Day 2 in Changsha, China 2017: 7-Hour Bus Ride & Beautiful Fenghuang County

Fenghuang County night views

Fenghuang County in Hunan, China

September 14, 2017:

On our first full day in Changsha, we woke up at 6:15 a.m. and got ready to go downstairs to eat breakfast on the fourth floor.  It was a complimentary continental breakfast, Chinese style.  There weren’t many tables in the small restaurant but luckily we had six people to hold down our own table.

We left promptly on the tour bus at 7:30 a.m.  Our tour guide’s name was Will.

Tongyuan Hotel breakfast buffet

Continental breakfast buffet at Tongyuan Hotel

Tongyuan Hotel breakfast noodle station

Customized noodle station

Tongyuan Hotel breakfast food

I had congee, some selections from the hot tables, a bun, and a bowl of noodles

He spoke Mandarin so unfortunately I could only understand 35% of it or so — basically recognizing words I’ve heard before — and thus wasn’t able to take advantage of his info.  He talked a lot and seemed passionate about introducing us to the sights and sounds we would be visiting.  He even brought an iPad to show us photos.

He shockingly told us that the majority of the day would be spent on the bus as we had to drive 7 hours.  Seven hours!!!!  The itinerary on the tour sheet had only said 4 hours’ ride on the bus so 7 hours was a definite surprise to say the least. XD

We interluded the long trip with washroom breaks.  The rule for tour bus drivers was that for every 2 hours of driving, they had to have a 20 minute break.

 China tour bus

Bus tour napping (and blogging on my phone) the whole day

 pit stop snacks

Chinese snacks at a convenience store — preserved chicken wings and chicken feet and more!

We had lunch at 11:45 a.m. at a restaurant adjoining to a hotel (The Grand Sea Hotel).  The food was really good!  It was Chinese food shared family style among 11 people at a table.

The Grand Sea Hotel

The Grand Sea Hotel where we had a tour group lunch

The Grand Sea Hotel restaurant

Lunch time!

They kept bringing more dishes of food to our table until the count reach 10 dishes plus a corn soup!  The food was yummy.  The corn in the corn soup was chewy and firm. The steamed fish was really good but some tablemates said there were a lot of bones in it.   There were a lot of veggie dishes, perfect for us.  There was a signature thousand year old preserved egg dish.  There was a tofu dish.

 cheersing with beers

Cheers with Chinese beer in tiny plastic cups!

 lunch time

Yummy Chinese food

 different types of Chinese dishes

All the dishes that we ate

 my meal on the table

Mid-meal photo

 The Grand Sea Hotel plate

Name of the hotel on the plate?

After lunch, we continued on our way.  It was soooo hot and humid outside, 33 degrees at least.  Our bus driver to had fuel up and shut off the AC while he did so.  It was immensely hot in the bus while he did that…

Zhang Jia Jie tour bus

Our tour bus for the next 5 days

There were more breaks between the bus rides.

 Chinese pit stop

Second pit stop

 Views in Zhang Jai Jei on bus

Views on the bus

 Views in Zhang Jai Jei on bus

Mountains in the background

After 3 p.m., it was significantly cooler outside.  Phew!

 pit stop

Third pit stop

We got to our hotel up near an ancient looking street at 5:15 p.m.  We were given 20 minutes to put our luggage into our rooms before meeting up at 5:45 p.m. to head to dinner together.  The wifi at the Fengting International Hotel was good. 🙂

Fengting International Hotel lobby

Arrival at the Fengting International Hotel

Fengting International Hotel courtyard

Courtyard inside the hotel

Fengting International Hotel room

Our hotel room

Fengting International Hotel business card

Hotel business card

We walked next door to the restaurant where dinner was already waiting for us on the table.  Good thing the dishes were still hot.  This table for 11 people was significantly smaller than the one at lunch.

Fenghuang Ancient Town streets

Fenghuang Ancient Town streets

Fenghuang Ancient Town streets

The other side of the street

Some tourmates commented that the food was of lower quality and saltier but I still enjoyed it a lot.  The soup in the middle of the table had vermicelli and spam.  The vermicelli was so good!

There was a dried shrimp and leek dish that I liked.  The scrambled eggs with tomato was a classic favourite.  There weren’t as many veggies here than at lunch.  There were preserved sausages with onions.  There was a fish dish here that was okay; the meat was a bit mushy.  I liked the eggplant and peas dish.

 Chinese group dinner

Group dinner at the restaurant next to the hotel

 Chinese dishes at dinner

Chinese dishes at dinner

 my plates of food

Another photo taken mid-meal

After dinner, we set out as a group to walk through the ancient city, Fenghuang County (also known as Phoenix Ancient Town), next to a long river.  It was dusk and starting to get dark.  The views were beautiful!

 building next to hotel

The restaurant next to the hotel

Chinese kiwis

Chinese kiwis being sold outside the restaurant

Fenghuang Ancient Town

Fenghuang Ancient Town

Fenghuang Ancient Town bridge

Lots of ancient bridges across the river

Fenghuang Ancient Town

Mountainous landscapes

The tour guide said that the lights on the mountain lit up from 7:30 to 11 p.m. at night and would be a beauty.  He was right.  Once the sun was down and all the lights lit up, the entire place looked like one of those places you see in the movies.  Classic Chinese street, bridges, and scenery.  Neither words, pictures, or videos do it justice.  You just have to be there. 🙂

Fenghuang Ancient Town at night

Night view

Fenghuang Ancient Town tower

Beautiful tower all lit up

Fenghuang Ancient Town lit up at night

When the lights all lit up — so gorgeous!

Fenghuang Ancient Town lit up at night

You can see into the lit up shops on the other side of the street

Fenghuang Ancient Town statue

This statue looked like it was plungeing into the river

Fenghuang Ancient Town traditional dress

There were girls dressed up in traditional Chinese dress for you to take photos with

Fenghuang County bridge at night

So gorgeous!

We continued walking alongside the river and saw many lit up shops and food vendors.  There were Mongolian drums, toys, stinky black tofu, freshly caught shrimp made into shrimp cakes, hovering toys, karaoke bars, and more.  There were so many people too.

 fried shrimp cakes

Freshly fried shrimp cakes

 various stores in Fenghuang County

A glimpse of the many shops on the ancient city — toy shops, karaoke, Chinese drums, snacks, and more

By 8 p.m., we started heading back to the hotel.  It still took an hour to get back.  I was tired and looking forward to showering and washing off all the sweat and oil from my face.

Fengting International Hotel storefront

Fengting International Hotel

Now that we’ve ventured into the deep of Changsha, our bus rides will definitely be shorter than 7 hours.  It’s like a food tour, napping on the bus, and some sightseeing. XD  Tune in this week for Day 2 of the trip!

To view the blog posts for the other days of our trip, click here:  Day 1, Day 3, Day 4, Day 5, and Day 6.


About stenoodie

I'm a stenographer, foodie, avid traveller, and new mom who loves to share her experiences with the world.
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7 Responses to Day 2 in Changsha, China 2017: 7-Hour Bus Ride & Beautiful Fenghuang County

  1. Pingback: Day 1 in Changsha, China 2017: Arrival and Noodles | stenoodie

  2. Pingback: Day 3 in Changsha, China 2017: Tianmen Mountain, Glass Floor Cliff Path, Tianmen Fox Fairy Show | stenoodie

  3. Pingback: Day 4 in Changsha, China 2017: Zhangjiajie Glass Bridge, Tianzi “Avatar” Mountains | stenoodie

  4. Pingback: Day 5 in Changsha, China 2017: Sandstone Paintings, Boat Ride Through the Mountains, Stalagmites in Yellow Dragon Cave | stenoodie

  5. Pingback: Day 6 in Changsha, China 2017: Orange Island Park, Clay Pot Rice, Airport | stenoodie

  6. Hello my name is Karla! I have a trip to Asia coming up and I have an 11 hour layover in Changsha. I wanted to know a little more about your experience, if you think it’s safe for a women to leave the airport by herself or if I should maybe just stay in the airport? I’m traveling alone and I’ve never been to China so I’m not sure what to expect. If you could help me out that would be so great!

    • stenoodie says:

      Hi Karla, I found Changsha to be quite safe. I would say it’s generally safe for a woman to travel alone. You’ll want to equip yourself with some knowledge of Mandarin and/or have a smartphone that can translate between English and Mandarin since English is not their strength there. It’s very crowded and hot in China (depending on where you go), so leave ample time to return back to the airport. The Changsha airport had a lot of restaurants to choose from if you plan to stay there during the layover. Hope that helps!

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