view on huangshan

Where to Stay in Huangshan – Comprehensive Guide for Non-Chinese Tourists

Looking to visit Huangshan and not sure where to stay to be near the mountain hiking. Check out this comprehensive guide for non-chinese tourists.

Huangshan, also known as Mount Huang, is a famous mountain range located in Anhui Province, China. It is renowned for its stunning breathtaking beauty, with its rugged peaks, unique granite formations, ancient pine trees, and sea of clouds. The mountain range is particularly enchanting during sunrise and sunset when the sea of clouds enhances its allure.

hiking in huangshan mountain

Is Huangshan worth visiting

If you are an adventure and nature enthusiast like me, you will enjoy Huangshan tremendously and find plenty to do in this region, as it offers numerous hiking trails and outdoor activities like rafting and more. The rather well-maintained paved paths in most trails allow you to explore its various peaks, hot springs, and scenic gorges spots and lakes, promising an unforgettable experience in this UNESCO World Heritage Site.

hiking at huangshan mountain trails

Beyond its natural wonders, Huangshan holds deep cultural and historical significance in Chinese literature, art, and poetry. A lot of famous Chinese paintings of mountains are inspired by Huangshan. Visitors can immerse themselves in this rich heritage by exploring ancient temples, stone inscriptions, and other cultural sites.

Photographers will be in their element in Huangshan, with ample opportunities to capture the dramatic rock formations, drastic mountainscape with ita changing weather conditions, and picturesque vistas that define the mountain. From landscape, nature, travel, adventure, and sunrise/sunset to adventure sports photographers, they are drawn to Huangshan for this same reason.

tourists on huangshan mountain trails

Huangshan Where to Stay

Being such an iconic tourist destination, it’s no doubt that there are plenty of options to stay in Huangshan, from designer cosy guest houses to chain hotels in the city centre. However, each has its lures and draws, so let me share a bit about each of them.

Where to Stay in Huangshan - Comprehensive Guide for Non-Chinese Tourists- huangshan tingquan xiaoyuan b&b japanese style room

Jade Valley – Peace Lovers

Location: Feicui Valley, Shancha Village of Tangkou Town
Near South Gate of Huangshan Scenic Area

If you value peace and quiet with close proximity to the mountains, consider staying in the Jade Valley area of Huangshan, also known as the Lover Valley. I can see why one falls in love with this area straight away, as it is so tranquil and serene compared to all the crowds and noise from the hoards of tour groups and busloads of tourists you get in the other parts of Huangshan like Tangkou (and pretty much any busy city in China like Beijing and more). This area, just a mere 7-9 minutes car ride to the entrance of the South Gate of Huangshan Scenic Area, offers a serene and immersive valley experience in the midst of nature, vegetable fields, river banks and rows of tea and flower oil plantations. I fell in love with this place straight away when I arrived.

While I was there for 10 days, I was privileged to stay at Huangshan Tingquan Xiaoyuan B&B (黃山翡翠谷聽泉小苑民宿), which is a beautiful villa and guesthouse run by a husband and wife team.
They were really hospitable and kind and treated me like their own. I had a spacious and brightly lighted bedroom with a partial view of the mountains. 

Where to Stay in Huangshan - Comprehensive Guide for Non-Chinese Tourists - my room in huangshan tingquan xiaoyuan b&b

While my room was great for 1 person or a couple, I do see that there are quite a number of families and groups of friends that come who are very fond of the Yingke Song room which is nearby my room. When I sneakily peeked into that popular room, I realised what was its allure. It was a loft room concept, with a nice king bed at the bottom and 2 single beds at the top up the flight of steps, accompanied by big fluffy teddy bears you can cuddle at night. It has a super nice woody feel and the room even has a big spacious balcony. Definitely my choice if were to come back with a bunch of friends, or kids. Ha

I had plenty of breaks between my work to explore the guesthouse from top to bottom on my own. The guesthouse has 8 guest rooms, all named after the famous pines of Huangshan Mountain like Harp Pine, Unicorn Pine and Exploring Sea Pine just to name a few. I love how well-ventilated it is, with a big dining area and different little zones to chill and hang out, like the hammock in the garden. I found myself taking plenty of my quiet time walking around the front foyer and back garden, admiring the roses, fruit-budding vines, succulents and fish ponds.

The villa has easy access to little trails uphill to the tea plantations or unpaved paths along the riverbanks. You can also easily walk to the nearest popular scenic sights called Feicuigu. In summary, here are some highlights of why I strongly recommend staying in this part of Huangshan.

Serene and Peaceful Environment: 

Staying in a guesthouse here provides a peaceful escape from the crowds, allowing you to enjoy the sounds of nature and a quieter ambience compared to busier areas.

Serene and Peaceful Environment - plants of huangshan

Personalized Service

Guesthouses in this area tend to be smaller in scale, which often means more personalized and attentive service. The hosts can provide valuable insights, tips, and assistance to enhance your visit to Huangshan. Over in Tingquan Xiaoyuan, they also provided me free pick-up and drop-off service once a day from our place to the South Gate of Huangshan Scenic Area at Tangkou, which was extremely convenient and cost-saving to not have to wait for the public bus that only comes every hour it seems. 

Personalized Service - family shot in huangshan
Personalized Service - kitchen of huangshan tingquan xiaoyuan b&b

Quieter Evenings: 

While larger hotels in the more crowded areas near Tangkou have busy evenings, guesthouses in Jade Valley typically offer a quieter and more peaceful ambience during the night, ensuring a restful sleep and stay. While you can opt to enjoy some fun time with your friends like mahjong, karaoke and more, its really up to you and most people here are relatively peace-loving.

Unique Accommodation Experience

Many guesthouses in this area offer unique accommodation options, such as traditional-style rooms or lodges with rustic charm. Over in Tingquan Xiaoyuan, the design is based on the Huizhou style, with calligraphy, paintings, and books used as decorations to enhance the cultural atmosphere. Their courtyard, which it is very pleasant and relaxing, is great for enjoying some local Chinese tea, chatting, barbecuing, smelling the flowers, and fruit trees, and basking in the sun outdoors.

Unique Accommodation Experience - huangshan tingquan xiaoyuan b&b
huangshan tingquan xiaoyuan b&b laundry area

It’s worth noting that while staying in Jade Valley can provide these advantages, it may also mean fewer dining and entertainment options compared to larger towns like Tangkou city centre. Hence, guests who stay here have the option to have home-cooked meals provided by the guesthouses or opt to eat at Tangkou after their trail before heading back home. I definitely enjoyed my homecook meals at Tingquan Xiaoyuan. It was healthy, and fresh and had the local authentic cuisine that I wanted to experience here in Huangshan.

Nearest Scenic Attraction: Fei Chui Gu, also known as the 2nd most iconic attraction here in Huangshan after Mount Huangshan itself. This scenic spot is where the award-winning movie Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon was filmed.

HOW TO BOOK:
Book Directly: Contact Mr Huang via WeChat ID:hstqxykz
and Quote #LYDIASCAPES for 5% Discount Off Room Rate
Book on Trip.com Platform: Here

Tangkou Town – Convenience Seekers

For those seeking convenience and accessibility, staying in Tangkou Town, the main town at the foot of Huangshan Mountain is the option for you. Here, you’ll find a range of more standard motel and hotel accommodations, plenty of dining options, and easy access to transportation. However, as prior warned, this is the hotspot for a lot of tourists and massive bus loads of tour groups, so you wouldn’t have as much peace and quiet, as restaurants, shops, touters and tourist crowds are all in close proximity throughout the day from as early at 6am. I also found that the design of the hotels and guesthouses here seem a bit more average without much uniqueness or cosy vibes.

Mountain Top – Premium Travellers

Travelers willing to pay a premium for luxury and exclusivity can opt to stay in one of the upscale mountaintop hotels within the Huangshan Scenic Area. We are talking about the most basic single room here starting from 1,000 RMB, which is about US$140 a night all the way up to US$500+.

Mountain Top - Premium Travellers - hiking at huangshan mountain trails autumn

These mountain-top hotels, from 3-star all the way to 5-star, offer a wide variety of amenities, breathtaking views in some of their most premium mountain-facing rooms, and the privilege of being close to the most iconic sunrise and sunset spots on the mountain. Staying here ensures a premium experience amidst the natural beauty of Huangshan.

Transport to get around Huangshan - where to stay in huangshan

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Transport to get around Huangshan

Getting around wasn’t too challenging if you got familiar with the bus routes and prices. I was privileged to get ferried around as part of the service provided by my guesthouse, but I could easily get around by bus and taxi as well.

Here are some timing estimates for getting from where I stayed in Jade Valley to major transportation stations:

  • Huangshan North Station (high-speed rail station): It’s about 50 kilometres away from Huangshan Tingquan Xiaoyuan B&B. The bus fee is 30 yuan per person. The B&B also assist with carpooling and chartered services.
  • Huangshan-Tunxi International Airport: It’s about 70 kilometres away from the B&B. Taking the bus is relatively troublesome. Generally, you need to transfer to Huangshan Bus Terminal and then take the bus, which costs about 25 yuan per person.
  • ‘Ping’ a Ride: This one is also a popular choice, where it’s a form of carpooling using a local Chinese app. You might need to download it or a help from a local to help you book one. Be warned though that the wait time will be longer as it is based on a carpooling concept, so it’s not guaranteed you will get one or one at the time you would like.
  • Metred Taxi: This would be the most costly one, so I wouldn’t recommend this to get from the airport or train station to Tangkou.

6 Activities for Budget Travellers

  1. Hiking 

Hiking on top of Huangshan is the main highlight, as it has the best views. The basic entrance fee is 190 RMB, not inclusive of the buses and cable car rides, if you choose to take them. Cable car rides are around 80 RMB and the bus ride is 20 RMB. To save these transport costs, alternatively, you can opt to climb up which is approximately 3 hours long for a relatively active person. 

6 Activities for Budget Travellers - lydia hiking in huangshan mountain

In my 10 days living in Huangshan, I also discovered a lot of free unpaved trails around Emerald Valley and even trained for Huangshan climb by doing the 黄山-云谷寺 hike, which brings you from the valley where I stay all the way to the cable car station.

6 Activities for Budget Travellers - view on huangshan
  1. Visit Tunxi Ancient Street

Tunxi Ancient Street in Huangshan City is a historic and charming area filled with traditional shops, eateries, and cultural attractions. You can stroll along the cobblestone streets, sample local snacks, and soak in the atmosphere without spending much money.

  1. Explore Hongcun and Xidi Villages

These ancient villages, both UNESCO World Heritage Sites, offer a glimpse into traditional Chinese architecture and culture. Walking around these picturesque villages is usually free or has a minimal entrance fee.

  1. Anhui Cuisine Tasting

Sampling local cuisine is an affordable way to experience the culture. Try Anhui dishes like “stinky tofu,” bamboo shoots, and local tea. I enjoyed plenty of this goodness in my B&B, where the guesthouse lady boss herself is the chef, and the home-cooked farm-to-table food they prepare is very authentic, fresh and not too oily or salty like the ones you get in the restaurants. 

Anhui Cuisine Tasting - huangshan tingquan xiaoyuan b&b homecooked food

Breakfast is also a good option, and they have plenty to pick from like noodles, dumplings, wontons, steamed buns, porridge, fried dough sticks, soy milk, sweet potatoes, vegetable leaf eggs, etc. The price of the set meal is 10-15 yuan.

If you are back from the hiking trail and cannot wait to grab a bite, there are plenty of mid-price to affordable food places like restaurants, food stalls or convenience stalls at the bus terminal when you return from the hikes.

  1. Photography

If you’re into photography, capturing the natural beauty of Huangshan, ancient villages, and local life is a budget-friendly activity. All you need is your camera or smartphone to capture stunning images.

Photography - me hiking at huangshan mountain trails
  1. Take a Bus or Walk

Utilize public buses or walk to nearby attractions to save on transportation costs. Many sites are accessible by public transportation or within walking distance if you get accustomed to the timings.

How long to spend in Huangshan for your holiday

The ideal duration of your visit to Huangshan can vary depending on your interests, the activities you want to do, and how thoroughly you want to explore the area. Here are some general guidelines for different trip durations:

How long to spend in Huangshan for your holiday - lookout point from hiking at huangshan mountain trails

2 Days: A two-day trip allows for a more relaxed experience. You can spend one day hiking and exploring the various peaks, viewpoints, and natural attractions of Huangshan Mountain. On the second day, you can visit nearby ancient villages like Hongcun or Xidi to experience the cultural heritage of the region. I do not recommend it as it is way too short and you don’t have any leeway to move your hiking date if you experience less favourable weather.

group shothiking at huangshan mountain trails
Sharing a moment with Annie and Steven at Huangshan. These 2 amazing folks from Guangzhou have been so kind and helpful in joining me in Huangshan. I would probably not have enjoyed my time there so much if not becoz of them. Thank you dear friends.

3-4 Days: With three to four days, you can delve deeper into both the natural and cultural aspects of Huangshan. Spend time hiking different trails on Huang Shan, enjoying the sunrise and sunset views, and exploring additional attractions like Tunxi Ancient Street or the hot springs in the area. This duration allows for a well-rounded experience.

(IDEAL) 5 or more days: If you have a week or more, you can explore Huangshan at a leisurely pace, including extended hikes, visits to multiple ancient villages, and the opportunity to immerse yourself in the local culture. This duration is suitable for travellers who want to thoroughly explore the region and take their time.

hiking in huangshan
A new friend called July that I met at the top of Huangshan after climbing. It was so nice enjoying that half day with her running away from the crowds.

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Ultimately, the duration of your stay in Huangshan depends on your interests and how much time you have available. Keep in mind that the weather can also impact your visit, so it’s a good idea to check the forecast and plan accordingly. Additionally, consider the travel time to and from Huangshan when determining the length of your stay.

How many days do you need to hike in Huangshan Mountain

A typical visit to Huangshan Mountain typically lasts 2 to 3 days to fully experience its natural beauty and explore its various peaks and trails. Here’s a general breakdown of how you might plan your time:

How many days do you need to hike in Huangshan Mountain - lydia hiking in mt huangshan

Day 1: Arrive at the mountain and spend your first day exploring the highlights. You can take the cableway to the summit, where you’ll find iconic viewpoints like the Beginning-to-Believe Peak, the Lion Peak, and the Flying Over Rock. Enjoy the breathtaking scenery, and if possible, witness a beautiful sunrise or sunset if you choose to stay up there.

How many days do you need to hike in Huangshan Mountain - hiking in mthuangshan

Day 2: Dedicate your second day to hiking and further exploration. There are several trails that you can choose from, depending on your fitness level and interests. Some popular hiking routes include the West Sea Grand Canyon and the Eastern Steps. You can also explore other attractions like the Celestial Capital Peak and Xihai Grand Canyon. 

Day 3: On your third day, you can continue exploring the mountain, visit any remaining spots on your list, and soak in the natural beauty. Alternatively, you can start your descent and explore attractions in the surrounding area, such as ancient villages like Hongcun or Xidi, or other cultural sites in Huangshan City.

Huangshan’s top 3 trails - where to stay in huangshan for non chinese

Of course, the exact duration of your stay can vary depending on your preferences and interests. If you’re an avid hiker, you might want to spend more time on the mountain to explore additional trails. Conversely, if you’re short on time, you can condense your visit into a shorter stay. However, allocating at least 2 to 3 days allows for a more comprehensive and enjoyable experience of Huangshan Mountain.

Huangshan’s top 3 trails

Here are Huangshan’s top 3 hiking trails that I would recommend:

West Sea Grand Canyon (Highly Recommended to avoid crowds)

Xi Hai is known for its breathtaking views, this trail winds along the western side of Huangshan, offering stunning vistas of deep canyons, unique rock formations, and the “Sea of Clouds” on clear days. Highlights include the Fairy Walking Bridge and the Cloud-Dispelling Pavilion.

West Sea Grand Canyon (Highly Recommended to avoid crowds) - hiking at huangshan mountain trails autumn

Eastern Steps

This trail features thousands of stone steps on the eastern side of the mountain, leading through forests, past unique rock formations, and iconic peaks like Beginning-to-Believe Peak and Lion Peak, making it ideal for sunrise or sunset views.

Eastern Steps - autumn hiking at huangshan mountain trails

Huangshan Summit Loop

Explore the main summit area, including Lotus Peak, Celestial Capital Peak, and the West Sea. This trail offers a comprehensive experience of Huangshan’s beauty and can be customized to your preferences and available time.

These trails showcase Huangshan’s natural beauty and are popular choices for hikers and nature enthusiasts. Remember to check the weather and trail conditions before your hike.

How long does it take to hike Huangshan’s most famous trails

Here are the estimated hours and hiking durations for Huangshan’s famous trails:

  • West Sea Grand Canyon: Approximately 6-8 hours for the full canyon hike, including steep ascents and cliffside paths.
  • Eastern Steps: Takes around 3-5 hours from Yupinglou to Beihai Hotel, often chosen for sunrise or sunset hikes.
  • Huangshan Summit Loop: Duration varies widely (6-10+ hours) based on route and attractions visited. Plan according to your interests and physical fitness, and start early to avoid crowds.
How long does it take to hike Huangshan's most famous trails - views from huangshan

Best time to visit Huangshan

The best time to visit Huangshan depends on your preferences and what you want to experience:

Best time to visit Huangshan - beauty of huangshan
  • Spring (March to May): Spring is a popular time to visit Huangshan when the mountain is blanketed in vibrant greenery, and many flowers, including azaleas and rhododendrons, are in bloom. The weather is generally mild, making it an excellent season for hiking and enjoying the scenic beauty.
  • Summer (June to August): Summer is the peak tourist season, with warm temperatures and lush landscapes. However, it can get crowded, and occasional rain showers are common. To avoid the crowds, try to visit on weekdays, and be prepared for higher accommodation prices.
  • Autumn (September to November): Many consider autumn the best time to visit Huangshan. The weather is cool and comfortable, and the fall foliage displays vibrant colors, especially in late October and early November. This season offers excellent hiking conditions and clear skies for stunning views.
  • Winter (December to February): Winter can be a magical time to visit Huangshan, with snow covering the mountain, creating a serene and otherworldly atmosphere. It’s the least crowded season, but the weather can be quite cold, so be prepared with the right clothing and hiking shoes for icy conditions and freezing temperatures.

As for the best dates, it’s highly essential to check the annual climate and weather patterns, as they can vary from year to year and day to day.

best time to visit Huangshan depends on your preferences for seasons - views from huangshan mt

Overall, the best time to visit Huangshan depends on your preferences for seasons, scenery, and crowd levels. Each season offers its unique charm, so you can choose the one that aligns with your interests and priorities.

My biggest tip for you is to avoid large crowds, visit at the tail-end of summer or the beginning of autumn and during weekdays like Tuesdays to Thursdays rather than weekends and public holidays like Chinese New Year and Golden Week.

Important Tips prior to your Huangshan Trip - crowds on huangshan

Important Tips prior to your Huangshan Trip

Before your trip to Huangshan, consider these important tips to ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience:

  • Plan Your Itinerary: Research the attractions, trails, and activities you want to explore on Huangshan. Create a rough itinerary to make the most of your time.
  • Check the Weather: Monitor the weather forecast for Huangshan and the specific dates of your visit. Weather conditions can significantly impact your experience, especially for sunrise and sunset views.
  • Pack Appropriately: Bring suitable clothing and footwear for the season and weather conditions. Layers are advisable, as temperatures can vary at different altitudes. Don’t forget essentials like rain gear, sunscreen, and insect repellent.
  • Physical Preparation: Be prepared for a fair amount of walking and climbing stairs during your visit to Huangshan, as the mountain’s terrain can be challenging. Good physical fitness is advisable. Get a walking stick, proper footwear and knee guards.
  • Book Accommodations in Advance: Secure your accommodations well in advance, especially during peak seasons. Choose lodging that suits your budget and preferences, whether you prefer staying on the mountain or in nearby towns like Jade Valley. You may book directly with the guesthouse via WeChat as I shared earlier or search for more ideas on booking platforms like Trip.com
  • Permit and Tickets: Check if you need any permits or special tickets for specific trails or attractions within Huangshan. Some areas may require additional fees.
  • Travel Light: Minimize your weight, as you may have to carry it throughout your hike. Consider leaving non-essential items at your hotel.
  • Early Start: Start your days early like 6 am to avoid crowds. You would need to stay on the mountain if you plan to watch the sunrise. This also allows you to make the most of your time on the mountain.
  • Respect Local Rules: Follow all rules and regulations on the mountain, including environmental guidelines. Respect the natural surroundings and cultural heritage.
  • Stay Hydrated and Carry Snacks: Bring water and snacks for the hike, as there may be limited options for food and drinks on the trails. However, the good news is there is plenty of water dispensers at the mountain top, so climbing with just 1 or 2 bottles of water or a canister is sufficient.
  • Learn Some Mandarin: While not essential, knowing a few basic Mandarin phrases can be helpful for communication, as English is rarely spoken.
  • Be Prepared for Altitude: The high altitude of Huangshan can affect some visitors. Be aware of altitude sickness symptoms and take precautions if needed.
  • Emergency Contact Information: Carry emergency contact information and have a way to communicate in case of unforeseen circumstances.
  • Travel Insurance: Consider purchasing travel insurance that covers unforeseen events, such as trip cancellations or medical emergencies.
Huangshan is a top-notch destination for adventure travelers - lydia hiking in huangshan

By taking these tips into account, you can enhance your overall experience and ensure a memorable visit to Huangshan.

In summary, Huangshan is a top-notch destination for adventure travelers, offering stunning landscapes, outdoor activities, cultural richness, and photographic opportunities. Plan your trip carefully to make the most of this iconic destination, a UNESCO World Heritage site that has been a source of inspiration for artists and writers for centuries. However, it’s essential to plan your trip carefully, taking into account factors like the weather and the level of physical activity involved to ensure you have a memorable and enjoyable experience.

Lydia Yang

Lydia Yang

Lydia Yang is a Singaporean city girl who decided to ditch her high heels for hiking boots and become a full-time traveller and digital nomad. She has been to almost 60 countries to date! She has a knack for adventure travel, especially rock climbing, and always hunts down the best climbing spots around the world. Check out her expert advice on the best outdoor crags to climb at or what workouts to improve your climbing performance.

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