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Surreal HuaShan Shangluo  China

Surreal HuaShan

Only one and a half hours by train from Xian, the ancient China capital, "Huashan is the most beautiful mountain in China” I was told by many mainland travelers.

After a strenuous 5 hours climb, I arrived the snow capped East Peak at 2100m for the sunrise, I went to the other peaks like I planned. From here, with day light slowly brightening up, the most dramatic mountain scenery one after another unveil in front of my eyes.

The most jaw dropping must be Xiaqi (Chess playing) Pavilion, on the tip of a cone shape big rock attached to the mountain, there built a tiny pavilion, lightly blanketed by snow, and pine trees are skirting around it, with a spectacular rocky mountain backdrop, it’s such a poetic setting that brought me back to the legendary poets and martial heroic times.

Huashan is indeed stunning, and because it’s so accessible people can go to North Peak (the entry point for all four other peaks) by cable car without sweating a drop, so it attracts many mainland holiday makers. Even at the end of November, during my descent I still saw a respectable amount of people climbing up on its steep and sometimes extremely narrow paths, and it could get noisy!

So if you have a chance to climb Huashan, climb at night to avoid the crowd. If you want to be easier on yourself, there are a couple of very reasonably priced backpacker dorms midway to break up the ascend.