Planning Your Trip to the Yellow Mountains in Huangshan, China: How to Get There
Updated: Nov 11, 2020
Hey all you hikers, landscape photographers, UNESCO site chasers, and general adventurers—if you are visiting eastern China, then the Yellow Mountains should be on your itinerary! The Yellow Mountains is a UNESCO world heritage site located in the Anhui province of China and looks absolutely gorgeous in photos. So, naturally, as a UNESCO junkie, I had to visit. Unfortunately for us, the weather was awful, so I don’t have a single photo to show for our adventure. But I do have the ticket stubs and itinerary to help get you there. Follow this step-by-step travel guide, because a trip to the Yellow Mountains should definitely be on your bucket list.
Shanghai Metro to the Shanghai Railway Station
If you are starting from Shanghai, hop on the metro to the Shanghai Railway Station. Be aware, many cities in China have MULTIPLE railway stations (since the railway system here is so comprehensive—lucky ducks), so make sure you pick the right one. For the Shanghai Railway Station, you can take line 1, 3, or 4.
The Shanghai Railway Station is very large. I wound up at the south entrance from the metro and Andrew’s taxi dropped him off at the north entrance. Since there weren’t many signs in English, I followed the people with suitcases to the security line and found my way into the building. We found each other inside within five minutes. Moral of the story, don’t panic if you aren’t sure which entrance to go through at the station—they all connect.
Overnight Train from Shanghai to Huangshan
The K8418 is an overnight sleeper train and perfect if you are short on time for your visit.
The soft sleeper is less than 300RMB ($43USD) and well worth the price. You will have a soft(ish) bed and semi-privacy since the compartments have a door. The hard sleepers aren’t terrible, but the compartments are open, which means you might be privy to loud phone conversations or the ever-present smell of cigarette smoke (though I don’t believe smoking is allowed on the train). The ride is 11 hours long and you will arrive in Huangshan at 7:30am the next morning. Sleep tight!
Our hotel on wheels for the night. Not pictured here: two men snoring in the bunks above us.
If you are traveling from another city in China, this train schedule and booking service will help you!
Taxi from Train to Huangshan
We booked a car to pick us up at the station, but a taxi is just as easy, since there are many eagerly awaiting the train’s arrival. Depending where you stay, be sure to research the approximate cost of a taxi ahead of time or you may be overcharged. (I once paid 100RMB for a taxi ride that should have been 10RMB—that’s quite the profit margin for an enterprising taxi driver!) Also note that the Yellow Mountains are in Huangshan, not Huangshan City---which is very different (and very far away). The ride took a little over an hour. If you would prefer to have a car pick you up, check with your resort or hostel to see if they can arrange it for you!
Journey into the Yellow Mountains
You may think once you reach the foot of the Yellow Mountains, your journey is over. But it isn’t. The Yellow Mountains park is vast and if you are staying at a hotel on the mountain (which I highly recommend if you want to see sunrise or sunset), then you still have a bit of traveling ahead of you.
Everyone must take a bus to the base of the mountain. Get a 19RMB ticket at the bus depot (entrance pictured above) for a one-way trip to the cablecar. There are two to choose from, so be sure to get on the correct bus for your cablecar of choice. We stayed at the Paiyunlou Hotel (you can read my official TripAdvisor review here), so we took the Yungu Cableway. Take the Yungu Cableway if you are staying at the Paiyunlou, Xihai Hotel, Shinlin Hotel, or the Beihai Hotel. The Yuping Cableway takes you to the Yupinglou Hotel and Baiyun Hotel. You can also opt to do the four hour hike to the top. The cablecar costs 80RMB each way. Also note: you must pay a park entrance fee of 230RMB, good for a three-day entrance.
Hike to Hotel
I suggest hiking to your hotel first to drop off your backpacks (notice I didn’t say “luggage”—you won’t want to be pulling rolling bags around once you are on the mountain). Once you reach the top of the cableway, it is an approximately 2 kilometer hike to the Paiyunlou Hotel (the farthest of the hotels).
There were maps available at our hotel, but they were all written in Chinese. I was very happy that I brought along the two maps below to help us plan our hiking and find our way.
Our trip was rainy and cloudy, so our time hiking was minimal and we didn’t see much. But fear not!—I will return to the Yellow Mountains to see them in all their glory and I will write a post just about the hiking itinerary. I hope you have better weather on your first visit and that the journey is smooth.
I've heard these mountains are beautiful, but we'll have to take everyone's word for it.