One of the most beautiful cities that I have seen in China and the second Venice outside of Italy… After Hangzhou of course.
Fenhuang is a stunning city; houses, shops, restaurants and bars reside either side of the river. There are various bridges and alleyways to get lost in with delicious food, amazing clothes and various bongo drum shops beating out wonderful music. Everybody seems to have some musical ability here, whether they are singing or just playing the bongos inside the shops.
Things to see and do:
Walk around. Honestly, just walk and you’ll understand when you get there.
Pheonix ancient town
East Gate Tower of Xiangxi
Try the various street food vendors
The city has a traditional feel but I couldn’t work out if I was being deceived as it catered far too well to tourists; bars with western music, commercial tea shops and people trying to get you to dress up and have your picture taken for a fee. But on the traditional side, there were stunning houses on stilts, gondolas, people washing their clothes, pots and plates in the river and incredible street food. I hadn’t seen a place like it whilst travelling in china and I was in awe.
The locals dressed differently here, their facial features differed and the whole area was picturesque. Other than Hangzhou, I hadn’t connected to another city in China like I had to Fenghuang.
During the evening the lights from the houses and red lanterns dress the city beautifully. The only downside is that many of the bars that are quiet during the day suddenly turn into loud clubs blaring music and flashing lights which spoil the ambience of the city.
Even during off season there are people everywhere, tour buses, tour guides with flags and people trying to dress you up to take photos. I can only imagine how chaotic it is in summer. Nevertheless, a visit to Fenghuang is a must.