If you travel to Bejing you will realize that it has a lot of pecculiarities, it has different landscapes and one of the most beautiful you can find in your Beijing tour is The Houhai lake zone. The Houhai lake zone is a district that is formed by a lake and it’s surroundings, mostly Hútòngs. […]
The Houhai lake zone is a district that is formed by a lake and it’s surroundings, mostly Hútòngs.
It’s situated in the central part of Beijing and is one of the three parts of the Shichahai area, formed by the areas of QianHai, HouHai and XiHai and together they form three lakes whose water come from different parts like the Beijing zoo or the West Fragrant Hills.
But the Houhai area is the most popular area, either in daylight or at night.
During the day the area is bursting in activity, the Hútòngs and the lake shore are full of shops but the lake is also vey crouded, you can rent a boat there and discover the lake at your pace, you can see the fishermen fishing in the lake and you can even bath if you feel like it (athough maybe is not very sanitary)
But the nightlife is also very active, the lake shore is full of bars and pubs with a distinctive atmosphere, the combination of neon lights and paper lanterns that makes an environment surprisinggly calm and relaxing.
One of the most interesting activites that you can do in HouHai is rent a Rickshaw and visit the two historical spots that have made the HouHai zone one of the most visited in china; The place of birth of the emperor Puyi (the last emperor of China) and the coutyard house that holds the residence of Song QinLing, the wife of the emperor Sun YatSen, both of this houses are now museums and can be visited, it’s interesting how well preserved are the gardens and the ponds and the huge difference between the Hútòngs that can be seen not very far away and the magnificence of the imperial residence.
the HouHai lake is a good place also for the modern people, you can find live music in most of the bars and all the shops are full of handmade things that will give a very chic touch in your (or your friends’) house.
The Houhai lake is the place to go if you want to have a relaxed day, just walking in the lakeshore, looking at nice souvenirs or maybe drinking something and just see the people pass by.
In bettween all the rush of Beijing City make sure to include the HouHai lake in your Beijing tour. You won’t regret it!
Have you ever thought to yourself, “Hey I should Travel to Beijing”? Well I did and I do not regret it, in fact if I could I would live in this diverse and booming city for as long as possible. However, I don’t think one could see and experience all that Beijing has to offer […]
Have you ever thought to yourself, “Hey I should Travel to Beijing”? Well I did and I do not regret it, in fact if I could I would live in this diverse and booming city for as long as possible. However, I don’t think one could see and experience all that Beijing has to offer in one life time. This being said there are a few must see places for those who only visit for even a week. First of all everyone should check out the numerous Beijing Tours because everyone’s taste buds for fun are different. But if you want to spend a day exploring on your own, Houhai Lake in the Gulou area of Beijing is the place to be even on Sundays. This district is constantly alive with the sound of music and laughter and if you like me love to be on boats you can rent electric boats, paddle boats and guided boats to see the district from the lake. It is about 120rmb for a six person boat and if you split the cost it is much cheaper and more fun than say the swan boats in the Boston commons. If you are more adventurous you can try one of the Dragon boats but it is quite tiring. If you do go out on the lake look out for the swimmers and fishers, I personally almost hit a few. The view from the lake is gorgeous in every direction and Is a great photo opportunity. Another word of caution though if you want to go under the bridge to the narrower part of the lake you might get caught in a traffic jam of boats trying to do the same thing. It is not an unpleasant experience in fact it is quite funny and everyone caught in the jams laughs and says high to each other. You might, like me, even end up reaching over your boat to shake hands with a complete stranger you have just bumped into. In the winter I have been told that it is the primary place to go ice skating outdoors, now that I want to try.
If you are not into boating another option is to just walk around the street and see the shops and vendors running about. Or you can rent bikes which zoom all over the area. There are even tandem bikes large enough for three people. When I was there this past weekend a man selling erhus or Chinese violin as it is called by many foreign countries. When he came by my friend Ellen wanted to try to play one so he let her and even gave her some short instructions in broken English. However, when she started to play (terribly might I ad) tourists from all over the area began to flock around her and take pictures of her attempting to play this tricky instrument. I ended up buying one to play in my free time however my attempts to play made Ellen’s seem like sweet music and I was quickly asked to stop by my other friends. After this riveting experience we went to get a frosty beverage and one of the many restaurants and bars on Houhai’s bar street. Many of these bars are very nice and often have rooftop seating for a great view of the lake or even comfy chairs right next to the lake. Most have amazing live music, hookahs and even karaoke which I must say I am quite bad at. My favorite of these bars is called Michele Jackson and it is completely decked out in pink chairs with rhinestones in them. This is just one of the many places to visit on your China travel. If you have ever thought of going to China go, it is a place where everyone can find their own unique and fun experiences.
‘What can I do on a sunny day on my travel to Beijing?’ – Here’s a thought, try Hou Hai. The place is popular with tourists which is made more obvious after considering what it has to offer. The spontaneity of creating your own itinerary can be extremely fun and the randomness of the Hou Hai area makes this all […]
‘What can I do on a sunny day on my travel to Beijing?’ – Here’s a thought, try Hou Hai. The place is popular with tourists which is made more obvious after considering what it has to offer. The spontaneity of creating your own itinerary can be extremely fun and the randomness of the Hou Hai area makes this all the more appealing. One suggestion is to go on one of the different Beijing tours to the Drum and Bell Tower in the morning and then mosey down to Hou Hai in the afternoon. Hou Hai is reachable from Gulou Dajie station, subway line 2 and is the perfect area to spend a sunny afternoon, as I discovered on Saturday.
Before reaching the lakes, there is always the chance to explore Hou Hai’s stores. These stores sell a spectrum of products where most people will find something of interest. For one, the shop owners will often welcome you to try out their items. In one shop, for example, you can test out your musical ability by playing various ocarinas. Most probably my favourite, is a store where you can buy satirical postcards and then have the opportunity to write them out downstairs whilst you Hou Hai experience is fresh in the mind.
So now you are probably fatigued from browsing the shops which line Hou Hai. To cool off there are a selection of bars and cafes and some excellent teashops allowing you to sample (taste and smell) some of their finest produce. Even though tea might seems like it should be drunk on a milder day, the tea shops around host and wealth of fruitful iced teas. My personal choice was to opt for a refreshing mango smoothie (as opposed to a friend who went for a more adventurous ‘Yakult’ concoction).
Once you have your iced-drink in your hand, it is time to head towards the lake for some fun! Locals can be seen swimming in the lake, (but personally, considering the congestion on the water, I would prefer not to). Instead, there is the exciting option of hopping on a paddle-boat. This is an activity not to be ignored, especially as the boats can accommodate groups. From here, you can sit back, relax and take a sip of your smoothie – (well, depending who is doing all the work paddling!).
We had a particularly enjoyable time listening to some background music on a friend’s phone and weaving past boats, swimmers and ducks. Alas, no standing is allowed on the boats so any rendition of ‘Rose’ and ‘Jack’ from the film the Titanic was out of the question. In some respects, boating on the lake ironically felt like a driving test with the amount of precise manoeuvres required. The main difference however, was that it was inevitable not to avoid a collision with fellow boaters, especially when meandering under the low-lying bridge.
After parking our boat, we found an eatery for dinner and ordered some cold noodles and cucumber with a spicy sauce which was definitely the perfect finale to warm springtime day in Beijing. Days like this certainly make me reflect as to when I should book my next Beijing flights!
Travelling is always a great experience and a great opportunity to gain insight into the culture and traditions of the country you are visiting. So apart from the tourist attractions it’s interesting to see the different aspects a place has to offer. Therefore it’s nice to see the crowded and the quiet places, the tourist […]
Travelling is always a great experience and a great opportunity to gain insight into the culture and traditions of the country you are visiting. So apart from the tourist attractions it’s interesting to see the different aspects a place has to offer. Therefore it’s nice to see the crowded and the quiet places, the tourist areas and residents’ daily life. When you travel to Beijing you have the opportunity to see all this and in many Beijing hotels it’s literally surrounding you.
To see some historic spots, Beijing’s daily life and to have a relaxed time, Shichahai is a very good place to go to. The area is situated north of Beihai Park surrounding three man-made lakes, the so called Xihai (West Sea), Houhai (Rear Sea) and Qianhai (Front Sea). It is a very popular area for residents as well as tourists and like other parks almost an oasis within the city. With the great view on the lakes and the relaxing atmosphere around the water you can almost forget that you’re still in the city center.
Around the three lakes there are plenty of bars and restaurants right at the shore to sit down for a while and enjoy a refreshing drink in the heat. For an even better view many of those have a second floor where you can practically sit on the roof for a slightly different perspective from above. This bar street is open until late at night. So it’s a great spot during day time but also at night when the lights of the city create a different atmosphere.
Along the shore there is a playground, so it’s suitable for younger kids and several places where you can rent bikes for a tour around the lakes. But be aware that on nice days it’s very crowded and the roads are full of people, bikes, rickshaws and others. Especially Houhai and Qianhai, the middle and the southern lake, invite to a boat tour. At different places around the lake you can rent boats and take a tour on the water.
In earlier times these three connected lakes were an important part of the waterways to transport goods by boat from the Grand Canal into the city. Of all three lakes Xihai is the least crowded one and therefore worth a visit. It seems more relaxed and somehow more original than the others. But apart from the relaxing aspect the whole ares also offers enough opportunity for sightseeing.
Right around the lakes you can visit several mansions and residences, for example the Song Qingling Mansion, which has been turned into a museum. Song Qingling was the wife of Sun Yatsen, the first president of the Republic of China. And the famous Prince Gong Mansion can be found west of Qianhai and is a very interesting place to see. From the south gate at Qianhai it’s also not far to the Drum and Bell Tower and around the area are great places to see the original hutongs, Beijing’s typical residential neighborhoods which can be found throughout the center. So there are several places that can easily be combined in a Beijing tour.
When you travel to Beijing a must visit is the large hutong district in the Shicha Lake area. It is a very picturesque location with old buildings and traditional architecture beside the stunning Houhai and Qianhai lakes. The easiest way to travel here from your Beijing Hotel is by taxi, however it is not difficult […]
When you travel to Beijing a must visit is the large hutong district in the Shicha Lake area. It is a very picturesque location with old buildings and traditional architecture beside the stunning Houhai and Qianhai lakes. The easiest way to travel here from your Beijing Hotel is by taxi, however it is not difficult to do by subway either as it is a casual 10 minute stroll from Gulou station.
There are plenty of lively streets around the lakeside area with a mix of trendy and traditional restaurants, cafes and bars. Small boutiques can be found hidden in the alleyways selling traditional crafts and clothing, boutique chocolates and souvenirs. There are also plenty of craft stalls selling various handicrafts. This is the place to head for personalized stamps with your name in Chinese along with your Chinese zodiac sign. You can also get personalised dolls made from a picture of yourself or your relatives.
Shicha hutong area as the perfect place to sample street food delicacies at rock bottom prices. You wont find the exotic shocking foods here but genuine food that the locals eat. Baked sweet potatoes, crepes, noodles and kebab skewers are everywhere and much cheaper than at the tourist orientated night markets.
If you are interested in food, there are many cooking classes available in the hutongs where you can learn to cook a variety of dishes. There are also small tucked away restaurants, unlikely to have an english or picture menu, but serving authentic cuisine at very modest prices.
It is safe enough to just wander around on foot and the only problem you may have is getting a bit lost, but is easy enough to just head in the direction of the lakes to find your way again. If you don’t fancy walking there are plenty of places you can hire bikes from to explore the area still being able to nip in and out of the narrow alleyways. You can also hire a rickshaw to drive you around, although you will need to bargain hard to get a good price.
A trip to the hutongs promises some great photos and an insight into day to day life before the city was catapulted into modernisation. You can watch men sitting out with their caged birds and the older generations playing cards and checkers on the side of the road.
There are also many Beijing tours which offer trips to the hutongs either as a half or full day visit if you would rather go as part of a group where you can learn the history of the area, which is now mostly a heritage site.
In fact, Houhai is just a part of ShiShaHai, but we often call it ‘Houhai” instead of ‘ShiShaHai”. We usually say:”go to Houhai”, or locals refer to it as “Qianhai.” They go to the lotus market or to the island of center lake to drink a cup of expensive tea. Also they regularly go to […]
In fact, Houhai is just a part of ShiShaHai, but we often call it ‘Houhai” instead of ‘ShiShaHai”. We usually say:”go to Houhai”, or locals refer to it as “Qianhai.” They go to the lotus market or to the island of center lake to drink a cup of expensive tea. Also they regularly go to the west sea to climb the Huitong temple or pay 20,30 yuan to go fishing in the center of the ancient city.
Best Time to Visit Houhai
Spring and autumn in Beijing are perfect seasons to travel. It is neither too cold nor too hot. In autumn, there are clear skies, crisp air and colorful leaves making Beijing the Golden city. The north edge of the Great Plain of China is surrounded by the hills on one side and waters on the other which creates a typical semi-humid continental climate for Beijing with four distinct seasons. The annual average temperature is 11.8℃with the coldest being -4.6℃ in January and the hottest being 26.1℃ in July. Springs and autumns in Beijing are quite short while winters are relatively long. The average amount of precipitation is 644 mm, with 180 frostless days. Heating systems in Beijing are quite good, so it’s warm indoor in winters. However it’s rather cold outside, and tourists have to wear sweaters and thick coats. Weather forecasts are broadcasted in newspapers, radios and on TV. You can also check the weather by calling 859 which provides Chinese and English weather reports for the day and the next day. Most people go to Beijing to visit historical cites which are not affected by weather. If you arrive in winter, you will get off-season rates in hotels and travel agencies which can save you plenty of money.
How to get to Houhai
By subway from line one(M1) Sihui East to Dongdan station, and transfer subway line 5(M5) to Zhangzizhonglu station. Then by bus, take Road42/823/701/13/power118 to the north gate of the North Sea. Then travel North on this road.
Houhai Bar Street has a similar style to other bars. It is simple and has old furniture, green plants, personalized ornaments and a lazy atmosphere. Bars around Houhai are not very large, maybe the space can avoid excessive noise, that’s why i like to come to Houhai Bars. At night, the scenery of Houhai Bar […]
Houhai Bar Street has a similar style to other bars. It is simple and has old furniture, green plants, personalized ornaments and a lazy atmosphere. Bars around Houhai are not very large, maybe the space can avoid excessive noise, that’s why i like to come to Houhai Bars. At night, the scenery of Houhai Bar Street is beautiful. The moon hangs in the sky and the light is ambiguous. A faint sound of Erhu or Pipa drift from cruise ships on the lake and all of these add to a romantic atmosphere created in quiet Houhai. Lovers whisper while friends drink, and melodies are wonderful. All of this makes people recall the river in their hometowns and the friends from their childhoods. These scenes play together to create a beautiful ambience.
Houhai is a suitable place for reminiscence, so when people come to Houhai it gives them nostalgic emotions every time. Bring your girlfriend to Houhai to experience the romance of Beijing. It is the most worthy thing to experience in this season.
Houhai(simplified Chinese: 后海; traditional Chinese: 後海; pinyin: hòū hǎī; ) is a leisure place in Beijing with water, montains and weeping willows. All the private houses and residents on the shore, the residence of prince and former celebrities add to the Beijing flavor and historic charm. People come here just to hear crisp insects, see […]
Houhai(simplified Chinese: 后海; traditional Chinese: 後海; pinyin: hòū hǎī; ) is a leisure place in Beijing with water, montains and weeping willows. All the private houses and residents on the shore, the residence of prince and former celebrities add to the Beijing flavor and historic charm. People come here just to hear crisp insects, see the miniature of old Beijing courtyard buildings, and feel the royal heritage which seems to have gone.
The “hai” in Houhai actually is an artificial lake. It is a clear pool of exclusive access for royal family. Houhai in the center of Beijing, its just four or five stations from Tianmen square. Houhai is a strip of water with the famous “the North Sea”, opposite Jingshan mountain and the Imperial palace. Walking along Houhai, you can see the green walls of the old houses easily. Outside those solemn gate, you can just see the tall and dense trees in the yard and it makes people fell mysterious. It is said that the water in Houhai linked with the dragon of the Imperial Palace, it has been a treasured place from ancient time to now. Monks in past dynasties built temples here, and nobles built gardens on the shore, celebrities moved to the lake and began their life on the shore. Therefore, an old saying:”there is Shi sha hai first, after Beijing city.”