Weekend Trip to Nearby HuangshanShanghai, Fall 2010 - China in the 21st Century

Last weekend, I went to Huangshan with a friend, and I just got back on Monday, 10 minutes before class started. It was pretty tiring, but definitely worth it. My friend and I had been trying to plan a trip to Huangshan together because we were the only two that had it as one of the top places we needed to go to in China. Why? Huangshan, or Yellow Mountain, is one of the 5 famous national mountains in China. It’s known for being extremely majestic covering all nature categories of weird trees, water, mountain/rock, caves, even clouds. We managed to pull together to buy night-train tickets. Though we booked a hotel at the base of the mountain (because the ones on the top of the mountain were not priced student-friendly), we ended up randomly settling on JianGuo Hotel because our exasperatingly annoying taxi driver insisted that we chose the wrong hotel. Though it was a little pricey at 400 RMB a night, we were not disappointed. The day we arrived we hurried to get to the mountain to ride a gondola partway and hike up the rest of the mountain. One thing that’s disappointing about Huangshan is the prices, because the entrance ticket and 1 (15min) gondola trip were a hefty 310 RMB. We couldn’t even use our student ID’s because we are “short term students” and it would actually pass if we had our American student ID’s… It’s definitely advised to stick to their buses and having them call certain taxis for you too, otherwise you risk putting a big hole in your pocket. Huangshan is worth it though, which is probably why they can get away with their prices. The whole journey is a trying hike up and down endless stairs, but the views are indescribable. Nevertheless, we were left with VERY sore legs…going down stairs is painful. Altogether, taking the stairs all the way down to save 80 RMB gondola fare, we must have hiked about 5 miles. So when we went to the Huangshan hot springs afterward, it was heavenly. Though they weren’t natural hot springs, we were outside, we trees, and a view of the mountain. They had all kinds of different pools: tea, flowers, milk, coffee, alcohol -you name it, they had it- They even had a resting area where you can watch TV in side, a snack area with tea, pastries, and fruit, and the showers were equipped with everything from shampoo to toothbrushes to slippers. We had no problem spending a lovely night relaxing there. The next day we headed to Hongcun, where they supposedly filmed some part of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. It was probably the best ancient towns I’d been to so far. Much more water to see, and very tranquil. Overall, the short amount of time we spent there, served as my replacement trip for the upcoming 3-day weekend.

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