After two days of hitchhiking, we have to say that we deserved to arrive in the beautiful city of Fenghuang. Don’t be fooled by your first impression of the city, a grey bus station, old concrete buildings, traffic jams to reach the centre… all of that disappears when you finally reach the old town and its charming little streets bordered by old houses. We spent all our time wandering around the tiny streets, walking along the fortified wall and the river.
We had read that Fenghuang is great for street food. We struggled a bit to find some as stalls were not everywhere (as they were supposed to be), but once we find some nice stalls we could not stop going back to them! We ate delicious sugar and peanut candies (addictive!), egg burgers, flat breads filled with pork and cucumber, spicy noodles, and rose cakes.
At night, the river banks become full with noisy karaoke bars which put a strange atmosphere. There are a lot of Chinese tourists but it did not bother us. Houses and bridges are lighted up and it is quite scenic.
We struggled to find accommodation. Our first plan was to go to a homestay found on Booking.com, but there was no address in Chinese on the website and it took us one hour to find the place and realize nobody was home. So we looked around the several Chinese hotels and found a room we negotiated at 90 Y in a nice hotel beside the river, but far enough from the bars to have a quiet stay. The owner was so nice, she did her best to understand our needs, and took good care of us. Overall we loved Fenghuang for its beautiful architecture and the fun we had getting lost in the small lanes.
We were surprised about the size of the old city. Compared to our beloved city of Lyon and its old city, Fenghuang is very big, you can walk for hours in the streets inside the fortified walls! Our only disappointment was that there is no local life in the old city, only hotels and tourists. No little café were locals hang out, no nice shops other than cheap souvenirs’ ones. Living in the old city of Lyon is amazing, but we could not live in the old city of Fenghuang. Anyway we will keep a good memory of this beautiful city, full of charm!