The Yellow Mountain was the first place that David and I traveled to once we were settled in our new home. We both had a few days off of work and we decided to see some of the beauty that China has to offer. Before we left the USA, we bought a Lonely Planet book about China. David had marked pages in the book that he wanted to go see. One of these places was the Yellow Mountain. People at our work warned us that it would be super crazy and packed because of the three day Chinese Holiday weekend. We ignored them and they wished us good luck. So we headed out on our first China adventure, and thank goodness we ignored their warnings because it was not packed and full of beautiful scenery!
We left at 5:00 am and hopped into a taxi with only our Camelbak backpacks.
Arrived right on time for our bus leaving the Hangzhou West Lake bus station.
Once we found our designated roomy seats, we settled in for the 3 hour bus ride to the town of Tunxi. The bus ride was wonderful. The seats were comfy and they stopped halfway through the trip to let us use the bathroom. During, the first hour of the trip it rained. The last two hours of the trip showed off China’s green mountainous country side.
When we arrived in Tunxi, we had to get on another ( much smaller) bus to take us to Tangkou, which is located at the bottom of the Yellow Mountain. David and I were so excited that the hour long bus ride flew by and before we knew it, we were at the base of the mountain and starving.
There were many conveniently located local restaurants luring in hikers that were coming and going. We sat down and enjoyed some noodles to give us enough energy for the hike that we were about to endure.
Well, it’s China and we didn’t know that much Chinese. So after a game of charades, we discovered we had to get on another bus (they called it a trolley) to take us up to the head of the trail we wanted to hike. Luckily it only took 15 minutes on a reeeeally windy road to get to the trail head.
Another thing about China, is that you have to buy tickets to enter really famous sites and parks. After we bought our entrance tickets, the hike up the eastern side of the mountain was on! I do not think I have ever seen a place so green. The trash cans were carved into the mountain sides for hikers and there were man made stones and pathways to help guide us up the mountain.
Did I mention that there were steps?
A LOT of freaking steps. I am only six or so steps under David in the above picture. It was steep, but worth every single burning step.
Oh and it was also pretty hot. Hence the sweat drops beading off David’s head. I know it sounds like I might be complaining, but this hike was worth every bead of sweat and the aching muscles I had the next day. Half way up the mountain, it cooled off and we started to see sights that we though only belonged in movies. The clouds would pass through the tops of the mountains making them appear to float or disappear completely.
There are a few hotels on the top of the mountain and the only way to get supplies and trash up and down the mountain was by hiring people to transport it on their shoulders. We passed by men carrying things on their shoulders that made us cringe. These men were beasts! Here we are sweating with only a backpack on, and these guys were just strolling past us carrying loads of food and baskets of linen. Let’s just say we toughened up after a couple looks from these studs.
A little before dinner, we arrived at the top of the mountain to the Beihai Hotel. We had reserved a room because we knew we wouldn’t want to hike right back down after such a long day of travel and exercise. There was a blacktop full of backpacking tents. I applaud them, but I was looking forward to a little more privacy, a soft bed, and a shower!
Our room was cozy and perfect. We ate a very Chinesey dinner,and attempted to make the Chinese wine taste better by making our version of “Sangria”. It wasn’t the best, but it did the job. Then we crashed and anticipated what types of adventures we would have the next day. We woke up to sunshine and a ton of people making their way down the western side of the mountain.
For the lazy or old, there was a chair service where four skinny men, with huge calves, would carry you up or down the mountain.
This picture captures the moment where I freaked out because we were in the side of the mountain and on steepest trail I have ever climbed. Thankfully I have an amazing husband who distracted me the entire rest of the way.
There is a tram that will take you from the halfway point on the mountain to the base of it. David and I decided that we couldn’t do anymore crowded trails and dove into one of the capsules. It was quick ride down and we still got to enjoy the view of the steep mountains while relaxing.
At the bottom of the mountain we got back onto the little bus to take us back to Tunxi. We stayed at the Hui Boutique Hotel and walked through the cities Old Town. There were venders and bars galore.
If you are ever in Tunxi, I highly recommend staying at this hotel. It was filled with authentic Chinese antiques and archetecture while still possessing a clean luxury hotel feel.
Sadly, Monday rolled around and we had to leave the beautiful country side and get back on the bus. We decided to walk to the bus station that was only 2 miles or so away. Walking is the best way to see a city and I am so happy that we did.
Our first China trip was a success and if any one wants more information about where we went, just ask. 🙂 If you live within a three hour radius of the Yellow Mountain it is a perfect weekend trip.