We hardly planned this impulsive trip as we only realized that the Mid autumn festival was going to give us Thursday and Friday off from school, on Tuesday which gave us two days to find tickets, buy backpacks and hiking shoes before we took off with a 7 hour bus from Shanghai to Huangshan. No hostel booked, no idea of how to find the treks, and no idea of whether it would be completely crowded due to all Chinese tourists who take these few days off to travel as well.
Fortunately, we found Mr. Hu. Mr. Hu brought us to his very clean hotel where we paid 50¥ per person per night in double bedrooms. He also sorted out our tickets to hot springs, tickets back to Shanghai, booked tents for us on top of the mountains, and dropped us off at the entrance gate to the trek we wanted to take. All of this without taking big commissions from us
We spent our first night relaxing in hot springs under the full moon light. There was a wide selection of springs, where you could choose between different temperatures and different scented waters such as Bordeaux wine, coffee, rose, green tea or coconut. We also found springs with massaging pearls and one with pedicure fish that nibbled on our bodies.
We started our hike the next morning at about 9.30. We took the long route so that we could see some waterfalls on the way. Unfortunately, there was not much water falling but the scenery was still beautiful!
After about 8-9 hours of constant stair climbing, we finally reached the top of the mountain and found our pad for the night: a tent set up on stone ground at Beihai hotel at 1,630m, furnished with one sheet-less quilt to sleep on and another to shield us from the cold. The second one ended up in a tug-of-war..
We woke ourselves up at 4.20 to experience this moment together with a few hundred chinese:
After a crisps & muffin breakfast with coffee flavored sugar-milk, we started our next route down the mountain towards the West Gate. This route was a lot steeper, a lot scarier, and extremely beautiful! Unfortunately my camera was unable to capture the incredible landscape and the steps that are attached onto the side of the mountains (meaning under our feet, there was 10 cm of concrete, then several 100 meters of pure air..)
Every time we stopped on the way down, our legs were shaking uncontrollably from exhaustion so although the hike was incredible we were all quite happy when we reached the foot of the mountain. This is definitely a place worth visiting, especially if you want to get over your chinese-construction-phobia!