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In this article, we offer you insider information about popular hand-selected hutong tours and trendy hutong walking routes in 2019. Explore the amazing historical hutongs in greater depth.
You may already know that taking a rickshaw is the classic way of visiting hutongs in Beijing; but there are many other ways, which are equally if not more interesting to embrace.
The best ways of exploring hutongs today include hutong walking, hutong cycling, hutong culinary classes, hutong home-visiting (learning Mandarin or art), and the latest if not the trendiest, hutong night-snack-hunting.
Time needed: 1-2 hours
Highlights: Weave your way around charming streets and ancient alleys (hutongs) on a 1-2 hour rickshaw hutong tour, passing the famous drum tower and bell tower. Hutong-family visiting can be included.
Why this: It is the classic way of visiting hutongs, while experiencing a rickshaw ride, designed for short-term visitors. Savor the classic hutongs and courtyards in a short time and an energy-wise way, before continuing your trip.
Popular Beijing Itineraries including Rickshaw Hutong Ride:
Time needed: half a day
Highlights: Visit a local Beijinger’s house or cooking-class workshop for a meal, and learn how to cook an authentic Chinese dish. Become familiar with Chinese spices, herbs and philosophy of health. Become a gourmet, able to distinguish an authentic Chinese dish from a Chinese takeaway somewhere overseas.
Time needed: half a day
Highlights: Visit a local family in Beijing whose ancestors have lived in the hutongs for generations. Gain insight into ancient Chinese customs and culture, and learn Beijing folk art (paper-cutting, painting the insides of snuff bottles, facial-mask-making for opera, and Chinese yoyos)
There are at least 10 hip hutongs in Beijing and each attracts tourists for different reasons. Some have become famous for their traditional store-fronts, while others are luring tourists for their mouth-watering snacks or classic Chinese foot massages.
Below are the 5 best hutong walking tours for savoring hutongs’ various flavors via different itineraries.
Why this: covering a handful of time-honored traditional Beijing store-fronts that have prospered for centuries since the Ming dynasty (1368-1644). Some stores have been serving members of the royal families or high-ranked officials for a very long time.Learn more about this tour.
Highlights: traditional Beijing beef pie – Mr Shi’s dumpling (a “celebrity food” among Beijing expats) – Beijing roast duck (in a boutique restaurant frequented by Beijing celebrities).
Why this: This hutong night-food-hunting tour might be the trendiest hutong experience of 2019. Learn more about this tour.
Highlights: Tianning Temple – old residential community – Xuanwu Park – authentic hutongs
Why this: This is the least-touristy route and does more to unveil the authentic Beijing. Learn more about this tour.
Why this: It covers two famous hutongs in Beijing, and includes a walk round a breezy lake. Learn more about this tour.
Why this: This route covers famous Beijing temples and hip hutongs all in one go, and suits hiking enthusiasts the best. Learn more about this tour.
Getting on a bicycle is another popular way of exploring the hutong areas. All you need is a good guide or map, and to be careful about where exactly to ride. Some hutong lanes are very narrow and inconvenient for riding during holidays, when most famous lanes are jammed with tourists.
A route passing through Beihai Park, Shichahai and Nanluoguxiang, or one through the Confucius Temple, Yonghe Lama Temple and the Temple of Earth, are the best recommendations for hutong cycling tours. Check our Best Beijing Cycle Routes for more detailed guidance.
The hutong residents’ area is a place full of history. It is worth going there with a resourceful and knowledgeable insider-guide, who can tell you all the interesting stories behind the walls and beneath the surface.
Contact us to book any of the popular hutong tours mentioned above, or to create a unique hutong tour to your own taste, and discover hutongs in more depth.