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Anhui Province has the reputation of being one of the poorest in east China. There has been an increase in the number of beggars on the streets of Shanghai in recent years, and most of them seem to come from here.

Anhui is cut in two by the Yangtse River, and with no bridges along its path through the province, travel from one part to the other is difficult. There is a railway line south which joins the river opposite the city of Wuhu on the southern bank. Most of Anhui’s tourist attractions, most notably Huang Shan mountain, are in the southern part of the province, and are more easily approached from Shanghai and Hangzhou than from Hefei, the capital. Hefei Hefei, the province’s capital, is a rather nondescript town with little to recommend it to the tourist. It used to be a quiet market town, but has been built up since 1949 as an industrial centre. The local PROVINCIAL MUSEUM (268 Anqing Lu) is quite good, and contains a jade burial suit composed of slabs of jade sewn together with silver thread.

How to get there and where to stay
There are a couple of flights a week to Hefei from Peking and Shanghai, and the city is also served by trains from Peking.

The main hotel in Hefei is the Daoxianglou (fragrant straw hall) Guesthouse, on the corner ofDazhai Lu and Yan’an Lu. Another is the lianghuai Hotel (86 Changjiang Lu).

Huang Shan This mountain in the southern part of the province is generally considered to be the most beautiful peak in China and its crags and abysses, trees and streams have been an important influence on Chinese art. Huang Shan is, in fact, the collective name for a whole range of mountains, but the main ones are Guangming (bright), Lianhua (lotus flower) and Tiandu (heavenly capital) peaks. According to one Chinese saying, loosely translated, if you’ve seen Huang Shan, there’s no point in bothering with any other mountains. From the foot of the southern slope of Huang Shan, it should take about four or five hours to climb to the top. It’s steep but well within the capabilities of most people, and the stunning vistas which are revealed along the way make the effort well worthwhile. It looks like one enormous Chinese painting. The best time to go is in spring or autumn but, except at midsummer, it gets chilly up on the peak, so take an extra layer of clothing. Also be warned that, in season, you can hardly see the vistas for the crowds of Chinese tourists.

There are hot springs at the bottom of the mountain, the waters from which have been diverted into private baths for visitors. How to get there and where to stay Most people approach Huang Shan from Hangzhou in the east, via Tunxi, a former grain-trading centre south of the noble peak. It is also possible to get there from Wuhu, a railway junction to the north on the banks of the Yangtse River. Either way, the trip involves a long drive.

There are hotels at the village of Tangkou, including the Huang Shan Guesthouse and the Yuping Lou (jade screen mansion), a former temple. If you want to spend the night on the mountain and watch the sunrise, there is the Bel”hai Guesthouse at the top which is spartan but adequate.

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