Stunning scenery and a relaxing atmosphere help visitors feel at home
|Part of the Huangshan Tuju Campsite has 201 caravans available for hire. (Photo by Zhai Jiaju / for China Daily)
Ding Guangning drives an electric patrol car around a campsite, which is located 1.5 kilometers away from the west gate of Huangshan, or Yellow Mountain, in East China's Anhui province.
"Huangshan is probably the most well-known Chinese mountain in the world," said Ding, who saw a sport utility vehicle stop and restart a couple of times on a road on the campsite.
Ding drove over to the SUV and offered his assistance to the driver, who seemed a little confused about the location of the caravan he had booked.
"Keep on going and you will see sections marked with letters from A to K. Each section has several caravans, with the room number carved on a stone at the roadside," Ding said.
The Huangshan Tuju Campsite, which covers an area of about 67 hectares, is the largest campsite in the country, according to Ding. There are 201 caravans available for hire and there will be another 170 in a year or two, he said.
"The passengers in the car seemed to be the driver's parents, wife and kid. They are typical of the type of visitors we have here. Most visitors come with their families and friends," said Ding, who has been marketing director of the campsite since autumn last year.
In front of each caravan, there is a parking lot for the tenants' own cars. "Once you hire a caravan, the parking lot is exclusively yours," Ding said to the driver.
"It is like a private yard, in which there are facilities to enjoy a barbecue, while the kids can play with each other and the dogs they often bring with them," he said.
Compared with staying in a hotel room, visitors enjoy more open space for outdoor activities, while some tourists prefer just sitting in front of their caravan or walking around the campsite in the sunshine.
As the campsite is bordered by streams, which have crystal-clear water and are surrounded by stones, tourists can take a leisurely walk around the campsite, enjoying the murmuring streams.
"The Chinese name 'Tuju' consists of tu and ju, which mean 'travel' and 'live' respectively. We hope visitors can enjoy their stay and make themselves feel at home," Ding said.
|Taiping Lake is merely 20 kilometers away from Huangshan Tuju Campsite. (Photo provided to China Daily)
It was a cold and slightly foggy weekend when China Daily paid the campsite a recent visit. The mountains were not clearly visible in looming mist and the clouds made the scenery look like a black-and-white Chinese painting.
The view can be stunning when the breeze disperses the mist to uncover the beauty of the mountain peaks.
In the offseason, the campsite receives about 100 visitors each day. The best time to visit is from April to May, or from October to November, while the peak season lasts all the way from April to November, according to Ding. During peak season, the number of daily visitors to the campsite can reach more than 2,000 on weekends or holidays.
"On spring and autumn nights, there are campfire parties at which tourists like to sing and dance," said Ding, adding that such activities are unusual in winter due to the low temperatures.
At night, the moon and stars shine brightly in the sky, contrasting with the scattered lights in the windows of the caravans on the campsite.
Entering Huangshan from the west gate, tourists can enjoy hiking with magnificent views in the Xihai, or West Sea, Grand Canyon.
To protect the picturesque scenery in the canyon, only a few permanent buildings have been constructed there. A cable car takes tourists to the mountain tops, of which the highest peak sits 1,865 meters tall.
In spring, when the rape flowers blossom, which can be seen all over Jiangnan, or the areas to the south of the Yangtze River, many tourists bring their bicycles to tour around the mountainous area, where there are set routes for bicyclists. The campsite also has bicycles for hire for those who cannot bring their own.
Ding said most tourists come in their own cars. Three and a half hours is enough to complete a 150-km tour around the whole of Huangshan, which was added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in China in 1990 and was named a Global Geopark in 2004.