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Huangshan (Yellow Mountain), Anhui Province, China

3rd - 4th April 1999


China Eastern flight to Tunxi



The trip to Huangshan, in the South of Anhui Province, began with an early (5 a.m.) alarm call on Saturday 3rd April. A short taxi ride to Shanghai's Hongqiao airport saw me meeting colleague Jim Knight just after 6 o'clock. We were soon checked in for China Eastern's 7-15 a.m. flight MU 5112 to Tunxi Airport, Huangshan City. The flight was delayed slightly and arrived at Tunxi at 08-40 a.m.. Sitting on the left hand side of the plane we had a magnificent view of the terraced fields as we came in to land, made all the more picturesque by the bright yellow flowers of the rape seed they were growing.
We had arranged for a local travel agent to meet us and take us to the foot of the cable car at Huangshan Mountain, and by 9-50 a.m. we had reached the arch leading to Huangshan proper. By 10-05 a.m. we had reached the car park at the foot of the East route up the mountain and we duly paid our RMB 80 entry fee and RMB 65 cable car fee. It was at this point that our hearts sank, as we were told that there was a 3-hour wait for the cable car! I remembered that there was supposed to be a "Luxury Waiting Room" for foreigners but the question was where was it and how did you get in? By chance we met a group of four other foreigners, one of whom was Harriet of China Team International who I had met before. Speaking fluent Chinese Harriet did the business and got us in to the Luxury Waiting Room. By 11 a.m. we were at the top of the cable car taking our first photos and getting wrapped up, as there was a cold wind blowing at the top.


Approaching the top of the cable car

We had some discussion about which way to go, but actually on Huangshan all of the paths are slabs of stone or steps, and you rarely have to decide other than by chosing one of two paths.


Chinese dragon with "Locks of Love"


Beginning-to-Believe peak

View from Beginning-to-Believe Peak


Our first stop was Beginning-to-Believe Peak and from there we dropped down to the Beihai Hotel to check in and to have lunch. At RMB 80 per head the Behai Hotel's Mongolian Hot Pot is a delight you can do without. The oil in which you cooked the food looked as though it had done 10,000 miles in the sump of a Shanghai bus! Jim was sick later in the evening and whether it was from lunch or the equally uninspiring dinner we shall never know!
In the afternoon we did the lap of the lake, heading towards the new cable car at Pai Yun Tin and round towards Flying Rock. The latter is quite spectacular and you have to squeeze past a narrow guard rail to stand on the base supporting the rock. From there we walked to Bright Top Peak and then back down to the Behai Hotel.


Rock Flying From A Far






The Behai Hotel is quite reasonable accommodation, considering that it is at the top of a mountain and everything has to be carried up by porters. Unfortunately they had no bar, so after dinner there was little else to other than retire to bed. Note for the next trip: Bring Food!


Looking down towards the Beihai Hotel from Beginning-to-Believe Peak

We rose very early to see the sun rising over "North Sea", but we were dismayed when we got to the viewing point as half of China had had the same idea! And to boot, the sky was grey and overcast. If the sun did come up we did not see it! After that it was back to the Beihai Hotel for a couple of hours more sleep.


All I need now are the porters to carry me!


Bright Top Peak

After a coffee in the Behai, we set off at around 10 o'clock for the climb to Bright Top Peak again. Jim was not feeling too good after the dodgy food but wanted to keep his options open. It was either return to the East cable car or to walk to the other cable car at the head of the West steps. By the time we reached Bright Top Peak, quite a stiff climb taking 50 minutes or so, Jim was feeling marginally better and the route on to the West cable car was by then no longer than going back to the East cable car. From Bright Top Peak you get a good view of the next two peaks, Fish Peak (Ou Yu) and Lotus Peak (the highest in the Huangshan range).
The path drops down from Bright Peak Top reaching a rest place in a small valley before climbing up again towards Lotus Peak. Suddenly you are at the head of a very narrow, almost vertical set of steps cut into the rock and there is no other way down!