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5 Days Huangshan Photography Tour with Xidi & Hongcun Villages

Huangshan: Loveliest Mountain & Ancient Villages


“No mountain is worth seeing after a trip to Huangshan”. Huangshan, also called Yellow Mountain, is best renowned for its “five wonders”: the wind-carved pines, spectacular granite peaks, sea of clouds, hot spring and winter snow.

Huangshan Mountain is the paradise of Photographers as there are too many landscapes to capture - sunrise over the misty peaks, sunset from the sea of clouds, granite peaks and twisted pines wreathed in spectral folds of mist, wild animals, snows, etc. If lucky, catch the best chance to take photograph of Buddha’s light (a full-circle rainbow). No matter which of the seasons you come, you will be treated with a visual feast. After the photography tour in Yellow Mountain, spend one day exploring Xidi and Hongchun Ancient Villages, the two UNESCO-listed villages famous for their unique Hui-style architecture and ancient traditional Chinese living.

This Huangshan photography tour will leave all the beauties both natural and cultural in your mind and never fade away! It also can be customized according to seasons, dates, physical condition, interests, etc. Feel free to tell your ideas to your personal travel consultants to create the perfect photography trip together!

Basic Photography Info

Travel Route: Tunxi / Huangshan Mountain / Hongcun / Xidi / Tunxi

Travel Length: 5 Days

Tour Code: CD-PTHST-05

Tour Type: Private Tour

Departure: You Choose (you may plan it according to the best season and time.)

Itinerary Details Day by Day

Day 1 Huangshan Arrival

Welcome to Huangshan! Clear the customs and retrieve your baggage by yourself upon arrival, be greeted by our tour guide in the Arrival Hall who is holding a sign on which says your name. A comfortable vehicle (non-smoking) with an experienced driver will transfer you directly to your hotel in Tunxi (Huangshan downtown). Your guide will help you check in. The rest of the day is on your own to discover this beautiful city.

Day 2 Huangshan Mountain Photography (B)

Today after breakfast, our guide and driver will pick you up at your hotel, then drive about 80 kilometers (1.5 hours) to the foot of Mount Huangshan (Yellow Mountain), the UNESCO World Heritage Sites and one of the most beautiful mountains in China. Your memorable Huangshan hiking starts!

To save more time and energy to explore the highlighting mountain top area, you will directly transfer by park bus from the mountain foot to Mercy Light Pavilion to take a cableway to the upper Jade Screen Scenic Area (Yuping Scenic Area), also known as the Front Mountain. After a few minutes’ ascending walking from the upper cableway station, you will reach the symbol of Mount Huangshan - Greeting-guests Pine where you can spend some time taking pictures with this most famous pine trees in China, and enjoying the beautiful view of the grandiose Celestial Capital Peak (1810m). The big stone by the side of the Pine is the best sightseeing location. From the Greeting Pine, walk about 20mins on the up-and-down stone steps to the fork where you can take the right uphill road to hike 1 hour to the top of the Lotus Peak(1864m), the highest peak on the Mount Huang, and 1 another hour to descend the peak to the Lotus Pavilion. You can also miss out the Lotus Peak, and go the left road to get to the Lotus Pavilion to save energy. Leave the Lotus Pavilion and walk down along the One Hundred Cloud Ladders to a lower valley, then climb up the steeping path of One-Line-Sky to get to Turtle Fish Peak. From the peak, an even path leads you to the hotel of today - Baiyun Hotel.

After a short rest at hotel, you will have a hiking to Fairy-walking Bridge where fewer visitors visit but the scenery is pretty. You can also take photos of the sunset there. After the photography, walk back to Baiyun Hotel.

Murray from UK - Yellow Mountain, HuangshanKarl's Group - Greeting Pine, Huangshan
Day 3 Huangshan Mountain Photography (B)

After breakfast, hiking about 500 meters to the Bright Top (1860m), the second highest peak on the mountain as well as the central location of the mountain. Walk around for sightseeing and photography for a while. Then you will walk about 20mins down to the Peaks Top where you can look down upon the deep West Sea Grand Canyon, and walk 20 more minutes to get to the famous Flying-over Rock. It's very interesting to see how a 12 meters high giant rock standing still on a flat but small stage of stone for millions of years. The rest of today is to take photos in Grand Sea West Canyon.

Grand Sea West Canyon is also known as the Dream Land. It is the perfect place to take photos of deep valley, beautiful stone paths, mists, stones and peaks. You will start photography from the Dispelling Cloud Pavilion, then hike down the valley via 1st Ring and 2nd Ring, and return to the Dispelling Cloud Pavilion. You can decide the hiking length on your own according to your physical condition, usually 2 hours for the 1st Ring + return and 2.5hrs for the 1st Ring + 2nd Ring + Return. 

After today's photography, go to check in hotel.

Jack and Emily from UK -  West Sea Grand Canyon, Yellow MountainAndreas' group from Swedan - Flying-over-Rock, Yellow Mountain, Huangshan
Day 4 Huangshan Mountain Photography - Hongcun (B)

Get up early (usually around 5am to 6am) to enjoy the magnificent sunrise from Huangshan. In good-weather days, you can see clearly the golden light of the sun piercing the mists, and rocky peaks rising above the frothy, ever-changing sea of white clouds. After the sunrise, get back to your hotel for breakfast.

Continue on your wonderful photography on the Yellow Mountain to take pictures of the famous Dawn Pavilion, Stone Monkey Watching the Sea on the Lion Peak (1690m). Then walk to another legendary peak - Beginning-to-Believe Peak (how the name come - an ancient traveler began to believe that Mount Huangshan was the most beautiful mountain after seeing the stunning landscapes on the Beginning-to-Believe Peak). The famous Black Tiger Pine locates along the road to the Beginning-to-Believe Peak.

Lastly, you will descend the mountain by cable car from the White Goose Station to Yungu Temple. After reaching the Yungu Temple, the park bus will transfer you to the Tangkou Town where your driver is ready to pick you up and transfer you to Hongcun to check in your hotel.

Yellow Mountain SunriseStone Monkey Watching the Sea (on Lion Peak)
Day 5 Hongcun - Xidi-Huangshan Departure (B)

Today, you are going to visit two remarkable ancient villages, best examples of ancient Huizhou-style architecture which are listed in UNESCO World Heritage Sites - Hongcun and Xidi. Quite different from other traditional ancient villages in China, the layout, landscape, architectural form, decoration, and construction techniques all retain the original features Hongcun and Xidi are much more exquisite and grandiose, because they were built by successful officials or merchants returning home from official appointments and business.

Hongcun, originated during Song Dynasty (960-1276), is praised as the most beautiful village in China. It is famous as the ancient village in the Chinese painting. The most beautiful sites are the Moon Lake, the crescent-like pond surrounded by several grand dwellings, and Southern Lake Academy, a private ancient school served for the village. One interesting fact is that the whole village is arranged in the shape of an ox. The famous Oscar-winner film Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon was filmed in Hongcun.

Xidi Village is only about 10km from Hongcun. Its well-spaced houses with white walls, elegant decorations and black tiles are surrounded by mountains, which makes Xidi an ideal place for paint from life. Xidi is a magnificent villager of imperial officers. It contributed about 130 government officials, some of whom were dignitaries in the imperial courts, during Ming and Qing Dynasties. Currently, there are still 124 well-preserved ancient dwelling with unique style in the village.

After the sightseeing, it’s time for departure. Your tour guide and driver will escort you to catch your flight/train to the next destination. Our service ends.

Chen's Family from USA - Xidi Village HuangshanJack and Emily from UK -  Hongcun Village, Huangshan
Huangshan Mountain Walking Map

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Huangshan Photography Guide

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According to the geographic distribution, huangshan can be divided into five scenic areas: the south of Lotus Peak and Celestial Capital Peak is Nanhai (South Sea) Scenic Area, also called Qinhai Scenic Area; the north of Lion Peak and Begin-to-believe Peak is Beihai (North Sea) Scenic Area, also called Houhai; the east of White Goose Ridge Station is Donghai (East Sea) Scenic Area; the west of Purple Cloud Peak and Flying-over Peak is called Xihai (West Sea) Scenic Area. The area around Bright Summit is Tianhai (Heavenly Sea) Scenic Area, located in the center of all the scenic areas. Bright Summit, together with Lotus Peak and Celestial Capital Peak, is with an altitude over 1800m. Getting atop of the three peaks, you could catch all the beautiful scenery of the five scenic areas.

Best Sites for Photography

Best Sites for Sunrise: Lion Peak, Purple Cloud Peak, Bright Summit

Spring: 05:30-06:00, Summer:04:40-05:10, Autumn: 04:50-05:20; Winter: 05:30-06:00. (The sunrise time is listed for your reference, please check the exact time of your day with your guide and prepare everything for photography.)

Lion Peak located in the North Sea, is at altitude of 1690m. The peak stands like a powerful lion lying on the high mountains, with its head facing Purple Cloud Peak, Refreshing Terrace at its waist, and Dawn Pavilion at it tail. Shoot sunrise and Sea of Cloud at Refreshing Terrace will be wonderful.

Purple Cloud Peak located in West Sea, one of the 36 main peaks, is at altitude of 1664m. It faces Lion Peak in the north, Nine Dragon Peak and Above-the-cloud Peak in the west, and many other peaks. It is a place good for sunrise and sundown.

Bright Summit, located in Heavenly Sea, at an elevation of 1840m, is the second highest peak of Huangshan. It is located in the center of all the scenic areas, best for sunrise and sea of clouds.

Huangshan Photography Tour

Best Sites for Sunset: Dispelling Cloud Pavilion

Spring:18:00-18:45, Summer: 19:00-19:30, Autumn: 17:20-18:30, Winter: 17:00-17:40. (The sunset time is listed for your reference, please check the exact time of your day with your guide and prepare everything for photography.)

Dispelling Cloud Pavilion, close to West Sea Gate, is about 1 km from Flying-over Rock. Overlooking on the Dispelling Cloud Pavilion, photographers could not only capture rocks and peaks appearing in the mist, just like numerous islands in the sea, but also take photograph of the sun come down from the sea of clouds.

Best Sites for Sea of Clouds

You have already know there are five scenic areas. Jade Screen Pavilion is the best site to appreciate South Sea (Qianhai), Refreshing Terrace is the best site to enjoy North Sea (Houhai), White Goose Ridge is the best place to capture sea of clouds in East Sea, Dispelling Cloud Pavilion is the best for viewing West Sea and Bright Summit is best for viewing Heavenly Sea and also appreciate magnificent scenery of all the scenic areas.

Best Sites for Spectacular Rocky Peaks

The rock and peaks can be seen everywhere in Mount Huangshan. There are 72 peaks which are more than 1000m high above sea level. Among the peaks, the three main peaks are Lotus Peak (the highest), Celestial Capital Peak (the most dangerous) and Bright Summit (the most plat). Besides the three peaks, Begin-to-believe Peak, Lion Peak, Jade Screen Peak, Turtle Peak, Purple Cloud Peak are the good sites to shoot the spectacular rocky peaks. It is good to use telephoto lens.

Huangshan Photography Tour

Best Sites for Odd-shaped Pines

It is good to take photograph of the well known Welcoming-guests Pine which is about 1000 years old, about 10 meters high. It is located on the east side of Jade Screen Peak. The other pines you could shoot including Seeing Out Guest Pine (close to Jade Screen Peak), Company-guest Pine (close to Jade Screen Peak), Double Dragon Pine (in West Cloud Sea), Phoenix Pine (Sea Heart Pavilion), Leading Pine (Begin-to-believe Peak), and Black Tiger Pine, etc.

Best Sites for Shooting Ancient Villages

The ancient villages - Xidi and Hongcun around Yellow Mountain are the outstanding traditional villages for shooting Huizhou architecture. The two villages were listed as World Heritage Sites in 2000.

Huangshan Photography Tour

Xidi is with a history of more than 950 years. You could take photograph of ancient ancestral hall, memorial archway, well-reserved ancient dwellings, brick, wood carving, stone carving and many more ancient sites in “Museum of Ming and Qing Dynasty”. Hongcun, picturesquely ringed by mountains, it is known as “a village in the Chinese paintings.” You could take pictures of the Hui-style ancient dwellings, wood carving, stone carving, the South Lake, the South Lake Ancient Academy, etc.

Best Season for Photography

Yellow Mountain changes its color and appearance with the alternation of seasons. It is hard to say the best season for photography in Mount Huangshan. Different season has different subjects. In spring, the mountains feature various colors, the flowers blossom and the streams gurgle through the quiet valleys. In Summer, it turns a green world and photographers shoot peaks rising one upon another. In Autumn, the mountains dress in red and golden. In winter, Mount Huang turns into a world of frost and ice with silver boughs and rocks in all the scenic areas. There are about 50 days in a year capped by snow. The first snow begins in the late November and and last snow may occur in the late March.

Tips from Our Experts

1. Locations for Photography

The best sites to take photos of sunrise, sunset may change in different season. The sites we listed are the general information for your reference, please discuss with your photography guide and choose the best locations to capture sunrise or sunset.

2. Early for Photography

Photographers should arrive at the sites ahead of time for the best position are limited.

3. Use Cable Car

Instead of hiking all the way, you could take cable cars to save some energy. There are three cable cars: Yugu Cableway (from Yugu Station to White Goose Ridge Station), Yuping Cableway (from Mercy Light Temple to Jade Screen Station) and Taiping Cableway (Songgu Nunnery to Dispelling Cloud Pavilion Station).

4. Tips for Clothing

It rains a lot in summer and sometime there are thunderstorm. In the bad weather, you’d better not seek shelter under the trees or hold iron chains. While, there are much snow and rain in Winter. It is better to wear sneakers of grass shoes to prevent slipping, in the meantime, do not forget the walking-stick and gloves.

5. Safety First

Your safety is the first thing. When take photograph of the mountains and peaks, or sea of clouds, please watch out your steps.

6. Transfer Tips

Airlines, trains, highways are linked Huangshan with other major cities of China. It is good to take flight to Huangshan from Shanghai, Beijing, Xian, Chengdu etc. After arrival in Huangshan city, you need to spend 1.5 hours to Yellow Mountain Scenic Area.

7. Accommodation Advice

To catch the best scenery of Yellow Mountain, you’d better spend your night on top of Mount Huang. The best locations should be West Sea Scenic Area and North Sea Scenic Area. There are some comfortable hotels located there and they are within walking distance to the best sites like Purple Cloud Peak, Bright Summit to catch sunrise.

For more photography advice in Huangshan, you can feel free to contact us and we are here ready to help!

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