Code: BJ26-02

Houhai Hutong Tour

Shichahai Lake
We recommend you an independent Beijing hutong tour to Houhai Area, which is located to the north of the Beihai Park. A peaceful water area stretches for miles, with Houhai Lake in the middle, Qianhai Lake to the southeast while Xihai Lake to the northwest. Along the lakefront, there are many old hutongs and courtyards as well as modern cafes and bars, making Houhai a wonderful place to feel the local Beijingers' life.

You may finish the whole exploration on foot to immerse in the cultural atmosphere step by step. There are also rickshaws for rent, which have been a traditional transportation means for hundreds of years. Taking a rickshaw should make your hutong tour fruitful and unforgettable.
Tour Route: Skewed Tobacco Pouch Street -> Ya'er Hutong -> Guanghua Temple -> Houhai Beiyan -> Yinding Bridge -> Houhai Nanyan -> Prince Gong's Mansion -> Houhai Bar Street

Take subway line 8 to Shichahai Station and use Exit A2; walk northwards for 200 yards to find the eastern entrance of Skewed Tobacco Pouch Street (Yandai Xiejie) and start your Beijing hutong tour from there. The Skewed Tobacco Pouch Street is one of the most characteristic old hutong in Beijing, with a history of around 800 years. It got this name because there used to gather many shops selling tobaccos and pipes. On the other hand, the shape of this old lane also resembles a long-stemmed pipe itself. Today, it becomes a cultural block lined with various antique stores and trendy bars.
Prince Gong's Mansion
Walk to the west end of the busy Skewed Tobacco Pouch Street, you can explore the peaceful Xiaoshibei Hutong and Dashibei Hutong to the north, or continue to go west to enter Ya'er Hutong. Hike 350 yards west, you will find the Guanghua Temple on your right. After visiting the temple, you may walk backwards for a few yards to find a narrow alley. Walk southwards along the lane leading to Houhai Beiyan Street on the north bank of the lake. You may enjoy the quiet and elegant scenery of the lake. Boating on the lake is also a good recreation for independent travelers. Go eastwards along the bank for 300 yards and you will see the Silver Ingot Bridge (Yinding Bridge), who got this name because of its unique shape.

Go across the bridge and turn west to follow the Houhai Nanyan Street on the south bank for 850 yards to a fork and then, head south along Liuyin Street for 380 yards to reach the No. 6 Gate of Prince Gong's Mansion. It is the largest and best preserved Qing-dynasty princely residence in Beijing and a fine example of ancient Chinese architecture comprised of traditional courtyards and gardens.
After visiting this princely mansion, you may either stroll around the surrounding hutongs to make a further exploration, or backtrack to Houhai Bar Street along the lake, which brims with various restaurants, tea houses, and bars. You may pamper your stomach there while enjoying the peaceful scenery of the Houhai Lake. At night, this place will become a prosperous bazaar and reveal a different charm. You are advised to stay there until the evening to experience the local night life.
Tip: This is also a popular hutong bike tour itinerary. You may rent a bicycle at the rental point near the western end of Jiaodaokou East Street. Ride westwards until you reach the Drum Tower, and then turn south to find the entrance of the Skewed Tobacco Pouch Street to start your hutong biking tour.
 More Beijing Hutong Tours: 

Shichahai Tour: explore alleys from Lotus Market to Bell and Drum Towers.
Dashilar and Qianmen: old lanes with time-honored brands like Quanjude Roast Duck and Ruifuxiang Silk Store.
Old Beijing City: visit hutongs near the center of the old imperial city.

Questions & Answers
Asked by NIDA | Jul. 30, 2013 12:59Reply
The Kao Rou Ji Muslim Restaurant
How to go to this muslim restaurant from Beijing railway station by subway/bus?
Answers (1)
Answered by Joyce | Jul. 30, 2013 21:15
14Reply


Hi, you may take subway line 2 for 7 stops and get off at Gulou Street Station(exit G), then walk to the restaurant. Or, you can walk to the Chongwenmen West Station and take bus no. 60 to the Drum Tower. This restaurant is located near Houhai.
Asked by John See | Nov. 24, 2011 03:49Reply
How long will it take for the icycle ride tour mentioned above?
Assuming we were to visit all the atttractions mentioned in the article? and how much would it cost to rent a bike near the drum tower?
Answers (1)
Answered by Huey | Nov. 24, 2011 05:35
00Reply


It depends on you, if you are interested in the sights on the way, you can stay longer. It might cost you about 1RMB to 3RMB per hour, 30RMB at most per day. But this is only for reference, for the detailed info, you may ask on the spot.
Asked by Gina | Oct. 16, 2011 12:59Reply
Where can we rent bikes in Beijing?
Where can we rent bikes in Beijing to use for the different bike tours you have recommended?
Answers (1)
Answered by Pinheiro | Oct. 16, 2011 06:38
00Reply


Many places offer bicycle rent service in Beijing. You can connect the Kangduo Bicycle Rent Company through the web: http://www.bicyclekingdom.com/ or tel: 010-65265857/65229478. And it is located at No.34 of East Huangchenggen South Street in Dongcheng District, Beijing.
Ask a Question
Question Summary (100 characters)
Details (optional) (2,000 characters)