Our trip to Huangshan (Yellow Mountain), China, has been a good dinner table story. The reason is that we both are afraid of heights, but in a different way. For example, my husband can work on our house roof and climb on and off the ladder without any issue. However, he would never go for a ride on a ferris wheel, let alone a mountain like Huangshan. On the contrary, I am fine with the mountain, but not the roof, the ladder or any glass platform.
I went back to visit my parents in 2014. My husband jointed me two weeks later. My mother suggested that we should show my husband around and take him to some places since it was his first trip to China. I knew he was afraid of heights, but I was not sure how bad it was. Before we booked the trip, I phoned my husband.
Me: “Mom suggested us to take a trip to Huangshan. It’s a mountain, but very beautiful. Do you want to go? Will you be ok? Mom will join us.” (Mind you, my mum was 72 years old that year.)
He:”Yeah, sounds good. I want to see it.”
Me: “I thought you were afraid of heights. Are you sure?”
He: “A mountain should be fine.”
Me: “Ok, then… I will book the trip. ”
Now, let me present you some facts about Huangshan (Yellow Mountain). It is one of the most popular tourist destinations in China because of its breathtaking views and a UNESCO world heritage site. Huangshan is not just one mountain but a range of mountains that probably cover about 150 square kilometers with a buffer zone of over 140 square kilometers. The highest mountain, Lotus Peak, is at an elevation of 1864 meters. During the phone conversation, my husband actually thought it was just a little hill we were going somewhere around the neighborhood. 😉
Anyway, it was a two-day trip in October. For the first day, we arrived in Huangshan in early afternoon. We took the cable car up to the White Goose Range Stop (Bai E Ling) and walked up towards out hotel. All the path were stone-paved. If you wear proper shoes, I reckon it is not too hard to walk. However, my poor lack-of-exercise knees had a tough time. The path was always crowded since it’s a popular place for domestic and international tourists. Whenever you travel there, watch out for the people around you, especially the one with huge backpack. You don’t want them to bump you off the trail accidentally when they stop all of a sudden to admire the view. On the way to the hotel, we enjoyed the view of Pen Rack peak, Dawn Pavilion and Heihu Song (Black Tiger Pine). The color of the vegetation changes with the elevation, so is the type. It was so beautiful that it felt like we were walking in a painting.
Unfortunately,we couldn’t go to the Lotus Peak because it was closed for maintenance at the time. I went there during my first trip to Huangshan in my early twenties. The view was spectacular. Literally, you would be on top of the clouds at the summit. The view of the sunrise was what I call a view you would die for. If anyone is planning to a trip to Huangshan, please don’t miss the Lotus peak. It’s hard work to get there, but totally worthy it.
We checked in before dinner time. In my opinion, the accommodation was simple but nice enough. The hotel room was clean and basic, beds, towels, bathroom, hot shower, TV and air conditioner. Twenty years ago, there was just a bed to sleep and a toilet with cold water if I remember correctly. The reason is everything is manually transported from the bottom of the mountain to the top. The local porters carry everything, like furniture, food, groceries and water to the hotels and shops. They even have to carry the construction materials when it’s necessary. They also carry down all the trash everyday. Everything is expensive for that reason. We talked to one of the porters. He was short and dark-skinned but muscular at the same time. He told us he normally had two trips and occasionally three trips everyday. He carried around 50kg every time. You know, it was already too hard for me to carry my light packed backpack to walk on the narrow path.
To be continued…