Dragon Boat Racing in Fenghuang Ancient Town

The old town of Fenghuang, located in west Hunan Province, is a historical and cultural city. Rewi Alley, a famous Australian writer, once described it as one of the most beautiful cities in China. Fenghuang Ancient Town is adjacent to Dehang Village of the Miao Nationality, Mengdong River of Yongshun, and Fanjing Mountain of Guizhou Province. Going across this ancient town is compulsory if walkers want to arrive at Huaihua, Jishou, and Tongren in Guizhou Province. China Highlights is your China travel expert. We can help you design a trip to visit Fenghuang ancient town and many other places in China.

Dragon boat racing is a traditional annual activity in Fenghuang Ancient Town. The town maintains this traditional form to highlight the nation’s elite culture, but also to reappear on Mr. Shen Congwen’s Border Town to express the pride and wild nature amongst the unsophisticated common people.

Dragon boat racing is also the largest sports event around the provinces, including Hunan Province, Hubei Province, Congqing City, and Guizhou Province. The venue is the busy area of Hui Long Ge, near Tuojiang River in Fenghuang Ancient Town. More than 100,000 spectators and tens of teams increase each year. The elimination system is applied to the competition, which is a hot event reported by the media around Hunan Province. Most teams come from the villages, and the dragon boats in Fenghuang are very distinctive in that the competitors go boating while standing on the boat, somewhat akin to international canoeing. The strong acceleration and speed of the boats enable them to reach the finishing point of the four-hundred-meter-long racing track in about two minutes. The scene is very spectacular, where scores of boat oars row in uniform and the dragon boats fly to run. At the end of the game, capturing ducks pushes the climax of the game to another tipping point, and this phenomenon cannot be viewed in other places and periods.

If you row a dragon boat in Fenghang in Hunan Province, you absolutely deserve to be described as “flying dragon and dancing phoenix.” Looking from the site of the Tujia Diaojiaolou building beside the Tuojiang River, you can observe the unique folk are of capturing ducks. Furthermore, boating on Tuojiang River, sightseeing in an ancient town, wandering through old streets, enjoying a wonderful trip to Miao House, appreciating Miao dancing, and tasting the delicious food of western Hunan Province is truly a unique experience.

Highlights: “Duck capturing” is rare. This simple folk custom, mingled with a bit of wildness reminds one of Shen Congwen’s novella, “Border Town.”

How to get: First take a train to Huaihua or Jishou, and then transfer to a shuttle bus to Fenghuang, then join the tourist group to Fenghuang.

Hi, I'm Ruru Zhou
I updated this article on February 11, 2014
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