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15 Aug 2015

Feng Huang 凤凰 Hunan Province, China

Feng Huang [凤凰县] • 15 AUGUST 2015
'Fenghuang' is Chinese for 'Phoenix', the mythical bird of good omen and longevity that is consumed by fire to be re-born again from the flames. Phoenix Ancient Town is so called as legend has it that two of these fabulous birds flew over it and found the town so beautiful that they hovered there, reluctant to leave.

The town is situated on the western boundary of Hunan Province in an area of outstanding natural beauty where mountains, water and blue skies prevail. Upon arrival visitor will be impressed by its air of mystery, elegance and primitive simplicity. This is a world that is dominated by the colour green. The mountain slopes are covered with green foliage, the fields are green and even the Tuo Jiang River reflects the greenery. The bridges over the water and unique houses built on stilts display a harmony that is so often portrayed in traditional Chinese paintings. This is particularly true when mist pervades the scene in the early morning or after rain. It soon becomes apparent that the claim to being one of the two most beautiful towns in the whole of China is more than justified; the other town is Chang Ting in Fujian Province.

Phoenix Ancient Town does not rely entirely upon natural beauty to attract the visitor for this ancient town with a Fenghuang Ancient Townhistory spanning 1300 years has a number of remarkable old gardens as well as distinctive residential buildings, elegant bridges and mysterious towers and pagodas. These architectural delights date from the Ming and Qing Dynasties (1644-1911). Those of special interest are the Wengchen Pavilion, Huang Si Qiao Castle, Tian Wang Temple, Da Cheng Hall, Chao Yang Palace, and the tomb of Shen Congwen and the residence of Xiong Xiling. Here too there are the North Gate and South Great Wall both excellent examples of municipal fortification.

In many ways, life has not changed here for centuries and this is typified by the tough, hard working yet simple-hearted people. The town offers the visitor from both home and abroad a view of a quite different China from anything experienced in the modern cities and large conurbations that are more widely known. We are sure that the opportunity to travel in such a picturesque region will be remembered as an experience of a lifetime.

Admission Fee:
CNY148 = (25 US$ or 18 €)  (including 10 attractions: Former Residence of Shen Congwen, Formal Residence of Xiong XiLing, Yang Family Memorial Temple, East Gate Tower, Boat ride on Tuojiang River, Longevity Palace, Chongde Hall, Fenghuang Ancient City Museum, Hong Bridge Art Museum, Shenfeng Scenic Area of South Huashan)
How to Get There: By Bus:
From Zhangjiajie: 
Zhangjiajie Central Bus Station has buses to Phoenix Ancient Town directly at 08:30, 09:30 and 11:00 (back at 14:30, 15:30, 16:30). The whole journey is 210km. Or alternatively, you can take regular buses every half an hour from the bus station to Jishou first. Another one hour is needed to reach the town. 
From Changsha: Changsha West Coach Station has buses to the town at 08:40, 10:40, 15:30 and 17:30. The whole journey will take 5.5 hours. 

By Air:
Tongren Fenghuang Airport is a feeder airport about 30km (45 minutes) from Phoenix Ancient Town. It offers flights to and from Guiyang (Guizhou Province) and Guangzhou at present. Zhangjiajie Airport is also a choice. Then refer to the instruction above. 

By Train: 
The nearest train station is in Jishou. Turn to Jishou North Bus Station near the railway station. There are regular buses to Phoenix Ancient Town, 80 minutes.

Where to stay
1.‘Yours Hostel’ (柚子客栈) is nice boutique hotel that has single and double bedrooms between 160 and 300 RMB (price may change during the high season).
Address : Wujia Lane 16, Dongzheng Street 22 (吴家弄16号,东正街22号)
Tel : 0743-2190099 / 18074300003 (mobile)
Email :

2. The Fenghuang Old Town Youth Hostel (right next door to the ‘Yours Hostel’) is also a nice spot, sheltered from the madness of the town and the noisy evenings. Check them online :
Address : Wujia Lane 20, Dongzheng Street 22 (吴家弄16号,东正街22号)
Tel : 0743-3227070
Email :

The ancient town of Fenghuang was added to the UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List on March 28, 2008 in the Cultural category. This ancient town was regarded as the most beautiful town in China by New Zealand writer Rewi Alley. It was built in the 43rd year of the Kangxi era (1704), and has 300 years of history. The ancient city is a gathering place for Miao and Tujia ethnic minority.

Photos credited to Kit
Articles credited to Phoenix Ancient Town (Fenghuang)


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