Make sure to read Part 1 if you haven’t already! 🙂
We woke up bright and early, left our hostel, had a quick breakfast at a local eatery, and hopped on a 6:40am bus that took us from Hongcun to Huangshan Scenic Area (黄山风景区), where buses leave to the cable cars that take tourists up the mountain.
Today’s plan was to hike up Yellow Mountain. Unfortunately, it was scheduled to rain all day, and by this time, it was already drizzling. We bought raincoats because literally all of the other tourists were wearing them. The raincoats cost 20yuan and included a rain poncho, pants, and shoe covers, which I thought was a pretty good deal. Of course we felt extremely silly wearing them, but everyone else was wearing them, so I guess that made it okay.
The weather was a real downer, because even at the base of the mountain, we could see thick fog rolling around the tops of the mountains. Even the agents at the ticket stands urged us to come back another day – “You won’t be able to see anything,” they said.
A taxi driver approached us and showed us on a map another place that he encouraged us to go to – the Nine Dragon Waterfall (九龙瀑布). It’s separate from the main Huangshan area, and requires a separate entrance fee (around 80yuan if I remember correctly). But, since it isn’t on top of the mountain, we would actually be able to see things, the taxi driver said. Plus, the lines for the cable car were 2-3 hours long at the time. So, he said we should go to Nine Dragon area first, come back to the Scenic Area for lunch, then head up the mountain after lunch. We decided to take his advice, so we piled in his taxi.
Once we got there, the taxi driver gave us his phone number, and told us to call him 20 minutes before we wanted to leave, and that he would come to get us, and we could pay him 30yuan total for the trip (15yuan there and 15 back).
There isn’t anything too revolutionary to see here, but we enjoyed the short little hike along the stream. As it was raining almost the entire time, the water levels got higher and higher, providing us with beautiful views of small but vigorously gushing white water waterfalls. Unfortunately, it looks like they might have closed some of the trails, because I’m pretty sure we did not see the actual Nine Dragon Waterfall, although it’s also possible that we saw it and didn’t know because there were no signs.
Something interesting that happened was that a group of Chinese tourists asked my friend Thea from Norway, the only white person in our group, to take pictures with them. We actually crossed paths with them several times before they worked up the courage to ask her. Once Thea said yes, they ALL wanted pictures with her, so we stopped for like 5 minutes to accommodate them. This ended up happening 5-6 times throughout our trip (Chinese tourists wanting to take pictures with Thea), and I found it very amusing! When I told my mom that this happened, she said it was surprising that Chinese people still act this way, like they have never seen a white person before (lol). They don’t stop to chat or even ask Thea where she is from, either. They just ask to take the picture and leave. Sigh, must be nice to be white.
We called the taxi driver and he came to pick us up and took us to a restaurant in the middle of nowhere (lol). Maybe he is friends with the owner? He actually waited for us to eat lunch and then took us back to the Huangshan Scenic Area. We’re not sure how exactly he makes a living by escorting groups of tourists from one place to another while having to wait for them to get done with one activity before taking them to the next? Oh well.
Our little detour to Nine Dragon waterfall ended up being a blessing in disguise, because when we tried to go up the cable car after lunch, there was NOBODY in line. Imagine if the above pictures were filled with people, like the time I waited over an hour in line for the cable cars at Wuyuan. That would have been awful! *gleeful laughter*
We decided to take the cable car instead of walking up the mountain because we’re lazy. And also wearing uncomfortable plastic rain outfits. It was 80yuan one way, and considering that there was literally no line, I would say it was worth it!
There were some nice views from the cable car, but halfway through, we entered thick fog and we could no longer see anything, which made for a slightly scary ride because we had no idea how high up we were.
Finally, we got off the cable car, and were met with amazing views of…. well, nothing, really.
All of the paths are paved, so getting around the top of the mountain is not too hard, except for going up and down hundreds of steps. We followed the signs to our hotel, Xihai Hotel. The hotel is extremely fancy if you look at the lobby, but we were staying in the cheap dorm beds, which wasn’t even in the same building, but down two floors and out to an adjacent, and noticeably crappier, building. Oh well, anywhere to lay our heads is fine with us. We ate cup noodles for dinner (pro tip: Buy them at the base of the mountain because everything gets more expensive the higher you go up) and went to bed at 7:00pm. Hopefully we catch a good view of the sunrise tomorrow…
Were we able to watch the sunrise?
Did the weather improve???
Did anyone fall off the mountain????
Find out next time on…. Huangshan Part 3! 🙂