Huangshan Photography Tour

SH-35: Flexible Itinerary for Tailoring
Photography NatureHiking

This tour is especially designed for photography lovers and professionals. The imaginatively named pines, oddly-shaped rocks, the sea of clouds, and winter snowcaps furnish marvelous themes for photography.

The itinerary will depend on what photos you want to take, and then on the weather conditions when you go.


  • Shoot the sunrise from Bright Top
  • Take sunset photos from Cloud-Dispelling Pavilion
  • Photograph wide-angle panoramas of the sea of clouds in West Sea Grand Canyon
  • Visit charming ancient villages nearby and stay overnight in a boutique hostel

What's Included

  • Service fee for the tour guide and photographer
  • Private transfers between the airport and your hotel
  • Bus charter fees in the mountains out of the public shuttle bus operation hours
  • Transport to attractions listed in the itinerary
  • All meals specified in the itinerary
  • Hotel accommodation mentioned in the itinerary

Suggested Photography Tours

  1. 2–3 days
    The Beihai (North Sea) region and the West Sea Grand Canyon in the Yellow Mountains
  2. Plus 1 day (each)
    Tianhai (Heavenly Sea) region in the Yellow Mountains
    Hongcun and Xidi Village
    Xin’an River
    Wuyuan County
  3. Plus 2 days (each)
    Shanghai Highlights tour
    Hangzhou Highlights tour and Xitang/Wuzhen Water Town

What you do will depend on what photos you want to take, and then on the weather conditions when you go, so there is no fixed day-by-day itinerary advertised. Check below for the recommended spots for photography and let our travel advisor know what you want to do. We will tailor-make your Huangshan photography tour in conjunction with your local guide.

Recommended Locations

1. Bright Top — for the Sunrise, Sunset, and the Sea of Clouds
The Sea of Clouds

Bright Top, one of the main peaks, is located in the middle of the Yellow Mountains. It is the second highest peak at about 1,860 meters above sea level.

Good to know:
To take pictures of a sunrise and sunset, photography-lovers need to arrive at the places ahead of time because the best positions in these places are only big enough for fewer than 10 people.

2. West Sea Grand Canyon — for the Stone Forest and the Sea of Clouds
West Sea Grand Canyon

The U-shaped Grand Valley is 12 kilometers long, with a maximum altitude difference of 400 meters. It is the most precipitous site with the most original natural view. Stone forests are everywhere and the walking distance is so long that it is a favorite destination for backpackers.

It takes over four hours to walk through the canyon. It is necessary to have sufficient water and food because there are no supplies along the way. The West Sea Grand Canyon closes from December to March of the following year due to the snowy weather.

3. Flying-Over Rock — for the Sunset
Flying Over Rock

Flying-Over Rock is seated at the northwest part of Bright Peak. It is nearly one kilometer away from Bright Top and about 1,730 meters above sea level. Flying-Over Rock is oddly shaped, being 12 meters high and 8 meters wide. Moreover, it weighs about 360 tons. It is amazing that such a stone stands upright on a 15 meters long and 10 meters wide flat stone.

4. Cloud-Dispelling Pavilion — for the Sunset
Sunset in Cloud-dispelling Pavilion

Cloud-Dispelling Pavilion is about a one kilometer (0.6 mile) walk from Flying-Over Rock. Opposite the peaks, it is an ideal place in West Sea Grand Canyon to see the exquisite stones. From the pavilion, photography-lovers can have a good view of the hills and mountains that are sometimes half hidden in the mists, like islands in the sea.

5. Refreshing Terrace — for the Sunrise and the Sea of Clouds
Sunrise in Refreshing Terrace

Refreshing Terrace sits on the side of the Lion Peak, projecting over a crag with three free surfaces. It is surrounded by cement balustrades which travelers can lean against to observe from the terrace. The scenery around there is wonderful: North Sea is in front, 18 spiral stone steps are below, and on the right is the Shisungang (/shrr-swnn-gung/ ‘Rock Bamboo Hill’), where the rocks and stones look like bamboo.

Recommended Time

The Yellow Mountains is suitable for photography all year round, with seasonal beauties. The following recommended time will add more color to your photos:

March to April: Yellow rape flowers start to bloom in spring. The mountains are decorated with red azaleas; the hills are covered by green tea plants and golden blooming yellow rape flowers. When the colors of nature meet the white wall and black tile, a harmonious picture comes into being.

September to October: On the way to the Yellow Mountains, you can see fields after fields filled with golden chrysanthemum. The mountains are dazzled with the changing colors of the plants of the fall season.

November: The autumn scene at Tachuan Village is one of the most picturesque places imaginable with the leaves of its ancient old trees turning red and yellow. The place has become one of the most popular locations in China for photographers.

December to March of the following year: The top of the Yellow Mountains will be covered with snow and ice from time to time in winter. The mountains turn into a winter wonderland and it’s the best time to photograph the seas of clouds.


Ancient Villages

Besides the Yellow Mountains, the ancient villages nearby will add much cultural charm to your photos. By adding trips to two to four villages, you can extend the tour by one to two days.

The Hongcun Ancient Village

With a history of over 800 years, this charming village will show you the original Hui style architecture (a type of traditional Chinese architecture) and everlasting stories left behind.

As a World Cultural Heritage site, Xidi was first built 900 years ago in the Song Dynasty. Its traditional architectures are well preserved. The buildings and the street patterns reflect the socio-economic structure of an enduring period of Chinese history.

About 40 kilometers (25 miles) from the Yellow Mountains, Chengkan is a living historical document of the application of feng shui principles into architecture. From a bird’s-eye view, twisted lanes, ancient drainage systems, and high walls create a maze-like layout.

Shexian Tangyue Memorial Arches
Known as the "Town of Arches", Shexian is a must-see for fine examples of residential architecture and memorial arches from the Ming and Qing dynasties. The Chinese name “Paifang” is given to an arch, usually made of fine wood or stone, as a memorial and decoration.

The Bao Family Garden is near the Tangyue Memorial Arches. This private garden, once owned by successful businessman Bao, was as famous as the Humble Administrator’s Garden in Suzhou. It blends perfectly with the Tangyue Memorial Arches, and is a fascinating way to spend a few hours.

Xin’an River

Xin’an River is renowned for its elegant riverside scenery on both sides. You will hike about 10 kilometers (6 miles) and the hike will take 4–5 hours. During the hike you will stop off to visit a primary school and a local family in the countryside, which will allow you to learn more about the local people’s life in the region. We could also arrange biking along the riverbank for you, which is more relaxing and takes about two hours.

Recommended months: March and April are the perfect times to see yellow rape flowers in full bloom; May is the harvest time for ripe loquats; September and October are the best times to taste tangerines along the way and admire the chrysanthemums.



Wuyuan is considered to be the most picturesque village of China. It takes about one hour to get there from Huangshan and a one day tour is recommended. There you could capture the well-protected ancient villages of the Ming (1368–1644) and Qing (1636–1911) Dynasties and the pastoral landscape. Spring is the most pleasant time, especially in March and April. However, there will be many Chinese tourists during March and April. Avoid coming on weekends during this period.

Feel free to tell us your requirements and interests, and we will be happy to help you arrange a trip with our professional knowledge and experience.

Trip Notes

1. The Weather

The weather plays a very important role in a photography tour. Your guide is flexible, and can make appropriate changes based on the weather, after a discussion with you. If you encounter some bad weather for photography, your guide will try his/her best to take you to the place best suited to the weather conditions.

2. Luggage

Your guide will assist you to store big suitcase in your hotel in Tunxi (Huangshan City). You can collect it on your way back. You could also store the luggage at the foot of the mountain. The cost is about CNY20 (US$4) for each piece. If you need to carry heavy equipments onto the mountains, your guide can hire porter for you and the cost is CNY80-120 (US$13-20) for each piece.

3. Photography Guide on the Yellow Mountains

Your guide helps to maximize your time on the mountains: Our guides are local and experienced, who spend over 200 days on the mountains every year. They know the mountains like their own backyard. Just follow them and you didn't have to bother about looking at signs and maps. When you get tired climbing the endless steps, they can tell you how much longer to reach the destination. Even purchasing cable car tickets are easier as the guide will do it. Based on your strength and weather, our guide will show you the best route for sightseeing and inform you the dangerous parts during the tour. During different seasons of the year, the best position and angle for taking photos vary with the height of the sun. Your guide will show you the best time and locations. They will accompany you during your staying on the mountain until you go back to hotel for rest.

4. Reminder

West Sea Grand Canyon, Celestial Capital Peak, and Lotus Peak usually close from December to March of the following year due to the snowy weather. The guide will adjust the itinerary to cover other highlights to make the most of your time.

From October 8th, 2014 to April 30th, 2015, Yuping Cable Car stops operation for its rebuilding work. During this period, more tourists will take Yungu Cable Car, so queuing is possible. Your guide will adjust the time and schedule flexibly to avoid crowds.