Venue: Beijing hutongs
Duration: Half-day / One-day tour
Summary: If you miss this hutong tour you may miss the essence of Beijing. It is fair to say that Hutong is a window to old Beijing and the residents of hutongs can be remarkable history teachers.
When you go sightseeing around these lanes you’ll experience a vital association with the real Beijing; chatting with residents, visiting a kindergarten and joining a neighbourhood committee meeting are included in this tour.
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.
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. Cycling or hiking across the 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.