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Things to do in China

Making new friends in the Beijing hutongs

The hutongs are a cultural treasure of Beijing and exploring the ancient alleyways and lanes is like walking around a living museum….

Lily Li
Product Manager at Asian Trails, Alfred&'s partners in China

Making new friends in the Beijing hutongs

The hutongs are a cultural treasure of Beijing and exploring the ancient alleyways and lanes is like walking around a living museum. Many built during the dynasties of Yuan, Ming and Qing, they give visitors the chance to discover more about the culture and traditions of the city.

We travel by rickshaw and on foot through the hutongs of Old Beijing and rather than simply observing life, we like to interact with the locals and get involved. As we go deeper into the hutong we’ll find children darting about on the streets, old men concentrating on games of Mahjong with their friends before finally meeting with a local family and stepping into their traditional hutong home.

I love the way we all learn so much from each other as we prepare and eat lunch together. How we have so many differences in our cultures but also how under the surface we share many similarities. Sadly, these areas are rapidly disappearing due to development so for me, this is a real must-see in Beijing while it still exists.

After the tour, you’re welcome to continue exploring at your own leisure. As the sun goes down the streets come alive as the trendy bars and restaurants start to fill up. This is definitely one of my favourite ways to spend time in Beijing.

 

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  • Eating & drinking
  • History
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Alfred & Lily Li

Lily is the product manager for Asian Trails - Alfred&'s partners in China - and is based in their offices in Beijing. Asian Trails looks after our customers once they've arrived in China, ensuring they have access to the best guides and all the benefits that local contacts can bring. With five years experience creating bespoke trips and experiences for visitors to her home country, she loves sharing China's profound history, helping others explore the beautiful landscapes in the Chinese countryside and building relationships with those she works with.  

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