I considered this trip as one of the most challenging. As one of our friend (the only Mandarin speaking) flew back to Malaysia, we tried our best to communicate with broken Mandarin and find our way to travel around this mountain. Just like its name if translated to English, it was yellow in colour. If you want a guide, it'll cost you USD$50 for a guide per day. Another funny thing about climbing around this mountain, there were many versions of maps that many tourists had to interpret which sometimes can be annoying if one had limited time left to venture around the mountain.
With the map that we had from the hotel, it was nicely painted and most of us kept it as a souvenir. The 'map' that I bought was a scarf and most of the time I used it to cover my neck from the sun and drying off my sweat. Just like my experiences in Hangzhou, it was difficult to decipher the map. What was written on the map was different from what's written on the stone map at that area. That's where I found out that I have to translate some chinese words to english in order to match each other. For example: Bei Hai in my map was actually the "North Sea" on the stone map. Being so illiterate in chinese... it was frustrating...
Another thing one must have when traveling up the mountain... STAMINA. If you read up, there were about 60,000 steps for the whole area. The climb was not hard but it was extremely tiring. I saw a few people cried while I venture further with my housemate to look for the Fairy Bridge. It took another 2 extra hours of climbing up and down the stairs from the mid point when the group broke into 2(another group move to find the hotel which took less than 2 hours). So, once we reached the fairy bridge, you can count the maths how both of us rushed back to the hotel before sunset.
Eventhough the climb was such a torture, the scenery was spectacular(without the group of tourists going in groups with their 'uniforms' or flags). So, be sure to take a shot instantly before a swarm of tourists got in your way. It was mind boggling to imagine the amount of tourists coming in and out of such touristic spot every single day. There's no such thing as 'off peak' when it comes to visiting to China I suppose.
One might ask whether I would travel again to Huang Shan in future. I might.. but this time with a Mandarin speaking friend, a few additional days stay and of course with better stamina. Eventhough it was difficult and tiring... There's no regret of going there.