Well-preserved villages and fantastical mountain scapes are the principal draw for visitors to Ānhuī (安徽). The main attraction of this southern Huīzhōu region is unquestionably Huángshān, a jumble of sheer granite cliffs wrapped in cottony clouds that inspired an entire school of ink painting during the 17th and 18th centuries. But the often- overlooked peaks of nearby Jiǔhuá Shān, where Buddhists bless the souls of the recently departed, are much quieter, with a hallowed aura that offers a strong contrast to Huángshān’s stunning natural scenery.
At the foot of these ranges are strewn the ancient villages of Huīzhōu; their distinctive whitewashed walls and black-tiled roofs stand out against a verdant backdrop of green hills and terraced tea gardens. Ānhuī’s lush mountains and slower pace of life are the perfect antidote to the brashness of China’s larger cities.