Located 120 km (74.6 miles) from Xi'an, close to the Shaanxi's eastern provincial border, Hua Shan makes for a stunning day trip and pleasant respite from the bustle of dusty Xi'an. The scenic area encompasses 204 square kilometers (79 square miles), the majority of which is protected land featuring sheer granite cliffs, verdant valleys and five cragged peaks.
Viewed from certain vantage points, the peaks are said to resemble the petal arrangement of a lotus flower, hence the name Hua Shan or "Flower Mountain." The southern peak is the highest, towering 2,160 meters (7086 ft) above the surrounding plains. You can either hike up—though the journey can be perilous in places with nothing but a chain between yourself and a sheer drop—or take in the dramatic views on the ten-minute cable car journey (weather permitting, of course), which will set you back RMB 110 round trip.
Hua Shan stay
Most, but not all, hotels and hostels in the immediate area offer dorm-style rooms and some private rooms, all with shared bathrooms. Clean but a bit rugged, most accommodations in the area tend to be overpriced, but you should be able to bargain for a bed in the RMB 30-40 range. Many visitors simply stay in nearby Xi'an or Luoyang and come to Hua Shan for a day. If you want to spend more time on the mountain, the aforementioned dorm-style accommodations can be found on the mountain's circuit route.
For a bit more money and comfort, as well as access to great views and spectacular sunrises, try the East Peak Guesthouse. The nearby village of Mengyuan, where the Hua Shan train station is, also an option, with several modest hotels to offer.
Hua Shan go
To and from Hua Shan
Hua Shan is 138 kilometers from Xi'an Xianyang International Airport, a trip of roughly 1.5 hours by bus.
Travelers board trains at any station along Longhai Railway Line (linking Lianyungang in Jiangsu Province to Lanzhou in Gansu Province) for stops in Huashan (called Meiyuan Station). The train from Xi'an takes 2-3 hours.
Buses from Xi'an Chongdong Bus Station (Tel: 029 8259 7222) leave every 28 minutes to Huayin City, which stops at Huashan en route (2 hours). Passengers get off at Huashan Bus Station, a few hundred meters east of the intersection of the town's main road. Please note that the buses departing the Chongdong Bus Station are much faster than the minibuses leaving Xi'an Railway Station because the buses travel along the expressway.
Getting Around (Up) Hua Shan
For those who choose to climb, there are three different trails up the mountain. Although they differ in difficulty, all paths involve thousands of stone steps to the top. An easier option, the cable car, takes you to within easier walking distance of the North Peak in about ten minutes. The five-peak circuit takes a good eight hours to complete.
Hua Shan eat
Eating at any of the summit restaurants will probably seem overpriced, but spare a thought for the porter who lugged the ingredients up there for you. If you're based out of Xi'an and doing a day trip, consider taking a packed lunch. The village of Mengyuan, home to the Hua Shan train station, also offers a handful of small but decent noodle shops and restaurants.
Hua Shan shop
Many local people set up small stalls on Hua Shan, selling local products such as straw plaiting, paper-cuts and embroidery. Stores are mostly at the foot of the mountain. You can also rent walking sticks and torches (flashlights) for after-dark excursions.