Houses on Stilts Along the Tuojiang River, Fenghuang Ancient City, China

The Tuojiang River is the life force of the local people. We’d already noticed women washing their clothes along the embankment, a few men fishing with nets, and refuse collected by boat to help keep the tourist litter down…View image. Of even more importantance in this modern world, the river provides a means of income for boatmen who ferry tourists up and down stream to admire unique and ancient Fenghuang…View image.

Still heading downstream along the Tuojiang River, we caught our first close-up look at the famous stilt houses. Stilt house are usually built on stilts of different heights beside a river or in steep mountain areas. By building in this manner, the stilt house makes use of land that could be thought of as unusable. A stilt house also has advantages of aeration and animal defense. These houses are particular to western Hunan Province and are mind-boggling. How they manage to stand without collapsing into each other or falling into the river is beyond me….View image…especially those balconies overhanging the Tuojiang River. Scary!

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the stilt houses of Fenghuang as we approached the covered bridge, China
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closer look at the stilts from under the archway of the covered bridge, Fenghuang, China
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ramshackle balconies hang from Fenghuang’s stilt houses, China


The boats turn back upstream a little way past the covered bridge and tourists disembark on the opposite side from the launch area. This side is called Laoying Shan, a street filled with restaurants, guesthouses and bars. An entirely different scene that still had great views of the stilted houses and covered bridge…View image. Women were banging on a big drum to entice people to eat at their restaurant while another one had a sign that said, “Nice place come on in..”

Bars hang beer bottles along their railings. Fenghuang had nice looking guesthouses on this street…View image… with Internet, served pizza and even had nightly Bingo games…View image. Miao and Tuja women were selling miscellaneous handicrafts and souveniors along the embankment…View image…dressed in bright colors if unmarried…View image… while the married women are dressed in dark colors and with turbans on their heads.

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Miao woman selling handicrafts along the Tuojiang River, Fenghuang, China
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Miao unmarried women in their colorful traditional outfits posing by a Fenghuang pagoda, China

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