Whilst planning our trip to Shanghai we learnt that a stunning national park existed not too far away (well in China geographic terms anyway). Huangshan National Park is a UNESCO world heritage site and it encompasses numerous gigantic peaks, many over 1000 metres high, which emerge through a sea of clouds. We decided to go and check it out and as we found information on the park to be lacking whilst planning our trip, we’ve done a more informative blog which will hopefully be of help to anyone who needs it.
How to get there and where to stay
As we were travelling from Shanghai we took the metro early Wednesday morning to Shanghaihongqiao train station. Train tickets should be booked in advance and you want to get the bullet train to Huangshan North train station. The train station in Shanghai is huge so make sure you arrive with plenty of time to spare as you will need it!
The train takes around 4 hours and 30 minutes and we arrived at Huangshan North for just after 1.00pm. We recommend staying in Tangkou town which is located just outside the south gate of the national park. You can get a bus from the train station which takes around 1 hour and drops you off at Tangkou bus station. Whilst Tangkou itself doesn’t offer too much to do, it provides you with a convenient overnight base for commencing your trip up to the national park the following morning. We stayed at Geilli Hotel and whilst it was basic at best it was all that we needed.
Itinerary and our experience
We departed for the national park at 7am the following morning. The only way into the national park itself is by one of the national express buses which leave regularly from Tangkou bus station. The bus takes around 30 minutes and we would recommend buying a ticket for Yungu which takes you to the drop off area for the Eastern steps. From there, you need to purchase a ticket for the national park and also the cable car which drops you off further up the mountain (recommended if on a tight timescale).
In terms of the route, walking up the eastern steps and then heading west and then down the western steps is recommended. Let’s just say that having walked down the western steps, I would not like to be walking up them!
The views on the top of the mountain are simply incredible and I will let the pictures and video do the talking for me on that. We had finished the walk by around 4pm and took the Yuping cable car down and then a bus back to Tangkou.
Phil & Nicole’s useful tips
Visit on a weekday. The national park was packed with Chinese tourists when we visited and therefore I can’t imagine what it would be like on a weekend!
Practice your best pose. The Chinese love a photo with anyone non-asian. We felt like minor D-list celebrities on the walk and were accosted for a photograph numerous times.
Get practising your Chinese. There was a noticeable lack of English spoken both in Tangkou and in the national park itself. You want to make sure what you are eating 😉
Check the weather forecast. We picked a perfect sunny day and could see for miles from the top. However, we’ve heard rain and heavy cloud can ruin the day and views.
Don’t be an idiot (like me) and trek in new shoes. The walk isn’t easy and you are constantly going up and downhill so make sure you have comfortable footwear!
You can check out our Youtube video on our trip to Huangshan below!