Four wonders of Mt. Huangshan
Throughout the ages, Yellow Mountain has been praised as the most fantastic mountain in China for the Four Wonders it embraces, namely the odd-shaped pines, spectacular rocks, pleasant hot springs and varied seas of clouds.
The steaming mountain is full of trees, among which the pines are the leading part. Pines in Huangshan always break out from the rocky gaps, thus the pines are not straight but with amazingly bizarre shapes.
The seeds fall into the crevices where they take root and grow with great vigor. The uneven terrain prevents the pines from growing upright. Instead, they become crooked and even downward. Another feature of Huangshan pines is that many trees grow branches on one side only. The pines grow very slowly due to the poor soil and climatic conditions. A tree less than 3 meters high may have grown for over one hundred years or even several hundred years. The root of a pine is several times or several dozens times longer than the trunk, therefore Huangshan pines stand firmly with dignity, withstanding wind and rain.
There are some superstars among the pines, like the Guest-Greeting Pine (in the Jade Screen Scenic Area), Guest-Goodbye Pine, Phoenix Pine at the Sky Sea, Chessboard Pine at Pingtian Stone Bridge, Cushion Pine at Lotus Valley, Kylin Pine between Bei Hai Hotel and the Refreshing Terrace, Black Tiger Pine and Sea Exploring Pine.
Here and there, the odd-shaped rocks will amaze you with various kids of shapes. Seen from the proper angle, they may show you different but life like figures, some of which are like human, some birds or other animals, and the other trees. All the rocks, having their own stories, form a spectacular picture of rock.
The rocks named the 'Celestial Basking Shoe' and the 'Celestial Basking Boot' share a most romantic story. Once upon a time, in the Celestial Heaven Taoist Temple on Zuoshu Peak lived an old Taoist priest Dao Xuan and his disciple Tai Qing while in the Purple Cloud Temple on Pine Forest Peak lived a Taoist nun Lian Yu and her disciple Miao Zhen. The West Sea Valley separated the two temples as well as a strict principle, thus they had no dealings with each other. However, one winter, there was no kindling in Celestial Heaven Taoist Temple. Seeking help, Dao Xuan asked Tai Qing if he could borrow some from the nun at the Purple Cloud Temple.
It so happened that the two young disciples fell in love at first sight. From then on, they spent time together when they fetched water or collected firewood. Unfortunately, they were discovered by both masters and the two disciples were punished severely. They were forbidden to go beyond the boundaries set by their masters and threaten with a beating should they disobey.
One day when both the masters went down the mountain, they stealthily dated again and agreed upon a good idea: Tai Qing would place a boot in front of the mountain gate if his master was not at home; likewise Miao Zhen would place a shoe. One day, when they were together, their masters unexpectedly returned. Knowing they would be punished, the lovers pondered over their plight. Eventually, they decided that since they could not live together, they would rather choose to die together. Thus, they jumped into a cloud sea. They even did not have time to take back the boot and the shoe. As the days passed, the boot and the shoe turned into two rocks - 'Celestial basking shoe' and 'Celestial basking boot'.
Sea of Clouds
Over around the steaming Mountain Huang clouds are curling, making here a wonderland-like resort. The clouds are like a slight white coat covering over the mountain, which are so graceful, spectacular and fantastic that visitors are unwilling to leave.
This varied film of clouds will give you different experiences in different seasons. The Sea of Clouds has a fairy tale beauty. Winter is the best season for this spectacle. The seas of clouds are divided into East Sea, South Sea, West Sea, North Sea and Sky Sea according to their different locations. If you climb up the Lotus Peak, the Heaven Capital Peak and the Bright Peak, you will find yourself above the level of the clouds and they appear as a sea beneath you. Peaks, large and small, hide and reappear in the boundless waves of clouds. The Bright Peak and the Heavenly Capital Peak looks like isolated islands engulfed the sea.
The sunshine will make the clouds more wonderful and charming. The clouds are changing forever, from being like a mirror when all is calm to rolling waves when the wind is strong. At sunrise or sunset, the glistening clouds assume every hue from red to purple. You cannot help marveling at this gift from the God! You will be struck by the beauty when the clouds gush between the peaks like a raging river while the red leaves flutter delicately in the breeze in autumn, when all the red leaves are floating on the white clouds.
For centuries, the Hot Spring has been enjoying the reputation as the most wonderful spring for it has appealed to the emperors of the ancient China with its amazing pureness and miraculous healing promotion effect on the rheumatism and arthritis.
Hot springs must be a good way for you to bathe, enjoy, relax and refresh in the hot springs. Running out of the Purple Peak of 850 meters, the hot spring in Mt. Huangshan is the first stop following the entrance. Legend has it that Huang Di, the ancestor of the Chinese nation, bathed here 49 days before he ascended to heaven and became immortal. Apart from the spectacles we have mentioned, there are still three large waterfalls that are well worth a visit. They are the Baizhang Spring, Renzi (like the Chinese character for human being) Waterfall and the Nine-dragon Waterfall.
Opening Hours: the whole day
230 CNY from March 1 to November 31
150 CNY from December 1 to February 28
Half fare for the student, soldiers, teachers, retired and the people over 60 years
Location: Nanshan City, Anhui Province
Transportation: Tour bus available every 15 minutes from Tourism Transportation Center in Tangkou Town, Huangshan City will bring you here (13 CNY)