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Home Zhangjiajie Travel Guide Zhangjiajie Attractions Fenghuang Ancient Town – One of the Most Beautiful Water Towns in China

Fenghuang Ancient Town – One of the Most Beautiful Water Towns in China

Fenghuang Ancient Town, also known as the Phoenix Ancient Town, is located in the southwest of Tujia-miao autonomous prefecture of Xiangxi (West Hunan) and covers an area of about 10 square kilometers. It is a typical residence of 28 ethnic groups, including Miao, Han, Tujia and so on.

A national historical and cultural city in China, Fenghuang Old Town is teem with ancient architectures of the Ming and Qing dynasties. It is also endowed with beautiful natural scenery – the clear Tuo River slowly flowing through the city presents a quiet and charming landscape. A boat ride on Tuo River is one of the highlights of Fenghuang Ancient Town tours.

Fenghuang Ancient Town Facts

  • In Chinese: 凤凰古城
  • Location: Tuojiang Town, Fenghuang County, Tujia and Miao Autonomous Prefecture, Xiangxi, Hunan Province, China
  • Climate: central subtropical monsoon humid climate
  • Openinghours: all day
  • Suitable for: Chinese culture and history buffs, and anyone that is interested in Chinese ancient town

Fenghuang Ancient Town

History of the Fenghuang Ancient Town in China

Fenghuang Ancient Town was built in 1704, the 43rd year of the reign of Emperor Kangxi of the Qing dynasty. The old east gate and the north gate of the city still exist after about 300 years. The Chaoyang Palace, Longevity Palace, Heavenly Kings temple, Yang Family Ancestral Temple, Former Residence of Shen Congwen, Formal Residence of Xiong XiLing, East Gate Tower, Chongde Hall and many other old architectures are still well-preserved.

Today Fenghuang Ancient Town is listed one of the ten cultural heritages in Hunan province. It was regarded as the most beautiful town in China by the New Zealand writer Rewi Alley. And Fenghuang shares great reputation with Old town of Lijiang in Yunnan province and Ancient city of Pingyao in Shanxi province as Chinese ancient towns.

What to See and Do in Fenghuang Ancient Town

Many people travel to Fenghuang Ancient Town in Hunan to walk along the quartzite street inside the ancient city, appreciate the ancient wooden stilted building (Diaojiao building) and immerse in the sound of Tuo river flowing or take some photos to record the unique experience.

Admire Local Stilted Building (Diaojiaolou)

The stilted buildings are located in the Huilong Pavilion in the southeast of the ancient city, facing the Guguan Road in front and hanging over the Tuojiang River in the back. With a total length of 240 meters, the stilted building group is one of the ancient buildings with the strongest Miao architectural characteristics in Fenghuang Ancient Town.

This ancient Chinese wooden building, divided into two floors, has a high value of craftsmanship. Every time after the rain, a layer of mist rises above the Tuojiang River. When the well-arranged stilted houses are reflected in the water, it looks like a Chinese ink painting scroll.

Walk the Ancient Alleyways

The ancient city is divided into the old and the new parts: The old city is near the mountains and  Tuo River. The north gate of the old city was originally named as “Bihui Gate”. There is an old and narrow wooden bridge that can only be passed by two people. The bridge was the only way out of the city.

The old town takes Huilong Pavilion as its central axis, connecting countless lanes through whole city. Huilong pavilion ancient street has been the most bustling street and market since ancient times.

Fenghuang Night Life with a Bar Street

On one side of Tuo River, there is a modern and famous bar street for people to relax, where many pub singers sing folk songs or pop songs every night to ignite visitors’ nightlife. In addition, it is very popular for visitors to enjoy the charming night view of Fenghuang Ancient Town.

Explore the Guantianshan Miao Village

When you visit Fenghuang ancient town in China, there are other must-visit attractions, e.g. the Miao Village. It is a rare chance to experience authentic custom and know the traditional culture of Miao people. Here, visitors can not only enjoy the unique ethnic songs and dances of the Miao people and taste traditional food, but also buy some handmade silver products or embroidery and other souvenirs with ethnic characteristics.

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Fenghuang Ancient Town

How to Buy Entrance Tickets:

Prices of tickets: The ancient town is free for entrance, but if you want to visits certain scenic spots, you need to buy a ticket.

Ticket package for 9 main attractions CNY 128
Tuo River boat cruise CNY 80

Notes: The ticket package includes nine scenic spots: Former Residence of Shen Congwen, Formal Residence of Xiong XiLing, East Gate Tower, Yang Ancestra Temple, Chongde Hall, Longevity Palace, Boat ride on Tuo River, Hongqiao Art Museum and Fenghuang Ancient City Museum. And the ticket is valid for 2 days, visitors can arrange their travel time appropriately in advance.

When is the Best Time to Visit Fenghuang Ancient Town?

The best time to visit Fenghuang Ancient Town in Hunan China is from April to May, and September to October — these are the spring and autumn seasons. During these months, the natural scenery is charming and the weather is pleasant.

Summer (June to August) is also a good season for touring Fenghuang Ancient Town, although the temperature is high and there is more rain. It is recommended that tourists visit the ancient city in the morning and evening to avoid the high temperatures. There are also many water activities and festivals (e.g. dragon boat racing) in Fenghuang Ancient Town in summer, allowing visitors to fully experience the local ethnic culture.

The old town of Fenghuang in winter (December to February) has lower temperatures, but the scenery is still beautiful, suitable for tourists who prefer a quiet atmosphere. You may be able to enjoy the snowy scenery at this time.


Fenghuang Ancient Town

How to Get to the Fenghuang Ancient Town?

With the advantageous geographical location, Fenghuang Ancient Town is 27 km from Tongren Fenghuang Airport, 57 km from Huaihua Zhijiang Airport and about 280 km from Zhangjiajie Hehua International Airport. It is easy to travel from Zhangjijie to Fenghuang. And many choose to extend their Zhangjiajie tours to Fenghuang.

From Changsha to Fenghuang Ancient Town

Changsha West Coach Station has buses to Fenghuang Ancient Town Bus Center four times a day. The whole journey will take 5.5 hours. The ticket fare is 145 yuan per ticket.

From Zhangjiajie to Fenghuang Ancient Town

Visitors can take bus to Zhangjiajie to Fenghuang Ancient Town, and there are three buses that take about 5 or 6 hours to Fenghuang Ancient Town are available as follows:

  • West Bus Station: 8:10, 10:40,15:30, 17:30  CNY130
  • South Bus Station: 9:30,15:30  CNY 130
  • Changzhutan Bus Station: 8:00,10:00, 14:00  CNY 145

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