Tunxi vs Tangkou
We decided to catch the bus to Tunxi and spend one night there and I really recommend others do the same. The town has an incredible old street that’s really beautiful and quite important historically. It’s a real favourite with the Chinese and there’s lots to see and do for a day and night. You can walk along the old street easily, it’s great for photographs, there are cool cafes and restaurants to grab great food, beers, tea and coffee. It’s just a nice place to visit and, let’s be real, you’ve come this far into China, you may as well spend one night in the cool town and enjoy it.
We stayed at the Hui Boutique Hotel and absolutely loved it. The people who work here are really nice and the accommodation is unlike anything else.
Tangkou, on the other hand, is the town at the base of Mount Huangshan. It’s quite a modern little town and there are plenty of places to eat and some really great places to stay too. It’s a nice place to base yourself if you’re visiting the mountain and you wouldn’t be ‘getting it wrong’ if you just caught the bus straight there. It’s just that it really is worth spending the night in Tunxi. Besides, they’re both such different places. Tunxi has more of a traditional feel to it, on the Old Street, whereas Tangkou is quite modern.
We stayed at the Huangshan Cheng Jin Hotel and really liked it. There’s an amazing lady who works the front desk, her english is fantastic and she knows everything there is to know about everything in Tangkou. It’s also in the best location possible and really affordable, but nice.
If you decide to stop in Tunxi, you can either catch the bus up to Tangkou the next day or you can ask your hotel to organise a driver to take you up there. We opted for the driver, just to make our lives easier, and the staff at Hui Boutique Hotel organised it for us.
Tickets and timing
So, once you’ve decided where you’re heading it’s time to buy your tickets and catch that bus! It takes around 2 hours 45 minutes to get to Tunxi from Hangzhou and they stop halfway for a toilet break. Seating on the bus is allocated, so don’t freak out thinking you have to race on to get a seat next to your travel companion. The seats are really comfy and there’s heaps of leg room. You’re allowed to take food and drink on the bus and there’s a convenience store and McDonald’s in the terminal if you need it.
It costs approximately 85RMB or $20AU per person to catch the bus. Of course these prices will change over time, so don’t rely on the price I’ve written to be accurate. Have extra cash on you just in case the cost has gone increased. Please also keep in mind that the bus times listed below may have changed.
Bus departure times from Hangzhou to Tunxi are: 6:50am, 7:50am, 8:40am, 9:40am, 10:20am, 11:20am, 11:50am, 12:20pm, 1:30pm, 2:30pm, 3:40pm, 5:00pm and 6:20pm.
Bus departure times from Hangzhou to Tangkou are: 8:00am, 9:50am, 10:50am, 2:10pm and 3:10pm.
I recommend catching the earliest bus possible, as mentioned above it’s just going to make your life easier with catching a cab and getting tickets for the bus.
When you get your ticket, double check that it’s taking you to the destination you want to go to. If you don’t speak Chinese, your pronunciation of words may be off. We weren’t pronunciation Tunxi correctly and the sales lady thought we wanted to go to a town called Tuangshi. A good way to get around this is to have the Chinese characters for the town and a map, either printed out or on your phone. Also, practice pronouncing it.
Pack some snacks and a good book or your iPad/iPod for the bus ride. It goes pretty quickly and there’s some great scenery along the way.
If you’re going to Tunxi, the bus goes right past Tunxi town and takes you to a bus stop outside of down. Don’t panic! There are plenty of taxis who wait out the front of the bus station. The come across like they might be dodgy, but they aren’t. Just make sure you have the name of your hotel and its address (both in Chinese characters) printed out, the phone number and, if possible, a map. If you decide to stay at Hui Boutique Hotel, it can be hard for them to find. So a map is essential. Our taxi driver was awesome and called the hotel for directions.
If you’re going to Tangkou, the bus drops you right near the hotel I mentioned above. You just roll your luggage to their front door and check-in. Again, have the name of your hotel and its address (both in Chinese characters) printed out, the phone number and, if possible, a map.
Getting back to Hangzhou
This is the easy bit. Once you’ve gone out to Huangshan, getting back to Hangzhou is a cinch. You just retrace your steps.
Before you take this trip it seems a little bit overwhelming. It may not really feel like that while you’re researching it in the comfort of your home, but once you get into those more remote parts of China, it does start to feel a bit overwhelming and you wonder if you’ll ever get there, because how can you possibly communicate when you don’t speak Chinese?! Don’t panic. It’s actually really easy to work out.
Phoebe Lee is a writer, award-winning blogger and travel lover sharing helpful travel tips, insight and reviews for regular people. Follow her adventures at home and around the world, right here on Little Grey Box and on Instagram, Facebook and YouTube.
Source: Little Grey Box