Friday, April 3, 2015

Huangshan: Mountains on Mountains

December 6, 2014

One of our unique trips was to Yellow Mountains (黄山 - Huangshan).

The overnight train was surprisingly crowded but I guess that makes sense since it made a lot of stops along the way and it wasn't too bad overall. It was ¥164 for soft seats. When we got to the terminal after 11 hours, we took the shuttle vans (¥20) to Tangkou. The shuttles looked sketchy, but they're legit. Outside of the terminal, there's so many people bombarding you trying to get you to buy hiking attachments, mittens, etc. I saw a lot of people with the hiking shoe bottoms though, probably a non-slip thing. So this was about an hour and a half ride to Tangkou. 

From here, we had to take another bus to the bottom of the mountain. After much confusion of which ticket to buy, we bought our tickets and it was a little weird because we had to pay like ¥3 extra for insurance or something? Didn't need just got a refund.

 We got some food and stocked up on snacks and water for the next day and a half. Figured that it'll be way cheaper than finding food on the mountains.
 Noodles for breakfast/lunch

Went back to the bus terminal and couldn't find our bus Searched through all our bags and couldn't find.. I went back to the restaurant to take a look because that's where I last saw it. Turns out I accidentally left it there -.-;; the girl threw it away so she had to dig it out from the trash (eww). She was like, "is this important?" YES IT'S IMPORTANT. Not her fault at all though. At least she was nice enough to pick it out and clean it off for me. I was surprised she didn't know what it was and didn't sell it to other tourists.

 So we made it to the the bottom of the mountains. It was so embarrassing cuz when we got off, we weren't sure which direction to go. I saw a lot of people get on a bus so I followed them on, thinking we had to transfer buses. But then we realized this was a bus going back down to town and people laughed at us D: a lot of them. We decided to take the cable cars up instead of hiking 2-3(?) hours >< it costs ¥65 (one way) for a ~10 minute ride.

View from the cable car

 We hiked around looking for our hotel and it was so miserable seeing some of the other hotels and finding out that was only the halfway point. Spam of photos while trying to find our hotel, not sure where was which part.

 There was this mini bridge (not really a bridge since it wasn't really connecting much) with couple locks.

The hike was basically like ascending stairs to hiking up the mountain and it was so awful, getting tired every 5 minutes. Maybe it's the elevation, but I think I'm just unfit.

 Finally we found our hotel after like 2~3 hours of hiking. We got a double room at 白云 (Baiyun) for ¥342 (~$55), which I thought wasn't that bad at all, since all the reviews online said it was really expensive and overpriced. The only downside is that it's pretty far to get to, but it's close to the sunset locations (but far from the sunrise locations). The walls are also very thin, so if other guests are loud, you can hear it. Our bathroom had a very distinct smell (not of shit).

We got here and rested for a bit, and headed off toward Fairy-walking Bridge since the map showed that to be the closest location for a good view of the sunset. We found a good spot with a lot of a decent amount of other people, but continued on to try to get closer view. It was also really, really windy and cold. The wind was blowing hard so it was uncomfortable trekking on and waiting for the sun to set in the next 10 minutes.


 We never actually made it to the Fairy-walking Bridge, I wanted to get to it, but it was way too cold and I couldn't :( Cory fell asleep and slept through the night....and I stayed awake, doing I dunno what, before finally going to sleep as well. It was too dark and cold to keep hiking and we were tired. 

December 7, 2014
We couldn't get up in time to see the sunrise, so we ended up just sleeping in. We checked out, then departed to try to find other nice places.

Monkey Watching the Sea (猴子观海)

 Trying to be artsy, but the man in red ruined it >:(

After a while, we were pretty much done hiking, so we took the cable car down, bus down the base of the mountain, and shuttle van back to Tunxi. We had quite a bit of time before our night flight... So it turns out that it IS the norm for cab drivers to NOT go by meter when going to the airport >< One site told me to always go by it in Huangshan, so we ended up not getting onto like 3-4 cabs cuz we thought they were all trying to rip us off. We ended up paying the guy ¥25 (they usually ask for ¥30). And I guess it makes sense for them to not go by the meter especially at this time of the day because the airport is TINY and they won't be able to pick up any customers back into town. There's literally like 10 flights (inbound and outbound) in one day.. We just hung out in the airport for hours doing homework because we had nothing else to do.

 My conclusion of this trip... I don't think hiking is for me. I get soooo tired after a few minutes. I also think that we came at a bad time because the weather was "too nice" for the scenery to have that cloudy, ethereal effect that you can find for the photos online. It's supposed to have that effect after it rains or something. But when we came, it was clear and sunny (though super cold and windy). I'm not sure if I'll come back here though, I wouldn't say no though. It's still a beautiful place, but

 So this is also the conclusion of all my trips in China :) Until next time!

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