HuangshanSeptember 18 in China ⋅ ⛅ 27 °C
Today's site was a visit to Huang Shan, the Yellow Mountain, one of the most famous landscapes in China. It's been renowed since the 400s AD, when the Yellow Emperor gave it the name of Yellow Mountain, and it's been inspiring Chinese poets, artists, scholars and philosophers ever since. The owner of the hotel, Alex, spoke pretty good English, and sketched out a solid plan for us to tackle the mountain in a single day - most locals take 2 or 3 days to visit each area, and the tickets are actually valid for that long.
We headed off early, leaving the hotel at 6:30am, though I was absolutely miserable as I was now quite sick with a cold, and very tired since our bed was rock hard. The beds in China have all been very hard, but this was like a marble slab. According to Alex, Chinese like a firm mattress because they believe it's good for their back. Ain't good for mine!
It was about an hour's drive to the town at the mountain's foot, and since we have to use cash for everything and the tickets are expensive, Alex dropped off the other people in the car and took us to the bank. The ATM then promptly swallowed Shandos's card! We got money out using a different card in a different machine, and he then took us to the actual bank branch (not a hole in the wall ATM spot). The bank wasn't open yet, but thankfully the manager was already there and promised to have the card ready if we returned at the end of the day. What a pain.
We quickly rejigged our plans for the day and headed in via a different, closer gate. First step was a shuttle bus that took us up to the cable car base station, where we then waited an hour for a cable car. Even at 8am it was super busy! I don't think early starts tend to help that much here, as locals on tour groups seem to start very early as well.
Finally up the top by around 10am, we started walking around to check out the different peaks and viewpoints. It's said there's over 60,000 stairs on the mountain's various walking paths, and it honestly felt like we were going to cover most of them! It's a little vague now where we actually went, but we traversed up and down a few separate peaks, across hills and up and down staircases. Unfortunately, Huangshan is one of the most popular tourist attractions in China so some places were absolutely packed, and most areas were at the very least busy.
Not many spots where we could get away from everyone which was a bit annoying. I was struggling quite a lot too, with my cold making it difficult to breathe at various points. But I persisted, and we got a lot of fantastic vistas.
Huangshan is one of the most famous Chinese landscapes, and has been famous since probably the 6th or 7th centuries. If you've ever seen idealised Chinese paintings featuring unusual pine trees and smooth, rounded granite peaks, flowing waterfalls and arched bridges - that's all based on Huangshan.
We spent most of the day wandering around the mountain, though the food up there was crazy overpriced and we ended up quite hungry. Buying food in advance was something we hadn't quite gotten around to, and we definitely regretted that! Eventually we'd had enough and descended back down via the cable car.
Only a short wait, thankfully, though just as we were getting into the car a guy shoved between Shandos and me to push on first. I grabbed him by the collar and yanked him back, but then we had to sit opposite him and his wife for the next 10 minutes which was a bit awkward. After I'd wagged my finger in his face, I google translated a message saying shoving was uncivilised, and that shoving foreigners reflected badly on all Chinese. He looked more surprised than anything, so I just let it go.
Caught the shuttle bus and then walked down to the bank where the manager had Shandos's card as promised! The process of getting it back still took another 15 minutes for some reason, but eventually all sorted. Called Alex who organised a driver back to the hotel for us where we collapsed exhausted. The most energy we could muster was the five minute walk back to the station where we dined like kings on KFC.
23,000 steps and 133 flights of stairs. Not bad.Read more