Hongjiang Old Town

Top choice in Hunan

The old town can be visited in half a day, and undulates in a delightful, higgledy-piggledy, often steep, maze of narrow stone-flagged alleys and lanes. English and Chinese signposts point the way to the more notable buildings, most of which have been fully restored, and there's a metal map on a board at the heart of town for you to consult.

Notable buildings include the tax office, an opium shop, a brothel, a pharmacy, a newspaper office, ancestral halls, courtyard homes of prominent merchants as well as several guildhalls (会馆; huìguǎn), including the superb facade of the Taiping Palace (太平宫; Tàipíng Gōng). The main entrance is off Xingfu Lu, across the smaller Wu River from the bus station.

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