How to Plan a Yellow Mountain/Huangshan Tour
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Huangshan (the Yellow Mountains) is one of the most popular tourist destinations in China, but often people 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.
When to Go
Choose a season for the weather and scenery you want.
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 appreciate 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. 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.
Beware high season crowds.
The most popular period is from April to October.
July and August is summer holiday for Chinese students and Huangshan can be very crowded. The crowds are worst in the National Day holiday (October 1–7).
Attractions You Should Consider Visiting
The Yellow Mountains
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.
Ancient Villages/Streets of Huangshan
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 you may have already seen, as it's 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.
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.
Popular Attractions near Huangshan for a day trip
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 also experience making porcelains by yourself. It's about 2½ hours by bus or 3 hours by train southwest of Huangshan.
Classic Huangshan Tours
Now you've seen what's on offer, see how people usually combine them in a tour.
4-Day Classic Huangshan Tour
- The Yellow Mountains: 3 days
- Villages at the mountain foot: 1 day
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.
5/6-Day Huangshan and Nearby Attractions Tour
- The Yellow Mountains: 3 days
- Villages at the mountain foot: 1 day
- Jingdezhen: 1day
- Wuyuan: 1 day
If you would like to see exquisite porcelain or even experience making porcelain, Jingdezhen should be on your list. And if you are travelling during March and April, Wuyuan is also worth visiting for the amazing yellow fields of oilseed rape.
Suggested 3-Day Huangshan Tour Itinerary
Day 1. Huangshan Arrival
Your tour guide will pick you up at the airport/ train station and transfer you directly to your hotel in central Huangshan City.
Day 2. The Yellow Mountains
The Yellow Mountains are about one hour's drive on good roads from downtown Huangshan. Ascend with a 10-minute cable car ride to save your energy. See magnificent rock and pine scenery, and, if the conditions are right, seas of clouds. The mountains offer plenty to see, and the hikes can be steep, so tell your guide if you need a break.
Spend a night on the mountain to be ready for viewing the dawn.
Day 3. The Yellow Mountains, Hong Village, and Tunxi Ancient Street
Get up early to appreciate the renowned sunrise spectacle. After breakfast on the mountains, see Stone Monkey Watching the Sea.
Descend by cable car, have lunch in a local restaurant, and then begin your Hong Village tour. It takes about two hours to explore this beautiful village.
Then return to the city and see Tunxi Ancient Street (one hour's drive). Enjoy a leisurely walk among the ancient buildings and find bargain souvenirs.
Your guide will help with your luggage and accompany you to catch your flight/train.
Read more about this 3-day Huangshan tour
How to Get There
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.
Huangshan's small airport, 10 minutes' drive from Huangshan City, has daily flights to and from Shanghai, and other cities including Beijing, Xi'an, Guangzhou, and Chongqing.
An overnight train from Shanghai (e.g. K8418: 20:21–07:11) takes 12 hours. A bus only takes about half the time.
Buses from Hangzhou make the 2½-hour journey to the city or a 3½-hour journey direct to the mountains. Buses running from Hanghzou West Bus Station to Huangshan City are non-stop buses and the driver doesn't speak English. The last bus back to Hanghzou is at 5:50 pm.
Read more about Huangshan Transportation .
Where to Stay
In Downtown Huangshan (Tunxi District)
- Star-rated hotels
- 1½ hours from the Yellow Mountains Scenic Area
- 10 minutes' drive to the airport/train station.
You are suggested to stay in downtown Huangshan if you arrive at Huangshan late at night, or have to catch an early onward flight/train. Try Hui Boutique Hotel (Tunxi Ancient Street) to experience traditional Chinese accommodation.
Stay in Village (Hong Village/Xidi Village)
Yipin Genglou (一品更楼) is a boutique hotel with both Chinese and western decoration. It is located 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 provide 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.
On the Mountains
- Limited hotel options
- Best hotels: Xihai Hotel (West Sea Hotel) and Beihai Hotel (North Sea Hotel)
If you want to see the sunrise and go hiking, you are suggested to stay on the mountains.
At the Foot of the Mountains — Tangkou Town
- Chinese hostels and inns
- Buses to the Yellow Mountains' main entrance stop here
If you don't want to stay overnight on the mountains, you can try small inns at Tangkou Town.
In a Village
If you want to experience Chinese rural life, Pig's Inn (Xidi Village) is a good choice.
Travel Alone or with a Tour Guide?
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.
Foods at Huangshan
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.
Prepare Well for a Comfortable Trip
Clothing and Shoes
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 antiskid 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 flash light (you will be walking in the dark if you want to get to a viewing point for the first rays of dawn).
Our Huangshan Tours for Your Inspiration
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.