China – Trip to Huang Shan

Huang Shan, ??, translates literally to “Yellow Mountain”, although I have to say, I didn’t see anything ‘yellow’ about it. It’s my first trip out of the hustle and bustle of Hangzhou city, to the nearby province of Anhui (??). The change in scenery is quite drastic, with higher mountain ranges (approx. 1000m-1800m), with Huang Shan, as one of China’s biggest tourist attraction. The mountain itself was used by numerous modern films, with famous ones you may know like Avatar and Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon. In ancient times, numerous famous scholars, singers and painters like visited this place, describing it as a place of tranquillity and of amazing beauty, whether it be paintings, poems or songs . Ancient emperors come here in search of longevity hoping to find a solution to live forever! I suppose once you have been here, you would understand why! If I needed to summarise the whole scenery of Huang Shan into one photo, then this would be it:

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Photo – Lian Hua Feng (???) & Tian Du Feng (???)

It’s the land of “Sea of clouds’’, and different parts of the mountain areas are appropriately named as a “sea”, instead of mountain, e.g. West Sea. On a good day, you will see mountains poking out of the clouds, giving it a dreamy and heavenly feel. It certainly reminds me of all the fantasy Chinese games I used to play as a kid, and a lot of the visual scenery out of popular “Monkey God” series I watched. I can’t help but feel a sense of peace and tranquillity here. But it won’t take you very long to be put off by this though:

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It is an extremely crowded destination, visited by local & international visitors by the bus load every single day of the year. Fortunately, it is possible to find some quiet spots around the mountains, if you are fit enough to tackle the steeper and riskier parts of it. Most tourists that come here are not game enough peeking over cliff-drops, or walking on steep walkways. I am lucky enough to have a feel of it, and truly feel what the ancient scholars and early discovers feel when they walk on this amazing mountain:

 

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It’s probably the only part of the mountain where you will see wild animals freely roaming around. I managed to spot groups of squirrels running around peacefully here. Apparently monkeys live up here too, which I did not see. Nevertheless, my tour guide told me, I need to come again on my own private trip to fully see the full beauty of this part of the mountain. The more excuse to come again in the future!

Most people who come here, stay overnight on top of the mountain. If you choose to do so, it will involve waking up at 4:30am to watch the sunrise. Again, you will need to battle and wrestle for your spot, if you want a good spot! The Chinese will NOT hesitate to grab and shuffle into ANY empty space they see! I took a photo of the overcrowded peak opposite to the one I was standing at:

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There doesn’t appear to be any concern for safety here! That guy in white on the far right looks like he would fall off if he puts a foot wrong, just for the sake of a photo! From where I am, at around 5:08am, I managed to score a nice little photo of the sunrise:

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Appreciate it! Because you have no idea the amount of people wrestling I went through just to get this photo above! It ain’t easy!! I certainly won’t bother to try it again next time.

The mountain rains 2/3 of the year, which explains why you need a bit of luck to get a good view. On a bad day, the whole mountain is covered with people wearing cheap 10 yuan (~AUD$2.00) yellow raincoat over themselves:

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We were certainly guilty of that ourselves given we were not prepared at all like 99% of the visitors:

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You will likely be looking at a  lot of fog and pine trees, not that there is anything wrong with that:

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And we missed out on a clear view of the famous so called “Rock That Flew Over Here” or “Fei Lai Shi” (???)?

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The mountain itself can be tackled multiple ways. I guess you can summarise the levels from ‘easiest’ to ‘hardest’. Our tour guide, probably picked the easiest one for us. Being with my parents, we took the cable car on the way up, and on the way down the mountain. So I can’t say that I have truly ‘climbed’ Huang Shan. As is, this mountain has certainly lived up to its reputation and beyond my expectations! Fortunately, I did get a chance to see Huang Shan at its best on the last day when it didn’t rain:

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Photo: Ying Ke Song pine tree (???) with Tian Du Shang (???) in the background


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Perhaps the only disappointment, is that I didn’t get to see Monkey God flying around the cliffs fighting off evil creatures in mid air, or see any pretty fairies floating around serving peaches to sea god, or …

What did you say!? It’s not real?! Damn….

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