One of the most popular and the most beautiful places in China is the Mountain Huashan. It is one of the five sacred mountains of China. Many hermits and seekers of enlightenment from ancient times have found refuge here. Dangerous trails were known only to a few and served as a challenge for those who wanted to stop the internal dialogue and get to the truth. According to legend, some were even able to walk there, and some failed into abyss. Today the trails are strengthened and carefully lined with stone, so that the journey is safe, but no less beautiful.
Mount Huashan – The passage though anciant stones
Two roads lead into the mountains through the Eastern Gate there’s an access to the cable-car and from there to the northern peak. And from The Western Gate, where the beautiful Taoist temple is located, of which we have already written. Its paved track rises to the North Peak too. We decided to go on foot. Up went a well-made path with many steps,
Mount Huashan – The paved trail in Mount Huashan
A lot of people were walking by foot too, mainly Chinese of different ages. Strangely for us, they were often dressed in outfit, which is not so practical for walk in the mountains. Some women were wearing skirts and shoes with high heels. Young people all over the place were continuously screaming and singing songs. Very little resembled the ancient secret paths and search for the truth, but the route itself is organized very well and is surrounded with astonishingly beautiful nature. Numerous recreational areas are filled with small shops, where tourists can eat another chines fast noodle soup in the box. And they do this gladly and with apatite .
Mount Huashan – Narrow trail on top of the West Peak
But the most interesting and beautiful of course begins at the top. The track leads to the first peak, the North Peak at 1614 meters high. Our ascent on foot took us two to three hours. Views from the top are unforgettable. Steep walls of mountains are forming deep abyss, which is causing trembling in every heart.
Mount Huashan – Beautiful steep slopes
With the sunset it was getting cold and we decided to stay for the night here on North Peak. There are rooms with bunk beds, the cost depends on the number of people in a room. There are rooms which can contain from two to eighteen persons. The price for single room for tow is not justified, something around 500 RMB per night. So we took a common room with 18 people in it, still for not very cheap price of about 100 RMB per person. There are no special place for tents and the whole peak is built up, but some Chinese spent the night at the benches.
We had a dinner in local restaurant with our favorite meal – eggplant, rice and soup, which seems to be brewed on rice water with a small amount of vegetables and eggs.
For all the young screaming people around it took another few hours after sunset to calm down. The magic of the night was broken by screams, coming from all sides. They were still climbing to the top even in the darkness, and while climbing, they shouted messages from one peak to another.
At sunrise the majority of people were already on their feet. They went outside and watched the beautiful sight, how the red ball of the sun slowly rises over horizon, illuminating and warming all around. Everybody arranged to have a breakfast. The trays on the peak are selling not so artful food: eggs, bread made on steam (mantou in Chinese), traditional soups, sausages etc. Prices of course more expensive than in any other place, and it’s understandable. Despite the fact that there are cable-ways, most of the products are delivered by carriers (apparently the cable way fee is very high for locals).
Mount Huashan – Carrier walks down the trail in Huashan
Mount Huashan – Two carriers walk down the trail in Huashan
We continued our journey to the next higher peaks. Here began a steep stairs going up almost vertically. Again, the entire road is well fortified and is perfectly safe, flanked by stairs are metal chains which can be grasped if necessary.
Along the way, there are many temples of carved in huge rocks. You can hear the melodious mantras, ringing bells and the smell of incense.
Mount Hushan -The temple craved in the mountain
Looking at them you can only admire the ability of people to build in the hard-to-reach places.
Mount Huashan – The bell on the peak of the mountain
But nevertheless, the most of our attention was caught by surrounding sights of mountains.
Mount Huashan – Mountains in shape of flower
After going along the trails you get to the spacious plateau, overgrown with trees. From there you can walk to the other peaks of the Central, South, West and East.
Mount Huashan – The trail and temple on the West peak
We didn’t get only to the East peak, but they all are very beautiful. On the Southern peak, to the joy of the tourists, there was left a part of the ancient route. If you don’t afraid the height, you can complete it with a safety equipment (for additional fee of 30 RMB).
Mount Huashan – The narrow path – most dangerous trail
It goes this way: first you get a special belt with safety ropes; then you go down to the cleft in steep rock on the hammered iron rods with constant clipping of carbines to the chains nailed to the rocks .
Mount Huashan – The abyss trail – Tun is scared but smiling
you get down to the wooden footbridge in width about 50cm, these walkways bend around a steep slope, and besides them nothing separates you from the abyss below.
Mount Huashan – The narrow wooden trail above the abyss
This fact is tickling your nerves, though it looks like all is safe, but the feeling of the huge abyss under your feet is very impressive. There were not small amount of people who wished to tickle their nerves at that day, so sometimes we had to walk around them on the narrow track.
Mount Huashan – Tun is walking above the abyss
The track ends at a fairly spacious ledge shaded by trees. There is a very small temple carved into the rock, with the deity statue inside. We think in the whole park, this is the only place which is good for meditation, because almost no one comes to this quite spot. Then you have to go back on the same track over the precipice.
You can picture in your imagination the monks, who once roamed here in search of detachment and silence, without safety ropes and without beaten track. Only them and the mountains. We are confident in such places many have found what they were seeking. At least for a while…
There is a tradition in these places – to hang golden locks on chains along the roads, for good luck.
Mount Huashan – Golden locks along the trails
You can buy such lock for just 20 RMB, engrave your names on it, make a wish and it should all come true. The higher you climb and lock it, the greater the chance that you wish will come true.
Mount Huashan – Thousands of locks hanging on chains beside the trails
Thousands of locks are hanging along the trails in Mount Huashan. Part of the locks was already taken off and melted into one Big Golden Lock.
Mount Huashan – One giant lock melted from many small locks
We had to come back, and from time constraints, we descended to take the cable-way down to the East entrance. From there the shuttle took us to the city to the bus station.
For those who will decide to make this journey I would strongly advise not to make it on the weekend (as in any other place in China in the middle of the week this place is less crowded). And better take two-three days for this place, to quietly pass between the peaks and enjoy the atmosphere of this wonderful place.
It is also recommended to buy simple gloves (selling for 5 RMB), to not grab the chains along the trails with bare hands. The lock can be acquired in one of the shops in the city before entering the park. Here you can also ask to write something on it. In addition you should bring warm clothes because the upstairs it is colder in any season. Also if you are planning to stay on top for night or two, you should bring some food with you, because there is it extremely expensive.
We hope you will greatly enjoy the Mount Huashan, because we think this place is special, and you can feel it by yourself.
How to get there?
There are three ways to get to the Mount Huashan from Xi’an.
1. Take the Xian-Zhengzhou bullet trains from Xian North Railway Station but get off at Huashan North Station. There are green special minibuses will peak you up outside the station to the mountain directly. Bus fare is 10 yuan per person.
Click Xian Train Schedule to search for detailed information about time and price.
2. Take Tourism Bus Line 1 at Xian Railway Station and arrive at Huashan Mountain. It leaves at 08:00. The ticket costs 22 yuan and the bus ride takes about 3 hours. It is suspended from January to March.
3. Visitors can go to Xian Cheng Dong Coach Station and take the regular bus to Huayin (Mt. Huashan). The bus runs every 15 minutes between 07:00 and 19:15. The bus ticket costs 35 yuan and the bus ride takes about 2 hours.
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We are Gadi and Tun - the midlife runaways. We regard our selves as a “world citizens” and currently we live and explore in China. We've decided to start this blog to share our awe and adventures with friends, family and all the people who love to travel. Feel free to comment and to join. And most important, don’t forget the state of “Being in Awe” with the world.
Hi there! We are a couple, and we like to travel. We regard our selves as a “world citizens” and currently we live and explore in China. We’ve decided to start this blog to share our awe and adventures with friends, family and all the people who love to travel. Feel free to comment and to join. And most important, don’t forget the state of “Being in Awe”.