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Quick Travel Guide to Furong Zhen Old Town

Furong Zhen Old Town is one of China’s most underrated ancient towns. Follow my quick guide to find out how to organize your trip.

furongzhen-hunan-china

While I was planning to visit the famous Fenghuang Old Town, I was told by a friend to check out the nearby Furong Ancient Town (芙蓉镇), a place that, despite having lived in China for a few years, I had never heard of.

At first, I thought it would be another fake old town, but I’m glad to admit I was completely wrong, so much so that it became one of my favorite ancient towns in China.

This place is so unique because it’s built around a river with a beautiful waterfall right in the middle. On top of that, people are still living in the town, unlike other places like Lijiang.

Here are some quick facts about Furong:

  • Located in Yongshun County, Xiangxi Tujia and Miao Autonomous Prefecture, Hunan Province, the town is known for its well-preserved ancient architecture, including traditional Tujia (one of the local ethnic groups) houses with wooden roofs, stone walls, and intricate carvings.
  • The town is named after the hibiscus (furong in Chinese) that blooms abundantly during the summer. Furong was initially known as Wangcun but was renamed following the success of the 1986 movie Hibiscus Town.
  • One of the most famous attractions in Furong Ancient Town is the Wangcun Waterfall, also known as Furong Waterfall, which cascades into the Tuojiang River at the entrance of the town.
  • The Tujia ethnic group, known for its rich cultural heritage, is the predominant population in Furong Ancient Town.

Best Time to Visit

The best months are from April to October, with the rainy seasons usually starting around June. When the rain starts, the waterfall (about 40 meters wide) is really beautiful.

During the winter months, it can get quite cold (it snows sometimes), and the main issue with places like this in China is not so much the frigid temperatures but the lack of any heating system, including in most hotels, as I explained in my quick guide to China.

Where to Stay and for how long

There are plenty of hotels both inside and outside the Ancient Town area (such as this one). Remember that you have to pay an entrance fee of about 100 RMB to get into the old town.

The town is small, and half a day is enough to explore it all. I recommend spending a night there to take some cool night pictures.

How to get to Furong Zhen

Getting to Furong is relatively easy. There are a few direct buses from the Zhangjiajie bus station (people often combine the two destinations during the same trip), and there is also a new highspeed train station just 10 minutes from the old town, and that’s probably the best option to reach this town from outside the province.

Besides Zhangjiajie (here is my travel guide), you might consider combining Fanjingshan (here is my guide) and Fenghuang Old Town with a visit to Furong Zhen.

How to explore Furong Zhen

Furong is built along the waterfall, and the two sides of the city are connected by a couple of bridges and a few paths that you can walk when the water is not too high.

There are a lot of local stores selling pretty much the same stuff you can find everywhere else in China, but the architecture of most buildings is stunning, built in the same style as Tujia households.

To end this quick guide, I can say that Furong has been a pleasant discovery for me, and I liked it way more than Fenghuang (almost impossible to enjoy due to the ridiculous amount of tourists). For once in China, this place is not overcrowded and lives up to its reputation.

If you plan a trip to China, remember that you’d need a VPN to access the internet, and popular ones like ExpressVPN and Nord VPN DO NOT WORK in China. At the moment, this one is working properly.

If you want to visit another interesting minority village, check out my Xijiang travel guide in Guizhou province. Here, you can read my travel guide to the Rainbow Mountains of Zhangye in Gansu.

8 thoughts on “Quick Travel Guide to Furong Zhen Old Town”

  1. Hiew Yat Wah

    Hei Fabio,

    28/06/024 will reach Furong Zhen from Zhangjiajie around noon.

    Will be staying in Guixin Inn for 1 night, l did communicate (via WeChat) with Guixin Inn with replied will fetch me at the train station.

    My worry “if fetching doesn’t materialise” will l have trouble in locating Guixin Inn?

  2. Khim

    Hi Henry,

    Thanks for your article.
    I will be traveling with my father and he is 81 years old. We will go slow and he may have a wheelchair. Is this a place for one day stay for senior citizen? And do you know if this hotel is reachable by car: Tusi Xuanfu (Furong Town Waterfall Store)?

    Thanks!

    1. Hi Khim. Unfortunately I didn’t really pay attention to the accessibility. So I’m not sure.

  3. sherm

    Hi Fabio, this is an interesting read. Besides heading to Furong town from Zhangjiajie, would it be possible to head there from Furongzhn station? and will there by any buses from furong town to zhangjiajie?

    1. You mean from Furong station to Furong Old Town? There are taxis everywhere. So not a problem

  4. henry

    hi thanks for your writing,
    i want to ask because i have a plan to go this place from wulong city… did you know the best way to go there?

    “there is also a new highspeed train station just 10 minutes from the old town” this is your writing can you tell me what station name this?

    thanks

    1. Hi Henry. The name of the station is Furongzhn.

      I’m not sure about which Wulong you are referring to. If it’s the one close to Chongqing then I think you have to fly from Chongqing. Haven’t been there yet.

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