Climbing Huangshan: The mountain that inspired most Chinese paintings

After reading lots of good reviews online about Huangshan (Yellow Mountain) as well as being mesmerised by stunning photos of its magnificent view, we decided to check out this iconic mountain of China. Do note that there’s an entrance fee of 230¥ (USD38) per person. I’ve also included some essential information at the bottom of the post on how to get to Huangshan.

Here’s a summary of our experience on climbing Huangshan.

1. Stunning Scenery


After awhile, you start to forget your exhaustion from climbing as you get distracted by the beautiful views along the way. Especially when nearing the summit, the views were breathtaking!

2. Crazy and Never Ending Steps


As Huangshan is known to be quite commercialised, we expected the climb to be relatively easy as compared to say climbing Mount Kinabalu. But boy were we wrong! The steps were never ending and i felt like my legs were going to break by the end of the first day! The exhaustion was also probably attributed to our heavy backpacks as we planned to camp overnight at the summit. Hence we had to bring along extra clothes, tent, sleeping bag, etc. There are a total of 60,000 granite steps to climb to the top of Huangshan! We trekked for about 6-7 hours on the first day. Though tiring, it was still enjoyable climbing as the view was simply amazing! Our descend the next day was quite manageable though, maybe cos we covered a longer distance during the first day. We took about 3 hours to descend to the bottom of the mountain. Be prepared for your legs to ache for the next 2-3 days though! Do note that there’s also an option of taking the cable car up the mountain instead.

3. Very Touristy and Crowded


Don’t go on a weekend! The entire place will be filled with tourists! We went on a Monday and still, we were swamped by throngs of tourists! Imagine if we went during the weekend instead. Just look at the photo above, that was how packed Huangshan was on a Monday!

Useful Tips

1. Save on accommodation by camping outdoors

The average cost per night in a hotel is around 800¥ (130USD)! And well, it only cost us 30¥ (5USD) to sleep in the tent. If you do not wish to lug your heavy equipment up the mountain, you can rent both the tent and even the sleeping bag at 150¥ (24USD). We decided to camp outside Beihai Hotel. Not all hotels allow travellers to camp outside though, so do check first! Surprisingly it wasn’t cold at all during the night! We didn’t even need to wear any warm clothing when sleeping in the tent. Our sleeping bag was sufficient in keeping us warm. Only downside about this accommodation method, you don’t get a very nice view and it gets a little awkward when the locals start surrounding your tent in curiosity wondering what it was like to sleep in a tent.


2. Bring your own food and water

As you ascend higher up the mountain, food and beverage get more costly. This is totally understandable as it’s definitely not an easy task for the porters to carry food and drinks up the mountain. Really full respect for these super strong porters. Each load per trip is around 80kg which is definitely more than their body weight! Imagine having to climb 60,000 steps carrying 80kg worth of load! It’s insane!


Our verdict

Overall, we still enjoyed ourselves throughly climbing Huangshan. However, there are also a lot of other places in China that offer absolutely beautiful scenery, some even nicer than Huangshan. Our take is that if you have the time and budget, you can check out Huangshan. Otherwise, it’s also okay to give it a miss and visit other places such as Zhangjiajie or Mt Hua instead where we feel that it’s even more beautiful.

Essential information

Where we stayed at:

Huangshan Ancient Town Youth Hostel
80¥/night for a single bed in a 6/10persons dormitory

How to get here

Most hostels will be able to arrange for your trip to Huangshan. We purchased our bus tickets from the hostel that we stayed at and the pick up was at the entrance of our hostel. Bus tickets cost 22¥ per person.

How much does it cost

230¥/pax (38USD)

If you’ve climbed Huangshan before too, do share with us your experience in the comments below! Let us know if you feel the same way as us too!