Phoenix Ancient Town (Fenghuang)

Phoenix Ancient Town, aka Fenghuang Ancient Town, 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. Phoenix 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 remain attracting the whole year, but the best time to visit Fenghuang Ancient Town 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
Phoenix Ancient Town, Zhangjiajie, Hunan
Local people wash clothes at the bank of Tuojiang River
Locals wash clothes beside Tuojiang River
Phoenix 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 Phoenix Ancient Town

Phoenix 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

Phoenix 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 Phoenix 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 Phoenix 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 the railway station. There are regular buses to Phoenix 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.

 Phoenix Town Community       Phoenix Town Photo Album

  Top 9 Things to Do in Zhangjiajie
- Last modified on Oct. 16, 2018 -
Questions & Answers on Phoenix Ancient Town (Fenghuang)
Asked by Donna Dowell from CANADA | Oct. 13, 2018 00:36Reply
How to go to Guilin from Fenghuag?
What are my options for getting to Guilin in an efficient yet cost effective manner? Thank you!
Answers (1)
Answered by Abel from USA | Oct. 16, 2018 01:58
00Reply


The best way is to take the bus at Fenghuang Bus Station to GL, departing at 11:00; the duration is about 6 hours. The ticket fare is CNY160. But you need to book the ticket in advance and you can book the ticket as you first arrive at Fenghuang. The ancient town is near the bus station within 2 km.
Asked by Vikram from CHINA | Oct. 05, 2018 01:31Reply
I want to go the mountain dandong
I want to ask how to go the feng cheng mountain from feng Cheng railway station or should i go from dandong railway station
Answers (1)
Answered by Kenneth from USA | Oct. 10, 2018 19:36
00Reply


From Fenghuangcheng railway station, you can take the bus No.10 to the Fenghuang Mountain.

Across from the Dandong railway station, there is Dandong Bus Station where you can take the bus to Fenghuang Mountain.
Asked by JUno from ไทย | Oct. 04, 2018 05:16Reply
How far from Tongren Railway Station to Tongren Tourist Bus Station?
Is it same place as Jintan Bus Station 金滩汽车站?
Answers (1)
Answered by Kent from USA | Oct. 10, 2018 20:17
00Reply


Tongren Tourist Bus Station is opposite the Tongren Railway Station and you can see it when you get out of the railway station. And it is not the same place as Jintan Bus Station.
Asked by Phuong Le from VIỆT NAM | Oct. 04, 2018 01:11Reply
Private car or taxi to Zhangjiajie from Fenghuang
I will go to Zhangjiajie from FH ancient town, I checked daily bus schedule but the first bus is 8.00am so we cannot arrive to Zhangjiajie before 12pm, so we would like to use the other transportation. Do you know how much for car rental or taxi (7 seats) from FH to Zhangjiajie in estimate?
Thank you!
Answers (2)
Answered by Charles from USA | Oct. 10, 2018 20:21
00Reply


The estimated fee for renting a car is about CNY1000~1300.
Answered by Le Linh Phuong Phan from VIETNAM | Oct. 11, 2018 19:25
00Reply


Thank you for your reply!
Asked by Chad from SINGAPORE | Sep. 22, 2018 09:48Reply
How can I get from fenghuang general bus station to ancient town?
I've heard there are buses from the General bus station (where I will be arriving from Zhangjiajie) to get to the ancient town. Are they convenient? As in can I, who doesn't read or speak chinese, get off at the right stop with relative ease?
Answers (1)
Answered by Vida from USA | Sep. 25, 2018 02:25
00Reply


You can take the Bus No.1 or 3 at the bus station outside and get off at Huanan Gate Station(华南门站). Then you will get to the ancient town(凤凰古镇). If you take a taxi, it just costs about CNY10. You said you cannot speak the Chinese or read the Chinese, you can show the Chinese name to the driver. Hope to be helpful. Nice trip!
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