Would you like to hop on a time machine? Well, just travel to Fenghuang Old Town.
Sunset time, sunset time, the colorful time, why do we need to tone the picture with grayscale?
We came to Fenghuang (凤凰) after spending not-so-good days in Guangxi, due to overcast weather’s making the sceneries not as attractive as advertised.
And luckily we were blessed as the town welcomed us with fresh breeze of a cool clear day. It amazed us while we were passing Nanhua (南华) road bridging the river, overlooking the town illuminated by the purest sunshine of the day.
At that time tourists hadn’t flocked into the streets, so Fenghuang’s beauty was unveiled at its best.
Once you have a chance to visit Fenghuang, I’m sure you will do this as in the photo: crossing river via the stepping stones.
The town is pretty small and perfect to discover all tracks on foot by yourself. As long as you walk southwards, there will be a lot more surprises at every lurking spot. I usually refer the river-facing roads as the more exposed main street, compared to the less busy south area behind them.
You will encounter the big Culture Square and West Gate (it’s named West but located south). Fenghuang has 4 gates: Nanhua, North, East and West, and 2 wall segments: one between Nanhua Gate and East Gate, and one near West Gate. Along the West Gate wall is a small canal, which I found pretty untouched and charming.
Well it wouldn’t be China if there were no lantern decoration. Heading back northwards to the alleys near East Gate and we were overwhelmed by the red tones at every corner. The red complemented well with the blue sky, making the scene itself picturesque without using any filter.
If it’s noticeable enough for you, we have blue, we have red, and now we have green. It was lucky for us to experience all the striking colors in one day thanks to the great sun.
That’s why it was a blessing, a present this town gave to its visitors, a perfect collaboration of time and place.
The Rainbow Bridge (虹橋) seen above is a typical photography spot in Fenghuang, whether looked from high or low viewpoint, at sunset or sunrise time. Inside there are a lot of shophouses where you can treat yourself with some cute souvenirs.
I truly appreciated the surprising moment a boat passing by us, in front of us, on a perfectly still green backdrop. We were tempted to continuously take shots, but I felt it was necessary to get the camera off, keep silence and view it with our bare eyes.
After the usual rest following lunch time, I waited until 4pm to be back on the journey again. This time the objective was as simple as to catch the sunset.
Here was the panoramic view of Fenghuang, when standing at the Wind Bridge.
The color combination at sunset was totally mesmerizing, as if the objects were emerging from an oil-painting picture.
I couldn’t describe how cherished I felt when taking this photo, no word could express it. It took me 2 hours to long for the sunset and reserve the standing place for my tripod, see how deserved I was.
I had taken hundred shots from this spot with various setups, and all looked consistently good, nevertheless, only a few among the best could be selected for this post.
It was kind of noisy, as the wooden riverside houses which looked ‘ancient’ were actually karaoke restaurants with powerful speakers. The town then resembled an ordinary busy city when lights were up.
The next day weather in Fenghuang was not as ideal as the first, but anyway, the dull tones might give the scenery a different appearance to capture.
Laid on silky amber piece of cloth, the little little endearing souvenirs such as charms, purses or bracelets are captivating to the passersby, and you hardly give them a miss.
I noticed the second day was more towards native culture and less touristy gimmicks compared to the first day, perhaps the life tempo was much slower.
I opened my umbrella when the sky went worse, but that didn’t hinder me from shooting more photos. One hand for umbrella and one hand for camera was bearable, though it might have been kinda tiring to hold.
And here were some memorable captures. The walking-in-the-rain classics.
For the end of this post, we had all the colors twinkle on the curtain of night.
This post is a part of the China series.Written in March 2019 © Zuyet Awarmatik.
Zuyet Awarmatrip is a subsidiary identity within the personal ecosystem of Zuyet Awarmatik, focusing on travel and photography.
A Vietnamese usually regarding himself as a carefree solo Eastern backpacker, alongside with his main profession as a UX engineer. Neither being a freelancer nor a digital nomad, this website is built for the purpose of recording his life experience and happenings instead of letting them go into oblivion. He hopes these photos here shall always deliver the colorfulness of this worldly reality.
“Papa Money” by The Sam Willows
When boarding the bus from Fenghuang to Zhangjiajie, the song stuck in my mind was Papa Money, and I replayed it for hundred times. It was just an incidental catch on Spotify, but I treasured that forever.