Thursday, September 13, 2007

Exploring Beijing Hutongs

Recently the popularity of Nanluoguxiang hutong has increased noticeably with tourist numbers on the rise following the complete refurbishment of the area in time for the 2008 Olympic Games.

Bed & Breakfast, No 71 Ju'er Hutong - just off Nan Luo Gu Xiang Lu, Dong Cheng District

Many tourists enjoy taking ride through this 800-year-old hutong that was once home to celebrities, officials, artists and well-off families. There are 25 restaurants and 40 shops scattered along Nanluoguxiang.

People seeking a travel experience different to that available from many hotels may like to try some of the cheap hotels or youth hostels.

Hutong street life, Beijing

Peking Down Town Backpackers Accomodation found at No. 85 Nanluoguxiang can be contacted on 8400 2429. This hostel also provides a popular cafe with a cosy environment, internet access, coffee and breakfast.

Nanluoguxiang offers a real taste of traditional Beijing life in courtyard homes surrounded by grey walls. GuXian 20 is an example of a higher end courtyard hotel with its restaurant, 28 classy guest rooms decorated in traditional style and outdoor tennis court. Telephone: 6400 5566, Fax: 6400 3658, guxiang20.com

For a more intimate, cheap and friendly style of accommodation try No. 71 Ju'er Hutong, just down a narrow alley running off Nan Luo Gu Xiang Lu. Telephone: 8402 5238 or email jacky[at]daqiworld.com

Wandering the streets will reward passers-by with fresh fruits drinks or ice cream from various vendors. Those wanting something wetter to enjoy may find the open air atmosphere of bars and restaurants very difficult to resist as somewhere to sit back and enjoy a cold beer along with delicious foods.

Fish Nation fish and chips, Beijing

Included in the restaurants is Fish Nation, popular for its British style fish and chips. There is a roof top area available for enjoying summer evenings. Fish Nation is No. 113 Nanluoguxiang; call 6401 3961 or for a more local-style experience try The Hutong Bar on Nan Luo Gu Xiang Lu. Another interesting bar and restaurant, 'The Best is Simple', can be found just off Nan Luo Gu Xiang.

Those who enjoy shopping may be interested to visit The Pottery Workshop to see the world famous work of Caroline Cheng. While browsing her work you can also enjoy a glass of wine or a range of other drinks on sale. potteryworkshop.com.cn

Caroline Cheng's world famous pottery at The Pottery Workshop

Access

Nanluoguxiang is located in Beijing's Dongcheng District north east of Beihai Lake and north of the Forbidden City.

Walk west or short taxi ride from either Beixinqiao or Zhangzizhonglu Subway Stations on Line 5.

Hotels in Beijing

Books on China and Beijing

Book the Capital Hotel Beijing Book the Beijing Downtown Holiday Inn