During my three-days stay in Xi’an I couldn’t miss out on hiking Hua Shan. The name Hua Shan 华山 is Mandarin: Hua means flower and Shan means mountain. This mountain is one of the 5 greatest mountains all over China thanks to its history and its religious significance. Hua Shan is definitely recommended for the adventure seeker. The mountain consists of 5 peaks: the North peak, the East peak, the South peak, the West peak, and the Middle peak. The view of each peak’s beauty was beyond compare. Hua Mountain is located in the middle of China, Shaanxi province. The highest peak reaches 2 155 meters (7 070 feet) above sea level.
What to expect & what not to expect
Stairs, stairs, and stairs. No, the steps aren’t like the stairs at your home… Some steps are narrow, some are steep. I do not recommend this hike for people who aren’t feeling fit. During the hike, you get to points where you can choose for more challenging routes. When you consider taking these paths, think of the route you’d still have to walk. Even though the route is tough I still recommend you take it. It is challenging but rewarding! Rumors go that Hua Mountain is the most dangerous hike in the world. Well… Please, do not believe this! Even Chinese children and the elderly hike it. It might have been like that in the past, but nowadays the stairs are fenced off.
|The east peak is also called the Facing Sun Peak, which is 2090 meters (6 857 feet high). Here, you can find the visitor center, a ticket office and a cable car to the north peak. Hiking up the peak will take you about 4 to 6 hours.
|The south peak or the Landing Wild Geese peak is the highest peak of them all. The top reaches 2 160 meters (7 087 feet). Legends say that wild geese returning from the south often landed at the south peak of the mountain.
|With the shape of a lotus flower, the west peak got named ‘the Lotus Flower peak‘. The west peak reaches a height of 2 086 meters (6 845 feet).
|The middle peak is named after a Taoist temple situated on the peak: the Jade Maiden Peak.
|Thanks to the cliffs the peak looks like a flat terrace in the clouds. That’s why the North peak is also called the Cloud Terrace peak. Here you can take a cable car to descend.
Must do! A plank road in the sky?! You can find the plank road on the South East of the Mountain. Be prepared for a very long waiting line! Take 35 Yuan in your pocket as rent for the gear!
The best time to visit the mountain is from March to November (especially September). It can be very hot during that time, make sure to bring enough water. I advise you not to go on the weekend or during a Chinese national holiday. It’ll be packed! When you get there, you’ll have to buy an entry ticket. Prices vary from season to season.
|March – November
|180 yuan (student: 90 yuan)
|December – February
|100 yuan (student: 50 yuan)
Transportation Xi’an – Hua Mountain
There are two options when you’re coming from Xi’an. It might be convenient to have a translation of these words, it could make your journey a bit easier:
- One-Way Ticket: Dānchéng piào, 单程票
- Round-Trip Ticket: Wǎngfǎn piào, 往返票
- Hua Shan Station: Huàshān huoche zhan, 华山火车 站
- Xian North Station: Xī’ān běi, 西安北
The high-speed train from Xi’an North Railway to Huashan North takes about 30 to 40 minutes. The North Railway station in Xi’an is very convenient to reach. There are free busses at the back of the Hua Shan station that will bring you to the entrance of the mountain. Be careful with unofficial cabs and never buy tickets of a not-ticket office!
The normal train from Xi’an Railway station. Make sure you go to the Xi’an Railway station, not Xi’an North Railway station! This train ride will take you about 1,5 – 2 hours.
Buses are available from the east side of Xi’an Railway station to the entrance of the mountain. The indication of the buses should be convenient because other buses to Terra Cotta Warriors leave from the same location. Make sure you get on the right bus!
Some more advice
- The biggest tips I have for you: be aware of scams! Only buy tickets at a ticket office, never drive unofficial taxis, … An official taxi will also raise his price, especially if you are not Chinese. Go as low as you can and accept the fact that you’re being ripped off.
- Bring enough water with you. There are little shops on the mountain but as you might already imagine, they’re expensive as hell!
- Start slow. If you’re wanting to hike the whole mountain you should start slow. I took a cable car to one of the peaks and started my hike from there (which was still very challenging).
Cheers! Safe travels! ✌️