How to Visit Hukou Waterfalls

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Plan your China tour? Hukou Falls at Yellow River is one of the most beautiful waterfalls in China and the largest yellow waterfalls in the world.

Do you have a fancy idea of visiting this magnificent waterfalls? Yes, years ago its awkward location did drive away many travelers since it is located in the middle reaches of Yellow River in the Loess Plateau hinterlands between Shaanxi Province and Shanxi Province.

But after the local governments improved transport and tourist facilities, foreign and domestic tourists coming to Hukou Waterfalls have increased greatly year on year. Then how to visit Hukou Waterfalls?

Hukou Waterfalls can be viewed either from Shaanxi Province side (Xian as its capital city) or Shanxi Province side ( Taiyuan as its capital city ) since Yellow River is a border river dividing Shaanxi Province and Shanxi Province.

The visitors viewing on the Hukou Waterfalls Shaanxi side has outnumbered those on Shanxi side. The viewing place on Shaanxi side is lower than Shanxi side, which makes the waterfalls looks much more magnificent than viewed from Shanxi side.

Best Time to View Hukou Fallstips-1-3
The best time to visit Hukou Waterfalls is May, June, September and October. July and August are a little to hot and humid.

Winter season finds less water volume on the Yellow River, reducing the greatness of the waterfalls. The ice and snow at Hukou Waterfalls will be melted totally in May.

But visiting Hukou Waterfalls in winter has its unique features which you cannot enjoy in the high or best season. You will see ice pendants and a whitened iced river itself.

How to Get to Hukou Falls?
Xian, Taiyuan and Yanan are the three most accessible cities to start up your trip to Hukou Waterfalls.

1. Going from Xian to Hukou Waterfalls

Choice A: Two Daily Buses from Xian directly to Hukou Falls
Note: The direct buses are possibly closed in winter due to the lack of tourists.
Bus Station in Xian: Xian Cheng Dong Bus Station ( 西安城东汽车站)
Two Departures: 8:00 am and 1:20 pm ( To)
12:00 and 5:00 pm ( Back )
Bus fare: 114 yuan + 2.5 yuan insurance fee
Drive Time: 5 hours ( 340 km )
Bus Station Add: 103 Mid-Changle Rd, Xian  西安市长乐中路103号
Tel::029-83460000

Choice B: Going from Xian to Yi Chuan by Bus + Local Mini-Bus to Hukou Falls
If you miss the direct buses from Xian to Hukou Falls, you may first take the bus from Xian Dong Cheng Bus Station to Yi Chuan (宜川), then connect the local minibus to Hukou Falls.  Hukou Falls is about 41 km to the east of Yi Chuan County .

There are 8 daily buses running from Xian Dong Cheng Bus Station to Yichuan County and 4 daily buses back. From Xian, first bus at 8:00am and last bus at 3:20pm; back from Yichuan, there are 4 buses starting at 6:00am, 8:30 am; 11:40am and 5:40:pm.

As for the public transport between Yi Chuan and Hukou Falls,  you may share the local mini-bus: 30 yuan per person 41 km).

2. Going from Yan’an to  Hukou Waterfalls
Hukou Waterfalls is located about 140km in the southeast of Yanan (Hukou Waterfalls is under the administration of Yanan).  Yanan has plentiful trains going to Beijing, Taiyuan and Xian. Yanan also has a medium-sized airport which has flights for Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and etc.

Choice A: Two Daily Buses from Yan’an directly to Hukou Falls
Note: The direct buses are possibly closed in winter due to the lack of tourists.
Bus Station in Yan’an: Yan’an South Bus Station ( 延安汽车南站)
Two Departures: 7:30 am and 8:20 am ( To)
12:00 and 2:00 pm ( Back )
Drive Time: 2 and half hours ( 140 km )
Yan’an South Bus Station:  located about 300 meters north of Yan’an Railway Station.
Hotline: 0911-2491167, 0911-2492777

Choice B: Going from Yan’an to Yi Chuan by Bus + Local Mini-Bus to Hukou Falls
If you miss the direct buses from Yan’an to Hukou Falls, you may first take the bus from Yan’an South Bus Station to Yi Chuan (宜川), then connect the local minibus to Hukou Falls.  Hukou Falls is about 41 km to the east of Yi Chuan County.

There are 8 daily buses from Yan’an South Bus Station ( 延安南站) to Yi Chuan listed below:
Departures: 6:00, 6:30, 10:05, 12:10, 12:20, 12:40, 17:30, and 18:00
Bus fare: around 44 yuan
Bus Ride: over 2 hours ( 120 km )
Yan’an South Bus Station:  located about 300 meters north of Yan’an Railway Station.
Hoteline: 0911-2491167, 0911-2492777

As for the public transport between Yi Chuan and Hukou Falls,  you may share the local mini-bus: 30 yuan per person 41 km).

3. Going from Taiyuan to Hukou Waterfalls
You may take a bus and drive from Taiyuan to Hukou Waterfalls at a distance of about 400km. The Taiyuan-Hukou Waterfalls highway is completed.

Today I make a side trip to Hukou Waterfalls from Yanan. Follow me into the wonderland of Hukou Waterfalls!

Yesterday I took the overnight train Z53 starting from Beijing Western Railway Station at 20:03. All the cars in the train offer soft sleepers, clean and comfortable. The Z53 arrives at 5:03 early in the morning. Losing no time, I hire a taxi (about 500 yuan for a day to Hukou Falls) hunting for business at the train station and directly dart for Hukou Waterfalls though it is still quite dark outside.

We (me and my taxi driver) take a short cut – a provincial highway No.303 with a length of 140km from Yanan city center to Hukou Waterfalls. We are driving on the loess plateau at the direction of southeast. I hope we can have the luck to enjoy a sunrise over the loess plateau. It seems today the good luck is sure to follow us! Driving on the high loess hills, we hit a red rising sun! Cool!

A sunrise over the loess plateau at 7:30am

A sunrise over the loess plateau


With even a greater expectation to see a sunrise over Yellow River, I elbow my driver to drive a little faster to the edge of the mother river.
Oh, my god! We make it! Here is the melting radiant sunrise over Yellow River.

Here is the melting radiant sunrise over Yellow River

When we get to the tickting office of Hukou Waterfalls on Shaanxi side, we feel dropped from heaven to hell when we are told that Hukou Waterfalls is forbidden to visit due to treacherous ice surface on the river.

Seeing I look so depressed, they show their sympathy and tell us to go to Shanxi side (their competitor) to view the waterfalls.

Heaven never seals off all exits! We continue to drive another 7km crossing a bridge spanning Yellow River and get to the Hukou Waterfalls on Shanxi side. Paying entrance RMB91 enables me to come closer to the waterfalls which has been lingering in my heart for many years.

Entrance ticket for Hukou Waterfalls RMB91

The picture below is taken from the bridge when we drive past the bridge to Shanxi side. You see, most of the river surface is frozen and the flowing water is running under the iced river surface.

The flowing water is running under the iced river surface.

the flowing water is running under the iced river surface.

Unlike a normal waterfalls hanging high and easy for people to look up. But in the case of Hukou Waterfalls, people have to look down! Hukou waterfalls is located in the middle of the over-200m-wide river.

The waterfalls’s velocity increases, and then plunges over a narrow opening on a cliff on the river bed, forming a waterfall 15m high and 20m wide, as if water is pouring down from a huge teapot, hence the name Hukou (literally, the mouth of teapot) Waterfall.

I walk across the iced river along the cement bridges to the a narrow opening on a cliff on the river bed in the middle of the wide river. From the river bank, it is difficult to discern the waterfalls!

From the river bank, it is difficult to discern the waterfalls!

I walk carefully and move closer to a protection rope line. After finding a good viewing point, I snap some pictures of the waterfalls producing masses of smoke, turning the placid water into rapids with ice pendants on two sides.

 

the waterfalls stirring up masses of smoke, turning the placid water into rapids

I’m the only visitor on Hukou Waterfalls at the moment. A local staff comes to me saying if I pay extra RMB21, I’m able to view the waterfalls from its bottom!

They have dug a tunnel leading to the bottom of the waterfalls! Jesus! Sure I’m ready to pay and follow him walk down the tunnel.

 

Follow him walk down the tunnel

Now I’m almost on the same level of the river bed of the running water under the waterfalls. From there, I look up at the waterfalls!

In the sunshine, the mist is reflected by sunlight to create a rainbow spanning the water like a colorful bridge!

 

The mist is reflected by sunlight to create a rainbow spanning the water like a colorful bridge!

Tip: Hassle-free Xian Guided Tours
If you don’t want to go the do-it-yourself route and prefer the hassle-free escorted tours,  here are some options for Xian guided tours:

Xian City Day Tour from US$69
Xian Terracotta Warriors Day Tour A from US$85
Terracotta Army and Song of Everlasting Performance from US$135

Xian 2 Day Tour Package from US$170 p/p
Xian 3 Day Tour Package from US$235 p/p

Terracotta Army  Join-in Escorted Bus Tour RMB 480 p/p
Terracotta Army  Escorted Private Tour  US$ $125 P/P

Further Readings


Beijing Xian High Speed Train Experience
Top 10 Attractions in Xian
Tips for Visiting Muslim Quarter in Xian
Tips for Visiting Xian City Wall
Tips for Visiting Shaanxi History Museum
Tips for Visiting Xian Bell Tower
How Visit Terracotta Army
How to Visit Daming Palace National Heritage Park
Top 10 Photography Spots in Xian
The Night View of Great Tang All Day Mall
Tips for Visiting Hanyang Tombs Xian
The Song of Everlasting Sorrow Show in Xian
Tips for Visiting Big Wild Goose Pagoda
Tips for Visiting Huaqing Hot Springs in Xian
How to Visit Mount Huashan
Top 10 Hostels in Xian
Best Time to Visit Xian

Any questions, just drop a line.

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19 Responses to “How to Visit Hukou Waterfalls”

  1. cheng hin says:

    Can accommodation be found in Hukou ? Thank you .

  2. admin says:

    Hello Cheng Hin,

    Yes, there are a handful of hotels and inns aound the Hukou Falls area. The Hukou Falls scenic area is located between Yichuan County (宜川县)in Shaanxi Province (陕西) and Jixian County (吉县) in Shanxi Province (山西).

    We recommend Hukou Waterfall Hotel (on the side of Jixian County ): http://www.hkpbjd.com/home.asp (mainly in Chinese)

  3. Tony Santana says:

    Here you said view is much more popular from SHAANXI side:

    The visitors viewing on the Hukou Waterfalls Shaanxi side has outnumbered those on Shanxi side.

    LATER say view better from SHANXI ‘than viewed from Shaanxi side.’ OPPOSITE. Please pick one!

    The viewing place on Shaanxi side is lower than Shanxi side, which makes the waterfalls looks much more magnificent than viewed from Shaanxi side.

  4. Daniel says:

    Hello Tony Santana,

    Sorry for the typo! The waterfall on Shaanxi side looks a bit more magnificent as a whole than Shanxi side. But some people prefer to view the waterfall from Shanxi side, which poses a different view.

  5. Janny says:

    Hello, I am planning to visit Hukou Waterfall in early March using public transportation and return to Xian on the same day. I have read that the earliest bus departing Xian Textile Transportation Terminal is at 8am and it takes around 5 hours to get to Hukou. There are sites that say that there will be a returning bus at 5.40pm. Could you please advise if this bus service is still available? Thanks!

  6. Daniel says:

    Hi Janny,

    As for the returning bus from the waterfall back to Xian, as far as I know, the 5.40pm bus starts from Yichuan Bus Station (宜川汽车站). Yichuan County is about 35km to the west of the Hukou Waterfall. There are some local buses or taxis taking you from the waterfall to Yichuan, an hour’s bus ride. I’m not sure about the direct bus from the waterfall back to Xian at 5:40 pm.

    If you miss the returning bus from the waterfall or there is no returning bus from the waterfall back to Xian. You don’ have to worry. Just go to Yichuan County (宜川).

  7. Janny says:

    Hello Daniel, thank you for your reply. Regarding the local buses from waterfall to Yichuan, do they have a fixed schedule? If no, how is the usual frequency of these buses? If we were to take a taxi instead, how much would it cost for a family of 4 adults? I’m just thinking if we reach the waterfall at around 1.30pm and spend around 2-3 hours there, we will be able to catch a bus/taxi back to Yichuan by 5pm. Then we will be able to take the 5.40pm bus back to Xian. Do you think this is feasible?

    Thanks!

  8. Daniel says:

    Hi Janny,

    Yes, a very good plan! Normally you just spend 1.5 hours on the waterfall, not necessarily 2-3 hours. Most of the taxis waiting by the waterfall are local black or private taxis. Maybe the legal taxis have no interest in the business. Basically 30 yuan for one seat, so one taxi costs 120 yuan ( just for your family of 4 adults) from the waterfall to Yichuan County ( 41 km ), and the taxi ride takes about one hour. As far as I know, there is a bus starting at 5:40pm from Yichuan to Xian and arriving at Xian around 11 pm. You’d better get to Yichuan County a bit earlier to secure the 4 bus tickets.

  9. Alix says:

    We wish to visit Hukou in April. There will be 4 person incl. my mother age 83 years. If we take taxi from Xian, stay 1 night in Hukou, then back to Xian by taxi too. How much will the transportation cost. Thank you.

  10. Beijing Tour says:

    Hi Alix,

    Personally, I don’t know how much for a return taxi ride from Xian to Hukou Waterfall. It is advisable to book a car or van in advance through a local travel agent or car rental company.

    If you need us to provide you the car rental serive with driver, please write us your request at info@tour-beijing.com .

    Have a good time in Hukou waterfall!

  11. santo says:

    Hi, what time the last public bus depart from hukou waterfall to xian. Where we should wait the bus at hukou waterfall. thank you

  12. Beijing Tour says:

    Hi Santo,

    It seems there is no direct bus service between Hukou waterfall to Xian. As far as I know, there is a 5.40pm bus starting from Yichuan Bus Station (宜川汽车站) to Xian. Yichuan Bus Station is located in Yichuan County, about 41km to the west of the Hukou Waterfall.

    There are some local buses or taxis waiting by the waterfall. Most of them are local black or private taxis. Maybe the legal taxis have no interest in the business. Basically 30 yuan for one seat, a local taxi takes you from the waterfall to Yichuan County ( 41 km ).

    The 5:40pm bus from Yichuan to Xian arrives at Xian around 11 pm. You’d better get to Yichuan County a bit earlier to secure your bus tickets.

    The information above is just only for your reference!

  13. Joanne says:

    Plan to travel to beijing n Xi’an in March or April, just two person 1st time to China, which month is best travel and which way is best to hukou waterfall ?what transport is best or any local travel agent we can book? Thanks

  14. Daniel says:

    Hi Joanne,

    1. April is better than March.

    2. For hassle-free transport, you’d better arrange your own transport, hiring a private car instead of using the daunting public buses, too complicated for first-time travelers.

    3. You may try the local travel agency known as “Travel China Guide” (www.travelchinaguide.com ), a Xian based China tour operator. If you visit Beijing and need some assistance, you may contact us at Tour Beijing ( http://www.tour-beijing.com ), a Beijing based China tour operator.

    Any questions, just drop a line.

    Have a good time in China!

    Daniel Li
    http://www.tour-beijing.com

  15. Karyn says:

    Hi,

    I’m planning to visit HuKou in next Feb. I will travel from Beijing as well almost the same itinerary as yours. Will hop on the night train to Yanan and then take a bus to Hukou and then to Xian. I have a few questions to finalise my itinerary.

    1. Where exactly can I wait for the bus to Yi Chuan Bus Station?
    2. How much did you pay for the taxi from Yanan Station to Hukou?
    3. There are 2 buses departs from Xian Cheng Dong Bus Station, at 8am and 1.20pm. Does that bring us directly to Hukou or do we need to transfer at any other point?

    Thanks for your reply.
    Karyn.

  16. Daniel says:

    Hi Karyn,

    First, I’d like to say February is not a fabulous time to view the supposedly magnificent yellow waterfall in the world. Not much moving of roaring water fall due to the frozen weather. Last time, the Shaanxi side was closed because of the soft and treacherous river surfaces. So I had to go to the Shanxi side.

    1. Last time as you know, I didn’t take the bus to Yi Chuan instead I taxied. I’ve just searched online. There are 8 daily buses from Yan’an South Bus Station ( 延安南站) to Yi Chuan listed below:

    Bus fare: around 44 yuan

    6:00, 6:30, 10:05, 12:10, 12:20, 12:40, 17:30, and 18:00

    Yan’an South Bus Station
    Hoteline: 0911-2491167, 0911-2492777
    Location: Yan’an South Bus Station is located about 300 meters north of Yan’an Railway Station.

    2. Sorry, I cannot remember exactly how much I paid for the taxi ride from Yan’an to the waterfalls, maybe around 500 – 600 for the whole day.

    3. Yes, there are 2 buses departs from Xian Cheng Dong Bus Station, at 8am and 1.20pm ( about 5 hours ); back from Hukou Waterfalls at 12:00 and 17:00
    Bus fares: 114 + 2.5 (insurance fee ) , 340 km

    If you miss the bus from Xian Chengdong Bus Station to the waterfalls, you may first go from Xian Chengdong Bus Station to Yi Chuan, connect a local mini-bus to the waterfall ( 30 yuan per seat.

  17. Daniel says:

    Hi Karyn,

    Just follow up to my previous reply.

    How to Get to Hukou Falls?

    Xian, Taiyuan and Yanan are the three most accessible cities to start up your trip to Hukou Waterfalls.

    1. Going from Xian to Hukou Waterfalls

    Choice A: Two Daily Buses from Xian directly to Hukou Falls (Winter Season Possibly Closed)
    Bus Station in Xian: Xian Cheng Dong Bus Station ( 西安城东汽车站)
    Two Departures: 8:00 am and 1:20 pm ( To)
    12:00 and 5:00 pm ( Back )
    Bus fare: 114 yuan + 2.5 yuan insurance fee
    Drive Time: 5 hours ( 340 km )
    Bus Station Add: 103 Mid-Changle Rd, Xian 西安市长乐中路103号
    Tel::029-83460000

    Choice B: Going from Xian to Yi Chuan by Bus + Local Mini-Bus to Hukou Falls
    If you miss the direct buses from Xian to Hukou Falls, you may first take the bus from Xian Dong Cheng Bus Station to Yi Chuan (宜川), then connect the local minibus to Hukou Falls. Hukou Falls is about 41 km to the east of Yi Chuan County .

    There are 8 daily buses running from Xian Dong Cheng Bus Station to Yichuan County and 4 daily buses back. From Xian, first bus at 8:00am and last bus at 3:20pm; back from Yichuan, there are 4 buses starting at 6:00am, 8:30 am; 11:40am and 5:40:pm.

    As for the public transport between Yi Chuan and Hukou Falls, you may share the local mini-bus: 30 yuan per person 41 km).

    2. Going from Yan’an to Hukou Waterfalls
    Hukou Waterfalls is located about 140km in the southeast of Yanan (Hukou Waterfalls is under the administration of Yanan). Yanan has plentiful trains going to Beijing, Taiyuan and Xian. Yanan also has a medium-sized airport which has flights for Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and etc.

    Choice A: Two Daily Buses from Yan’an directly to Hukou Falls (Winter Season Possibly Closed)
    Bus Station in Yan’an: Yan’an South Bus Station ( 延安汽车南站)
    Two Departures: 7:30 am and 8:20 am ( To)
    12:00 and 2:00 pm ( Back )
    Drive Time: 2 and half hours ( 140 km )
    Yan’an South Bus Station: located about 300 meters north of Yan’an Railway Station.
    Hotline: 0911-2491167, 0911-2492777

    Choice B: Going from Yan’an to Yi Chuan by Bus + Local Mini-Bus to Hukou Falls
    If you miss the direct buses from Yan’an to Hukou Falls, you may first take the bus from Yan’an South Bus Station to Yi Chuan (宜川), then connect the local minibus to Hukou Falls. Hukou Falls is about 41 km to the east of Yi Chuan County.

    There are 8 daily buses from Yan’an South Bus Station ( 延安南站) to Yi Chuan listed below:
    Departures: 6:00, 6:30, 10:05, 12:10, 12:20, 12:40, 17:30, and 18:00
    Bus fare: around 44 yuan
    Bus Ride: over 2 hours ( 120 km )
    Yan’an South Bus Station: located about 300 meters north of Yan’an Railway Station.
    Hoteline: 0911-2491167, 0911-2492777

    As for the public transport between Yi Chuan and Hukou Falls, you may share the local mini-bus: 30 yuan per person 41 km).

    Have a nice time!

  18. Karyn says:

    Hi Daniel,

    Really appreciate your explanation.
    You mentioned (Winter Season Possibly Closed), is it only Shaanxi?
    When did you visit Hukou, as you went there during Winter as well isnt?

  19. Daniel says:

    Hi Karyn,

    When I write “(Winter Season Possibly Closed)”, I mean the direct buses either from Xian or Yan’an to Hukou Falls will be possibly closed due to the lack of tourists. Othere regular buses going to Yi Chuan should be available.

    Yes, I went there in Feb, 2001. It’s better to go there in May when the snow and ice are melted.

    Have a good time!

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