Xiangxi Travel Guide

Xiangxi Facts

Chinese Name: 湘西土家族苗族自治州(xiāng xī tǔ jiā zú miáo zú zì zhì zhōu)
Population: 2,980,000
Area: 15,500 square kilometers (5,989 square miles)
Location: in the northwest of Hunan Province, south-central China
Administrative Division: 7 counties (Luxi, Fenghuang, Huayuan, Baojing, Guzhang, Yongshun, Longshan); 1 county-level city (Jishou)
Area Code: 0743
Zip Code: 416000
GDP (2018): CNY 60.505 billion (USD 9.144 billion)
Nationalities: Tujia, Miao, Hui, Yao, Dong, Bai

The Tujia & Miao Settlement Highlighting Fenghuang Ancient Town

Xiangxi Tujia and Miao Autonomous Prefecture is located in the northwest of Hunan Province, neighboring Zhangjiajie to the east and Huaihua to the south. It is also bordered by Guizhou Province and Chongqing to the west and Hubei Province to the north. Xiangxi is a multi-ethnic place, in which Tujia and Miao ethnic minorities account for 80%.

On a trip to Xiangxi, you will be overwhelmed by all kinds of scenic spots from tranquil ancient towns to Tusi domain, natural attractions and ethnic villages. In Xiangxi, it is a must-to-do thing to visit beautiful Fenghuang Ancient Town which preserves many ancient residential buildings and enjoys reputation of the most beautiful town in China. Or you can have a look at the large and well-preserved Site of Laosicheng Tusi Domain. Tusi is usually the leader of ethnic minorities in the northwest and southwest of China. If you want to enjoy Tujia and Miao ethnic customs, festivals, performances, you can have a glimpse of the Bensha Village, Laoche Village and Xiaoxi Village. In addition to the above, tourists can also experience exciting rafting, go to canyons, forests and wetlands for wonderful natural exploration.

Xiangxi Attractions - Things to Do

 Fenghuang Ancient Town, also called Tuojiang Town, is the county seat of Fenghuang County. About 28 kilometers (17 miles) west of Fenghuang Ancient Town in the Old City of Huangsiqiao is the most perfectly preserved stone castle, first built in the Tang Dynasty (618-907).
 Site of Laosicheng Tusi Domain is a well-preserved site of the Tusi system in southwest China.  It has a history of more than 1,100 years. The ancient memorial halls, time-honored archways, ancestral halls, and tombs of chieftains are all priceless treasures of the Tusi culture.
 Furong Zhen (Hibiscus Town) is an old town where the Tujia ethnic minority lives in a compact community. The bluestone pavement and resident houses on stilts are still well preserved. Not far from the town, there is the Mengdong River. It is an exciting resort especially suitable for rafting. In the Hanigong to Hou'ertiao section, the whole course takes five hours. After arriving the Hou'ertiao, visitors can continue to yacht to Furong Town.

How to Get to/around Xiangxi/Jishou

1. Xiangxi Biancheng Airport, scheduled to open in 2022, will be about 28km (17 mi) to downtown Jishou. Nowadays, visitors can fly to Zhangjiajie Hehua Airport and go to the Mengdong River from Zhangjiajie by train. Then change trains at Mengdonghe Railway station to the capital city of Xiangxi, Jishou in an hour. Tongren Fenghuang Airport is the nearest airport from Phoenix Ancient Town; visitors can fly there and then take an airport shuttle bus to reach the ancient town.
2. Visitors can choose Jishou Railway Station and Huaihua Railway Station as transfer stations too. There are trains from Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou to Jishou and Huaihua.
3. Jishou Long-distance Bus Station on Wuling Road is not far from the railway station, where buses to Fenghuang County, Zhangjiajie and Huaihua can be easily found.

4. There are Jishou - Zhangjiajie Train and Jishou - Nanning Train available for passengers to reach Xiangxi / Jishou.

See also How to Travel between Fenghuang and Guilin



Xiangxi bears a subtropical humid monsoon climate with an annual average temperature of 15.8-16.9 C  (60.4-62.4 F). The weather is moderate all the year round, and bursts of precipitation become much more common in spring and summer.   
 When to Go: Spring and autumn are the best periods to travel there.

Xiangxi Travel Tips

 History: The history of  Xiangxi can be traced back to the Warring States Period (476BC-221BC), when it was dominated by the Chu State. In the following thousands of years, its administrative system has changed many times. It wasn't until 1952 that Xiangxi Miao Autonomous Region was established and changed to Xiangxi Tujia and Miao Autonomous Prefecture five years later.       
 Physical Features: Xiangxi Tujia and Miao Autonomous Prefecture lies in the convergent area on the northeast fringe of the Yunnan-Guizhou Plateau and Mountainous Region in western Hubei. Its terrain slopes downward from the northwest to the southeast. The Wuling Mountains zigzag through the Prefecture. There are well developed karst landforms distributed in the southwest and rivers crisscrossing among the hills in the western and eastern regions of the prefecture.              
 Special Local Products: silver ornaments and brocade articles of the Miao, printed and dyed cotton fabric, kudzu vine root tea, pomelo, Chinese gooseberry of Fenghuang County, boletus mushroom of Jishou City
 Local Highlights: Tujia and Miao ethnic minorities make up nearly eighty-five percent of the prefecture's total population. The Miao people living in Jishou City still maintain their traditional folkways. Apart from the festivals common to the Han, they celebrate their own festivals and song fests. For example, young boys and girls will sing responsively to each other in the open air on the third day of the third lunar month. Furthermore, there are also some rituals held at set times to pray for blessings or make sacrifices to ancestors.
Going to a fair is called Gan Chang by locals. One may not really visit Xiangxi if one does not go to the local fairs in Miao towns. In the fairs, visitors can see the most distinctive aboriginal people of local ethnic minorities. Laershan, Heku and Shanjiang of Fenghuang County are well known Miao fairs there. Peddlers from other counties as well as Guizhou and Sichuan will come to these towns to sell or exchange goods. For visitors, they are a shopping paradise to buy their favorite folk handicrafts of good quality and at very reasonable prices.

- Last updated on Mar. 04, 2022 -
Questions & Answers on Xiangxi Travel
Asked by Nadia from TUNISIA | Sep. 17, 2019 11:39Reply
Furong town bus station
Could someone tell where is situated the bus station in Furongzhen town. We are arriving from Zhangjiajie.
Thank you . Nadia
Answers (2)
Answered by Alaia from DENMARK | Sep. 18, 2019 23:37

The coach station is located at No.229 Provincial Road, Yongshun County.
Answered by Guemara from TUNISIA | Sep. 22, 2019 05:22

Thank's a lot Alaia !!
Asked by nc from MALAYSIA | Jun. 01, 2019 23:50Reply
Any suggestion where to stay at furong town and fenghuang?
Do i need to buy in advance the transport tickets or just drop by the counter?
Answers (2)
Answered by Ryan from USA | Jun. 02, 2019 23:02

Lingquanxi Hotel in Furong Town and Phoenix City Boutique Hotel at No.145 Laoyingshao, Tuojiang Town Fenghuang are recemmended. There is no need to book tickets in advance.
Answered by nc from MALAYSIA | Jun. 05, 2019 07:16

Asked by Gac | Jan. 03, 2018 08:46Reply
We are planning to visit zhangjiajie, tianmen shan and fenghuang.
How big & nice are the waterfall in mid jan/mid feb? Is it a must visit? Can anybody suggest where to visit in hunan in term of beautiful scenery during Jan & Feb?
Answers (3)
Answered by Joe from ITALY | Jan. 03, 2018 21:28

The waterfall is still running but seems less powerful than in summer.
I think both Zhangjiajie and Fenghuang are must to travel in the province. Besides, Mount Hengshan is also a good place for visitors.
Answered by Gac | Jan. 04, 2018 00:50


Sorry i forgot to mention that we will visit Hengshan too . Well, where else in Hunan will u suggest me to visit?

Thank you.
Answered by Joe from ITALY | Jan. 04, 2018 19:34

I heard Yueyang Tower is very famous, and you may travel there. Besides, Dongting Lake is also recommended.
Asked by Jolan from CANADA | Sep. 28, 2017 23:51Reply
Do I need a guide in Furong Town?
I cannot find any information about it? Where will the bus stop if I come from Zhangjiajie? How big is the waterfall in mid-October?
Answers (1)
Answered by Cecilia from FRANCE | Sep. 29, 2017 22:55

Well, I don’t think you need a guide there, since it’s a small town, and you can find the places inside easily.
As I know, the bus from Zhangjiajie Central Bus Station directly goes to the Furong Town, and it stops which is about 2km north to the scenic area.
And don’t worry, the waterfall is still amazing in mid Oct.
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