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Asia > China > Beijing > Useful Info
Updated on Sep 07, 2020 Useful Info

Beijing Private Tour Reviews: Who's the Best in 2021 and Hutong Tours

Why Beijing deserves a private tour, for the best experience?

First, please be advised the Beijing isn't merely the Forbidden City and the Great Wall. She has lots of more to offer. Only a private tour of Beijing as suggested by the New York Times can make a deep cultural learning possible. A right active Beijing tour company is important to guarantee your trip won't be in vain. From my experience (over six years living in Beijing), I will go with the Great Wall Adventure Club, an international company based both in the US and Beijing.

Beijing is good for all seasons. In spring, you can feel the thick culture of ancient charm; summer can go to the suburbs of the Beijing Lingshan summer; autumn ginkgo and red leaves of the most eye-catching; in winter, you can go to the park open ice skating, ice skating car. In winter, you can also wait for a big snow, the red walls and green tiles of the Forbidden City are particularly magnificent against the white snow.

On July 31, 2015, IOC President Bach announced that Beijing and Zhangjiakou had been awarded the right to host the 2022 Winter Olympic Games. Beijing thus became the first city in the world to have hosted both the Summer and upcoming Winter Olympic Games. That sounds exciting, right? But before that happens, where can we should visit in Beijing? Hongtong, a old residential quarter in the downtown is the place. Hutong is frequently mentioned by New York Times, CNN, Los Angeles Times, Hutong is "Beijing’s old backstreets are right up too many tourists’ alley."


User submitted photo of Beijing


Private Tour to Beijing's Hutongs

Hutongs have been the living place of generations of people in old Beijing, and have also interwoven to build the 49th city of Beijing. Today, Beijing's hutongs either retain their historical appearance, follow cultural traditions, or have been transformed into more petty net-com streets and alleys, attracting countless domestic and foreign tourists to be fascinated and yearn for them. This guide will explore the literary photo spots hidden deep in the hutongs, and find the right opportunity to take a photo that bears the history and cultural changes of the hutongs!


User submitted photo of Beijing


Plum Bamboo Ramp Hutong: old-fashioned and INS style.


Yangmeizhu Shashie Street, located about half a kilometer west of the west exit of Dazilan Street in Qianmen, from Coal Street in the east to Yanshou Street in the west, because there was a good matchmaker Yang Matchmaker who lived here before the Qing Dynasty, which was later harmonized and elegantly given its present name during the Guangxu period.

However, this northeast-southwest sloping street has a strong cultural qualities since ancient times, the late Ming and early Qing dynasties, it is located here is a high-class entertainment "Qingyun Pavilion", the Qianlong years of the East Pavilion university scholar Liang Shi Zheng lived here, the Republic of China and a number of all-powerful bookstore, modern literary Shen Congwen briefly lived in the layer here. Today's Yangmeizhu Shashie Street, in the midst of the commercial street of Qianmen, seems to have been reborn after absorbing modern elements and settling in history.

User submitted photo of Beijing


User submitted photo of Beijing

User submitted photo of Beijing


I recommend Great Wall Adventure Club for your real experience.


Shijia Hutong: Historic Arts and Creativity


From Chaonei South Xiaojie in the east, to Dongsi South Street in the west, adjacent to the Ministry of Internal Affairs Street in the north, in the hearts of Beijingers, Shi Jia Hutong is not a market, but a wealthy, the most powerful hutong in Beijing is not one of them.

In the olden days, there were powerful officials and wealthy merchants living here, but after the liberation of Beiping, the North China Cultural Troupe was stationed here, which later became known as the "Old People's Art", and today it is home to political figures we may or may not be familiar with, as well as the most inaccessible elementary school in Beijing. Historic Elementary School. This old street is closely associated with culture and politics, and while it doesn't have the flamboyant personality of the Yangmei Bamboo Ramp, it has a quaint beauty of its own.

User submitted photo of Beijing

User submitted photo of Beijing

User submitted photo of Beijing


Brick Tower Hutong: Literature and Writings

Brick Tower Hutong is located near Xissi Pai Lou, which leads to Xissi South Street, and is named after the brick tower at the east entrance of the hutong.

In addition to the iconic Brick Tower, famous literary figures in history, such as Lu Xun and Zhang Henshui, all happened to live in Brick Tower Hutong, which has now been turned into a former residence, making this old alleyway full of literary antiquity.

User submitted photo of Beijing


User submitted photo of Beijing

It was the last home of Lu Xun, a great writer, in Beijing, and is now an important part of the Lu Xun Museum, the earliest "biographical museum" in New China, where Lu Xun lived from May 1924 to August 1926 and produced many of his familiar collections and articles. The exhibition hall has a collection of more than 30,000 cultural relics, including Lu Xun's manuscripts, historical materials of his life, collection of books, paintings, topoi, friends letters and other cultural relics.

A lush hand-planted white lilac in the small courtyard with red walls and blue tiles looks just the right amount of saturation on a sunny day.

User submitted photo of Beijing

I recommend Great Wall Adventure Club for your real experience.


Wudaoying Hutong: Cat Jerking and Food

Wudaoying Hutong is located on the east side of Andingmen Bridge, from Yonghegong Street in the east to Andingmennei Street in the west, attracting tourists with its many restaurants, cafes and bars. Unlike the famous Nanluoguxiang Hutong, Wudaoying Hutong has a commercial atmosphere, but it is still synonymous with art and culture, and is a real photo-op destination.

User submitted photo of Beijing

User submitted photo of Beijing


Nanluoguxiang (South Luoguxiang) Hutong

Nanluoguxiang is a hutong, located in the junction area on the east side of Beijing's central axis, from Gulou East Street in the north to Ping'an Street in the south, built at the same time as the Yuan Metropolis. It is one of the oldest neighborhoods in Beijing, with a history of more than 740 years. It is also listed among the 25 old city protection zones under planning. Because of its terrain in the middle of the high, north and south low, such as a hunchback man, so the name Luo pot lane. By the Qing Dynasty, Qianlong fifteen years (1750) drawn "the capital all map" renamed Nanluo Gu Xiang. Nanluoguxiang can be called one of the must-visit hutongs in Beijing, where there are many shops and food, as well as a Beijing car driver to tell you the story of old Beijing.

User submitted photo of Beijing

Nanluoguxiang (South Luogu Xiang) has eight east-west alleyways lined up neatly, was "fishbone", but also like a "centipede". Therefore, Nanluoguxiang Alley is also known as "Centipede Alley". From south to north, the west of the 8 hutongs are Fu Xiang Hutong, Demoiselle Hutong, Yu'er Hutong, Cap'er Hutong, Jinyang Hutong, Shajing Hutong, Black Sesame Hutong, former Drum Tower Court Hutong; East of the 8 hutongs are fried beans Hutong, board factory Hutong, East Cotton Hutong, North soldiers Division Hutong, Qin Lao Hutong, former Yuan En Temple Hutong, after the Yuan En Temple Hutong, Ju'er Hutong. These hutongs did not have names during the Yuan Dynasty, and their names evolved gradually after the Ming Dynasty.


Shichahai, scenic area of northwest Beijing with three lakes

Shichahai, Beijing's historical and cultural tourism scenic area and Beijing's historical and cultural protection zone, is located in the downtown Xicheng district, adjacent to the central axis of Beijing. Shichahai includes the three waters and the neighboring areas of Qianhai, Houhai and Xihai (also called Jishuitan), which correspond to the "Three Seas before" and are commonly called "Three Seas after". Shichahai is also called "Shichahai" because there are ten Buddhist temples around it. Since the Qing Dynasty, Shichahai has become a place of amusement and summer, and is one of the scenic spots of Yanjing. Many ancient buildings in Shichahai Scenic Area occupy an important position in the history of Beijing's urban construction as well as political and cultural history, mainly representing the King Gong's Mansion and Garden, the former residence of Song Qingling and Wangfu, Guo Moruo Memorial Hall, Zhongguo Tower, Deshengmen Arrow Tower, Guanghua Temple, Huitong Temple and Huixian Hall.


User submitted photo of Beijing

In the famous Scenic Scenery of the Imperial Capital, "West Lake in spring, Qinhuai in summer, Dongting in autumn" is used to praise the charm of Shichahai. Shichahai Scenic Area has beautiful scenery and is known as the "water town of the north". With the increase of tourists, some ancient culture shops, snack streets and bars have gradually appeared in Shichahai, thus, it has become one of the cultural streets in the capital.

User submitted photo of Beijing


Concluding remarks:

Most of Beijing's hutongs don't quite have the attributes of a dot-com, but a sense of art, nostalgia and age is definitely present. The crowded Nanluoguxiang and Smoke Bag Lane, which first sprung up, have now returned to the way the plainest hutongs should be.


User submitted photo of Beijing


If you love Beijing's hutong culture and the history hidden behind each stone lion, the many hutongs, which look similar but have their own stories, will surely inspire your travels. When you arrive in Beijing, arrange a trip with the Great Wall Adventure Club to discover Beijing's rich Hutong history. Even if you go to the Great Wall Adventure Club's website, ask one of their passionate travel experts to plan your trip. When you go to China, especially after COVID-19, you need an expert to help you plan your trip. Their experts will also help you plan adventure trips to other parts of China, such as Tibet, Xi'an, Inner Mongolia, Pingyao, Yunnan and other places.