Code: BJ63-04

Hutong Tour around Old City of Beijing

Today's independent hutong bike tour Beijing will start with the Huangchenggen Ruins Park. You may take bus 60, 82, or tourist bus line 1 to Nanheyan Stop; then walk northwards for 280 yards to find the southern entrance of the park. It was built upon the ruins of the imperial city walls during the Ming Dynasty (1368 – 1644). You can still find the relics and many sculptures there showing its long history.
South Gong and Drum Lane
Keep heading to the northern end of the park. You will reach the Di'anmen East Street. This strip-like park is 1.5 miles in length. It may be a little energy-consuming to finish the whole tour route on foot for average visitors. If you feel tired in the midway, you may stop and take bus 60 or 82 along Beiheyan Street to Dong Huangchenggen Beikou, and the Di'anmen East Street is just a few yards ahead of you. Then, turn west and walk for 260 yards to find the South Gong and Drum Lane (Nanluogu Xiang), a popular destination among independent travelers.

Most hutongs in Beijing were formed during the Ming and Qing Dynasties (1368 - 1911), but this north-south lane was firstly built during the Yuan Dynasty (1271 - 1368). You can still find courtyards of that period there. It is also nicknamed as the Centipede Block because of its unique layout. Seen from the air, it looks exactly like a big centipede with eight alleys lying in order in east-west direction, including the famous Mao'er Hutong and Ju'er Hutong.
Turn west onto Gulou East Street at the northern end of the South Gong and Drum Lane and walk towards the Drum Tower. Then, turn south to go along Di'anmen Outer Street for 100 yards to find the Skewed Tobacco Pouch Street. In ancient times the street was dotted with shops selling tobacco pouch and pipes.

When you reach the western end of this alley, you may turn south to reach the northern bank of Houhai Lake (Houhai Beiyan) in Shichahai Area. You will find many restaurants and bars along the bank to feast your stomach.
Temple of Confucius
Take a short rest after the meal and then go down the riverbank to the southeast. Turn east to walk along Wannian Hutong to the Di'anmen Outer Street. Then, head southwards to find the Gulou stop of bus no. 124. Take the bus to Fangjia Hutong. Once alighted, walk northwards for 140 yards to find the Guozijian Street, which houses the Imperial Academy (Guozijian), once supreme institution in the ancient educational system, and the Temple of Confucius, where people paid their homage to this great scholar.

Once you get out from the eastern end of Guozijian Street, go across the road to find the entrance of Yonghe Lamasery. It is the largest Tibetan Buddhist Temple in Beijing. Spend one or two hours to tour the temple with splendid imperial architecture and learn the mysterious culture of the Tibetan Buddhism, and then your one-day hutong bike tour Beijing ends here.
Tip: Instead of walking around, taking a hutong bike tour along the above route may infuse more joy to your stay in Beijing. You can find a public bicycle rental point near the western end of Jinyu Hutong, which is only 550 yards east of the Huangchenggen Ruins Park. Then, please ride westward to reach the park and start your self-guided biking tour.
 More Beijing Hutong Tours:

Shichahai Tour: walk or rent a rickshaw to explore the alleys and courtyards in Shichahai Area.
Houhai Tour: get around the old lanes and then experience the local nightlife in Houhai Bar Street.
Dashilar and Qianmen: a time-honored shopping block with featured stores and restaurants.

Questions & Answers
Asked by Brian McFarlin | Aug. 24, 2012 09:49Reply
Can you please suggest a few bike rental shops, including addresses; near Houhai?
Also, are you able to provide a map or list of suggested places to visit once we rent our bikes. Starting off at Houhai is a good location, as we generally end the day there for dinner. Thank you.
Answers (1)
Answered by John | Aug. 24, 2012 07:55

Since bicycle travel is very popular in Beijing now, there are many bike rental spots in the city, even at the exit of the subway. Houhai is a very good place to rent bicycle and you may find many rental shops along the lake. It is very easy and convenient.
For the travel route and places, you may refer to the following page for different itineraries for your reference:
Asked by Brian McFarlin | Aug. 23, 2012 13:28Reply
Old Beijing Cycling - How much and where do I reserve this?
We will be in Beijing in November and I would like to understand where I can rent a bike and if i can simply rent the bike and take a self-guided tour on my own for a few hours. If so, where and how much?
Answers (1)
Answered by Lisa | Aug. 23, 2012 06:52

Yes. It is a very good idea and a popular way to travel in Beijing by bike. There are many bike rental spots and you may find them at Houhai which is near to the Drum Tower, the Lama Temple, Beihai Park, etc. The rental fee is around CNY10 per hour and the deposit is about CNY100 to CNY200. Hope this information is helpful.
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