Fenghuang Ancient Town

Fenghuang Ancient Town, aka Phoenix Ancient Town and Feng Huang Gu Cheng in Chinese, is situated on the western boundary of Hunan Province in an area of outstanding natural beauty where mountains, water and blue skies prevail. '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. Fenghuang Ancient Town is so called as legend has it that two of these fabulous birds flew over it and found the Fenghuang Town so beautiful that they hovered there, reluctant to leave.

Upon arrival visitor will be impressed by its air of mystery, elegance and primitive simplicity. The scenic spots inside the Fenghuang Old Town remain attracting the whole year, but the best time to visit is July to September, when the weather is rather pleasant. 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 Town, Zhangjiajie, Hunan
Fenghuang Ancient Town, Zhangjiajie, Hunan
Local people wash clothes at the bank of Tuojiang River
Locals wash clothes beside Tuojiang River
Fenghuang Ancient Town is a wonderful example of what villages were like prior to the onset of modernization. Here dozens of alleys paved with flagstones run between the houses, each showing wear caused by the feet of generations of local people who have used them when going about their daily business. For the visitor, these alleys are the way to see the typical high gabled wooden houses built on stilts along the banks of the Tuo Jiang River at close quarters.

Tuo Jiang River

Stretching diagonally from the northwest to southeast of the Fenghuang Ancient Town, Tuo Jiang River is a life force of the local people. Here in its waters women wash their clothes and the men fish with their nets, while on the bank food is prepared in much the same way as it has for centuries. The river also provides a means for boatmen to support their families by ferrying visitors up and down stream for sightseeing.
Phoenix Ancient Town
Rippling Tuojiang River
Tian Family Ancestral Temple
Tian Family Ancestral Temple

Miao Village

The Miao ethnic minority is predominantly settled here and a visit to a Miao village is a must when going to Fenghuang. The Miao women have a natural beauty that renders the use of cosmetics quite unnecessary. They love to dress in traditional blue garments set off with a white scarf. They love also their silver jewellery especially during festivals. Visitors will find a large array of hand made items of silver ornaments for sale in the local shops. Home made tie-dyes, printed and batik cloths are other local specialities that make wonderful souvenirs. The Miao are friendly and hospitable and like nothing more than to interact with visitors with a variety of traditional entertainments and activities. Food here also is different from that found elsewhere in China. Pickled red peppers are a particular local delicacy and their appetizing smell wafts from the many small family run restaurants.

Buildings in Fenghuang Ancient Town

Fenghuang Ancient Town does not rely entirely upon natural beauty to attract the visitor for this ancient town with a history spanning 1,300 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.

Fenghuang Ancient TownIn 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.

Famous People from the Town

Fenghuang Ancient Town was home to the versatile writer Shen Congwen (1902-1988) who contributed greatly to the development of modern Chinese literature. Venerated by the local residents, the one time home and the tomb of this famous writer have become tourist attractions.

There are two other notable people from the town worthy of mention. The first is Xiong Xiling the famous philanthropist who was the first premier of the Republic of China (1921-1949) following the fall of the Manchu. The other famous citizen is Huang Yongyu, an outstanding contemporary painter in the traditional Chinese style. His frescoes illustrating Buddhist stories in the Zhunti Nunnery are a major tourist attraction.

How to get to Fenghuang Ancient Town

From Changsha

Schedule Ticket Price Duration
South Bus Station 15:40 CNY 134 around 5.5 to 6.5h
West Bus Station 09:00, 10:50, 14:20, 16:50 CNY 145
Changzhutan Bus Station 07:30, 10:00, 13:30, 16:20 CNY 158
Lituo Express Bus Station 12:30, 16:00 CNY 149

From Zhangjiajie

Central Bus Station (near the Zhangjiajie Railway Station):
Bus schedule: 08:30, 09:00, 10:00, 12:30, 14:30, 15:30, 16:20 and 17:20
Bus fare: around CNY 80
Duration: around 4 hours

Or alternatively, you can take regular buses from the bus station to Jishou first. It costs around CNY 55 per person. The whole journey is around 2.5 hours. Upon arrival, you can take regular bus to get there. It takes around 1 hour.

Zhangjiajie Airport is also a choice. Upon arrival, visitors can catch a taxi to the Central Bus Station. Then refer to the instruction above. 

From Tongren

Tongren Tourist Bus Station (near Tongren Railway Station):
Buses depart around every one hour from 08:40 to 16:30. Bus fare is around CNY 20. It takes about 1.5 hours.

Tongren Fenghuang Airport:
It is a feeder airport about 30km from Fenghuang Ancient Town. It offers flights to and from Beijing, Changsha, Guiyang (Guizhou Province), Guangzhou, Hangzhou, Kunming, Nanjing, Shanghai at present. Visitors can take tourist bus from the airport to reach the town directly, which takes around 1 hour.

From Jishou

Turn to Jishou North Bus Station near Jishou railway station. There are regular buses to Fenghuang Ancient Town, 80 minutes. Bus fare is around CNY 25.

From Huaihua

If visitors arrive at Huaihua Railway Station, they can take bus 7, 8, 48, 116, 204 or K204 to West Bus Station. There are regular buses to the town. It takes around 1.5 hours. Bus ticket is around CNY 39. Arriving at Huaihua South Railway Station, they can take bus 116 or K12 to the bus station.

Entrance Fee

Visitors don't need to pay for admission of the ancient town, but they need to buy a ticket if they want to visit the scenic spots inside.

Combo ticket: CNY 148 (including 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, and Hongqiao Art Museum)
 Note: The combo ticket is valid for two days. A visitor can enter the above-mentioned spots once within the validity of the ticket.

Opening Hours The town opens all day.

 Fenghuang Ancient Town Community       Fenghuang Ancient Town Photo Album

  Top 9 Things to Do in Zhangjiajie
- Last modified on Oct. 29, 2019 -
Questions & Answers on Fenghuang Ancient Town
Asked by Vicky teoh from MALAYSIA | Oct. 28, 2019 22:17Reply
is it possible to fly from Shenzhen to fenghuang?
Answers (1)
Answered by Nancy from UNITED KINGDOM | Oct. 29, 2019 20:37

There is no airport in Fenghuang. You only can fly to Tongren airport, which is close to Fenghuang.
Asked by Alberto from ITALIY | Oct. 27, 2019 11:39Reply
From Fenghuang to Zhangjiajie with a stop in Furong Zhen
Hi! I'll spend a night in FH and in the morning I'll go to Zhangjiajie. How can I have a stop in Furong Zhen? Thanks
Answers (1)
Answered by Andrea from UNITED KINGDOM | Oct. 29, 2019 00:24

You can take long-distance bus from Fenghuang Passenger Coach station to Zhangjiajie Coach station and get off bus at Furong Zhen station.
Asked by Aloysius Wee from SINGAPORE | Oct. 19, 2019 04:42Reply
Flights to Tong Fenghuang and Zhangjiajie Airport
What are the airlines that fly direct to Tong Fenghuang airport from Vietnam cities Hanoi, Ho Chi Ming(Saigon)and Danang.
What are the airlines that fly direct to Zhangjiajie airport from Vietnam cities Hanoi, Ho Chi Ming(Saigon)and Danang.
Answers (1)
Answered by Kate from USA | Oct. 21, 2019 17:47

There are both no direct airlines to Fenghuang or Zhangjiajie. You need to transfer in Guangzhou or Shenzhen.
Asked by ASTRID FELICIA PRASANTO from INDONESIA | Oct. 02, 2019 10:02Reply
Hi. Is it convenient to take bus from huaihua to fenghuang with a big luggage?
What kind of bus is it? thanks
Answers (1)
Answered by Kathy from THAILAND | Oct. 10, 2019 01:42

Yes, you can take direct bus from Huaihua Coach station to Fenghuang. You can put your big luggage in the bus shelf or the bottom of bus.
Asked by Walter from USA | Sep. 22, 2019 02:03Reply
Quickest way from zhangjiajie to Phoenix ancient town
My wife and I will be visiting zhangjiajie Forest for a few days this month September. On the 27 we have nothing scheduled we wanted to go to Phoenix ancient town but didn’t want to spend the hole day traveling. What is the quickest way there? Going back we can take the Bus if needed.
Answers (1)
Answered by Candice from USA | Sep. 24, 2019 18:25

You can take bus from Wulingyuan Coach station to Fenghuang station. It departs at 8:40, 9:00, 14:40, 15:00, 15:30 with CNY115 and 4 hours on the way. Then you can take bus No.1 from North bus station to Construction Bank station, and walk east around 500m to your destination.
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