My 5 Days Amazing Experience in Huangshan
Guilin to Hangzhou to Tunxi of Huangshan City– ran up against traffic jam
Flight from Guilin(桂林Guìlín) to Huangshan(黄山Huángshān) City went smoothly, but the connecting transfer from Hangzhou to Huangshan City (usually called Tunxi District) was quite terrible because of the traffic jam in Hangzhou. The stagnant(if something such as a business or society is stagnant, there is little activity or change) cars on the road looked like a long dragon, moving forward for 5 meters, stopping, moving, again and again. My flight arrived in Hangzhou at 15:20, but I missed the last bus (leaves at 18:50 daily) from Hangzhou to Huangshan City because of the jam. So I had to find a private car to Tunxi after I arrived in Hangzhou when it was about 22:40.
The snow was so heavy that the road got icy(if you describe something as icy or icy cold, you mean that it is extremely cold), which made it not so safe to drive to Tangkou Town where Mt. Huangshan locates, so I chose to overnight in Huangshan City and started the trip on next day.
Tunxi to Tangkou to Mt. Huangshan Scenic Area – trekking on Mt. Huangshan in snow
The earliest bus from Tunxi District to Tangkou Town departed at about 08:00. After about 1 hour's drive, I finally reached the Bus Exchange Center at Tangkou. Tourists need to take the "New National Lines" bus from the mountain foot to the entrance of the scenic area first. The entrance fee for Mt. Huangshan is only CNY150 during the low season (Dec.1 to Feb.28) and the ticket for cable car is not a necessity, you can choose to go up/down on foot if you have unstinted time and physical strength.
Mt. Huangshan is an expansive scenic area with many wonderful sights and tourists can tour them in different orders. The route I chose was "Ciguangge cable car station – Yuping Scenic Area – Baiyun Scenic Area – Big Xihai Canyon Area – Beihai Area". For me who do regular exercises, mountain-climbing is not a big challenge, but my 18kg backpack did make the marching sweaty more or less. And, one thing surprised me was that there were tons of domestic visitors! Shutterbugs were everywhere, taking photos of those famous mountain attractions in excitement. It seems that tourist hot season for Mt. Huangshan never ends.
In consideration of security, many of the most famous peaks and scenic spots were blocked during the snow season, including the top sites like the Tiandu Peak, the Lianhua Peak (Lotus Peak), and the Xihai Canyon (Western Ocean Canyon), but passengers can still visit part of the Xihai Canyon to avoid the crowded path of the front park of the mountain. The Xihai Canyon is one of the highlights on Mt. Huangshan scenic area, with a plank road building along the cliff and the natural beauty showing people what the real Mt. Huangshan is.
It was a pleasant thing to take a trekking on Mt. Huangshan in winter, because it was just like walking on the cloud and the Guest-Greeting Pine, the Flying Stone and other the perfect spots for photo shooting passed me by en route, and people's mirth scattered through the mountain. Thanks god, I was lucky enough to see the beautiful rime that is hailed as one of the Mt. Huangshan highlights.
Huangshan to Hongcun Village – a perfect mixture of nature and culture
Everybody was excited about the tired hiking and all of us were expecting to see the sunrise today. Thanks god again, we made it. Every peak near the hotels on the top of Mt. Huangshan was filled with travelers and photographers, and the nipping wind did not extinguish our passion. It was another interesting thing for me to wait the sunrise on the top of Huangshan and that reminded me of my waiting for sunrise on the top of the Mao'er Mountain in Guilin one month ago. Although it was much colder this time, I was surely lucky enough to catch up with sunrise every time.
After touring the rest attractions on the mountain, I went downhill and continued my trip to Hongcun Village. The drive from Mt. Huangshan to Hongcun Village took about 1 hour and the weather today was good, so I have enjoyed a lot during the visit. Actually 2 days is enough for a Mt. Huangshan tour plus a visit to see the Hongcun Village or the Xidi Village. The last bus from Mt. Huangshan to Hongcun leaves at 16:00, so make sure you reach the foot of the Mt. Huangshan before that.
Hongcun is a very small village with an old and amazing architectural layout. The whole village looks like an ox from the sky, such overall arrangement is based on bionics and is praised as one of the human cultural heritages in the world. Another characteristic of Hongcun is that all of the small water branches in the village flow into the lake in thefront of the village, which makes it very convenient for getting domestic water and water cleaning. In the famous Hollywood movie "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" by renowned Chinese director Ang Lee, it is Hongcun at which Zhang Ziyi "shows" her peerless floating Kungfu.
The entrance ticket is not cheap at CNY80 so I chose to stay overnight there to see as much as about it. Just like that in Yangshuo of Guilin, the local featured hotels and local meal at Hongcun are really worth a try. Walking around the peaceful village and feeling the Hongcun culture made my short staying at Hongcun enjoyable. I would like to spend some more time there if it were not for my following Huangshan City tour far away.
Hongcun to Huangshan City – memorable Anhui culture and Tunxi Ancient Street
Huangshan is a very small city, and the most famous attraction there is the Tunxi Ancient Street (Lao Jie). The Tunxi Old Street is over 1000 meters long, filled with countless attractions: local food, tea shops, stone carvings, silk shops, etc. The architectures there shows the Anhui style which comes down from ancient dynasties. The Tunxi Ancient Street contains all highlights of the Anhui culture and do not miss the famous restaurant – Home of Delicious Food (Mei Shi Ren Jia 美食人家), which is a self-served one with delicious food at reasonable price. You can arrange a visit to this old street after the tour to Mt. Huangshan or do it on the first day of your itinerary if your flight arrives there at night.
Huangshan to Hangzhou – a leisurely day by the West Lake before departure
Compared with the tight itinerary to Mt. Huangshan and Hongcun Village, the last two days of my trip seemed much more relaxing. The earliest bus from Huangshan City to Hangzhou leaves at 07:00 in the morning, so I arrived in Hangzhou before noon without a bad traffic jam as last time.
Hangzhou is one of the most famous tourist cities in China and it is also among those most livable cities in China, just like Guilin. I have been to Hangzhou when I was a little boy but this is my first time that I can enjoy the beautiful city better. However, it is a pity that my limited time allowed me visited nothing else in Hangzhou but only the West Lake. In China the West Lake is always talked when people mention Hangzhou city.
To my surprise, the winter outlook of the West Lake was really cool! The huge lake area is really a nice place for leisure, tons of domestic and foreign travelers made the atmosphere there as hot as that in warm seasons. I did not choose a houseboat cruise but only had a walk around the lake, enjoying the nice landscape together with people who took the special sightseeing buses and bicycles. During cold months, the water lilies in West Lake wither away but the willows long the lake still keep green, standing tall and weaving their branches, nodding and saying hello to the travelers from all over the world.
I have to admit that hiking along the West Lake is even more difficult than that on Mt. Huangshan, because the lake is so huge with different parts and attractions, and it was a pity that I did not have further chance to visit those most famous ones like the Six Harmonies Pagoda, the Leifeng Tower, etc. The snacks in downtown Hangzhou were very nice so it is suggested to have a try. After a about two hours' walking around the West Lake, I took a taxi to get to the bus station and then departed to the airport for my flight back to Guilin.
5 days memorable business trip ended here but the memories will never die. I recorded the setting sun of the last day in the Hangzhou Xiaoshan International Airport with my poor camera and make it one page of the book of this tour.