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Mount Huangshan, the “No. 1 Mountain Under Heaven” in China, has drawn increasing attention of tourists from all over the world. This article will provide you with 11 basic facts you may want to know about this mountain, including its location, history, legends, religious culture, rich resources and so on.
-Tickets: 190 RMB in peak season from March to November and 150 RMB in off-peak season from December to February
-Best Time to Visit : Huangshan mountain area features a humid sub-tropical monsoon climate. Summers and Winters are longer than Springs and Autumns. There are plenty of rainfalls, usually more than 180 rainy days through the whole year. It snows often in the Winter days, usually around 50 days per year. Clouds and fogs occur easily, and go fast sometimes. The average temperature in Summer is around 20°C. In winter days, it will drop to below 10°C. Basically speaking, Huangshan can be visited all year around. But Lotus Peak, Celestial Capital Peak and West Sea Grand Canyon are not open during Winter days (December to March). The best time to visit is from March to October. If you want to escape from crazy crowds, you can avoid travelling to Huangshan during Chinese holidays and School summer holidays (July~August). >> Huangshan Mountain Weather in Four Seasons
-Hotels : There are 6 recommended hotels on Huangshan Mountain, 2 hotels (Yupinglou Hotel and Baiyun Hotel) in the Front Mountain, and 4 hotels (Beihai Hotel, Xihai Hotel, Shilin Hotel, Paiyunlou Hotel) in the Back Mountain. The South Building of Xihai Hotel is the only 5-star hotel on the mountain. Beihai, Shilin, Baiyun are 4-star, while Paiyunlou and Yupinglou are 3-star. Our guests usually accommodate at Xihai Hotel, Beihai Hotel and Baiyun Hotel as they have better rooms, facilities and foods. Please kindly know the hotels on the mountain are not as good as the 4-star and 5-star hotels in the big cities while the prices are sometimes higher because there is no vehicle road can be built to the top area of the mountain, which made these hotels cost much longer time and much more money during their constructions. Besides, the supply of the hotels are basically rely on porters who usually walk for many hours to carry the foods, drinks, vegetables, eggs, beddings from the foot of the mountain. >>Check detailed information about the hotels.
-Cable Car : There are 4 cable cars in total, Yuping Cable Car at the Front Mountain, Yungu Cable Car at the Back Mountain, Taiping Cable Car at the North Gate, and Xihai Cable Car at Xihai Grand Canyon. Xihai Cable Car will usually be closed in cold winter from December to March >> Read more about Huangshan cable cars.
Where is Huangshan Mountain? What titles has it gained? Why is it called Huangshan Mountain? When you hear about Huangshan, have these questions ever popped up in your mind? Their answers can all be found below.
Generally speaking, the term Huangshan has two meanings: Huangshan City and Huangshan Mountain. In a broad sense, Huangshan City includes 3 districts and 4 counties. It lies in the south of Anhui Province, Southeast China. Huangshan mountain is in the north part of Huangshan City. But in daily communications, Huangshan City usually refers to the downtown area of it, which is called Tunxi District and about 1 hour’s drive from Huangshan Mountain. Therefore, some foreign tourists may get confused and find themselves at Tunxi when they intend to visit Huangshan Mountain. The tourist attractions, accommodation conditions, and price levels are all different in these two places. So make sure you are consulting the right destination when planning your trip.
But to take a Huangshan Mountain trip, people usually need to fly to Huangshan City (Tunxi) first and then take a bus or taxi to Huangshan Mountain.
Mount Huangshan has long been praised in China’s history. Numerous famous scholars, painters, emperors have paid a visit to Huangshan Mountain and been amazed at its beauty and splendor. As time passes by, Huangshan Mountain now enjoys a good reputation recognized both at home and abroad and it has owned several honorable titles.
On December 12, 1990, Mount Huangshan was included in the World Natural and Cultural Heritage List by UNESCO. The World Heritage Committee comments that Mount Huangshan was widely praised in the heyday of literature and art in Chinese history (especially in the mid-16th century A.D.).
In 2002, it was awarded the title of China’s National Geopark.
In 2004, it was selected into the first batch of Global Geoparks.
In 2007, it was selected as one of the "Top 10 Famous Mountains in China".
In January 2015, it was added into the first Green List of IUCN.
On July 25, 2018, it became a member of UNESCO’s World Network of Biosphere Reserves.
Yellow Mountain is also called Mount Huangshan or Huangshan Mountain. “Huang” (黄) is the Chinese pronunciation of “yellow” and “shan” (山) refers to “mountain”. This name may leave the tourists an impression that the mountain is yellow. However, Yellow Mountain is not yellow at all. Covered by all kinds of oddly-shaped pines, it is actually blackish green most of the time. Then why is it called Yellow Mountain?
In the past, Yellow Mountain was called Yishan (黟山), literally meaning black mountain. Because this is exactly what it looks like seen from the distance. Later Yishan being changed into Huangshan was due to a legend about Huangdi (黄帝). Huangdi (2711 BCE – 2598 BCE), also known as Yellow Emperor, is a legendary hero and Chinese sovereign. He is considered as the ancestor of all Chinese. Haungdi was a man of noble characters. He cared about the people deeply and always wanted to do more for his people. But it is a law of nature for mortal to get old and leave the world at last. In his senior years, Huangdi heard that the present Huangshan is a perfect place to make elixir. So he went there and spent years on the mountain collecting necessary herbs and making elixir. His efforts finally paid off and he became immortal after taking the pill. Therefore, to commemorate Huangdi, Yishan was renamed Huangshan, i.e. Yellow Mountain.
There are 72 peaks in Huangshan Mountain range, including 36 major peaks and 36 small peaks. Among them, Lotus Peak, Bright top, and Celestial Capital Peak are the most famous ones.
Lotus Peak (莲花峰) : 1864m, tallest peak in Huangshan Mountain. It’s about 40 minutes’ walk from Yuping Cableway Station. Lotus Peak is surrounded by many other small peaks, forming the shape of a thriving lotus. On the way to the top, there are four stone caves you need to get through. Anyone who climbs Lotus Peak will be amazed at the scenery. The inscriptions on the cliff left by the ancient people, the pines hanging upside down or looking like a flying dragon are all the sights you can’t miss.
Bright Top (光明顶) : 1860m, second tallest peak in Huangshan Mountain. It’s in the middle part of Huangshan, about 15 minutes’ walk from Baiyun hotel in front mountain. On the top, it is flat and has a broad view of other peaks. The long during of daylight time here gives it the name Bright Top. It is also one of the best spots to catch the beautiful sunrise, sunset, and clouds sea.
Celestial Capital Peak (天都峰) : 1810m, third tallest peak in Huangshan Mountain. It is about 2 hours’ walk to the south of Lotus Peak. Celestial Capital Peak is surrounded by clouds and mist, just like the heavenly place described in Chinese mythology, and hence its name. Though it’s not the tallest, Celestial Capital Peak is the most precipitous and magnificent among the three.
Note : To assure the sustainable development of Huangshan Mountain area, Lotus Peak and Celestial Capital Peak are open to tourists in turn every five years. In addition, they are usually closed from December to March for maintenance. As for now, Lotus Peak is open from 2019 to 2023 while Celestial Capital Peak is closed.
In the Sinian period about 800 million years ago, the sea water bypassed the ancient land in the south of the Yangtze River and entered the Huangshan area. Since then, it has been submerged under the sea water. At the end of the Silurian period, about 405 million years ago, Huangshan area rose above the sea level for the first time due to intensified crustal activities. But after 50 million years in the Carboniferous period, it sank below the sea level again. Geologists have found trilobite fossils in Tanjiaqiao and other places at the foot of Huangshan Mountains, proving that Huangshan area was indeed an ocean 400 million years ago.
Then at the end of Triassic (200 million years ago), the epoch-making Indosinian movement resulted in the up-thrust of land and Huangshan area thus ended its long history of transgression and marine deposits and entered the continental geo-history. Then the frequent geologic movements and magma eruption all made preparation to the formation of the mountain. About 60 million years ago, by the gradual uplift of the mountain body, many granite peaks such as Lotus Peak, Bright Top, and Celestial Capital Peak were formed. During the Quaternary period (about 2.6 million years ago), Huangshan Mountain went through three glacial periods. The glacial movements and erosion helped to form the glacial landscapes throughout Huangshan Mountain. After millions of years’ natural carving, the “divine” workmanship has finally come into being.
At the foot of Huangshan Mountain, near Yungu Temple, there is a Huangshan Geological Museum, small but really worth a visit. The 4D movie in the museum vividly presents the formation history of Huangshan Mountain. Many precious animal and plant specimens and fossils, such as dinosaur egg fossils, and simulation models of the rare animals living on the mountain are also on the show. Just half an hour at the museum, you will definitely have a better understanding and deeper impression of this magnificent natural wonder.
Most people can understand why Huangshan Mountain is a natural heritage site once they see the mountain with their own eyes. But why is it a cultural heritage site at the same time?
Huangshan mountain has been held in high esteem in China’s history, especially since the Tang Dynasty (A.D. 618 – A.D. 907). It attracted many visitors, most among whom were hermits, poets and painters. They all extolled the scenery of Huangshan Mountain in their poems, paintings, and articles. It has been an important source of inspiration for Chinese writers and artists ever since. It also had a great impact on the establishment of the influential Shanshui (“Mountain and Water”) school of landscape painting. Apart from that, Huangshan Mountain is also a significant carrier for Taoism and Buddhism in Chinese history, which we will discuss later. It seems that every peak, stone, and stream on Huangshan Mountain has its own story. Imagine that, a thousand years ago, a talented literary man traveled all the way here, gasped with admiration at the majestic peaks and a beautiful poem flowed from his mouth. And now, after so many years, you are standing right at the same spot, admiring the same scenery, and maybe humming some lines from the poem or exposing your own praises. Isn’t it also a kind of culture passing-down and exchange?
The development of Mount Huangshan is closely related to religion, especially Taoism and Buddhism. Huangdi mentioned above is a Taoist figure. His story about making elixir has been passed down from generation to generation. There are still many peaks whose names are related to the Taoist immortals, such as Xuanyuan (another name for Huangdi) Peak, Rongcheng (becoming immortal together with Huangdi) Peak, and Fuqiu (becoming immortal together with Huangdi) Peak.
As for Buddhism, it was introduced into Huangshan area in the Southern Dynasty (A.D. 420 – A.D. 589), and nearly 100 temples were built at that time. Among all the temples, Ciguang Temple (慈光阁), Yungu Temple (云谷寺), Xiangfu Temple (祥符寺), Cuiwei Temple (翠微寺) are the most notable ones. The temples are all at the foot at the mountain. Many of the monks in those temples were good at poetry and painting, including the founder of the Huangshan Painting School, Jian jiang.
Huangshan Mountain consists of 72 peaks. Most of them are individually named according to their shapes or legendary stories. Having some knowledge about the legends of Huangshan Mountain will add more delights to your trip.
The name Huangshan Mountain itself is from a legend, which we have already talked about. The famous sight Stone Monkey Watching the Sea(猴子观海), also called Stone Monkey Watching Taiping (猴子望太平), is about a legend, too. "Sea" here refers to the cloud sea, Taiping is a county right at the direction the monkey is staring at. It is said that an intelligent monkey in Huangshan Mountain has been learning and practicing magic arts for 3600 years. He had the power to transform himself into 36 different objects, including human being. One day, he met a pretty girl called Zhangzhu in Taiping County and fell in love with her at first sight. So he turned into a handsome and talented young man, came to Zhangzhu’s home, claimed himself as Sun Junwu, expressed his sincerity and willing of marrying Zhangzhu. Zhangzhu and her parents accepted the proposal. But on their wedding day, Sun got too drunk and showed his true form as a monkey in sleep. Seeing this, Zhangzhu was deeply shocked and annoyed so she slipped away. When Sun woke up, he realized what had happened and was in deep regret. However, Zhangzhu was nowhere to find, not even at her home. The monkey missed Zhangzhu so much but there was nothing he could do. Since then, he spent days and nights watching the home of Zhangzhu. Day after day, year after year, he finally became a stone monkey we see today.
There are many other legends about the strange peaks and oddly-shaped stones. Most of them have interesting names like Pen Flower Peak (梦笔生花), The Immortal Drying the Boots (仙人晒靴), and The Immortal Pointing The Way (仙人指路).
Mount Huangshan enjoys a stable and balanced ecosystem. The forest coverage rate is 84.7% and the vegetation coverage rate is as high as 93.0%. There are 1805 species of higher plants belonging to 827 genera and 222 families. Rare plants such as Pinus taiwanensis, Huangshan azalea, Manglietia fordiana, Taxus chinensis and Tsuga chinensis can all be found here. A total of 28 kinds of plants are first found in or named after Huangshan. 10 species including dendrobe are on the edge of extinction. 6 species are endemic to China. Among them, the special tea "Huangshan Maofeng" and the traditional Chinese medicine "Huangshan Ganoderma lucidum" are the most famous. Middle April to late May is the perfect time to see the wild azaleas. When it enters late September, the golden and red scenery of the grand canyon and other parts on Huangshan Mountain is really a delight to the eye. The scene will last to early November when it is also a good time for hiking.
Mount Huangshan is an ideal habitat for animals and is home to 24 species of fish, 21 species of amphibians, 48 species of reptiles, 176 species of birds and 54 species of mammals. There are many rare animals, including first class national protected animals such as clouded leopard, black muntjac, Sika deer, white-necked pheasant, stork, and second class national protected animals like red-billed Leiothrix, Huangshan macaques, mandarin duck, silver pheasant, yellow-rumped willow warbler and so on. Maybe you will encounter some of the cute creatures. So even if you are travelling alone, your trip will not be lonely.
No matter you are hiking lovers or just want to enjoy the scene and take some really amazing pictures, no matter you are travelling alone or with your family, Mount Huangshan will never let you down. Here we have selected 3 most recommended Huangshan tours for your reference. If you want try hiking on the mountain but in an easier way, 3 Days Huangshan Highlights Tour will meet your requirements. This tour covers most of the best highlights in Back Mountain and West Sea Grand Canyon, and you can take your time to enjoy them. 3 Days Huangshan Classic Hiking Tour is a little more physical demanding than the previous one, but you will be rewarded with the stunning scenery of both back and front mountain. If you are also interested in the local lives and cultures, then you can check this 4 Days Huangshan Mountain and Local Village Walking Tour. Hongcun and Xidi Ancient Village are together listed as UNESCO World Heritage Site, and Tunxi has a history of nearly 1000 years. Taking a walk in these places will be another wonderful experience different from hiking on Huangshan Mountain.
Of course, all the trips can be tailor-made according to your own interests, physical conditions, and travelling time. Please feel free to leave your requirements or questions at the bottom of this page and our professional travel consultant will reply to you as soon as possible.
Top 3 Huangshan tours chosen by most customers to explore Huangshan in the best way. Check the detailed itinerary, or tailor your own trip now with us.
Tunxi - Huangshan - Tunxi
Tunxi - Huangshan Mountain - Hongcun - Xidi
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[Important] Travel News for Expats: China travel is reopening now! Travel with China Discovery and learn about where to visit & requirements for each destination! Read Details >