When mentioning a Chinese visit, people usually think Shanghai, Beijing, and Hong Kong are the best cities to go as they are popular tourist destinations. However, China has more visually and spiritually attractive local regions to discover. To have a closer look at China cultural diversity, you must go to other Chinese distinctive destinations.
May I suggest you Anhui – a Chinese province in the East of China. Anhui is known for pristine beauty, spectacular landscapes, and unique traditional beliefs and customs. This Chinese province may help tourists to get a deeper insight into Chinese culture and experience a strong sense of identity.
An overview of Anhui, China
Anhui is located across the basins of the Huai River and the Yangtze River, bordering Hubei to the southwest, Henan to the northwest, Zhejiang to the southeast, Jiangxi to the south and Jiangsu to the east. It is where Chinese people first appear. There are many historical and cultural sights in Anhui, typical with black-tiled roofs, white-wash walls in old towns and various mountainscapes. Some World Heritage Sites are located in Anhui, representing the beauty of Chinese culture and lifestyles.
Weather in Anhui, China
The weather in the South and in the North are different. The North of Anhui has quite mild weather. The winter begins in December and finishes in February. Whereas, in June and July, it is rainy and has frequent floods. The South of Anhui, in comparison to the North, is more boiling in the summer, and much more freezing in the winter.
As described previously, the best time in the year that you should visit Anhui are March, May, September and December. However, these months are hordes of tourists, so you may choose to go in winter, as experiencing some coldness in winter is quite interesting.
From Beijing to Anhui
The road distance between Beijing and Anhui is about 1226 kilometers. From Beijing Airport to Anhui, it is only 909 kilometers.
It costs you about 60 to 100 dollars going by train between these two destinations. If you travel via Shanghai Hongqiao, it will be an over-6-hour train. You can choose to travel by high speed G type train to either Hefei or Huangshan, which are cities of Anhui. There are at least 10 pairs of trains running between Beijing and Huangshan. From Beijing South Railway Station, the duration is between 5 to 7 hours to reach Huangshan North Railway Station. You will spend less time when going to Hefei or Hefei South, which takes you nearly 5 hours. If you worry the high-speed train ticket is too expensive for you, there are some normal K type trains for you to choose, but you will spend a day to get to Anhui. The train ticket can be booked online easily.
Aviation is another favorite choice for tourists. There are many airports in Anhui, so transporting between Beijing and Anhui is not that difficult. The price may be overpriced depends on the departure time, but fast. You can pick Air China, China United Airlines, and China Eastern Airlines. The flight ticket is always over 200 dollars.
You can also go by car as you can’t stand sitting on a train in such a long time. Driving from Beijing to Anhui will take you approximately 13 hours, including some 15-minute breaks on the way. You can call a taxi or hire a car in Beijing.
Don’t forget to consider your budget when choosing transportation. The train is the most favorite transportation as it is flexible, plenty of departure choices and the price is affordable.
Transportation in Anhui, China
The government invested a lot in the transport network here in order to develop the economy and tourism. You can travel to Anhui and travel around the province by plane. There are Huangshan Tunxi International Airport, Fuyang Xiguan Airport, Anqing Tiazhushan Airport and Chizhou Jiuhuashan Airport. You may hear about Hefei Xinquiao International Airport, but sadly, it has been undergone expansion until 2025. More airports will be appeared soon as they are under construction.
There are highway stations, railway stations and docks to travel locally or to other provinces and cities. At least 14 local stations, 65 district level stations and 380 docks are available here.
It is suggested that you should travel by train and bus in Anhui, as they are cheap and convenient. Taxi is not recommended as the distance is quite far between each sightseeing.
Some destinations to explore in Anhui, China
It is impossible to list every Anhui’s marvelous destinations in just one article. As a result, we just name 5 must-go destinations for tourists. Depend on your time and schedule that you may visit all 5 places here or even more.
Mount Huangshang (World Heritage Site)
Huangshang has been in the list of World Natural and Cultural Heritage since 1990, recognized by UNESCO. Therefore, it is no doubt that this wonder is extremely breathtaking as a special symbol of Chinese culture. The meaning of its name is Yellow Mountain. It is in the south of Anhui with a lot of over-1000-meter-in-height peaks. It covers about 1200 square kilometers in area. Anhui has about 72 different mountains and 36 caves waiting for you to discover.
The gorgeous famous sceneries in Huangshang are the sunrise, sunset, pine tree forest, granite peaks, and the majestic sea of clouds. Its architecture is also the most distinctive part of regional characteristics, representing the lifestyle of merchant class during the Ming and Quing Dynasties. Thanks to its beauty, Huangshang has been the frequent inspiration for many Chinese poets, ink paintings, artworks and literatures for thousand years.
Huangshang wears a unique landscape each season, so you won’t get bored if you have a chance to visit here again. There are also hot springs and waterfalls. You need to spend lots of days experiencing this wonder, so I suggest you stay here at least a night, and wake up early to watch the elegant sunrise scenery.
Mount Jiuhua (Jiuhuashan)
Jiuhuashan means “Nine Glorious Mountains”. It is one of Four Sacred Buddhist Mountains, located in Qingyang County. Jiuhuashan is a perfect place for you to learn and admire Chinese Buddhism as well as enjoy the picturesque natural mountainous sceneries. From March to November is the time suggested to visit here as it won’t be too hot or too cold. Jiuhuashan is only open from 8a.m to 17.30p.m, so you can stay here for about one or two days.
There are many ancient Buddhist shrines and temples to visit in Jiuhuashan. As a result, remember to wear suitable clothes. Jiuhuashan has a large area, so you will have to pay and travel by sightseeing bus and cableway inside here. People who love hiking and climbing can choose to go by the stairs reaching the peaks, but it spends a lot of time, so you need to consider it well.
Hongcun Ancient Village
This village is considered as a World Heritage Site of UNESCO since 2000 along with Xidi Ancient Village. It is in the southeast of Huangshang Mount, 11 kilometers far from Yixan town and 10 kilometers far from Xidi Ancient Village. You can go to Hongcun by public bus. The village is famous for the shape of a buffalo with South Lake as “belly”, Leigang Hill as “head”, dwelling houses as “body”, 2 massive trees as “horns”, four bridges as “feets” and a winding stream as “intestines”.
Hongcun is a picturesque village. It is worth to pay a visit, as it still remains the ancient culture and architecture back to the olden days. There are local farming fields, old houses, and peaceful river flow across the village. Coming here you would experience China in the early stages, wondering how China could become such a developed country. Hongcun is a favorable spot to take pictures too.
Spring and autumn are the best seasons to visit Hongcun village because there will be spring blossoms as well as freezing but stunning view. The summer is quite hot, so you should bring hats or umbrellas to protect yourself from the sun. Each ticket entering here cost about 104 Yuan. You can stay in Hongcun village in 3 days with one ticket.
Mount Qiyun (Qiyunshan)
It takes you 40 minutes to go to Jiuhuashan from Tunxi. The distance from Huangshan city to Qiyun is over 30 kilometers. The highest peak in Qiyun is about 585 meters in height. Smaller than Huangshan, but Qiyun is still a great spot to visit. It is a must-go destination if you want to acknowledge one of the most famous Chinese religions – Taoism.
Mount Qiyun is considered as one of the Four Sacred Taoist Mountains. You can visit and watch numerous spiritual monasteries and temples here, each has its unique beauty, representing the Taoism influence in culture and architecture. You can go hiking here as there is epic and stunning scenery for you to watch and take photos on the way. In the middle of Quiyun, there will be a village. You can stay the night here to acknowledge more about their customs and daily life.
Cuisine in Anhui, China
Anhui cuisine, or Hui cuisine, is likely known as one of eight greatest traditional Chinese cuisine, but not many people would know that. Its specialty are wild herbs, fungi, pork, and tofu. Common cooking techniques of Anhui are stewing and braising. As Anhui is a large province, its cuisine divided into three styles: Huai River region, Southern Anhui region and Yangtze River region. As a result, there is quite a lot of dishes to try.
Some special dishes that you must not forget to try are egg dumplings, Bagongshang stinky tofu, Red-cooked chicken, snowy winter roast chicken, tasteless smoked duck, braised masked palm civet, etc. We can not list everything in just one article like this, so you should come and experience yourself.
Anhui’s Culture and Religion
It wouldn’t be enough if we do not mention culture and region biodiversity in any part of China.
Most people here are Han Chinese. Some are Hui and She minorities. Of course, inhabitants speak Mandarin. However, the North, the Central and the South has different Mandarin dialects, which develop the culture biodiversity.
Traditional Anhui calligraphy products are ones of the kind. They produce the famous Xuan paper and Hui Ink, considering as the best types of ink and paper for calligraphy. She inkstone from She County is famous for being the most preferred inkstone type too.
The predominant religions available in Anhui are Taoist, Confucianism, Chinese Buddhism, and Chinese folk religions. Anhui constructions and sightseeing always has some religious element, which differs the beauty of the province to other parts of the country.
Enough about Anhui, China?
This is just a short article giving you an overview of Anhui, China. We haven’t gone into detail about any category, but this is still quite long. Anhui province has a lot more places to discover and experience, reading and writing about Anhui is never enough. Don’t hesitate to pay Anhui a visit as it is a holiday of a lifetime.