Fujian Province, 369km (231 miles) NW of Fuzhou, 364km (228 miles) SE of Nanchang

The mountains of Wuyi Shan are just as beautiful as anywhere in Yunnan or Guangxi; in fact, choose the right time of year, get away from the domestic tourists, and you'll find one of the best places in China for hiking, climbing, and exploring. The resort area has a well-deserved reputation for rip-offs, but there are still ways to avoid the scams and enjoy one of the most spectacular parts of China.

It's the resort area you'll want to spend time in, rather than the town, and the airport and the railway station are halfway between the two. While the surrounding scenery is gorgeous, the resort itself is an unsightly sprawl of restaurants and guesthouses clustered alongside a highway that stretches back to the main town. Most of the hotels are on the east bank of the Chongyang Xi, with a little spillover onto the west bank, where the Fengjingqu (scenic area) can be found. This is prime Chinese tourist territory, especially the "ganbu" variety -- organized tours of low level civil servants, who do not mind being herded around in brightly colored baseball caps. Avoid summers, the weeklong public holidays at the beginning of May and October, and weekends between those two holidays. But in November, daytime temperatures are a pleasant 15°C (59°F), just right for walking, and the trees change color prettily. Wuyishan resort in winter and spring is usually a couple of degrees colder than the park area on the other side of the river. This is because the white plastered hotels and concrete reflect the heat, leaving the place feeling like a Victorian workhouse. The mountains, however, are a thick black color and therefore absorb the heat.

Many tourists leave Wuyishan with a bad taste in their mouths, disheartened by the blatant scams and rip off prices. Still China has an enormous population and access to information remains extremely restricted, with critical reviews such as this almost non-existent. This means that the resort will still draw in tourists and spit them out again for the foreseeable future. Travel guide books and magazines only paint beautiful pictures of places like Wuyishan and Huangshan, and so the general Chinese public never get to find out about the downsides until they make a personal visit, and of course by that time it is too late. China is famous for its no tipping policy, but the flip side to this is that there are no options available for legitimate complaints either. Excellent service is not rewarded and neither is bad service punished. Do not expect the rip-offs to go away while this remains the case.