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.