Anhui Province, 501km (315 miles) SW of Shanghai, 65km (40 miles) NW of Tunxi

If you climb one mountain in China, let it be Huang Shan (Yellow Mountain). In southern Anhui Province, and inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1990, Huang Shan, with its 72 peaks, is China's most famous mountain for scenic beauty. Having no religious significance, the mountain is known instead for its sea of clouds, strangely shaped rocks, unusual pine trees, and bubbling hot springs -- four features that have mesmerized and inspired countless painters and poets for over 1,500 years.

Huang Shan is enshrouded in mist and fog 256 days a year, while snow covers the mountain peaks 158 days a year. Trails are usually packed with hikers from May to October, so April is often cited as the best time to visit. Local tourism authorities, however, like to boast that each season highlights a uniquely different aspect of Huang Shan, and have taken to pushing Huang Shan winter tours, when hotel, restaurant, and ticket prices are at least lower. Whenever you visit, allow at least 2 days for the mountain, and another day or two for the attractions around Tunxi.