Fenghuang Ancient Town, ‘the Most Beautiful Town in China’

Small, beautiful, traditional stilt houses on both sides of the Tuo river give an insight into the history and lifestyle of the people prior to the onset of modernization. (Michal Franczak / Flickr)
Small, beautiful, traditional stilt houses on both sides of the Tuo river give an insight into the history and lifestyle of the people prior to the onset of modernization. (Michal Franczak / Flickr)

The ancient town of Fenghuang, Chinese for Phoenix, a name the town is also known by, is situated on the western boundary of Hunan Province. It has been called “the most beautiful town in China”, and many people agree.

To travel to Fenghuang, or Phoenix, you can take a train from the Shanghai South Railway station to Jishou, and then take a bus to the ancient town, or travel by plane from Guiyang (Guizhou Province) to the Tongren Fenghuang Airport.

The Phoenix is a mythical bird of good fortune and longevity, which at the end of its life is consumed by fire, only to be re-born again from the ashes.

The center of the ancient city was built in the year 1704 during the Qing Dynasty, with the Tuo River dividing it. Small, beautiful, traditional stilt houses on both sides of the river give an insight into the history and lifestyle of the people prior to the onset of modernization.

The best way to experience the atmosphere and scenery of Fenghuang is to take a boat tour on the river, listening to and absorbing the surroundings, enjoying the sight of the crystal clear water with plants swaying in the current. You will feel very refreshed after experiencing this serene scenery and its ancient rhythm.

Fenghuang was added to the UNESCO World HeritageTentative List on March 28, 2008 in the Cultural category.

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Tuo River in the ancient town of Fenghuang (Phoenix). (Lydia Zhu / Flickr)

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Traditional stilt houses along the Tuo River. (Lydia Zhu / Flickr)

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Morning in Fenghuang. (melenama / flickr)

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Fascinating markets, full of folk designs, in the ancient town of Fenghuang. (SQFP info / Flickr)

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An ethnic woman busy with sewing. (CHINA GAZE)

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Dried mushrooms and other special local products of Fenghuang. (Vera & Jean-Christophe / Flickr)

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Fishermen on the Tuo River. (HopeHill / Flickr)

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