Fenghuang is often called as the most beautiful Chinese city. We added this picturesque town of Fenghuang to our list of places mainly because of its atmosphere. The old part of the city is situated around the Tuo Jiang river. Typical elements of architecture are unique houses built on high stilts and diverse bridges – from a series of stone blocks to wooden and brick. We decided to stay in this city for 3 days because we needed some rest and Fenghuang was ideal place for it!
How to get to Fenghuang by bus from Zhanghiajie
We went to Fenghuang by bus from Zhangjiajie. The journey took about 3 hours and one ticket costs 80 yuan. We went by modern bus with stewardess. In the ticket price was also included tasting of local specialities (dried meat and fruit).
Bus from Zhanghiajie leaves at 9 am, 12:30 pm, 2:30 pm, 3:30 pm, 5:20 pm.
Where to stay in Fenghuang
We found our accommodation via Booking.com. We would recommend you to stay in hotel next to the river and book room with balcony and river view. It is beautiful especially during the night. For example we stayed in Jiuqi Guest house and it cost about 20 EUR per night. We had room on the fifth floor so the view was even better! (We wrote to the accommodation that we want view and higher floor before we came).
Top things to do/see in Fenghuang
1. Phoenix Ancient town
Phoenix Ancient town is one of the most famous old towns in China. It is unique place for its charming scenery of multiple ancient sites of towers, brides, streets, and other buildings. Ancient town and an old town were built up in Qing Dynasty.
2. Phoenix Hong bridge
Beautiful covered bridge that crosses the main river. It is a landmark of the old town that displays a typically ethnic Miao style, with three stone arches below and a two-tiered covered area on top. The bridge is the most photogenic when lit up at night.
3. Take a boat on the Tuo river
Take a boat ride to enjoy the views of Fenghuang’s riverside wooden buildings that are built on stilts. We would reccommend you night ride when colourful and lighted wooden houses along the Tuo River lights up the entire river. It has special mood and atmosphere. If the river is calm enough, you can make great photos of the reflection. This is the must do activity!
4. East Gate Tower of Xiangxi
East Gate Tower is one of the four principal city gates of Fenghuang Ancient City. The upper gate is made out of old bricks and the lower part is made of purple sandstone. Standing here, close to the ancient market and the river is perfect for the panoramic view of the ancient city.
5. Zhunti temple
Zhunti temple is the best-preserved Buddhist temple in Fenghuang.
6. View of Phoenix town
If you have still some time, you can climb on the mountains and enjoy the view of the city.
Our impressions from Fenghuang
The historical part of the town has two faces. During the day is calm, but overcrowded by tourists. In the evening, all lights will come on, music bars and discos will come alive and Fenghuang become a party area. The evening walk along the river to the last bridge was the best we did in town. We walked past various street foods, souvenir shops or fishermen and enjoyed the indescribable atmosphere.
There is a typical group of people living in this city, with a different culture than we’ve seen so far in China. Many people wear typical wooden pointed hats, women have giant turbans on their heads, and the food is rather average.
In front of some restaurants we saw snakes, nutria, pheasants in a cage or various fishs in an aquarium. We even witnessed someone ordering a fish and the cook went and killed it outside on the steps of the restaurant. Well, we don’t want to know how they kill the rest of the animals. Yu can find there also fried/roasted caterpillars, beetles or even spiders and scorpions on the street food! But we weren’t brave enough so we didn’t try this kind of food.