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The Yellow Mountains is a breathtaking sight in China. It is credited to be the king of all the mountains. For thousands of years, travelers at home and abroad, including celebrities and scholars, have been attracted to Huangshan by its reputation.
Huangshan is well known for its unique scenic features: legendary pines, picturesque rocks, the sea of clouds, and hot springs. Also, it enjoys the reputation of being a "natural zoo and arboretum". The scenery here shows different characteristics at different times and in different seasons.
The beauty of Huangshan defies all description therefore it's necessary for photography-lovers to use their cameras to keep those moments for eternity. Here are some recommended tips for photography-lovers.
Best Seasons to Travel the Yellow Mountains
All seasons, but particularly:
- April: flowers perfume the air everywhere.
- July: it is great to watch the sunrise and sunset in bright weather.
- December-February: the snowy landscape there is amazing; moreover, the tickets are not expensive in winter.
Best Places to Take Photos
Best Places to See Sunrise
Generally speaking, the places to see sunrise are Shixin Peak (Beginning-to-believe Peak), Refreshing Terrace, Lion Peak, Purple Cloud Peak, Bright Top, Turtle Peak, Lotus Peak, Celestial Capital Peak, Gongyang Peak. Due to the altitude, the best place to see sunrise is different in seasons.
- Spring: Bright Top, Refreshing Terrace, Lion Peak, Gongyang Peak
- Summer: Bright Top, Refreshing Terrace, Lion Peak, Purple Cloud Peak, Gongyang Peak
- Autumn: Bright Top, Refreshing Terrace, Lion Peak, Purple Cloud Peak
- Winter: Bright Top, Shixin Peak (Beginning-to-believe Peak), Gongyang Peak
Best Places to See Sunset
- Spring: Bright Top, Turtle Peak, Gongyang Peak
- Summer: Bright Top, Turtle Peak, Flying-over Stone, Purple Cloud Peak, Fairy-walking Bridge, Gongyang Peak
- Autumn: Bright Top, Turtle Peak, Purple Cloud Peak, Fairy-walking Bridge, Cloud-dispelling Pavilion
- Winter: Bright Top, Turtle Peak, Gongyang Peak
Note: 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 less than ten people. Shixin Peak (Beginning-to-believe Peak) may be capable of accommodating more than ten.
The following are approximate average sunrise times at the Yellow Mountains. Observed sunrise will vary depending on your height with respect to surrounding mountains. On cloudy days the sun may appear above the cloud line somewhat later, and dawn may be less colorful.
Best Places to take Pictures of the Seas of Cloud
- South Sea: Jade Screen Tower
- North Sea: Refreshing Terrace
- East Sea: White Goose Ridge
- West Sea: Paiyun Pavilion
- Sky Sea: Bright Top
It is necessary to pay attention to the time of when to take pictures of the seas of cloud. Usually, the seas of cloud appear in the fine weather following rain or snow. In addition, the photography position is a critical factor.
Best Places to Take Pictures of Snowy Scenery
North Sea, West Sea, Sky Sea, Jade Screen Tower, Pine Valley, Cloud Valley and Hot Spring.
Detailed Description for Some Photography Locations
Best times: winter and spring for sunrise, sunset and the sea of clouds.
Bright Top, one of the main peaks, is located in the middle of the Huangshan Mountains. Also, it is the second highest peak with about 1,860 meters above sea level. It is great to watch the scenery of the peaks of the East Sea and the West Sea because it is smooth on its top.
Note: Photography-lovers are recommended to stay at Beihai Hotel or inns around there in order to see the sunrise. Find out the sunrise time in advance and book a morning call. It takes one hour to get to Bright Top from Beihai Hotel.
Yaotai of West Sea
Best time: evening for sunrise.
Yaotai is newly developed. It is surrounded by the hills and mountains in mist and fog.
Grand Canyon of West Sea
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 will take four hours to walk through the canyon; it is necessary to have sufficient water and food because there are no shops on the way. It is worthy of mentioning that it is maybe an expedition for most of the way and the paths have been built on the cliffs' edges.
Best times: winter and spring for sunset.
Flying-Over Stone is seated at the north-west part of Bright Top. It is nearly 1 kilometer away from Bright Top and about 1,730 meters above sea level. Flying-Over Stone is oddly shaped, being 12 meters high, 8 meters wide, and 1.5-2.5 meters thick. Moreover, it weighs about 360 tons. It is amazing that such a stone stands upright on a 15 meter long and 10 meter wide flat stone.
Best times: winter and spring for sunset.
Paiyun Pavilion is about a 1 kilometer walk from the Flying-Over Stone. Opposite the peaks, it is an ideal place in West Sea to see the exquisite stones. From the pavilion, photography-lovers can have a fine view of the hills and mountains that are sometimes half hidden in the mists, like the islands in the sea.
Best times: winter and spring for sunrise and the sea of clouds.
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: in front of the terrace is the North Sea, below it are the 18 spiral stone steps, and on its right is the Shisungang where the rocks and stones look like bamboo shoots.
What to Pack
- Tripod, raincoat, and walking stick are necessary.
- It is not acceptable to hold the iron chain during thunderstorms.
- Don't take cover under a tree when it rains.
- Take warm clothing, especially a down jacket in winter.
- Take food for yourself as it is expensive to buy at the scenic sites.
Tour with China Highlights
Recommended tour: 3-day essence of Huangshan tour
- The Top 6 Ancient Streets/Villages close to the Yellow Mountains
- The Seas of Cloud of the Yellow Mountains
- The Top 10 Most Beautiful Places in China
- Hongcun Village