The Huangshan area of China is perhaps the most famous for the mountains of the same name. It is located in Anhui Province in eastern China and is famous for the beautiful forests and granite peaks. The tops of the mountains are often in the clouds and offer incredible lighting effects that are seen nowhere else in the world. Some of these phenomena are called Buddha's Light and the Sea of Clouds. Many artists come to this area to draw and paint the gorgeous landscapes.
However, you can find plenty of other things in the area that can keep busy. Local villages are often popular spots for travelers to visit. The two most famous Xidi and Hongcun, are listed with UNESCO's World Cultural Heritage Sites. They are charming little villages that afford visitors an opportunity to see traditional Chinese culture and architecture.
Hongcun village is laid out in the shape of an ox. The head of the ox is made of a hill bearing two trees, which are representative of the horns. Four bridges crossing the Jiyin stream are called the legs, and the homes in the area are supposed to be the body. The architecture and décor of the area reach back to the Ming and Qing dynasties, and one of the homes that is open to the public is Chenzi Hall. It contains a small museum. This location was used for part of the filming of the very popular movie "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon."
Xidi was first built in the Song dynasty. A number of attractions pull tourists to the village, including the 124 buildings that date to the Ming and Qing dynasties. Many of these are open for the public to peruse. You will also find a very popular open-air museum in the village.
Both of the villages are perfect for taking a step into China's past and seeing what life was like during the old dynasties.
When you are in the area, you should be sure to sample some of the local cuisine. It is not only tasty, but is also slightly different from the food that you will get in other parts of China, possibly because many of the ingredients are locally grown. In addition to the food, seek out teahouses to get a real taste of China.
The mountains and villages of Huangshan are charming, idyllic places that make for a wonderful, authentic vacation.