Tuesday, 30 July 2013


Day 3 of this leg was one that was suggested by the travel company. Unable to get to Guilin in the time we had the suggestion of Fenghuang had been given.

This is the entrance and if it wasn't for the woman in uniform it could be any back street.

Fenghuang is Chinese for Phoenix, and this whole area is also known as Phoenix Town. This rather cool statue is in the main square just beyond the entrance.

This is part of the Southern Great Wall of China. Yep there are two and this one isn't so obvious.

Once you get into the Phoenix town proper you are put into a huge market with local craftsmen selling their stuff. It's quite overwhelming in places, but if you're looking for souvenirs then this place is amazing and much cheaper than buying the stuff from the usual tourist traps and airport gift shops.

This is the writing tools of some old famous chap called Shen Congwen who was renowned for his writing. I guess he's like the Chinese equivalent of William Shakespeare.

Some sort of shrine which I didn't realise until I was asked to stop taking photos. What do people pray to here? There are cans of coke on the shrine.

You can buy some pretty random stuff here. Catcher in the Chinese Rye? If you can find this bookshop you can buy a really cool map of the town here.

Anyone remember shooting these for extra lives in Mad Dog Macree?

Authentic old building

We got trapped in this place. We were walking around taking in stuff when some sort of stand up performance started up between us and the exit. Not understanding what was being said we brazingly walked through the crowd and into the no-mans-land between them, the performer and our exit. Perhaps the etiquette is to sit and wait but as we walked through the performers started to chastise us, in a friendly way, and given the crowds laughing were obviously making jokes oat our expense. Nothing we could do but bow to apologise and bolt!

Down on the waters edge you're able to get into some original old boat and travel downstream a short way. Once again our guide was able to bounce us to the front of the queue. There's clearly a benefit to being a foreigner here. I should mention that the whole time we spent in this part of the country we saw no more than 3 other westerners each day, and as you passed them you'd give a little knowing nod as if to say "how great are we for being here. You're just as cool as I".

The boat trip was pretty cool actually. My fears that I'd tip the boat were unfounded and we made our way down the river, occasionally bumping into others.

This was our guide. He was amazing, and was very proud of being from here.

These were the buildings I was shown when the travel company suggested Phoenix Town. It's like being in some ancient old Chinese take on Venice.

The people in this area love to sing and dance, and this girl was singing traditional songs. Our guide greeted us with a song and would sing to us each morning. It was a little strange at first but once you realise their culture is built on this you get used to it. They always finish their songs with a "ooooooooooo, wheeeeeeeeee!"

This place is so beautiful and timeless.

Fishing cormorants.

My favourite photo of the day. How serene is this place?

From the boat station our guide gave us the opportunity to go explore under our own steam so we decided to walk back along the river side.

Up beyond the buttresses there's a busy city, but under it no-one realises.

This guy is making some sort of ginger flavoured taffee sweet. It's one of the things that Fenghuang is famous for.

A couple of fun bridges to cross the river on. Did we attempt them, yes. Did we fall in? No. Did you wish we had, yes.

The old and new cities together.

Buy your celebrity souvenir t-shirts...I'm not sure who the top right is, Beckham is obvious but why would you want a picture of the most hated person on the planet on your t-shirt, and as for the Osama Bin Laden one...

Well I guess this is one way to promote your drinking establishment in an eco-friendly way.

Little propoganda souvenirs. Finding their way on a Shepherd Fairey print soon.

Fenghuang was great but Kat enjoyed it more than I did. I'm not one for buying souvenirs or mementos preferring instead to remember what I've seen (I'm screwed when I get Alzheimers). But the place was stunning and I was happy to just photograph everything. If you have the time and are able to pull yourself away from the forests and mountains of Zhangjiajie then this place is definitely worth considering.


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