We visited Huang Shan this May. We took a shuttle bus from Shanghai Southern Station after a simple box lunch at Nanjing Road. The bus trip was about 5 hours. We were lucky as we only had half occupants in the bus. The video was on all the way, but only in Chinese. The Scenes were great attraction: green hills with bamboo groves tea bushes everywhere, with white cottages scattered here and there.
We were told that this section of expressway owned the most beautiful views in Eastern China.
It was really a worthy bus journey with eye-catching scenes outside and cool air inside. We were greeted the Huangshan station by the local guide and she helped us check in the hotel in five minutes as Tunxi was a tiny town in China with the population only of 100,000. We had a city tour afterwards. The most impressing part was the Old Street, which was more than 1000 meters long with hundreds of shops flanked on either side, which sell all kinds of local products, such as tea, dried bamboo shoots and Chinese paper for calligraphy, many ink stones with all sizes and shapes. This market street was a must-see at local as the houses were very traditional in the typical Chinese style. There were many new residential buildings all over the town and the whole area was just like huge construction side with more than a hundred crane towers standing here and there. Even inland of China, the development was also so fast let alone the coastal areas.
We started for the Saint Mountain after western breakfast in the hotel, which was nice but not authentic American style. We reached the foot of the mountain in one hour.
There's a cable car part way up, but we walked all the way up. You can also get carried up in a sedan chair. In China, the price usually starts high to be bargained down, but the price starts low if you're buying a service and gets jacked up after they've carried you partway up and decide that you're too heavy. Another thing to be prepared for is that once you're at the mountain, you have to pay the high entrance fees or the cable service. The mountains and unusual rocks and trees are stunning. The paths go under huge boulders and up to high peaks along steep steps which can be scary because they're either out in the open or squeezing between huge rock formations. The sunrises and sunsets are supposed to be spectacular, but it was foggy when we were there. There are two hotels at the top. Looking at a map, we stayed at the newer hotel on the right, but I think the older hotel on the left is better. At the bottom of the mountain, we stayed at a hotel with both Chinese and "western" restaurants, but I think we were the first people who had ever eaten in the "western" restaurant. We visited Huang Shan after cruising the Yangtze. Luckily, there was a family of seven on the cruise going to Huang Shan because otherwise our flight would have been canceled because they had no passengers making the return trip. It is "less urbanized and more natural," but that doesn't mean no people. Be prepared for lots of people! Have fun!
The view is fantastic if clouds part. We saw nothing as we hiked, then suddenly the mist moves on to reveal peaks, pines, rock formations and everyone cheers and just as suddenly the clouds could move in again. The guide we had said that some days the mountain is all covered with clouds. Start very early in the morning before the mist rises up from the valley. I could not get enough of the place and used a lot of films; on the other hand another couple in our group was bored after 30 minutes of hiking. It was interesting too to see supplies and construction materials being carried up or down the mountain. I had found a web site with detailed information of the mountain paths, but I assume it might be http://www.huangshantour.com which is of great information about China and Huangshan. You can have a look and make your own judgment.
We stayed on the top for the sunrise the next day. The guide told us that we only had 60 % chance of making it. We were lucky that we were among the early birds at 5 early in the morning and the splendid sunrise was fantastic with people's cheering joys everywhere.
It was really a worthy while trip to Huangshan. Our next destination was Hangzhou and we were strongly advised by our Chinese friends that the West Lake was the most beautiful lake in China. We decided to go as the Hangzhou was only 3 hours' bus trip apart from Yellow Mountain. See is believing.