China with the architectural styles of Southern Song and Ming and Qing Dynasties. The old street includes 1 straight street, 3 horizontal streets, and 18 alleys. More than 300 Huizhou buildings built in different years constitute the whole street. It is also a good choice for eating, shopping, and lodging. You can buy many local specialties and souvenirs here.
9. The ancient city of Huizhou
The ancient city of Huizhou, also known as the ancient city of Shexian, was called Xin'an County in ancient times. It is located in Huicheng Town, She County, Huangshan City, Anhui Province. This ancient city was built in the Qin Dynasty (221 BC) and is one of the four well-preserved ancient cities in China. It is about 60 kilometers away from the Yellow Mountain Scenic Area, 1.5 hours by car. The ancient folk houses in the scenic area are interwoven together, with a very primitive style, like a magnificent historical museum. Even today, the city is still the place where Huizhou people have lived for generations. Walking in it, there is a strong sense of historical vicissitudes and deepness.
10. Huangshan Feicui Valley (Emerald Valley)
Emerald Valley is located in Shancha Village, Tangkou Town, South Gate of Huangshan Scenic Area. The canyon is 3 kilometers long and has more than one hundred color pools of different shapes and sizes. The color pool changes with the surrounding scenery, the angle of the sun, and the brightness of the light. In the film “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”, which won four Oscars, scenes such as bamboo fight and waterfall stepping are all shot in Emerald Valley.
11. Tachuan Villages
Tachuan is located on the way from Hongcun Village to Mukeng Zhuhai Scenic Spot, it is a charming mountain village among the many beautiful and rich natural villages in Yixian County. There are wonderful landscapes in this small village, especially the autumn scenery of Tachuan where it is the creative base for many painters and photographers.
12. Guanlu Villages
Like Tachuan, Guanlu Village is also a village with fewer tourists and belongs to Yixian County. There are many buildings in Guanlu village that fully embody the characteristics of Huizhou merchants and merchants as well as Confucianism. Walking into the village is like entering a museum of ancient Chinese private school culture. Many houses here are related to calligraphy and are called "so-and-so Studystore".
13. Nanping Villages
Nanping is located four kilometers southwest of Yixian County, Huangshan City, with a history of more than 1,100 years. The village has only a population of more than 1,000, but there are 36 wells, 72 lanes, and more than 300 Ming and Qing ancient houses. The roads in the village are intricate and look like a large maze, so it is also called "Hundred Lane Village". There is still a large-scale ancestral hall in the village, and it is known as the "Chinese Ancient Ancestral Hall Architecture Museum".
14. Shitan Villages
Shitan Village is located in She County, Huangshan City, which is difficult to find on the map. However, the beautiful scenery makes it the number one among the “Top 100 Photography Spots” in Huangshan City and a paradise for photographers. There are small bridges, streams, elegant architectural colors, quiet and deep streets, and rustic villagers. It has its unique scenery and charm throughout the year, and it is a village full of poetry and picturesqueness.
How to get to Yellow Mountains
Huangshan Tunxi International Airport, located in Tunxi District, Huangshan City, only 5.5 kilometers from downtown. As one of the most important tourist attractions in China, Huangshan City has very convenient transportation. Domestic flights include Hefei, Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Xi'an, Chengdu, Taipei, etc., and international routes such as Seoul and Incheon have been opened.
There are two railway stations in Huangshan, namely Huangshan Railway Station and Huangshan North Railway Station. Huangshan Station is mainly used for long-distance slow trains, and Huangshan North Station is for new and high-speed trains.
There are high-speed railways to and from Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Fuzhou, Xiamen, and other places. Huangshan North Station is 42 kilometers away from Huangshan Scenic Area and 18 kilometers away from Huangshan Tunxi International Airport. For travelers who come from Shanghai, it's better to take the high-speed train which only takes 3 hours. And there are more than 10 high-speed trains between Shanghai and Huangshan every day, which is convenient for tourists to choose according to their own itinerary.
3. Travel within Huangshan
Huangshan urban area is not big, whether by bus or taxi is very convenient. Some ancient villages around Huangshan can be reached directly by tourist bus or you can book a private car through a local China travel agency to get there. The traffic in the Huangshan scenic area is mainly sightseeing buses, cable cars. Travelers can choose to hike or use transportation inside the scenic spot according to your personal situation.
How long to stay and recommended itinerary in Yellow Mountains
When people add the Huangshan visiting to their China private tours, it never means the Yellow Mountains itself, travelers would always combine the visit to its surrounding ancient villages. We recommend that visitors spend 3 days in Huangshan enjoying the beautiful natural peaks, grotesque rocks, pine trees, and sea of clouds, as well as exploring the Hongcun and Xidi Villages that have a history of nearly a thousand years. Below is a classic 3 days tour of Yellow Mountain and surrounding ancient villages for reference.
- Day 1: Arrive Huangshan train station/airport by noon or before, pick up and transfer to visit Hongcun & Xidi Villages (or other nearby villages). Stay the night in Tunxi Old Street.
- Day 2: Morning head to the foot of Yellow Mountain, then transfer the sightseeing bus and take the Yungu cableway up to the Beihai Scenic Area. Then walk for the rest of the day to Lofty Begin-to-Believe Peak (1,668m), Dispelling Cloud Pavilion to overlook the West Sea Grand Canyon, and other sites nearby. Stay the night on the top of the Yellow Mountain.
- Day 3: Get up early around 5-6 am to enjoy the magnificent sunrise. Then continue to see the famous Dawn Pavilion, Stone Monkey Watching the Sea on the Lion Peak (1,690m). Then go down by cableway and sightseeing bus and exit Huangshan. Head to the airport or train station for the next destination.
Huangshan is close to Shanghai, the start or end destination of the tour to China for most foreign tourists. Hence, it would be a good combination by covering Shanghai and the nearby Suzhou classical gardens. Check out this 9 days Shanghai Suzhou tour with Huangshan hiking adventure for more details.
Where to stay and dining options in Yellow Mountains
The consumption level in the urban area of Huangshan is equivalent to the average level of ordinary cities (but lower than the big cities like Beijing or Shanghai), however, the price is rather high inside the scenic area.
Accommodation in Huangshan City is mainly concentrated in three areas: Tunxi Old Street (downtown area), the entrance areas of the Yellow Mountain Scenic Area, and the top of the mountain. Usually, we recommend that tourists spend three days visiting the Yellow Mountain Scenic Area and surrounding villages, staying at Tunxi Old Street on the first day, and overnight on the top of the Yellow Mountain on the second day.
Hotels in downtown Huangshan are mainly concentrated in Tunxi District, ranging from budget hotels or inns to five-star luxury hotels or resorts. The price ranges from about CN¥ 120 per night to CN¥ 1,000 per night. Staying here is easy to explore the food and snacks, shopping, or even go to the bar for drinking.
Hotels at the foot of the Yellow Mountain:
There are three entrances to the Yellow Mountain Scenic Area, most hotels and accommodations are concentrated at the south entrance in Tangkou Town. The price is a bit more expensive than hotels in the downtown area, which range from about CN¥ 200 per night to CN¥ 1,200 per night. Staying here can get up early to explore Huangshan, and avoid the flow of people and the busy traffic in the morning.
Hotels on the top of the Yellow Mountain:
Due to the particularity of the geographical environment, the hotel rate on the top of Huangshan is very expensive, the price range is about CN¥ 800 per night to CN¥ 2,000 per night. Because the building materials, tools, etc. need to be transported from the foot of the mountain to the top. Travelers could consider Beihai Hotel, Shilin Hotel, and Xihai Hotel, due to their excellent locations and sunrise and sunset viewing platforms. Some rooms can even offer sunrise and sunset views. It’s highly recommended to book rooms at the mountain summit in advance due to the large demand and low room quantities.
2. Food and Beverage
Hui cuisine, one of the eight major cuisines in China, originated in Huizhou, which is now Huangshan. In addition to traditional Hui cuisine, Huangshan's special snacks are also worth trying. And the best places to taste traditional local Huangshan food are Tunxi Old Street in downtown and Tangkou Town under the Yellow Mountains. There is a large price difference between the food and beverage inside the Yellow Mountain Scenic Area and outside.
Hairy Tofu: also known as fermented bean curd, is a traditional Han nationality dish in Huangshan City, Anhui Province. It uses tofu as the main ingredient. It is processed by artificial fermentation to grow a layer of white hair on the surface of the tofu, which is then processed with cooking dishes. Since tofu is fermented to convert plant protein into a variety of amino acids, it tastes delicious after cooking.
Huizhou Smelly Mandarin Fish: Smelly mandarin fish is a classic Huizhou dish with a history of more than 200 years. The most traditional method of smelly mandarin fish is stewed in brown sauce. Many travelers may not be able to adapt to the first taste, it smells like durian. Although it smells bad, the smelly mandarin fish tastes incredibly crispy, and many diners will even become addicted to it. Smelly mandarin fish can be eaten in any restaurant in Huangshan.
Huizhou Stone Chicken: Stone chicken is a kind of frog that inhabits the crevices of the mountain stream. It is a specialty of Huangshan. It is delicious whether it is braised or steamed, and the tasting is better than chicken. The most classic traditional method is steaming, which tastes good and is very nourishing to the body.
Huangshan Shaobing: Huangshan Shaobing is usually processed with flour, pork, dried plums, sesame seeds, salt, and vegetable oil as raw materials. After baking, they are golden in color, crisp and refreshing to eat, but not greasy. It is a characteristic traditional snack in Huangshan.
Sweet Fermented Glutinous Rice Wine: In the streets and alleys of Huangshan, you can often see people carrying burdens to sell Sweet Fermented Glutinous Rice Wine. The method of making Sweet Fermented Glutinous Rice Wine is very particular, and it is usually made with fine glutinous rice. Drink a bowl of Sweet Fermented Glutinous Rice Wine in summer to feel cool and quench thirst. Boiling with candied dates or eggs in winter, it is sweet and delicious, has a strong feeling of fullness, and can drive away cold.
Useful travel tips
- Yellow Mountain Scenic Area Admission:
- CN¥ 150 Per Person in the low season (1 Dec - 29 Feb) and CN¥ 230 Per Person in peak season (1 Mar - 30 Nov).
- Taiping cable car single way is CN¥ 65 Per Person in the low season and CN¥ 80 Per Person in the peak season.
- Yungu cable car single way is CN¥ 65 Per Person in the low season and CN¥ 80 Per Person in the peak season.
- Yuping cable car single way is CN¥ 75 Per Person in the low season and CN¥ 90 Per Person in the peak season.
- Xihai Grand Canyon sightseeing bus single way is CN¥ 80 Per Person in the low season and CN¥ 100 Per Person in the peak season.
- The climate in the Yellow Mountain changes greatly, it's best to prepare a raincoat just in case. It is advisable to pack lightly for hiking, bring less luggage, and wear comfortable and wind-proof clothes and shoes. The temperature difference between day and night is large, please prepare enough warm clothes, the warm coat can be rented for CN¥ 30-50 per piece on the top of the mountain.
- There are many stone steps in the Yellow Mountains Scenic Area, together with many dangerous sections. When hiking, the body should be bent forward, and walk slowly when going down the mountain. A bamboo stick or walking stick can be quite helpful when hiking.
- As a famous mountain in China, it may take a long time to line up when going out of the mountain. To avoid the crowds, it is recommended not to leave the mountain at noon or early evening. In addition, the queues at the cableway station or sightseeing bus station can be quite common, please be patient and follow your China tour guide's advice.
- Every winter, many spots inside the Yellow Mountain Scenic Area will be closed, and the cable cars will be closed occasionally in winter. It is recommended to consult in advance and be prepared before visiting.