Fenghuang Travel Guide

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Fenghuang, praised as "the Most Beautiful Town of China" by famous New Zealand writer Rewi Alley, is a small county renowned for its natural beauty, rich history and culture as well as colorful ethnic customs, located at south Xiangxi Autonomous Prefecture of Hunan province, China. Fenghuang means Phoenix in Chinese. Phoenix is a mythical sacred firebird in Chinese mythology representing good omen and longevity. Fenghuang town is given the name after Fenghuang Mountain which resembles Phoenix situated 50 miles away from it.

Fenghuang is embraced by green mountains, with Tuo Jiang River running through its heart. Rowboat is one of the main means of transportation. Tourists also can take a rowboat to ramble the county and enjoy the natural beauty. Unique wooden houses constructed on stilts are built along the riverbank. This kind of house is called Diaojiaolou (Chinese for building with hanging legs). The design keeps the buildings safe from the spring floods. It is easy to discover the beauty of Fenghuang lies in its primitive simplicity. Fenghuang people still live a very simple life despite the other places of China are under the onset of modernization. It always reminds people of the scenes in Chinese painting and old Chinese films.

Fenghuang County is divided into two districts: New Town and Ancient Town. Fenghuang Ancient Town's history can be dated back to Spring and Autumn Periods (770 BC to 476 BC). The presenting Fenghuang Ancient Town was built in the 43 year of the Reign of Emperor Kangxi of Qing Dynasty (1704), where the ancient buildings in distinct Qing Dynasty style are well preserved. Fairly long history endows it with over 300 culture heritages, such as Huang Si Qiao Castle, the best preserved stone castle built in Tang Dynasty (year 687); the meandering Xiangxi Border Walls, which was built during Ming Dynasty, is praised highly as China's Southern Great Wall; and the flagstone paths paved during Ming and Qing Dynasties. Besides, there are famous ancient buildings including Longevity Palace, Chao Yang Palace and Heavenly King Temple.

Fenghuang County is the hometown of renowned Chinese writer Shen Congwen, whose masterpiece The Border Town written in 1934, describing a sentimental love story in Fenghuang County is known to every family and won Fenghuang a national-wide fame. He is highly respected by local people, and his former residence is one of the popular attraction spots of Fenghuang.

Fenghuang is also an ethnic minority group area, and Miao ethnic minority takes the predominance in number. Exploring Shanjiang Miao Village, where the Miao customs, living style and festivals are kept intact, can be an impressive and interesting experience.

Also read: The Five Best Places to Visit in the Cool September (including Fenghuang Ancient Town)


Shopping in Fenghuang, "one of the two most beautiful towns in China", is another way to discover the flavor of Xiangxi. The food in Fenghuang is very spicy, and you'd better tell the waiter or waitress that you don't want too much chili in your dishes when ordering your food. The people in Fenghuang are good at handicrafts, and the most famous handicraft is batik painting. While walking down an old street, you can find many interesting things.

China Highlights tours offer unbeatable value for money, with no forced shopping trips.


Ginger Sugar

Ginger sugar is very popular here. It is a special sugar made from sugar and ginger, allowing you to taste both the sweet from the sugar and the hot from the ginger. Ginger sugar can also be used as protection from getting a cold. Many shops in Fenghuang sell ginger sugar, which is free to taste. If you like this special mix, take some home.

  • Chinese name: 姜糖 Jiangtang/ jyang-tung /
  • Ginger sugar is selling in many shops in the old town.

Batik Painting

The batik painting is another interesting attraction that you shouldn't miss here. Batik paintings are a symbol of the Miao nationality's handicraft. If you are female, you can buy the local blue Miao skirt here, giving you a special experience when walking around the ancient town.

  • Chinese name: 蜡染 Laran/ la-ran/
  • Place to Buy:
  • In the old street of Fenghuang ancient town.

Fenghuang Weather

Fenghuang has a subtropical monsoon humid climate featured distinct four seasons, sufficient rainfall and abundant sunshine. The annual temperature is 12 °C (58.6 °F) to 16 °C (60.8 °F). July is the hottest month of Fenghuang with the monthly average temperature of 24 °C (75.2 °F) to 27 °C (80.6 °F), and January is the coldest month with the monthly average temperature of 1.7 °C (35 °F) to 4.3 °C (39.7 °F).

Fenghuang Travel Tips

Best time to go: Spring and autumn. It is advisable for tourists to avoid May festival (May 1st to 7th) and National Holiday (October 1st to 7th), because there will be very crowd with visitors. See more about Fenghuang Weather

For traveling to Fenghuang, tourists should firstly get to Jishou (the capital city of Xiangxi Autonomous prefecture of Hunan province) or Huaihua (a big city of Hunan province), and then change buses to Fenghuang. There are direct buses bring tourists to Fenghuang from both two cities. See more about Fenghuang Transportation

There are many attractions worth visiting; therefore the recommended visiting duration is over one day.

The public order of Fenghuang County is sound, If there is something emergent, you can call 110 for help.

ATM can be found in the banks of Fenghuang, and the POS is available at some big scenic areas, hotels and entertainment centers.

Questions and Answers About Fenghuang Travel Guide

Clint 2014-01-01
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I am planning a trip in March 2014 to Guangzhou. I would like to visit Fenghuang, but I am confused about transportation there. It seems like everyone says to use Huaihua or Jishou to get to Fenghuang. What about the Tongren Fenghuang airport in Daxing? It seems that there are airplane flights from Guangzhou to the Tongren Fenghuang airport and it is only 40 kilometers from Fenghuang...why does no one recommend this airport to get to Fenghuang?
 Hi Clint,

This is Christy from China Highlights Travel.


Fenghuang has no airport or train station. On the internet, what other people’s suggestion is to tell you arrive at airport or train station near Fenghuang, which makes you confused.


You can take train or airport. But I suggest you by plane. Tongren is a little county in Guizhou province. Tongren Daxing airport t is very closed to Fenghuang county, thus is also called Fenghuang airport.


Guangzhou to Tongren Daxing airport, usually is CZ3921(19:30-21:00). Now I can not check the flight on March. I suggest you staying one night at Tongren County, then next day taking bus from Tongren train station to Fenghuang ancient town, about CNY20 by 1.5 hours.


If you take a train, you can take K9068(21:50-next day 12:48) by 15-16 hours to Jishou train station first, then turn left about 50 meters to Jishou bus station. There are bus (every 30 m a bus) to Fenghuang ancient town(about 1 hour, CNY17).


If you need train ticket, please fill your order at http://www.chinahighlights.com/china-trains/

or for flight ticket: http://www.chinahighlights.com/china-flights/


If you want to visit Zhangjiajie, you can fly from Guangzhou to Zhangjiajie Hehua airport. We can make a tour package. Just tell me how many people and when you are planning.

Christy Luo replied on 2014-01-02
Bach Le 2013-03-13
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I plan to visit Fenghuang on July /2013 please let me know what is the name of central downtown of Fenghuang where we might book the hotel for good visiting the town?

Dear Bach,
Thanks for your question.
The whole ancient Fenghuang downtown is the central of Fenghuang County. There are lots of gueshouse in Fenghuang but no website of them. You’d better check room when you get there and book them on spot.
Good luck.

Nancy Deng replied on 2013-03-14
Dominic 2012-11-05
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Hello, I am planning on travelling to Fenghuang around 20 February coming by train from Guilin. is is easy enough by train, and is the weather pleasant during this time.Thank you inn advance - much appriciated
Hello, Thank you for your inquiry. There is no direct train from Guilin to Fenghuang. You will first take train from Guilin to Liuzhou and then take train from Liuzhou to Zhangjiajie or Jishou. Then you could take bus from Jishou or Zhangjiajie to Fenghuang. The most convenient way is to change flight in Guangzhou. February is still cold in Fenghuang. The average temperature is 1℃ ~8℃. If you decide to take the tour, please feel free to contact us. Nora Ou replied on 2012-11-06
Fifi 2012-08-13
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Hi, How do i get from Zhangjiajie City to Fenghuang? How long will it be? and How much is that?
Dear Fifi, You could take a bus from Zhangjiajie bus station(张家界汽车站)which is located at Huilong Road, Yongding District(永定区回龙路). The bus sets off at 8:30am, 9:30am, 14:30pm, 15:30pm. It takes about 4 hours and it costs about CNY65 per person. Lussie Lu replied on 2012-08-14
Jennifer Dummett 2012-02-05
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Hello there, I wonder if you can help me please? I would like to try and make a reservation for a two night stay at the Happy Alley Inn in Fenghuang but cannot find a website or anywhere to book this? Is there a way to book a room here via the Internet? Best wishes, Jen
Most of hotels or inns in Fenghuang are traditional Chinese style. They are clean, small and lovely. We do not have contact with Happy Alley Inn. However, we can recommend some others good inns also. If you still need my help, please contact with me. Ethel Fang replied on 2012-02-14
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