Huangshan, or Yellow Mountain, is another of China’s many landscapes of exceptional beauty. The pine-covered mountains have been painted continuously through China’s history, and literature is full of yearning to once again see the waxing and waning of the sun over the jagged granite peaks.
The mountain trails are impressive and have a sense of the mysterious, being enshrouded by mist whilst hiking through narrow passes. Upon reaching the summit it is easy to be overcome by complete tranquility as you stand above the clouds surrounded by the calming scent of pine and the passing sounds of the mountain breeze.
The mountains can be climbed on foot or by cable car. For those willing to hike their way up, there are great places to stay overnight on the summit. Likewise, the nearby towns and villages are worth visiting for their quaint charm. Tunxi's Old Street makes for a nice place to stroll and also offers some great accommodation. It may also be possible to get hold of local tea. Anhui province’s Maofeng green and Huangya yellow teas are highly sought after across China, as is the Huangshan chrysanthemum tea (gongju).
The villages that dot the lush green countryside in southern Anhui, a region known as Huizhou, are a precious slice of old China. The merchants of Huizhou, known collectively as the Huishang, were renowned for their economic prowess. They used their growing fortunes to build large, elaborately decorated residences, many of which are still standing today. Among them, the villages of Xidi and Hongcun were declared UNESCO world heritage sites in 2000.
While the larger villages are becoming more and more popular with Chinese tour groups, the maze of cobbled streets, lavish ancestral halls, quaint bridges, and beautiful ponds are numerous enough to find a peaceful moment to yourself. Chock-full of culture, history, great local food, and even opportunities to get out to nature, this corner of China is a magical place for any visitor.