Hútòngs

On July 30, 2012, in Beijing, Getting Around, More Places of Interest, by Jack Li

Beijing is a city that has changed throughout the last years. But if you travel to Beijing and you want to know how the city was hundreds of years ago, there are places where you can go and still see the traditional streets. Don’t miss it in your Beijing Tour. The Hútòngs are basically the […]

Beijing is a city that has changed throughout the last years. But if you travel to Beijing and you want to know how the city was hundreds of years ago, there are places where you can go and still see the traditional streets. Don’t miss it in your Beijing Tour.

The Hútòngs are basically the old streets of Beijing, they were constructed during the Yuan, Ming and Qing dynasties and they are the most ancient part of the city, they are so old that the oldest ones have up to 700 years of history.

The houses in the hútòngs normally have a square structure with a small entrance and a big interior open space where most of the domestic life is done, another peculiarity of the hútòngs is that the bathrooms are shared.

In the year 2000 they were more than 1400 Hútòngs just in the center of Beijing, but when the Olympics were given to Beijing they had to modify the street structure in order to hold all the infrastructures that were necessary for the event and now there are less than 1000 hútòngs in Beijing.

So if you want to visit the Hútòngs you just have to know where to go to see them, here there is a list of the places that still have hútòngs in Beijing:

–          Nanluogu Xiang; formed by 8 parallel hútòngs it’s 768 meters long and it’s protected since 1990

–          Yandai Xiejie; Built in the Qing dynasty this hútòng zone is famous for the Tea houses and bars that have given the zone a very active nightlife

–          Beijing Liulichang Culture Street; this is the place to see ancient things such as calligraphy or books.

–          Lingjing hútòng; its 640 meters long make this street one of the most unique and it’s worth visiting it.

–          Brick tower Hútòng; It’s one of the oldest hútòngs and it is well preserved with a tower built in the Jing dynasty, so you can visit it and feel the ancient times.

There are lots of other Hútòngs in the city of Beijing so if you are really interested it’s good to ask in your hotel or in the tourist information points to find where are all the hútòngs. They may seem similar because they all follow the same structure but there are huge differences in the materials and ways of construction depending on which dynasty the Hútòng was built.

The city of Beijing is full of places to go, but the Hútòngs are one of the most emblematic places to go in your Beijing tour, even if it’s only for a night in one of the bars of the Yanday Xiejie Hútòng or a walk in the Brick Tower Hútòng you have to visit these places before leaving Beijing because you’ll have a vision on how the city was hundreds of years ago before Beijing changed from a Chinese traditional town to the modern metropolis that is today.

 

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Wudaoying Hutong Cafes

On April 27, 2012, in Beijing, China Travel Gossip, More Places of Interest, by Jack Li

Hutongs are excellent places to see the city’s old streets if you travel to Beijing with some superb Beijing tours operating in and around different hutongs. Stepping off the subway at Yonghegong Lama Temple tourists will encounter over the road from the temple, a maze of amazing (pun intended) cafes in the Wudaoying Hutong. This […]

Hutongs are excellent places to see the city’s old streets if you travel to Beijing with some superb Beijing tours operating in and around different hutongs. Stepping off the subway at Yonghegong Lama Temple tourists will encounter over the road from the temple, a maze of amazing (pun intended) cafes in the Wudaoying Hutong. This hutong is recognizable with its large gate and is the ideal place to have a beverage if you want to waken your senses in this transcendent location.

Sirena Bar is simply complements the alternative and recently regenerated nature of the hutong. Influenced by the Japanese ‘Hello Kitty’ franchise, Beijing has leapt on board to embrace the feline variety. The owners of the cafes have been successful with their venture with the café going from strength to strength with the café currently home to nine cats. Customers can choose to sit near the bar where it is likely you can spot a silky-smooth Siamese cat perched on rest. Yet, if in a small party, you could always hide on the couches upstairs which is pleasantly lit by natural light. The cats are supposedly kept away from the kitchen area for hygiene reasons, but because the cats generally lounge freely in the café, if you have an allergy towards cats, this place may not be ideal.

Sirena’s somewhat Mediterranean appearance with white walls and blue fittings gives the feeling of being in a quaint village which it a wonderful contrast to the hutong outside. The cafes along Wudaoying Hutong are definitely special in how they all have a unique presence. In contrast to Sirena’s bright façade, a few doors away is a bar with has a dark vampire theme with blood-entitled cocktails. If you like the sounds Sirena Bar’s appearance (but you are not a fan of cats), then Sand Pebbles Lounge is might appeal. This fresh-looking café serves Mexican/American-style food with a refreshing seaside décor to match which is quite a change from Chinese cuisine or fast-food joints.

Wudaoying Hutong does have a few eating places, although surrounding areas might be best if you are looking for cheaper and more localized dishes. Recommendations down the hutong include; the Vineyard, The Veggie Table and the V.A. (‘vanguard’) Bar. The only thing truly in common with these establishments is the letter ‘v’; apart that they all provide express their distinct vibes – The Vineyard with its romantic air, The Veggie Table for those who like their greens and the VA for its jazz music.

Due to the casual atmosphere of the Wudaoying Hutong, this unsurprisingly attracts many liberal-minded individuals and or backpackers. Thus logic follows this, and there are subsequently quite a few hostels to be found around the hutong. The Confucius International Youth Hostel is situated on Wudaoying Hutong and the Lama Temple International Youth Hostel is close by. Another option is to have a read of the Beijing hotels listings for those who prefer a little extra comfort and privacy.

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Travel and Tour Groups for China Travel

On December 15, 2010, in China Travel Gossip, Cool Places, Must-sees, by Jack Li

 Are you wondering how to make your china travel perfect? Actually, in my point of view, for those newcomers, it is better for you to go some Chinese travel agency for help, not only can you get some tips about China Tours, but also you will save a lot of energy and money during your […]

 Are you wondering how to make your china travel perfect? Actually, in my point of view, for those newcomers, it is better for you to go some Chinese travel agency for help, not only can you get some tips about China Tours, but also you will save a lot of energy and money during your trips in China.

One of the Chinese travel agencies I will recommend you is China Youth Travel Service (CYTS), and you can go to the website on www.chinatraveldepot.com and get more information you need. CYTS will provide you with all kinds of itineraries, such as the historical view, the landscape view, and so on.

Chinese Kungfu Tour

This itinerary includes Luoyang, Xi’an, Shanghai, and Beijing. Along this itinerary, you will have the opportunity to view the unique Chinese historical wonders at ancient capitals in China Step into the largest Royal Palace in the world and visit the birth place of Chinese legendary Kung Fu, also take a look at the ancient life size Terra-Cotta Warrior Corps; stroll on Huangpu River Bund and view modern constructions at Shanghai.

Shaolin Temple, one of the famous attractions in Luoyang, is the birthplace of Chan Buddism-cradle of Shaolin Kung fu. Shaolin Temple, about 70 km from Luoyang City, is in the region of Song Mountain, Henan Province. It is reputed to be ‘the Number One Temple under Heaven’. The temple is the cradle of the Chinese Zen Buddhism and the Shaolin Martial Arts such as Shaolin Cudgel. What’s more, Shaolin Kongfu refers to the traditional cultural system historically formed in the specified Buddhist cultural environment of Songshan Shaolin Temple which was based on the believe of Buddhism and reflected the wisdom of Buddhist Chan sect and which took the major expression mode of Shaolin Temple monks in practicing Wushu.

In Xi’an, you may take this opportunity to visit the Bell Tower, which was built in 1384 (Ming dynasty), and perches in Xi’an city centre. It stands facing each other with the Drum Tower, and is deemed as one of the landmark constructions and the bright pearl of the ancient city. There is a huge bell hanging on the roof of the tower which was traditionally used to tell the time and there are other, smaller bells on exhibit in the tower too.

In Shanghai, the well-reputed attractions are the Bund, the Jade Buddha Temple and so on. The Jade Buddha Temple, built in 1882, which can be found on Anyuan Road. The temple has 2 jade statues of the Sakyamuni Buddha, one seated and one reclining, brought from Myanmar. The seated Buddha is 1.9 meters (6ft) tall and was carved out of a single piece of white jade and is wearing a robe inlaid with precious jewels. The temple also houses a number of ancient sculptures, rare paintings and Buddhist scriptures.
The finally stop of this itinerary is Beijing. There are many of famous tourism sites in Beijing, and today we are going to someplace which is very different from others-­­­­­­­–Hutong in Beijing. Hutong is a kind of alley between the buildings, and it is said that they have a history of thousands years. Each of them has own names, some are given by the officials and some are named by local people. You will realize it is surprising to find the ancient and peaceful sites in such a modern metropolis.

All in all, this is the Kongfu Tour, and I am sure China travel will give you more pleasures than you can imagine. So, why not book your China Flights and join us…?

Best Choice for Tour Vacations in China

On November 10, 2010, in Adventure Trip, Beijing, Cultural Experience, Must-sees, by Jack Li

Foreign travelers may have more interest in china travel, for here they can enjoy the historical sites, the scenery, and more. However, for most new comers, they have no idea where to start when  making  their itinerary, and so I will share some of my experience with you, and hopefully it will help you when […]

Foreign travelers may have more interest in china travel, for here they can enjoy the historical sites, the scenery, and more. However, for most new comers, they have no idea where to start when  making  their itinerary, and so I will share some of my experience with you, and hopefully it will help you when you are booking your China Tours.

The itinerary which I recommend to you is from  Beijing to Pingyao to Datong to Taiyuan; it is featured by its cultural heritages. Pingyao, Datong and Taiyuan are cultural cities in Shanxi Province, which is located in the west of China. You can either fly there or take a train, it is up to you…

First stop: Beijing

It is well-known that Beijing is the capital of China, and a famous tourism city. A lot of travelcompanies have attracted millions of tourists  all around the world. However, the most popular travel destinations in China are no longer the Great Wall, the Temple of Heaven, the Summer Palace and the Forbidden City. Now people want to explore the ancient Hutongs and Beijing is famous for its Hutong Cultural. It is said that there are more than one thousand of Hutongs in Beijing, and each of them has their own names, some are named by Chinese heroes’ name, some are named by local people, in my point of view, it is more interesting to travel to these Hutongs than going shopping. Yesterday, I visited one of the famous Hutongs in Beijing, which is called Houhai, and I am sure you have heard about it. Here, you can appreciate the peaceful Beijing Hutong culture, but also enjoy yourselves in the unique bars.

Second stop: Shanxi Province

Shanxi is located in the west of China, and it only takes six hours to get there if you are on your journey by train, and if you go there by flights, it will be more convenient and faster.

Datong is the second largest city in Shanxi, and is known by the locals as the coal capital for a good reason. Datong coal is everywhere: tons of it powering the whole of Shanxi and other cities beyond, piles of it chugging along the roads around town in Soviet style off-blue trucks, smears of it discovered on a face-wiped handkerchief. The city is one of China’s most polluted and not only asthma sufferers should think twice before spending any amount of time in the city. Industrial and economic development has bounded in great leaps since the communists came to power in 1950, and huge swathes of the city have been altered into concrete. Despite all this travelers still have a few huge incentives to visit Datong, incentives that are all related to the town’s ancient past.

Pingyao is one of the world cultural heritages, and is well-known as the ancient city. Pingyao ancient city is a typical country of rural countries in North China—simple and steeped in ancient tradition. What’s different is that this country is linked firmly to a certain prosperous time in Chinese history. It played an important role in the economic development of Shanxi during Ming and Qing Dynasties. Popular local staple food in Pingyao is mainly wheaten products like noodles and clay over rolls.

Taiyuan is the capital city of Shanxi Province. Located in the center of the province, it is also the political, economic and cultural center of Shanxi.Taiyuan is a city bounded on three sides by mountains. It has a long history and in ancient times was an important military town. At present, Taiyuan is one of China’s heavy industrial cities and account for more than half the national coal mining output.

After all I have mentioned above, are you going to join us and find more funs here? Act now and book a China Flights.

Bring your mood in Beijings Hutong

On September 28, 2010, in Beijing, Cool Places, Cultural Experience, Shanghai, by Jack Li

Here it is ! China Tour Again! As the city has a long history and being capital since dynastic period, Beijing remains more historical sites and places to tell people its beauty. When you are through a travel to Beijing, please take your camera on, and make yourself into discovering of Beijing’s Hutong. Hutong represents an important […]

Here it is ! China Tour Again! As the city has a long history and being capital since dynastic period, Beijing remains more historical sites and places to tell people its beauty. When you are through a travel to Beijing, please take your camera on, and make yourself into discovering of Beijing’s Hutong.

Hutong represents an important culture element of Beijing city. Thanks to Beijing’s long history and status as capital for six dynasties, almost every hutong has its anecdotes, and some are even associated with historic events. In contrast to the court life and elite culture represented by the Forbidden City, Summer Palace, and the Temple of Heaven, the hutongs reflect the culture of grassroots Beijingers. The hutongs are residential neighborhoods which still form the heart of Old Beijing.

At the turn of the 20th century, the Qing court was disintegrating as China’s dynastic era came to an end. The traditional arrangement of hutongs was also affected. Many new hutongs, built haphazardly and with no apparent plan, began to appear on the outskirts of the old city, while the old ones lost their former neat appearance. The social stratification of the residents also began to evaporate, reflecting the collapse of the feudal system.

During the period of the Republic of China from 1911 to 1948, society was unstable, fraught with civil wars and repeated foreign invasions. Beijing deteriorated, and the conditions of the hutongs worsened. Siheyuans previously owned and occupied by single families were subdivided and shared by many households, with additions tacked on as needed, built with whatever materials were available. The 978 hutongs listed in Qing Dynasty records swelled to 1,330 by 1949. Today, in some hutongs, such as those in Da Shi Lan, the conditions remain poor.

Hutong represents an important culture element of Beijing city. Thanks to Beijing’s long history and status as capital for six dynasties, almost every hutong has its anecdotes, and some are even associated with historic events. In contrast to the court life and elite culture represented by the Forbidden City, Summer Palace, and the Temple of Heaven, the hutongs reflect the culture of grassroots Beijingers. The hutongs are residential neighborhoods which still form the heart of Old Beijing.

The Dwelling compounds or quadrangles (Siheyuan) – the enclosed, one-story courtyard houses that make up old Beijing, feature a typical Chinese folk residential architecture.

A standard siheyuan usually falls into a rectangular compound with one-story houses squarely facing the cardinal points and a courtyard in middle.

A pair of stone lions usually stands in front of the vermilion studded door with a painted lintel on the top. The decorative patterns are flowers and birds. Stepping over a high wooden threshold, you will find a stone screen standing ahead. It is built to avoid direct inspection from outside and also believed to dispel evil spirits. Next comes the outer courtyard, flanked by rooms to the east and west. These serve as kitchens and servants’ living quarters. On the northern end of the outer courtyard is the “Main House” which faces southward to get maximum daylight in 3-5 rooms. The up-turned eaves provide a pleasant shade in summer. One room located in the middle of the house is for living or community purposes with a smaller bedroom or studies beside it. Two passages on either side of the Main House, give entry to the inner yard. Rooms on each side were for married children and their families. Greenery planted in the courtyard makes an inner garden.

Some large compounds have two or more courtyards, inhabited by an extended family with several generations. “Four Generations under One Roof”, a novel by the contemporary writer Lao She, depicts Beijingers in the 1930s and 1940s living in siheyuan.

Beijing still has about 400,000 residential quadrangles now, mainly distributed over the East, West, Xuanwu and Chongwen districts. The municipal government has earmarked a number of dwelling compounds for protection.

Do not hesitate and feel free to visit chinatraveldepot.com for more infos on Beijing’s HUTONG!

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