AnneMarie and Andrew

Annemarie and Andrew – Trekking Asia

Huangshan

Huangshan


Posted on Jun 18, 2014

Huangshan, is a large mountain with 36 peaks at the summit. It’s 1,800m above sea level and located a few hours west of Shanghai . It’s a UNESCO world heritage site and a massively popular tourist destination. Our plan for the mountain was to ascend up the West Steps, supposedly the more scenic of the two routes, spend the night at the top, wander around the next morning and then descend via the East Steps in the early afternoon. The West Steps are a much longer and more difficult route, but we like picking the hardest route to walk. I had a small day sack with fleeces for cooler weather and the umbrella for if it rained. Plus painkillers, toilet roll and a few other bits and bobs. We were carrying 4×1.5L bottles of water and a lunch of fried rice prepared by the hostel. We bought the tickets and set off up the steps. At first it was OK. The steps were steep and it was hot and it wasn’t long before we were soaked. We had a good pace and easily walked past the few others who had been crazy enough to go up this route. There were very few actually walking up, just us, a French couple, the Chinese couple we’d met at the bottom and every now and again a couple of young Chinese people. Many more were coming down, clothing soaked with sweat and expressions of pain on their faces. In fact, most of the people coming down looked like they were in agony and were dying! Nowhere on the route was there a flat section of ground more than 10m long. It was just never ending steps. Some sections were steeper than others but there was never a break. We stopped for an early lunch by the side route for the Celestial Peak. Our tops were now soaking from the sweat and our shorts were quite damp. Annemarie was wearing thinner shorts than me and she now had wet patches appearing around her backside. She wasn’t impressed at my laughter… After lunch we set off up the side route. It was narrow and incredibly steep. Some parts were wet making them slippy too. We went up a section that was cut out of the rock, bent almost double while going up steps that were half a shoe on depth and almost vertical. After that was a long steep section of tiny steps. By now the clouds had descended and we couldn’t see more than 10m away. The next section of path was on the edge of the cliff face. Long and very steep...

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Getting to Huangshan


Posted on Jun 18, 2014

Disclaimer: This may be a bit boring but this is is the real face of travelling. We spend more time getting from A to B than we spend in the destinations and it takes far more effort. So here is a (not so short) account of getting from Hangzhou to Huangshan. We had bought bus tickets from Hangzhou to the town of Tunxi the day before. We usually avoid buses because bus stations are always located on the edge of Chinese cities which is usually miles away from the centre. Bus stations are rarely (if ever) connected by metro to the centre, so that means either finding a local bus or getting a taxi. To get a local bus usually requires a lot of research to get the bus number, fare, where to get on and how many stops till we get off. So few people speak English we can’t rely on been given information at the station. Bus stations (well any station really) are the hunting grounds for touts! They are very aggressive sellers and they always have what you want; a bus ticket or a taxi. And it always ends up been a huge ripoff with fares many times the correct price and journeys which can take forever for any number of convoluted reasons. Tunxi could be reached by train but it was a long and very indirect journey and none of the times were great. The bus was cheap 90 RMB each and direct, 3 hours. But the clincher in this deal was the fact that a hostel had been opened a few hundred metres from the bus station. And we needed a bus to get us from Tunxi to the foot of the mountain. The pros outweighed the cons on this bus journey. The bus was at 9:40am and it was about 30 minutes by taxi. We left the hostel at 8:45am to catch a taxi. Standing by the main road every taxi that passed us was occupied. Very few taxis were coming down the smaller street and those that did were always occupied too. After 10 minutes we decided to go to the other side of the pedestrian zone and try and catch a taxi on restaurant street. As we approached a few empty taxis passed, this was promising. Then nothing. We stood there is disbelief. Where are all the taxis? A taxi turned onto the street. Yay! Then it was hailed by someone standing 30m along the road from us. Argh! Then another taxi turned in. I ran to get it but it was hailed by a guy on the opposite side of...

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