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Huangshan (the Yellow Mountains) is one of the most popular tourist destinations in China, but people often ask about when to go and where to stay. We at China Highlights have written this article to help you plan a Huangshan tour that you'll enjoy.
General speaking, Huangshan is worth visiting all year round.
In spring and summer, the natural scenery is very green, and you can see more different views with the changeable weather. You can appreciate seas of cloud on the Yellow Mountains and view yellow rape flowers along the road. You can see red flowers cover the mountains in May.
Cool autumn is a good season to climb mountains, with less rain, and the red leaves on the Yellow Mountains are beautiful.
In winter, though the Yellow Mountains is cold, but is still worth travelling to. You can also see the snow-capped mountains and rime trees if you're lucky enough to meet the snowy weather. Both the scenic area and hotels are on discount, and you can enjoy a virtually crowd-free trip in winter.
The most popular period is from April to October.
July and August are summer holiday for Chinese students and Huangshan can be very crowded. The crowds are worst during the National Day holiday (October 1–7).
The Yellow Mountains are the main attraction of Huangshan. "The most beautiful mountains in China" are a must see. Spend one day for a flavor, two days to take in the sunset/sunrise and get a good overall experience, three days to see all the main areas.
You are suggested to spend one day discovering two or three of the ancient villages/districts of Huangshan. The following are the recommendations with both historic and natural beauty.
Tunxi Ancient Street is the best-preserved ancient street in Huangshan City, with architectural styles of the Song (960–1279), Ming (1368–1644) and Qing (1644–1911) dynasties. It's famous for ink production. If you are interested in Chinese brush calligraphy, you should see the historic factory where ink tablets, calligraphy sets, and seals are produced. You can also buy famous tea there and taste the best local food. Ideal for late afternoon/evening.
Hong Village is the setting for Ang Lee's movie "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon". Hongcun is a beautiful ancient village frequented by painters capturing the blend of pools, willows, and ancient architecture on canvass. It's at the foot of the Yellow Mountains.
Bishan Village is praised as a rural Utopia. Unlike the other villages that you will visit nearby, Bishan's buildings combine ancient styles with modern artistic ideas. If you are an architecture lover and rural nature lover, don’t miss the chance to submerge yourself into the green fields and the historical atmosphere of Bishan.
Xidi Village has many high walls and alleys, which will make you feel like you're in a maze. The layout, decoration, and cultural backdrop make it a classic Anhui ancient village. There's an 8-km (5-mi) Hongcun–Xidi scenic walk.
The Tangyue Memorial Arches are the largest collection of these tall Chinese-style stone gateway and roof structures in the world. The arches are made of stone alone, without any fixings. Half an hour from Huangshan city, but 1½ hours from Hongcun.
Tachuan Village is a fall favorite. It is said to have the best autumnal scenery in China. It's only 2 km (1 mile) from Hongcun.
Wuyuan Village is a well-preserved village of Anhui architecture. It's well known for its yellow seas of rape flowers, best seen during March and April. It's about 1½ hours' drive (90 km / 56 mi) southwest of Huangshan.
Jingdezhen is the capital of porcelain. You can have a look at how the porcelains are made and experience making porcelains by yourself. It's about 2½ hours by bus or 3 hours by train southwest of Huangshan.
Now you've seen what's on offer, see how people usually combine them in a tour.
You are suggested to stay one night on the mountains to see the sunrise. Spend two nights on the mountain (or add one full day) to discover the wonders of the West Sea Great Canyon trail (recommended). Make sure you arrive at the scenic area before 4pm to catch the cable car and check in to a mountaintop hotel.
If you are already in Shanghai or Hangzhou or have the plan to be there, you can easily plan a 3-day trip to Huangshan and enjoy some top views. Check the following itinerary for ideas:
Day 1: Huangshan Arrival and Ink-Painting-Like Villages
The best way to travel from Shanghai or Hangzhou to Huangshan is to take a highspeed train. When you arrive, your guide will pick you up from the railway station. Then, you start your Huangshan visiting experience from Hongcun Ancient Village and Bishan Village.
Day 2: The Yellow Mountain Hiking
You ride on a cable car up to the Yellow Mountains, then your guide will suggest you a most suitable hiking route for you according to your physical condition and hiking experience. A good choice is to stay in a mountain top hotel for the night, so you can appreciate the sunset and the following day’s sunrise.
Day 3: Huangshan Hot Spring
Huangshan Hot Spring is the best way to wash away the tiredness of hiking. After relaxing, say goodbye to Huangshan and take a highspeed train back.
Check our 3-Day Escape to Huangshan from Shanghai or Hangzhou for detailed information or read about more spotlight experiences of Huangshan.
You can fly or take a train to Huangshan from Shanghai, Beijing, and Guangzhou, and many of China's main cities. If there is no train/flight direct to Huangshan, you should go via Hangzhou or Shanghai.
Taking a highspeed train from Shanghai or Hangzhou is the best way to arrive in Huangshan. By highspeed train, you can get to Huangshan in 3.5 hours from Shanghai, or 2 hours from Hangzhou.
Read more about Huangshan Transportation .
You are suggested to stay in downtown Huangshan if you arrive at Huangshan late at night or must catch an early onward flight/train. Try Hui Boutique Hotel (Tunxi Ancient Street) to experience traditional Chinese accommodation.
Yipin Genglou (一品更楼) is a boutique hotel with both Chinese and western decoration. It is in the north of Hong Village, which is less travelled to. You can experience a relaxing and quiet stay in Yipin Genglou. But this hotel only has 10 rooms and some rooms are quite small. It will be cold if you stay there in winter.
Pig's Inn (猪栏酒吧) is a warm hotel near Hong Village and Xidi Village. It provides bikes for guests to bike around the village. There is a library with traditional Hui style architecture and quiet environment for you to enjoy an afternoon tea time. It takes about 15 minutes to ride from the hotel to the library. The hotel is renovated base on an old house so you may find it old.
If you want to see the sunrise and go hiking, you are suggested to stay on the mountains.
If you don't want to stay overnight on the mountains, you can try small inns at Tangkou Town.
If you want to experience Chinese rural life, Pig's Inn (Xidi Village) is a good choice.
A private tour guide and car is recommended for traveling Huangshan. The guides know the tourist areas like their own backyard. They can tell you the stories about the pines and rocks and give you tips about photography. You don't need to bother about reading maps and signs.
Build in more time and be flexible if making the trip on your own to avoid stress.
In downtown Huangshan (Tunxi) and the prefecture's villages, you can taste authentic Hui cuisine (one of the Eight Cuisines of China), which is known for its roasting, stewing, braising, and quick-frying.
On the mountains, restaurants and food choices are very limited. We will find the best available, but it is also recommended that you bring some snacks with you. Supplies are available on the mountains, but the prices increase with the altitude.
“The one thing we weren’t expecting was the amount and steepness of stairs.”
— Victor and Mary Ann Cognato, China Highlights customers commenting on Huangshan
Comfortable footwear is essential, ideally walking boots for extra foot protection and ankle support.
Waterproof and windproof warm clothes (layers of clothes are practical for taking on and off when climbing the mountains) are recommended for protection from the rain and wind. Umbrellas can be dangerous in high winds and awkward on narrow trails.
In summer, prepare sun protection and mosquito repellant.
In winter, prepare warm mountain clothes and slip-resistant snow boots. You can purchase crampons (recommended for the iciest steps) for about CNY20 (US$4) and walking poles for about CNY10 (US$2) at the foot of the mountain.
Most hotels on the mountains don't provide toothpaste, toothbrushes, shower gel and shampoo. Also bring high-calorie snacks, a camera, and a flashlight (you will be walking in the dark if you want to get to a viewing point for the first rays of dawn).
4-Day Huangshan Highlights Tour from Shanghai: Enjoy the Yellow Mountains' natural beauty and discover an ancient Chinese village — all you need for the highlights of Huangshan.