Fenghuang, which means Phoenix, is one of the most popular and famous tourist destinations in Hunan, in fact I’d say it probably comes in in second place behind the far more spectacular Zhangjiajie, at least as far as reputation. We went during a holiday that we had for a reason I can’t quite remember. Possibly it was Labour Day or maybe Tomb Sweeping Day or something similar (the second half of the Chinese school year has festivals on average once per fortnight, which messes up everything).
We went for a couple of nights and as the first night involved arriving, paying over the odds for a pretty rubbish guest house and then going to bed I shan’t be mentioning much more of it, other than that I had to argue with the boss just to get a pillow, it was that rubbish.
The first full day we had there started with us looking for somewhere both nicer and cheaper to stay, but we got a bit side tracked by fancy dress. All major Chinese spots of natural beauty worth their salt will have at least a medium sized selection of completely irrelevant fancy dress costumes that you can try on for the benefit of your camera in exchange for a small fee. Strange but true.
After messing around with fake wooden weapons for a sufficient length of time we met a local girl trying to get customers for her fathers boat ride and she rather kindly agreed to help us find somewhere to stay. We were looking for quite a while but eventually found somewhere much nicer and much cheaper on the outskirts of town (Phoenix town is a small “traditional” Miao town famous for it’s picturesque houses and traditional building style, it is also small enough not to really have outskirts). At this point the girl showed us to her father’s boat and then left, after showing us around for what I’m sure I remember as hours.
The boat ride wasn’t great but wasn’t bad, we went away from town and so didn’t take in much of the buildings and at this point it started raining insanely hard but luckily enough the local brewery was on hand to shelter us from the rain and provided free samples of various spirits, some nice, some horrible, some strong, some not so. It was a nice little tour and then after we headed back to get some food (well, not really “some”, more “a stupid amount”) and later to drink.