Travel Report Eleven

Huangshan, Anhui Province

Two locations epitomise Chinese landscape more than any others. They are the limestone peaks of Guanxi Province in Southern China, and the granite outcrop of Huangshan.

The pine trees and other plants somehow find anchorage in cracks and crevices.

Access to the area is normally from Huangshan town, previously knows as Tunxi, from where there are buses to Tangkou and the park. Further buses then provide transport to the cable cars.

To the south of the mountain lies the district of Huizhou, which has some very well preserved old villages. One route between Huangshan town (or Tunxi), where rail and air transport links exist, follows the Huizhou greenway, a twisty road down a pleasant river valley, with green slopes of tea plantations.

In Chengkancun, a village close to the Huizhou greenway, you can wander through narrow alleyways to see many fine old timber buildings. Hongcun and Xidi are a little further off this route, but provide wonderful places to stay, amongst ancient architecture.

To the south of the mountain lies the district of Huizhou, which has several very well preserved old villages. One route between Huangshan town (or Tunxi), where rail and air transport links exist, follows the Huizhou greenway, a twisty road down a very pleasant river valley with green slopes of tea plantations.

Wild rhododendrons grow amongst the rockscape, helping to create the ambience of springtime romance.

Some climb to the peaks to pledge their everlasting love, symbolically locking themselves into a lifetime together.

In China, places like Huangshan are best thought of as natural gardens, with a fee for entry, rather than wilderness into which to escape to adventure.

Spot the hotel high among the crags in this picture.

Recommendation: Unless you are on a tight budget, stay a night on the mountain. Be prepared for your legs to ache for a day or two – there are many steep steps.

For transport to Chengkan and other villages, enquire in the towns of Huangshan (Tunxi) or Tengkou.

A craftsman in Chenkang village.

It might not be among the highest mountains, but in places the paths are steep enough to require a head for heights, such as on the route the the Celestial Capital peak.

By Chinese standards, the mountain is not high – none of the various precipices reach above 2000 metres.

You will find beauty rather than solitude in Huangshan, but if you stay in one of the hotels on the mountain you can find quiet corners to watch sunset and sunrise.

There are many staircases carved into the rock. They are often steep – very steep. In a few places there are precipitous drops, but you can avoid them if you wish.

Travel Report Ten