The old city of Fenghuang (Phoenix) is one of the loveliest places I've visited in the world. It reminds me of Venice in Italy, for all the waterviews of picturesque old buildings, barges, bridges and misty weather. Although it has no canals like Suzhou, most of the scenery centres around the river banks and the gorgeous architecture.
During the day, it is busy with tourists but it is still nice to wander the many narrow winding streets and alleys. After dark though, the place becomes unbearably noisy with bars competing for business by cranking up their rock, pop, Karaoke to ear drums splitting levels. Even though there are laws against this noise pollution, they are not enforced, as they seem to bring in the customers. As if all tourists just want to get rolling drunk and tone deaf (or just plain deaf). I find it a shame to spoil the 'old town' atmosphere this way, and this type of noise just sends me running away from the bars that seem to be everywhere.
tip: If you do go, bring your best camera, and earplugs.
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