Yellow Mountain/HuangShan, AnHui province


WARNING: Damn long post!

Initially, I was thinking about writing the whole events of my East China trips, not as detailed but just as slightly explained as I could, but I don't think I can. Hehe. So, I'll just write about my most satisfied trip, and leave the rest for the pictures I've uploaded in Facebook to tell the tale.

This would be one of my best trips ever in my whole life. The fact is that, my confession to most of friends and family who don't know yet, it is my first solo backpack trip! v(^.^)v

It has been a long and 'secret' planning, that I have said a lot of white lies to make it come true. I'm sorry to those I've lied, I have a sin. A big one =(

Solo backpack in a foreign country is hassle free if you make detailed yet adjustable planning, where you can either follow what you have planned or making some adjustment according to the situation later in your trip accordingly. A planning is crucial especially if you are the kind of by-the-book person yet you don't want to join a tour group.

^My long list of plannings: accommodation, transportation etc

Many people don't encourage me to go for a solo trip in China. Well, for me, anything that could happen in China, I experienced it in Malaysia already. So what really is the difference anyway? The only thing would be I was in foreign country by myself.

It would be an extra advantage for you if you can read and understand Mandarin. I found that most of the travel guides for most of the places in China are in Mandarin websites, Mandarin forums etc. One of the best travel guide forums I have referred to during my planning is this. They have threads of various places-to-visit in China, with people asking question and people answering the solution.

I took a flight from GuangZhou 广州 to HangZhou 杭州. The flight was delayed 2 hours because of the bad weather and airplanes traffic congestion at the airport. There is an airport in HuangShan 黄山 too, but the domestic flight rate fluctuates tremendously, few days back the price was still RMB200, but few days later it would be RMB500++.

There are shuttle buses provided from HangZhou XiaoShan airport 杭州萧山机场 to few places, basically to HangZhou city centres. They didn't provide buses to HuangShan directly, so I need to take the shuttle bus to WuLinMen 杭州武林门 (RMB20), take the city bus #502 or taxi to the West bus station and get on the bus to HuangShan.

The bus stopped at 民航 (Civil Aviation Administration of China) office and took my first meal in HangZhou.

There are few major bus stations in HangZhou, so it is important that we know which bus station that we should go for our journey. I didn't manage to find the bus stop (as even the local people don't really sure where I should wait for the #502 bus =.=), so I took a cab to go to the West bus station which cost me RMB21 whereas a bus ride would be RMB2 only. Aiyah!!

Another journey: 4 hours bus ride to HuangShan TunXi 黄山屯溪, RMB84.

By the time I arrived TunXi, it was about 5.20pm already. Something I don't really like about China is, the people is really good in badgering, especially to tourists! Argh! Well, some taxi drivers in Malaysia quite annoying too, but China's level is unbreakable =.=

For the accommodation part, I would recommend the youth hostels in TunXi for cheap rate and nice environment: Old Street YHA 老街中国青年旅舍 and Koala YHA 黄山考拉青年旅舍.

The one I stayed is Koala YHA. The train station is just opposite the hostel yet the bus station is quite a distance =.=. According to my survey, I need to ride on the #9 bus and go down at the Train Station stop. And I thought it would be just few stops, but rupa-rupanya it is from the first stop right to the last stop. Geng~

Koala YHA is located about 5-minute walking distance from the train station. Along the way I was badgered by the people who want to promote their hotels. Extremely annoying.

Anyway, I am satisfied. The room rate is RMB35/bed (6 beds per room), which is a great choice for a solo backpacker like me to save cost v(^.^)v

^Clean and cosy room with nice window view.

Lucky enough, although it is a 6-beds-room, I get to own the whole room by myself as I was the only occupant in that room v(^.^)v

^Attached, clean bathroom

The YHA provides service such as mini van to TangKou town 汤口镇 (foot of HuangShan), HuangShan hotel room booking etc.

The transportation to TangKou town is necessary, as that place is where you get on the bus to the entrance gates of HuangShan. The fee is RMB18 if you book from YHA.

The price of hotel rooms and even beds on HuangShan can be extremely expensive, so hotel pre-booking is advisable. During the peak season, it is advisable you pre-book the hotel room on HuangShan earlier, some recommends you book the room even a month earlier during that time. In my case, I was quite regretted to pre-book the hotel room earlier from YHA. I'll talk about this later. I paid RMB120 for a BED in BaiYun Hotel 白云宾馆.

The next day, we got on a van at 6am, about 13 of us, to TangKou town. The journey from TunXi to TangKou is about 2 hours. Along the way, the auntie who owns the van told us about routes to go, places to visit etc. As I was all alone, she advised me to find a companion, as the weather was not really good that morning. It has been raining for the whole night and that morning.

I befriended Ed from England and Tony and SJ from Australia to go along. They rock!

First of all, please allow the almighty Wikipedia to introduce HuangShan. There is a chinese idiom that says: "五岳归来不看山;黄山归来不看岳" Translation: There are five famous Sacred Mountains 五岳 in China - 东岳泰山 (East/Mount Tai in ShanDong 山东)、西岳华山 (West/Splendid Mountain in Shan3Xi 陕西)、南岳衡山 (South/Balancing Mountain in HuNan 湖南)、北岳恒山 (North/Permanent Mountain in Shan1Xi 山西) 和 中岳嵩山 (Center/Lofty Mountain in HeNan 河南). Each of these mountains has their own unique landscape and charm, making them special as individual mountain and majestic in group. However, the awesomeness of Mount Huang is greater than the Five Scared Mountains. Once you came back from Mount Huang, you don't have to visit the Five Sacred Mountains already. Awesome?

There are many routes for you to go, according to your planning of places to visit, physical condition, time arrangement etc. The most famous two routes would be entrance from YunGu 云谷 (the back mountain) and exit 慈光阁 (the front mountain) and vice versa. Most of the travel guide forums would recommend these two routes, however, it really depends on your stamina and the places you really want to go. The first one (which is my choice too) is a rather easier one, but the latter one is the hardest route (according to professionals etc).

^YunGu entrance gate.

The entrance fee for HuangShan is RMB230 per person (yup, the bloodsucker China Tourism destinations), but you can get half price discount if you flash your student card. And I did! It's so unbelievable that even a Malaysia-IPTA-fully-Malay-language matrix card can help save my budget! v(^.^)v I think it's because I have an honest face haha! So people, if your are going to China for vacation, make sure you bring along your matrix card as you never know...

Ascending from YunGu has one advantage, you can ride cable car to mid mountain and continue your journey there. However, on the day we went there, the queue at the cable car was horrible, so four of us decided to go up the mountain by its carved stairs. I seriously regretted that. =.=

One scary thing about Mount Huang would be: Unlimited Tiring Journey! The thing about HuangShan is, it is known for its carved stone stairs, stairs and stairs. Your leg, especially your knee will experience the most impact. I suffered 2-3 days of aching thigh and leg muscles after this trip. Arghh... One of the best tips I got from the fellow climbers who went on the same route:"Don't look up!"

^workers carrying one huge long cable wire up the hill

Another thing about HuangShan is that there are cable cars for human, but it is not for items and food etc. The only way to carry the food and drinks and stuff up the mountain is by manpower. Therefore, the higher you climb, the more expensive the things sold. For example, the cup noodle sold in town is RMB1.50, it is sold RMB2 at the foot of the mountain, RMB3.50 at about 1km from the foot of the mountain, RMB7 at the mid mountain, and it can reach RMB15-20 when you climb higher and higher. My method was carrying a 1.5L mineral water, with breads and chocolates up the hill. Suffering but to save cost, what to do...

By the way, I salute the workers very much. Even me who just carry 1 bottle of mineral water couldn't stop panting on my way up and down, they easily carrying 2 dozens of water, some walked even faster than I am. Salute!

As all the stuffs on the peak mountain are carried by labor power, the hotel rooms are expensive and limited too.

^10-beds room

Depending on your budget, you can get one bed for RMB100-120 (In my case, I booked the bed with YHA downhill which cost me RMB120, while another family members who were staying with us in this same room only paid RMB100 at front desk. Jilakat?), or if you are not comfortable with this type of room, you can get yourselves those normal 2-beds room with the price minimal RMB500 onwards. SJ couldn't slept well as she said the room was like a zoo with 9 different loud snoring. I bet I was one of the hippos Haha!

HuangShan is know of its Four Unique: 奇松 Pine trees, 怪石 shaped stones, 云海 sea of clouds, and 温泉 hot spring.

1. 奇松 Pine trees - The pine trees on HuangShan is naturally grown and not being trimmed by human beings. There are a few famous pine tree trademarks on HuangShan, but as I was not with a tour guide, so I missed quite a number of them.

^The ever famous 迎客松 Welcoming Guest Pine

2. 怪石 stones - Same as the pines, the stones on HuangShan is also naturally shaped by the mother nature, the wind, the rain, the snow, the sun etc. Some of them shaped quite uniquely awesome. There are a few famous stone trademarks too, I just followed the signboards to search the stone. Anyway, it's not really a specific ones, as the tour guides have this kind of saying: What ever you think it looks like, that's what it is.

^猴子观云海 Monkey watching over the sea of clouds (The standing stone in the middle of the picture)

^蛤蟆望天 Toad watching the sky

3. 云海 Sea of clouds - after few days of raining, the peak was covered with a thick clouds and mist, making everything so blurry.


^Clear day an hour after that.

I'm quite a big fan of clouds, but as I have a minimal-function point-&-shoot camera, the effect of 'sea of clouds' can't be shown as how I saw it, so... Duh~

4. 温泉 Hotspring - I don't know the location, so I didn't go. =.=

I would like to add up 2 more Unique into the list:

5. 日落 Sunset - Due to the unpredictable weather fluctuation on HuangShan, sun rise and sun set can be a disappointment moment for most of the tourists. Anyway, I am so damn lucky. Haha! For my 2 days stay on HuangShan, I managed to witness the awesome sunset and sun rise on a clear sky!

^ Awesome view of sunset from HuangShan's second highest peak, 光明顶 Bright Summit Peak

The platform is large and wide enough for huge number of tourists to watch, mesmerize and capture the view of sunset.

6. 日出 Sun rise - Awaiting of sun rise can turn out to be either satisfying or frustrating. Waking up at the ungodly hour of 4am just to wait for the yolk-like sun to come out. In some times, the clouds and mists can be so thick, the tourists have to walk away disappointingly. But not me! ^^

^Crowded platform at Bright Summit Peak capturing the moment of sun rise.

I planned for a 2D1N round trip from the front mountain to the back, including West Sea Canyon 西海大峡谷. About 6-7 hours of time must be spared if you want to visit the canyon, unfortunately, we don't have such time and stamina already, so I have to give it up. =(

So, the next must-visit spot would be Celestial Summit 天都峰.

^Can you spot the stairs?

Celestial peak is the third highest peak, measuring 1,829m. I was actually planning to conquer the tallest peak, Lotus Summit 莲花峰, but it was closed =(

As you can or may not see, the stairs towards the peak of the Celestial Summit is almost 70-80 degree. *sweat*. SJ and Tony led the team and they headed first, while Ed and I slowly climbing up the super duper steep stairs while mesmerizing the awesomeness view around us.

^The landmark at the peak-est peak of Celestial Peak

After spending some good time on the peak, having breakfast, taking group photos etc, we started descending HuangShan.

The other descending route of the Celestial Peak was even steeper than the one we ascending! Argh my knees!

^Our exit gate - 慈光阁 CiGuang Temple.

Four of us shared the taxi fee from CiGuang Temple to TangKou town, and another taxi fee from TangKou to TunXi.

As I planned to go to Nanking at that particular night, I spent my evening at the famous Old Street in the town center of TunXi.

^The Old Street gate welcoming you

Super hot and sunny day! It is one of the most well preserved old street in China, which you can witness the building structures and the old street style from the ancient China history. When I first stepped into this street, my feeling was like:"Goodness~ Am I in the good old days of China or is it a film shooting place?" It is totally awesome. =)

At the end of this trip, I felt happy, satisfied and contented. I am so proud of myself because my first attempt of solo trip has succeeded! Trust me, it will be second, third, fourth etc etc etc..... Hehe~

Click this link for more pictures.


tino said… kak ma zai??

ane song...wa pun bo ka ai solo trip, kia tiuk colek...haha
*Nee* said…
Tan tiok bo zai lah... ee lang zai wa ki, tapi bozai si solo =p

kalu li gak snk wu budget, wa recommend zhe leh mountain. jin jia sui, jin jia song
Anonymous said…
hi everybody

I figured it would be a good idea to introduce myself to everyone!

Can't wait to get to know you all better!


Thanks again!
Anonymous said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said…

It is my first time here. I just wanted to say hi!
Anonymous said…
hello everyone, how how is everyone?
Anonymous said…
Hello. And Bye.

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