When you go sightseeing around these lanes you’ll experience a vital association with the real Beijing; chatting with residents, visiting a kindergarten or joining a neighborhood committee meeting can be included if you take Hutong Tour with us.
The gray-tiled houses and deep alleys crossing each other appear almost uniform in appearance, till you discover the details, the many specific adornments, such as the knocker, stone block near the door and Chuihua gate, etc. that are symbols of Beijing’s regional culture, and make it fascinating to explore. You could also try family visit, learning to play Diabolo (Kongzhu), watching cricket fighting, learning cooking Chinese food while visiting Hutongs.
There are more than 7000 Hutongs in Beijing; most of them are surprisingly well ordered either oriented East-West or North-South to comply with Feng-shui custom. But do not think exploring Hutongs is an easy thing. In fact, Hutongs are an irregular maze, ranging from only 40 centimeter to 10 meter in width, and the longest one has more than 20 turns. Exploring Hutongs is a challenge to you if you do not know the landform.
Your tour guide will introduce you to several interesting old Hutongs in the Houhai area (you can stop anywhere you think is interesting to take pictures or have a close look), and pay visits to a Hutong family. Have lunch there and a short talk with the local residents. After the lunch break, we cross Tian’anmen square to discover eight famous Hutongs there, which have many stories of a captivating past to offer.
The Best Way to Explore Beijing Hutong
► By bicycle
► By richshaw
► On foot
Note: We recommend to explore Hutongs by bicycle as bike is convenient to be ridden in narrow alleys. It is also more helpful to save energy compared to walking. Richshaw is too commercial, which is not recommended.
•Where can I rent a bicycle?
►There is a bike rent spot at south part of Qianhai Lake, Shichahai area
►Another bike rent spot is on the opposite of Lusongyuan Hotel, at Banchang Hutong
► The other is at the opposite of Quanjude Qianmen
The Best Routes to Explore Beijing Hutong by Bicycle
Route One: Dianmen-Nanluoguxiang-Drum & Bell Tower-Yandaixiejie-Shichahai Hutong
It starts from the crossing between the Dianmen Dongdajie (地安门东大街) and Nanluoguxiang (南锣古巷)， get along Nanluoguxiang to Gulou Dongdajie (古楼东大街)， turn left and ride along till Drum & Bell Tower. Visit to Drum & Bell Tower by driving round way. Then arrive at Yandaixiejie (烟袋斜街) by riding South. It is a short street of only around 230 meters long, but there are many featured small shops, restaurants, bars, ect, attracting visitors from all over the world. Then get across Yinding Bridge (银锭桥) and ride along Shichahai Lake (什刹海)。 There are 15 hutongs around Shichahai Lake, in which are many mansions for ancient princes, gardens and former residences for celebrities. Hutong, Shichahai Lake, red walls as well as green trees will make you a pleasant biking experience.
Route Two: Xijiaominxiang-Dashilanr-Zhushikou-Liulichang
Xijiaominxiang(西交民巷) is located near to Tiananmen Square, with 1080 meters long. Ride southward, you will arrive at qianmen (前门) as well as Qianmen Street, which is also called Dashilanr. The renovated Dashilanr is a modern commercial street, but there are many hutongs on the right side of Qianmen Street, which are preserved very well and where tourists could feel the original and authentic Beijing. Keep riding southward, you will arrive at Zhushikou West Street (珠市口西大街)， where you could pass some historical sites, such as Catholic Church, Fengzeyuan Restaurant, Jixiaolan’s Former Residence (one of senior official in Qing Dynasty) as well as Huguang Guild Hall, where you need to ride northward along South Xinhua Street, where Liulichang (琉璃厂) is situated. Liulichang is a famous cultural street in Beijing. During this tour, tourists could visit the historical sites at Xijiaominxiang, enjoy local flavor snacks at Dashilanr as well as feel Chinese culture at Liulichang.
Route Three: Donghuamen Gate -Nanchizi Street -Pudu Temple – Huangchenggen Street-Dengshikou-Fuqian Hutong-Dongchang Hutong-Fulong Temple-Dongsi-Neiwubu Street-Lumicang
This route is to explore the Hutong in Dongcheng District. The traditional courtyard is worth to explore in Beijing. Huangchenggen Park at Huangchenggen Street is a community park, where is good for morning walk, where you could meet many local families at weekend. During this route, tourists could also visit some historical spots, such as Laoshe’s Former Resident ( Laoshe’s a famous Chinese writer) at Fuqiang Hutong, Li Lianying’s Former Residence ( Li Lianying is senior eunuch in Qing Dynasty), Zhihua Temple at Lumicang Hutong.
In all the hutongs in Beijing, you might find the longest hutong is Dongjiaominxiang and Xijiangminxiang hutong, paralleling to Chang An Street, the shortest hutong is Yichidajie with around 10 meters long, near to Liulichang Street, The narrowest hutong is Xiaolaba Hutong with only 40 cm in width. Besides, Jiudaowan Hutong has the most turnings in all the hutongs, with more than 20 turnings in total.
When you visit to Beijing, you could spend half a day or a full day to explore Beijing hutong, no matter what ways you will choose, you will find something interesting, authentic and different in your Beijing trip.