Now “Feng Huang Old Town” <凤凰古城> is one hell of a ‘city’!! From Zhangjiajie, just 58km away, it took us a train ride, a bus ride and another bus ride to get to, totalling 4 hours! It is not as accessible as it should be, but the effort was well worth it. This is what I mean..
Its history dates right back over 2000 years, and was the residences of the local Tu-Jia and Miao ethic groups. The riverside banks are lined with old traditional buildings, although in my view, it is already losing some old charms to commercialisation.
Our little boat ride with a Tu-Jia local also showed some pretty old parts of the ‘city’ that are yet to be completely revamped:
The busy parts of the ‘city’ are lined up with shops and people trying to sell you local specialties like ginger lolly, local crafts & wine.
This little sign at the entrance to one pub kind of shocked me:
Not sure if the owner is joking there, even though, I do understand some older generation still carry some bitterness towards Japanese from the World War. I still don’t see how this sign is justified! There are certainly Japanese tourists coming here!
What also amazed me was the cost of accommodation here for tourists. You can stay in one of the local’s homes (What they call “Ke Zhan” or “客栈”for just 60 yuan! (~AUD$10!!!!!) per night. It isn’t a hotel, so it doesn’t come with towels, and the toilet is probably not what you expected. But for the money, you get a basic room with a bed, cable TV and wireless internet. That is more than enough for me! And if you are the pickier type, just 150 yuan (~AUD$28), can get you river view with a much more comfortable!! Try and find something like that in Australia!
As if the day scene is not impressive enough already, the night scene is what people really came here for!
Above: Picture of Hong Qiao Bridge (虹桥)
The best I could describe is that it looks like the ancient version of Las Vegas right here in China! The streets are packed full of people. You get real street performers, like this flexible little girl here:
And if you are hungry, you certainly won’t have trouble finding food here:
Plenty of pubs, and loud singing, live street music, arts & crafts for sale, all make a very noisy & lively night out whatever you choose to see and do. I can certainly see myself coming here again for some cheap entertainment in the future!
Having said that, I can see that it is undergoing major renovation and improvement works:
It’s a really cool and charming place as it is, and I hope they don’t over-commercialise it for future tourists! If you have a chance, go there before it loses ALL its charms!!