In Huangshan, China’s Yellow Mountain, granite peaks jut out above the clouds, leopards stalk their prey through bamboo forests and Tibetan macaque monkeys swing from centuries-old pine trees.
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Lying in the eastern Chinese province of Anhui, Huangshan holds a particularly special place in the rich tapestry of Chinese history.
Considered one of the five sacred mountains of China, during the Tang Dynasty it was named Huangshan (Yellow Mountain) to glorify the Yellow Emperor, the mythological founder of pre-historic China. Legend tells that it was here, among one of China’s most awe-inspiring natural landmarks, that the Yellow Emperor achieved immortality and ascended to the clouds for life eternal.
Whether or not visitors will decide to spend eternity here remains to be seen, but undoubtedly the mountain remains one of China’s truly unmissable national parks.
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Huangshan’s Breathtaking Sunrise
Chinese people often say that once you have seen the beauty of Huangshan, no other mountain can ever compare, and there is no time like dawn to take in the true majesty of this area. If you’re in for waking up early, your WildChina guide can help you hike before dawn making sure you can navigate by the low light.
While the name can be misleading, Huangshan is in fact a mountain range of innumerable peaks, 72 of which are named. A brisk hike from area guesthouses takes visitors to both Lion Peak and Red Cloud Peak, two eastern-facing peaks where one can watch the sun rise over what locals term the “Sea of Clouds”, a blanket of swirling mist rising up amongst the craggy mountains.
After waking at the crack of dawn, you can saunter down the slopes to the region’s famous tea plantations. On a WildChina Huangshan Tour, you’ll learn about tea harvesting with a local farmer and watch villagers process the leaves to create different types of tea.
The Unparalleled Natural Beauty of Huangshan
The mountains of Huangshan are crisscrossed by hiking trails which your WildChina guide can help you navigate. There are any number of limitless possibilities for personal exploration across these trails while taking time to observe the natural landscape.
Huangshan lies at the intersection of a variety of ecosystems, and within a single day one can watch as 500 year-old pine trees give way to misty bamboo forests.
Wildlife abounds, and with patience, you might even be rewarded with the sight of a rare and elusive clouded leopard, one of the most endangered big cats in the world.
Animal lovers should also be sure to make the trek to Huangshan Monkey Valley, the only location in China where tourists can observe Tibetan macaques in their natural environs.
For a one-of-a-kind way to see the monkeys, WildChina can organize a water-rafting expedition when precipitation is high. Imagine floating down the river accompanied by your primate friends swinging from the trees above. This is a great way to take in the scenery of the mountains.
Huangshan’s Carefully Preserved Cultural Heritage
After hiking Huangshan, we highly recommend biking into the nearby villages. The natural beauty of Huangshan might be unmatchable, but the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Hongcun and Xidi, provide a stunning glimpse into the history of two preserved ancient towns. The villages are renowned for their Anhui-style architecture and alignment with the principles of “fengshui”, an ancient Chinese art of harmonizing human construction with natural features of the earth. On a WildChina bike tour you’ll be accompanied by your guide who will help you to get to know the locals and participate in their daily life.
From Hongcun, it is a short walk to the village of Mukeng, a town surrounded by a breathtaking bamboo forest made famous by its inclusion in the film, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon.
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Step into a Painting, Step into Huangshan
During the Ming Dynasty, the beauty of Huangshan’s waterfalls, peaks, and crags inspired the Shanshui art movement, perhaps the most recognizable and famous of Chinese classical art styles.
To witness firsthand the natural beauty of the area: the waterfalls cascading down towards bamboo forests, the leopards stalking amongst the pine trees, the architecture of buildings unchanged for 700 years, one can begin to truly understand how Huangshan inspired centuries of artists.
During your Huangshan: Yellow Mountain tour, your WildChina guide will whisk you away from the well-trodden paths, and take you to visit different arts and Chinese calligraphy sites that have thousands of years of history. Since your guide will always be local, they can teach you about the stories behind each masterpiece.
Huangshan makes for a great addition to any pre-existing China itinerary or a nature-filled trek on its own. Let’s start planning your trip today and contact one of our travel designers by clicking the button below.