Hua Shan, the mountain of magic!
While being stucked in Xi’an for almost 2 weeks, I spent 2 days in the mountain of Hua Shan, about 130km east of Xi’an. Huashan is a mountain that I always wanted to climb since many years ago, after I saw the pictures of it from a friend who went there almost 10 years ago. Even looking from the picture, I could sense that this place is magical. It’s a special mountain, and its one of my wishlist. After days and days stucked in the busy city of Xi’an, which flooded by millions of people, I guess it’s a good idea to spend a few quiet and calm days in the mountains. After all, I always like to be in a mountain, its my most favourite place. Being in a mountain, I feel peaceful, its so quiet, since not many people want to climb to the top of a mountain, so usually being on top of a mountain, I only hear the sound of wind and birds, nothing more. Being on top of a mountain, I feel like I’m at the roof of the world, able to see far beyond the horizon, from the bird’s eye view, and I can see the blue sky at day and the stars clearly at night, since all the clouds are below me. The feeling when youre standing on top of a mountain, is magical.
But I forgot one thing, this is China! And its totally the wrong timing! I went to the bus station in Xi’an to get to Hua Shan, and realized there were soooo many people queuing up to get to the bus there. Its holiday here in China! I had a bad feeling about it, but I went anyway. Upon reaching a small village, where it’s a starting point of the climb, I went straight for the climb, ignoring all the locals offering me some food and accommodation. I wanted to do the toughest route to get to the north peak but couldn’t find it. I only found the stairs to get to the north peak of the mountain, which is still quite hard work anyway. I arrived the mountain quite late at around 5pm, and they say usually it takes about 11 hours of hard work climb to cover the full circuit. But I went late since I was confidence that I don’t need 11 hours to cover the whole thing, and it took me only 4 hours to cover the whole full circuit. I guess fighting the wind in the Mongolian steppe and the Gobi Desert has prepared me well for this kind of climb. The first few kilometers to get to the north peak from the base is quite easy. But the last 30 minutes was tough. The stairs were really steep and I got nervous at some point since it was really steep and very high. “Whatever you do, don’t look down”, I reminded myself. Right after I said that to myself, I looked down! Hehe… and it was quite scary.
Luckily there are chains everywhere so you can grab it while climbing the steep, almost vertical stairs. I can imagine it can be very dangerous without the chains. Once I reach the northpeak, there were soooo many tourists, mostly young chinese groups, probably university students who are now on holiday and spending time climbing this spectacular mountain. Most of them went to the northpeak on cable car, which is a good option if you don’t have much time to enjoy the scenery here. But since I have time, I climbed all the way up and plan to go down with the cable car instead.
This massive crowd really spoils the climb. Once in northpeak, it takes so long to get to the other peaks because there were so many people. And everybody were shouting so loud, celebrating and cheering on top of the peaks, it doesn’t feel like you are on top of a mountain anymore. I feel more like walking in a shopping mall on Sunday rather than climbing a mountain here in Hua Shan. On top of that, some of them, mostly the girls, taking so long capturing their selfie photos, adjusting the angle of their fingers so that the peace sign will look perfect in the photos. And adjusting the angle of their body and face… it took forever. Worst, after done with the selfie photos, they walked a few steps ahead and stopped… and repeat the whole process. Hehe… and sometimes.. I just laughed alone when I saw guys do that! It looks hillarious when a guy does that kind of thing…
“I’m a bad tourist”, I told myself. I should have known that it’s a holiday now in China and shouldn’t come here now. I should have waited a few more days, wait until the massive crowd leave this mountain and go. Problem is, I’m not used to be a tourist. I’m very bad when it comes to planning trips, since I usually travel freely on my bicycle, dodging cities and tourist spots since its usually expensive and I hate being in a place where there are so many people. But what can I do when I have to extend my visa here in the city and Huashan is actually one of my wishlist. Usually I will avoid this kind of places. That’s the reason why I never climb mountains like Mt Kinabalu, or other famous mountains, because its touristic and to me, it beats the purpose. I even felt bad coming here at the wrong time because I realized I spent money like water here, it feels like I’m now back in Norway! The ticket to get to the mountain is already 180 yuan (roughly nearly 100 ringgit), and a can of redbull costs almost 20 yuan. Firstly, I thought I wanna stay a few days here filming timelapse since the weather isn’t so good at the first day. But I canceled it and stayed only a night because a bed in a dorm alone costs 200 yuan per night! Its too costly for me and Im not used to spend so much money while living on the road.
So after staying a night here in a basic dorm room that costs 200 yuan, I woke up early the next morning and film the surrounding areas during the sunrise. Besides the massive crowd, the view of the mountain here is magnificent. I dare to say, its one of the best view I ever seen in my life. I really feel awed watching the view, especially when the sun was just born at the horizon, giving its special light and colours to the surrounding mountains. It makes you feel that the earth is a special place. It makes you feel that the creator of the world and the whole universe is so great. It feels magical being here. After a few hours spending time enjoying the magnificent view (by totally ignoring the crowd), I then went to the west peak to take the cable car down. It took me quite a while to decide whether to stay another day or to just go back to Xi’an, but I couldn’t take the crowd anymore. Taking the cable car, which is also very cost but I cant remember how much I paid, I then took about 22 very scenic minutes from the west peak down back to the base. The cable car is a must if you guys plan to visit this mountain. Its very highhhlyy recommended! Take the cable car from the west peak! From the north peak, its only 8 minutes. But the west peak, its 22 minutes and the view is really awesome. I was basically cruising slowly on air, watching incredible view of the mountain. There is no mountain like Huashan really! Its such a special place. So if you plan to visit this very special mountain, plan ahead and don’t come during peak season. And make sure you have a lot of time, because rushing is not a good idea when visiting this mountain. You need time to enjoy, after a tough climb. I think 3 days is ideal to spend the time here. Spend one day for the hard climb, and the other 2 days to relax and enjoy the view, and be prepared to be amazed by the colours of sunrise and sunset in this very special mountain.