Huangshan is one location that I was really looking forward to this trip; a quick Google Images search will easily bring anybody to a swoon. A 6 hour bus ride away from Shanghai, it is truly gorgeous rain or shine. Just be sure to be prepared for the former; Huangshan rain isn't something to take lightly. If you think a 6 hour bus ride is already not pleasant, imagine going on one with soaked shoes.
Once arriving at the base, you have two options to reach the peak: taking the tram or walking up. You have the same options going back down. We opted to take the tram up, spend a night in one of the many hotels, and walk back down the next day.
It's highly recommended that you buy everything you need before beginning your ascent. While there are many stores selling snacks, drinks, and souvenirs all over the mountain, the labour to carry things up to them isn't cheap. Expect to pay around 5-10 times the amount you'd normally pay for most goods. Bottled water for example sells for 2 yuan in most stores, but will cost upwards of 15 yuan on the mountain. Pack either lots of supplies, or lots of cash.
The tram was a surreal experience, it is a 15 minute ride that is incredibly scenic. In our case, the fog obscured most of the view after a certain point, but it almost made the experience more magical.
When we first got off the tram, I was quite disappointed with the view. It was extremely foggy, obscuring much of the beauty I expected to witness.
The fog was soon to clear however, and the remaining roaming clouds made for a spectacular sight.
There appears to be a huge tourist appeal of rocks that are shaped like things and certain trees. In no other place have I seen so many people taking selfies with a tree before. This rock in the next photo is famous due to its monkey-like appearence, as noted by our guide.
There's also been a recurring theme in all of the parks I've visited so far: locks symbolizing love saturating every reachable chain. Some chains are so full of locks that tourists have resorted to locking their locks (brought from home or purchased for a markup on location) onto pre-existing locks. One can only wonder what that symbolizes, but I digress.
We went on a Sunday, so the mountain was much less crowded than we expected. I'd highly recommend planning around avoiding the crowd, as much of the mountain consists of flights of stairs meant only for two people side by side.
I'll share more about this trip in a second post, but as you can see, Huangshan is a must-visit place for anybody going through China. Just be sure you're up for the physical challenge, there's quite a lot of stairs to conquer. Oh, and the rain. More on that next post.