Hello everyone! I am here today to continue to share my experiences in Huang Shan with you guys. But first, I want to take a moment to say that I really appreciate all the great comments in my previous Huang Shan post and that I'm so glad to hear many of you actually find these posts interesting. Thank you and because of that, I'm even more excited to share part 2 - the most amazing part of my Huang Shan trip with you guys.
As I will be solely talking about Huang Shan (the actual Yellow Mountains attraction), this post will be formatted differently. Rather than talking about what I did each day in the mountains and each of the attractions within the mountains, I want to talk more in depth on my experiences, so I separated my them into 4 categories: People, Food, Hiking and The View.
Huang Shan city is a place that depends a lot on tourism, of which you probably got a hint of from my previous post. And because of that, it isn't easy for locals to make a living. This fact got much more apparent during my hike in the mountains.
Since the roads were narrow and no cars were allowed in the mountains, everything had to be carried up. That meant all the materials required to build the hotels, all the food required for the tourists, etc were all carried by locals. (please note: it was about a 3 to 4 hours hike to the first hotel)
Providing services to tourists was another way the locals made money. Tourists had the option to pay locals between 10 to 20 RMB to carry their backpacks to the first hotel in the mountains (as shown in the middle picture). The locals would then group the backpacks, tie them up, secure them and carry them the same way shown in the left photo (typically how they carry most things up the mountains).
The picture on the far right, shows a chair that locals used to carry tourists up the mountains. I got to witness this process and it surely didn't seem easy at all and actually looked quite dangerous as well. These were just a few examples of the hard labour work that locals had to do to make a living.
For those of us that live in the more developed parts of the world, it's sometimes easy to forget how blessed we actually are during our considerably 'harder' times in life. And to witness first hand of what people need to go through in the less developed parts of the world didn't just remind me of how much 'easier' things are for me, but also inspired me to do much more knowing that I am capable of it with the living condition that I have.
The food around Huang Shan city and up in the mountains were pretty similar. They consist of mainland fish, Anhui style pork belly, and seaweed soup just to name a few. The main difference between the dishes in the city and the mountains was that there were much less meat dishes in the mountains. This was simply due to the fact that meat were much heavier to carry up the mountains.
Although I love beef, chicken and all sorts of meat, this didn't affect me much. However, what affected me the most was the amount of oil used in these dishes. Since I try my best to eat as healthy as possible on a regular basis, my system wasn't used to all the oil in the dishes. As a result, it didn't end well for my stomach and it lasted for 2 to 3 days (if you guys know what I mean.. ha ha)
Apart from that, it was still a great experience to be able to see and try what the locals ate. After all, I do love food and enjoy trying out authentic local food from around the world!
Before the tour started, my tour guide informed us that it would probably be an exhausting hike as there were countless number of steep steps. Since I stopped working out for 4 to 5 months before this trip, I was a little nervous about the hike. However, I was still pretty excited to visit this exceptionally famous attraction of China and to finally get some exercise going in my life again - plus I actually enjoy hiking!
I was hiking for a total of 3 days, 2 to 4 hours per hike (to get to each attraction) and an average of 3 attractions each day. It was drizzling on and off on the first day, however the hike up the mountains still felt like a breeze as I was so pumped for the hike. Day 2 came and my calves killed me (...the results of not working out regularly). To make things harder, the rain got much heavier that day. However, that didn't stop any of us on the tour from hiking. Although it was a tiring day, but I still felt a great sense of accomplishment after making it each attraction. Day 3 (the last day on the mountains), it was a sunny day and my calves felt much better as we were going downhill.
Overall, it was a great hike as I got to experience hiking in the rain - something that I don't usually experience as I normally have the flexibility to plan which days to go hiking. Just like any other hikes, this hike came with the reward of beautiful views. However, our tour group 'won the jackpot' as our tour guide would say - we got to witness one of the most stunning views in Huang Shan that apparently not all tourists get to see, which I will talk about in the next section.
These views were absolutely breathtaking, they looked exactly like what you would see in an ancient Chinese painting. I must say, each of the attractions I went to were definitely worth the hike. They each had its own meaning and representation, whether it was just a pine tree, a rock sitting at the top of a mountain or simply just a group of mountains.
Of all the views, I had 2 favourites. The first one was at the West Sea Canyon. This one was the 'jackpot', it was definitely the most rewarding one as I got to witness the sea of clouds that not every tourists can witness. It looked pretty magical as there was the illusion that the mountains were floating on clouds. This only appeared for about 5 to 10 minutes after the rainfall, then the fog quickly raised up and covered the entire view.
The second spot was a lookout point at the top of the mountain (shown in the one and only photo that has me in it). We had to climb extra steep steps to get to that lookout point where we got an amazing overview of the mountains. To be honest, none of the photos below can really do the beautiful views justice, however the experiences and memories are well kept in each one of them.
I hope you guys enjoyed reading this post as much as I enjoyed writing it.
Thank you so much for dropping by - have an amazing rest of the week!