On my trip to China last month, I joined a 3 days Beijing tour which brought us travelled the downtown. First of all, it was easy to book this online travel reservation on the website. Soon enough they replied or confirm our tour reservation. But for make sure our tour had been confirmed, we did call personally the agency. It was nice and reliable service.
Of course, during 3 days in Beijing, we could have visit plenty historical and cultural attractions around. They are for example Great Wall, Forbidden City, Summer Palace, Beijing zoo, etc and even the small courtyard of Beijing called Hutong. Might be for travelers who does not come to Beijing yet, they will not know or heard about this place. But till I explored it personally I could tell you how special the spot it is.
Hutong Alley View
One of the unique features of Beijing, due to its long history as a cultural center of China, is Beijing's long and winding neighborhoods of hutongs. This network of narrow alleys covers a big part of the city centre and is in many ways the most intriguing thing about it. We could learn and understand about local Beijing life style and culture. The complex has still its own Beijing old life characteristic where tourists could personally feel about atmosphere of the old Beijing. Many houses in these hutongs have brilliant red doors with statues of lions and red lanterns and other traditional designs. Discovering those unique hutongs is a great way to spend days or even weeks in Beijing.
Drum Tower around Old Hutong
So many ways that we could choose for explore the narrow alleys of Hutongs, including by bike, side car, rickshaws or just walk. During this Beijing tour, a rickshaw ride is included, so it means we did explore the complex by taking the rickshaw (pedicab). Rickshaw is a unique vehicle which might be only founded in the area around Beijing hutong. It allows 2 people ride on the same rickshaw then will be one locals Beijing people as the driver. We saw ordinary people doing ordinary things - chatting, eating, sleeping, playing, washing, buying, selling and many more. Wandered the narrow alleyways with old houses and buildings is one of the highlights of our tour in Beijing. The experience was wonderful and nice since we could have a chance to explore peaceful and calm old neighborhood in Beijing.