Mt Huang Shan is a natural wonder with its sheer granite cliffs and rolling fog – much like those portrayed in old Chinese ink paintings.
It took 13 hours by overnight train to reach the town of Tunxi from where we bused an hour to the Huangshan city at the base of the mountain. Another bus and 45 minutes zig zagging up the mountain side we arrived at our starting point.
With the choice of a cable car or a 6.5pm hike up granite stairs- we started our ascent by foot. Porters grunted & swayed their way up the mountain with heavy loads straddling a bamboo pole that lay across their shoulders.
Unprepared for the sub-zero temperatures on the exposed mountain we found ourselves enveloped by darkness and fog with over a km to walk back to our hotel, but ever grateful for the noodle soup that restored heat and energy in our cold and weary bodies.
The views from the mountain at sunrise were spectacular and the snow and ice that feathered from the pine needles like an exquisite frosted boa made it all the more breathtaking.
Our exit from the mountain saw us walking the west side of Huangshan down ( actually ‘down’ is a misnomer as we climbed up and down the Mt numerous times- clocking 25km by the end of the day).
A must see if visiting this region of China.
Tips: be prepared for cold at the top
Take snacks and noodles if you are on a budget – food is expensive and uninspired
The west side signage doesn’t match the maps sold on the Mount – be careful or risk getting lost like we did!