If you're thinking of catching the train from Gulin to Huangshan? Well, THINK AGAIN - bad idea!!!
On my recent trip, I planned to catch the sleeper from Guilin to Huangshan (Tunxi). Could not even get a ticket for my family even though we tried to book 4 days in advance at Guilin. Apparently, the train K156 starts off from Kuming and is usually booked out before it reaches Guilin. I had to make alternative arrangement to fly to Hangzhou and then coached to Huangshan (blowing my budget in the process).
So unless you want to risk it, don't even try and save yourself all the hassle.
And FYI, the long-distance bus station at Tunxi has moved from the train station vicinity to slightly further outside town.
Tangkou or Tunxi?
Well, I stayed in Tangkou because I wanted to get to Huangshan mountain a little earlier. Tangkou is a little town under the bridge near the base of the mountain.
You could stay in Tunxi and still get to Huangshan in about an hour. Tunxi has more to offer in terms of budget accommodations, restaurants, sight seeing. Don't miss visiting the restored part of the old town near the river, esp in the evening when the red lanterns light up and make for a festive atmosphere.
Flying is the easiest and fastest way to get to Huangshan Tunxi Airport. There is connection from Beijing, Shanghai, Wuhan, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Xian, Zhuhai, Guilin, Jinan, Hefei, Fuzhou, Xiamen and Chengdu and from Hong Kong and Macau.
I flew from Shanghai (Hongqia Airport). Because this is a primarily tourist heavily booked sector, there is no discount like other Chinese domestic flight sectors.
Other fellow tourists came by train or by land from nearby tourist cities.
The airport is new with souvenir shop to buy postcards or photo book of Huangshan and with a restaurant. Conveniently 5km from downtown Tunxi. Airport code is TXN.
At the beginning of Western Steps. Located at the Benevolent (Mercy) Light Temple, going about 2.012 metres up to the Jade Screen Tower (Yuping Lou).
Admission to the Huangshan Scenic Area was 130 RMB and the ticket to the cableway was 65 RMB.
You could try taking a night train from Shanghai. However, you should take note that tickets run out quickly during the peak seasons to Huangshan, especially around the May Day period. It takes a whole night to get to Tunxi , Huangshan train station. Advice: Book your train tickets at least 4 days in advance.
Beware of any tour agents if you see them asking you to join thier tour. It may sound quite reasonable but you can find much cheaper tour agents after you get off the train.(that was one good experience and learning point for me). If you aren't joining any tour, you can take a bus up to Tangkou and switch bus to a trip up to the base of Huangshan. Each trip up should cost you no more than 20 RMB.
Instead of flying into Huangshan, a much cheaper and easier way is taking an overnight sleeper train from Shanghai. The ride takes about 10 hours including the stops in between.
Fares depend on accomodation and bunk position, soft mattress (bunk beds) are costlier while with hard mattress (3 bunk beds) lower bunks are more expensive than the middle and top beds (about 15 RMB difference but worth it).
Hard mattress lower bed was 175 RMB.
Cable cars are a must while hiking Huangshan unless you're a diehard and have a few days to explore.
But then again, diehard hikers would laugh at Huangshan's height and easy climb. The cable cars adds to the theme park feel.
Fare is 56 RMB one way during low season and 65 during high season.
If you are going to join a package tour, do take up one that covers with a domestic flight to HuangShan. The road by coach to HuangShan is not very smooth and in the end, you will feel that you have actually spent more time on the bus than on HuangShan!
There is 3 cable car stations in Hsuangshan. 1 station to front mountain. 2 stations for rear mountain. Coz of this facilities, we can save at least 4 hours hiking. Fee: RMB66