Fenghuang Ancient Town Facts
Situated in Hunan province, Fenghuang Ancient Town is one of the most famous old towns in China. You can appreciate the antique flavor of this 300-year old town, feel the rich culture of the 28 minority ethnic groups, and explore the remaining traces of the famous historical figures and great writers.
Type: Ancient Town, Water Place, Historical & Cultural Site, Old Buildings, Ethnic Minority Place
Best Seasons: All Seasons
Recommended Visiting Time: 1-3 days
Opening Hours: 24 hours, some attractions open: 8:00-18:00
Permission: Free, but RMB 148 / person (Valid for 3 days) for the designated attractions
Address: Southwest of Tujia-miao Autonomous Prefecture of Xiangxi, Hunan, China
Brief Introduction of Fenghuang Ancient Town
Fenghuang Ancient Town or Phoenix Ancient Town was reputed as “the most beautiful town in China” by Rewi Alley, a famous writer from New Zealand. Built in 1704, this old town is given the title of the “National AAAA Tourist Attraction” for its charming scenery of multiple ancient sites of towers, brides, streets, and other buildings as well as rich culture of Miao, Tujia and other 26 minority ethnic groups. Located at the southwest of Tujia-miao Autonomous Prefecture of Xiangxi in Hunan province, Fenghuang Ancient Town got its name because on the southwest of the town, there is a mountain like a flying phoenix so much. Visiting this about 10 square kilometers wide ancient town, you will love it immediately and discover the mystery of its profound culture.
Must-see Highlights in Fenghuang Ancient Town
Fenghuang Ancient Town has a long history of more than 400 years and it preserves its buildings and culture so well, therefore, you can just take your time to appreciate the old place and feel its antique flavor.
Rainbow Bridge Art Building
The Rainbow Bridge Art Building (虹桥艺术楼) at the center of Fenghuang Ancient Town was built in 1368 AD. Standing on the building, you can enjoy the picturesque scenery of the banks of Tuojiang River. Particularly at night, when the lights all shining along the river, you can appreciate the amazingly charming night view, with the water flowing gently, cool wind blowing away, musical sound floating by, and the reflection of lights dyeing the river into a wonderful world. You will seem to be in over 600 years ago in ancient China. Moreover, since the art building is designed into 2 floors, you can buy something on the stores on the first floor and admire the fantastic works of calligraphic and painting on the second floor.
Rainbow Bridge Art Building in Fenghuang Ancient Town
Yang’s Ancestral Hall
The Yang’s Ancestral Hall (杨家祠堂) is the only one in Fenghuang Ancient Town among all the 24 halls in Fenghuang County, and it is said families named Yang in Fenghuang Ancient Town are all the descendants of generals of the Yang family who devoted their sincere royalty to protect the emperor and the country in Song dynasty (960 AD – 1276 AD) and left very respectable reputation till now. Built in 1836 AD beside the ancient city wall at the northeast town, Yang’s Ancestral Hall was constructed super delicately with the bright local national features. Visiting this ancestral hall, you can enjoy the fancy hollowed-out carving patterns on the doors, windows and eaves, etc. Besides, at the stage in the ancestral hall, there is a pair of wood carving patterns in front of and above the old stage, which tells about the free love of a pair of a young man and woman who finally live in happy after experiencing many difficulties. And since the free love between men and women were not allowed in the period of the construction of Yang’s Ancestral Hall, you can come here to feel their romantic love and their great efforts.
Yang’s Ancestral Hall in Fenghuang Ancient Town
Pure Miao People in Fenghuang Ancient Town
Longevity Palace (Wanshougong)
The Longevity Palace (万寿宫) enjoys pleasing sightseeing like a splendid natural painting of elegant mountains and waters with high pavilions. Going to the out area of the east gate, you can admire this fabulous view. Constructed for about over 300 years, the Longevity Palace was keeping expanding its scale into the present grand area. You can visit this place to see the specially designed decorations and the exquisite carvings on the groups of buildings. Since this palace was built by the people from Jiangxi province, you can imagine the hard time of these Jiangxi people who immigrated from in Yuan dynasty (1271 AD – 1368 AD) living in a strange place and know about their thriving efforts of getting along with the local residents in Fenghuang Ancient Town.
Boating on the Tuojiang River – Like a Dream
Boating on the Tuojiang River
Tuojiang River is the mother river of Fenghuang Ancient Town, and Tuojiang River Boating (沱江泛舟) is surely the must-do highlight in this charming attraction. Taking a boat along the river, you can see the stilted buildings, the Longevity Palace, Wanming Tower, Duocuilou Building, etc. along the banks to feel being away from the noisy world. As the boat slowly floating, the water plants shake the bodies in the gentle wave, and get the time slower down to nearly ceased. You will feel to be a part of Fenghuang Ancient Town beautiful like a landscape painting.
If you enjoy the boating at night, you can appreciate the strings of various red lanterns outside the antique windows reflecting on the clear river, which is so harmonious and elegant that can be found in those excellent ancient Chinese poems.
Fabulous Night View of Fenghuang Ancient Town
Former Residence of Shen Congwen
The Former Residence of Shen Congwen (沈从文故居) was constructed in 1866 AD by the grandfather of Shen Chongwen. Since it shows the handwriting, manuscript, remains and portrait of Mr. Shen and exhibits the life story of this great writer in China, this former residence has become the most shining spot of Fenghuang Ancient Town. For that reason, it is a great chance to visit the living place of Shen to feel the remaining traces of the litterateur and the spirits of this master. Furthermore, you can go to this over 100-year old building of typical characteristics in late Qing dynasty to appreciate the exquisite decorations everywhere filled with antique charm. To get the code of Fenghuang Ancient Town, the Former Residence of Shen Congwen is the first choice in your tour in the old town.
The Former Residence of Shen Congwen in Fenghuang Ancient Town
Former Residence of Xiong Xiling
The Former Residence of Xiong Xiling (熊希龄故居) is one of the must-see places in Fenghuang Ancient Town, because you can see the living environment and imagine the scene of daily life of this great Prime Minister in the Republic of China (1912 AD -1949 AD). On the east side of the courtyard is a woodshed, inside where there are a stone mill and a stone pestle, etc., and Xiong preferred playing in this woodshed and often learned how to push the mill and other skills about process the food, which not only shows the diligent and thrifty value of the host but also indicates the moral of experiencing the hardship of people’s life of Xiong in his childhood. Moreover, entering the main hall, you can appreciate a pair of couplet that express the great aspiration of serving people and the giant contribution of cultivating talents for the Chinese nation of Xiong.
The Woodshed Where Xiong Xiling Often Played in
Amazing Things to Do in Fenghuang Ancient Town
Fenghuang Ancient Town is so gorgeous like a painting, so you can spend some leisure time on the stilted building, drinking some tea and enjoying the warm sunshine, which will make you get lost in the wonderful painting.
Take a boat to appreciate the scenery of the sunset glows and the ancient town dressed up with colorful lights and hear the antiphonal songs of the boatmen. Besides, you can put a wishing lamp onto the Tuojiang River and make a wish, and it seems that life is really so good.
Traditional Festivals in Fenghuang Ancient Town
There are some very meaningful traditional festivals in Fenghuang Ancient Town and if you visit this place during the very time, you are strongly suggested to feel the authentic and lively atmosphere of the local people. April 8 on the Chinese lunar calendar is the Ancestral Worshiping Day, Hero Day and Celebration Festival, which is a traditional jubilant festival of Miao people, and during that day they will worship their ancestors, dance and sing with high emotion and perform a series of shows till the next morning. And the lunar June 6 is the Song Festival of Miao minority. You can see many young men and women dress up and sing their local songs to express their emotion to each other. Therefore, it also is the love pledging gathering of the Miao men and women.
Recommended Route to Visit Fenghuang Ancient Town
1 day classic route
Visit the Former Residence of Shen Congwen to feel the trace of the great Chinese writer, and then visit the East Gate Tower (东门古城楼). Next, appreciate the view of Fenghuang Ancient Town at the Rainbow Bridge Art Building and visit Chongde Hall (崇德堂). Then, go to Yang’s Ancestral Hall to see the fancy buildings. After that, know about the culture and history of the tourist attraction in Fenghuang Ancient Town Museum. And then, visit the Former Residenc of Xiong Xiling to feel the spirit of the great Prime Minister in the Republic of China. Finally take a boat to enjoy the view along the Tuojiang River and appreciate the Longevity Palace.
2 day In-depth route
Visit the Former Residence of Shen Congwen to feel the trace of the great Chinese writer, and then visit the East Gate Tower. Next, appreciate the view of Fenghuang Ancient Town at the Rainbow Bridge Art Building and appreciate the Longevity Palace. Visit Chongde Hall and go to Yang’s Ancestral Hall to see the fancy buildings. After that, know about the culture and history of the tourist attraction in Fenghuang Ancient Town Museum. And then, visit the Former Residenc of Xiong Xiling to feel the spirit of the great Prime Minister in the Republic of China. At night, take a boat to enjoy the night view along the Tuojiang River.
Visit a Miao Village to know more about the culture of Miao people and feel their daily life. Then go to the Mount Nanhua Tourist Attraction to admire natural scenery and feel the rich culture of phoenix in China.
5 days Zhangjiajie & Fenghuang Ancient Town route
In this tour, you can visit Zhangjiajie Forest Park to see the gorgeous masterpiece of nature for 2 days. After that, you can go to Tianmen Mountain to see the special landforms for 1 day. Followed by is a 2-day tour to Fenghuang Ancient Town, where you can totally enjoy yourself into the antique flavor with terrific waterscape.
Map & How to Go to Fenghuang Ancient Town
Fenghuang Ancient Town is situated at the Southwest of Tujia-miao Autonomous Prefecture of Xiangxi in Hunan and about 400 km from Changsha and about 230 km from Zhangjiajie.
Changsha has some coaches running to and from Fenghuang Ancient Town every day, which takes about 5.5 hours to arrive. Besides, you can drive for about 5 hours.
You can take a coach from Zhangjiajie that runs 1 to 2 hours every day and costs about 4 hours. And if you drive, you can arrive at Fenghuang Ancient town for about 3.5 to 4 hours.
Travel with China Discovery (Top Recommended):
If you want to get rid of hustle of public transportation and troublesome navigation, you can book a private tour package which covers sightseeing, dining and transfer from us. Our local tour guide and driver will escort you to Fenghuang Ancient Town with speed and convenience, and take care of all the details. You just need to focus on sightseeing.
Fee in Fenghuang Ancient Town
Entrance Fee: Free
Package: 148 RMB / person (Valid for 3 days. Including the East Gate Tower, Rainbow Bridge Art Building, Chongde Hall, Former Residence of Shen Congwen, Former Residence of Xiong Xiling, Yang’s Ancestral Hall, Fenghuang Ancient Town Museum, Longevity Palace, Tuojiang River Boating. If you want to just visit one small attraction, you are required to buy the package fee.)
Note: the above information is for your reference only, for the detail fee information in Fenghuang Ancient Town, please contact our Travel Consultant
Accommodate at Fenghuang Ancient Town
There are many hotels, hostels, inns and folk houses of various standards in and around Fenghuang Ancient Town. You can choose the riverside accommodation to appreciate the night view of Tuojiang River, or choose a better hotel with star standards to have a cosy rest, or you can live in a local folk house to feel the rich culture of Xiangxi people.
Tips to Go to Fenghuang Ancient Town
1. Well prepare your camera to catch those super charming view of Fenghuang Ancient Town;
2. If you want to buy some souvenir or other local specialties, try to select in a large and standard shop with full licenses and do not believe the strongly recommended items or shops too much;
3. Follow the local rules and respect the folk customs.