Fenghuang Mountain, 1,497 metres above sea level, is the highest mountain in east Guangdong. The mountain is said to be the originating place of the She people, an ethnic minority with a population of around 700,000 in China.
Also well remembered about this mountain is the first-rate Fenghuang Tea produced here. The finest tea leaves come from just one tree believed to be planted in the Tang Dynasty.
This is a 13 mile (3000 feet up) scenic hike through many tea producing village. It normally take 4-5 hours to reach the Tianci which is at the top of the mountain.
The recommend iternary is a two day trip: hike up the mountain, stay over night, and take a bus down through a different road.
There are two routes that wind up the mountain. The old route. which is described here, leads through many tea producing villages and ends in the Tianchi Tea Company's factory, only 500 meters away from Tianchi. This route is the perfered route for hiking. The road is paved and well maintained except the last mile, goes up to the Tianchi Tea Company's factory, is not paved.
The new road is controlled by a local company which charges 200 RMB per mini bus for the round trip up the mountain. The mini bus will stop at the TianChi guest house which is 500 meters away and 200 meters below Tianchi. (The Tianchi Tea Company's factory is higher than the Tianchi guest house.
If you want to drive up the mountain, you shall drive up tduring evening as there is a check point at the foot of the mountain. Only locals are allowed to drive up.
You may also take the bus up and walk down or vise versa.
Over night lodging: We stopped at the Tianchi guest house and found the living condition to be very poor. The asking price is 250RMB. We opted to go up to the Tianchi Tea Company's factory and suprisingly found a room which they reserved for tea buying company's representatives. They charged us 300RMB and the condition is about the same as a 2 star guest house. The blankets are clean. The tea production operation is at the 2nd floor. We even brought some tea from the company.
Tianchi Tea Company is worth staying if they have room. Tianchi guest house is over priced and the condition is terrible. We also recommend local farmer's home stay which usually cost 100RMB/night/room.
The road is paved but the signs are scarce. Asking the locals or using a GPS with this trail will save you headaches.
How to get here:
You will need to get to Chaozhou first. From Chaozhou bus station, there are 4 buses every day (at 7：30，10：30，13：30，16：30) that go to Fenghuang Town. The ride is 1 hour.
You can also take a taxi from Chaozhou to Fenghuang Town. The cost is around 40RMB (or higher)
From Fenghuang Town bus station, you shall take a taxi to the starting point of the hike. Be sure to ask the taxi driver to drop you off at the entrance of the old route (老路）。