Visit to Stunning Old Town Now Free

By Tom Lee, March 30, 2016

1 0

In a piece of small but good news for fans of Chinese travel, the ancient town of Fenghuang is set to abolish entrance fees from April 10. Visitors will still have to pony up for certain areas within the picturesque, riverside locale, but will be able to walk about the streets for free, according to the Xinhua News Agency.

Located in Hunan province, north of Guangdong, Fenghuang is one of China's most famous preserved towns – it has even been called the country's most beautiful – and is frequently cited by travel companies and websites.

The news comes just as an agreement between the government and three local companies who administer Fenghuang is due to expire. In a letter to the companies, the government mentioned that retailers and merchants in the town were opposed to the fee.

Fenghuang

The additional charge was a matter of some contention when it was initially introduced almost exactly three years ago. Immediately following the announcement, interest in Fenghuang plummeted: a survey by Sina found that only 1 percent of around 90,000 people polled said they would be likely to visit in light of the inflated cost.

Businesses in the village complained that tourism had dropped off significantly, even staging a protest that led to blows with police, according to China Daily. While some at the time argued that the money from ticket sales could be used to maintain the beauty of the town, others asserted that the taxes from accommodation and items sold within Fenghuang were more than enough to cover any expense associated with preservation.

Fenghuang villager

Fenghuang’s change in policy brings it more in line with the city of Pingyao, arguably the most internationally renowned preserved settlement in China and one of just four awarded UNESCO World Heritage status. It, too, charges fees for certain landmarks but not for entry.

In contrast, the scenic villages of Xidi and Hongcun, in Anhui province, solely charge an entrance fee, while Yunnan’s Lijiang Old Town – a Mecca for foreign tourists in recent years – charges both an RMB80 protection fee and additional money for its most popular sights.

Fenghuang is most easily accessible from Guangzhou via plane to Zhangjiajie airport, followed by approximately four hours on a bus. It can also be reached via an eight-hour bus from Hunan province's capital, Changsha. Visitors can combine a trip to Fenghuang with a visit to Wulingyuan, a striking landscape of rock pillars – said to have partially inspired Avatar's Hallelujah Mountains – that is located in Zhangjiajie.

[Images courtesy of Ziyi Yuan and via Wikipedia]

more news

17 Useful Mandarin Phrases for Traveling in China

Simple phrases in Mandarin to make your travels in China much easier.

Buy Ultimate Travel Guide 'Explore China' Now

Unlock the mysteries of the most populous country on the planet, including historical sites, scenic nature spots, local delicacies to savor and more.

Guangzhou Outranks Shanghai, Beijing in Evening Public Transport

Guangzhou was ranked #1 in the Evening Public Transportation Index.

Enjoy Discounted Flights to Jakarta, Hanoi from South China This Fall

Shenzhen Airlines has added three new international routes and is offering discounts on flights from Guangzhou and Shenzhen.

Explore Stunning Yunnan with an Insider

See the Tea Horse Road, Tiger Leaping Gorge and Tibetan Shangri-la with this fantastic Yunnan travel package.

Enjoy a Luxurious Family Vacation at the Rosewood Sanya

Celebrate the summer months with a fabulous family vacation at Rosewood Sanya.

0 User Comments

In Case You Missed It…

We're on WeChat!

Scan our QR Code at right or follow us at ThatsGuangzhou for events, guides, giveaways and much more!

7 Days in Guangzhou With thatsmags.com

Weekly updates to your email inbox every Wednesday

Subscribe

Download previous issues

Never miss an issue of That's PRD!

Visit the archives

Get the App. Your essential China city companion.