Beijing Hutong Bike TourDo you want to explore the historic Beijing, experience the old way of life and immerse yourself in traditional Beijing culture? if so, the Hutong Bike Tour is a great choice for you!
The hutongs are one of the last remnants of old Beijing culture which have survived the pace of Beijing’s modern development. What awaits is a guided half-day tour in this coiling labyrinth of small streets and houses. The tour will take you through historic neighbourhoods, experience local market life, and visit several famous sights. Escape the hustle and bustle of the modern city and enjoy a relaxed time in the quiet hutongs while cycling around the beautiful Shichahai Lake.
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Beijing Hutong Bike Tour9:30 AM:
Gather at Beihai North Station (on subway line 6) at Exit D.
We strongly recommend that you arrive ahead of schedule so we can begin the trip on time.
Arrival at Beihai North, collect the bikes.
9:45 AM to 11:50 AM:
Avoiding the traffic on the main roads, we will take you into the small alleys, or “hutong”, of Beijing. While travelling through the ancient parts of this city, you can enjoy the scenery and history, and even chat with the locals to get local perspective on Beijing.
On arrival, we will take you to some of the best preserved and memorable hutongs of Beijing. The focus will be Nanluoguxiang and Shichahai. Nanluoguxiang, among the most well-preserved of Beijing’s hutongs, perfectly blends ancient Chinese architecture and modern shops. Shichahai is one of the most well-known areas of relaxation in Beijing—it boasts dozens of unique bars and restaurants, providing visitors with a wide variety of activities to pass the time.
As part of the trip, you will get the chance to try some traditional Chinese snacks.
Return to the subway station and conclude the journey.
Beijing Hutong Bike Tour
● Bilingual (English and Chinese) guides who are passionate about sharing local culture and enthusiastic about cycling
● Route review
● Drinking water● Pamflets of useful Chinese phrases and traditional culture
Beijing Hutong Bike Tour
To spread the wealth of knowledge hidden within these coiling labyrinths, we’re excited to bring you a half day tour of the Beijing hutongs. On this half day leisurely bike tour, you will see traces of the old Beijing and experience traditional Beijing culture. Our guides are not only cycling enthusiasts, they are also explorers and extremely proud of sharing Beijing’s culture.
Approximately 2.5 to 3 hours in duration and 14 km (9 miles) in distance, this trip will be led by one or more of our local specialists and will not be supported by additional vehicles. We will take you to both well-known and less popular hutongs. This trip is designed to satisfy those with cultural, social, and geographical interests of ancient Beijing and we strongly feel this tour is a great opportunity for all tourists in Beijing to greater understand and appreciate Beijing’s traditional culture.
Nothing will make you feel closer to the local life of Beijingers than a trip to Beijing’s hutongs. Cycling through the oldest streets of Beijing will undoubtedly be an eye-opening and thought provoking experience. Some of the famous spots we will take you to see are:
Hutong: Beijing hutongs have a very special and important position in the rich history and culture of Beijing. They are a must see part of Beijing for each visitor because they give a glimpse into the world of yesterday's Beijing. While visiting the Beijing hutongs, you can feel the dramatic changes of Beijing and experience its life style and traditional culture.
The word "hutong" originates from the word "hottog" which means "well" in Mongolian. Villagers dug out wells and lived near them. Hutong means a lane or alley, in fact the passage formed by lines of Siheyuan, a compound with houses around a courtyard, where Beijing residents lived.
It was recorded that the category of a street was defined by its width: a 36-meter-wide road was called a "standard street", an 18-meter-wide one was a "small street" and a 9-meter-wide lane was named a "hutong". In reality, Beijing hutongs range from 40 centimeters to 10 meters in width, with the longest one having more than 20 turns. When visiting hutongs, be sure to keep track of your path as the gray-tiled houses and deep alleys crossing with each other can cause even some of the most familiar natives to get lost.
In the same way that the Forbidden City is the symbol of China's royal family, the winding hutongs in Beijing represent the way of life of the common people. Hutongs are at the root of the Beijing people's way of life. Beijing city is like a boxy bean curd or a chess board with each hutong lying due north to due south or due east to due west. This square layout not only influences Beijinger's way of living, but also influences their thoughts and actions.
Courtyard: The Courtyard, a traditional unique folk house in the hutongs, has a long history in Chinese architecture. It is called "Siheyuan" in Chinese. There is only one gate leading to a hutong, so when the gate is closed the courtyard loses touch with the outside world. Therefore family members can fully enjoy tranquility and share the happiness of a peaceful family union. Most of the existing courtyards are relics of the Ming (1368-1644 CE) and Qing (1644-1911 CE) dynasties. They are the shadow of old China. The ancient furniture, fish pond, wooden doors and windows, and cane chairs remind you of their flourishing past. Those flashed bricks, Chinese eaves and cornices, fine brick designs, and wood carvings, reveal a strong classical
tone of old Beijing.
Drum Tower: A 46.7 meter high wooden structure with a traditional Chinese design. For over three dynasties, the Drum and Bell Towers were used as the capital’s primary time-keepers. Today, the Drum Tower is a recreational center for tourists and locals alike. You can find dozens of local Beijingers drinking tea, playing chess and simply enjoying the atmosphere.
Bell Tower: Located to the north of the Drum Tower is this ill-fated tower. It has been plagued by fires several times through its history but is now under national protection by the State Council of the People's Republic of China.
Shichahai Lake: Shichahai Lake is a famous scenic area that includes three lakes: Qianhai (meaning Front Sea), Houhai (meaning Back Sea), and Xihai (meaning Western Sea). The surrounding area holds many places of historical interest and scenic beauty, including remnants of traditional Beijing residences, hutong and Siheyuan. The lake is located in the northwest part of Beijing, and covers a large area of 146.7 hectares.
Lotus Market: Located on the eastern bank of the famous Shichahai Lake is this relaxing shopping area for old Beijingers. It took on the name of “Lotus Market” due to its reputation for selling local lotus flowers. Once incredibly vibrant, the Lotus Market lost much of its former glory when the Republic era government relocated to Nanjing. Since the 1990s, the Chinese government has been attempting to revitalize its former glory, resulting in some noticeable improvements.
Skewed Tobacco Pouch Street: A 232 meter long street which got its name during the Qing dynasty because government officials and common folk who lived on the street had the hobby of smoking pipes. In 2010, the street was given the title “Chinese Historical and Cultural Street”. The street’s historical background along with its contemporary modern-day twist had created a truly unique mixture of Eastern and Western cultures.
In addition to these specific locations, you will also get to experience local Beijing culture whilst cycling through hutongs and Siheyuan. You will also have the opportunity to chat with local Beijingers about their lives and the history of the area.
Come and join us on this fantastic tour, become a true explorer and discover the remnants of old Beijing!
Beijing Hutong Bike TourBeijing, China—a global city famous for its rich culture and traditions. Travellers will typically come to visit renowned sites such as Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City and the Great Wall, but only true explorers will take the time to discover Beijing’s hutongs and all they have to offer. Hutongs are a type of narrow street or alley now only found in the older parts of Beijing. The hutongs are one of the last remnants of old Beijing culture which have survived the pace of Beijing’s modern development. However, since the mid-20th century, the number of Beijing hutongs began to drop significantly as they were destroyed to make way for roads, high-rise housing complexes and shopping centers. We strongly recommend you visit this piece of history before it is lost.
The word "hutong" originates from the word "hottog" which means "well" in Mongolian. Usually, they range from 40 centimeters to 10 meters in width. Traditionally, Beijingers lived in residential compounds called Siheyuan which branched off from hutongs. Hutongs are now becoming a mixture of tourist and local residencies, however, they remain an important part of Beijing’s culture and still provide housing for a significant proportion of the urban population. As a result, visiting hutongs is a great way to get a sense of the old Beijing against the backdrop of the modern, fast-developing city.
When visiting hutongs, it is important to pay attention to your route as the twisting alleys can cause even some of the most familiar natives to get lost. Fortunately, you will be accompanied by at least one well-travelled guide so this won’t be an issue for you.
Beijing Hutong Bike Tour
Price: ¥230 per personGroup size: 1 to 8
Duration: Approximately 2.5 hours
Cycling distance: Approximately 14 km (9 miles)
Recommended time: April to October.
Note: This program requires 1 day advance reservation.
Price: ¥230 per person
Group size: 1 to 8
Duration: Approximately 2.5 hours
Contact Service@chihaner.com to book a program or send a note of interest or request additional information.
If you have 3 or more people in your party and would like a private tour on your own schedule, please contact us for details.
In order to provide our guests with the best biking experience, we will check the quality of the bikes that we provide before the tour’s start date. Please book this tour at least 24 hours before the scheduled tour date, and check our confirmation letter in time.
You will receive a reply within 24 hours.
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