Hutong, as the smallest structural units of Beijing, has become a hit by a number of foreign tourists.
Especially the Nanluogu Xiang, an old lane renowned for its long history, Hutong culture, specialty stores, and distinctive foods. It is 768 meters (2,519 feet) long and 8 meters (26 feet) wide.
No wonder Beijing Nanluogu Xiang was listed as the 25 best customs experience resorts in Asia on the American Time magazine.
Because I came early in the morning, there were few people in Nanluogu Xiang, and many shops still close, including bars, cafés, restaurants, and workshops.
So I could only leisurely walk through this less than 800 meters old lane to enjoy the unique charm of Nanluoguxiang, and appreciate the tradition and romance of Chinese Ming and Qing culture and modern Western civilization.
In the narrow Hutong, the swaying trees, brick and gray tiles, exquisite courtyard, and rickshaw, all reflect the visual elements of traditional Ming and Qing culture, and constantly convey the historical vicissitudes of Hutong.
With the integration of Western culture, based on the national culture, many special commercial shops show an entirely new spirit and visual experience.
Wandering around in the Hutong, you can experience the traditional elements that give you insights on the history and culture. There are many special symbols imprinted with times, including a unique shop name, personalized signs, Chinese and Western style decoration, constantly attracting your eyes, giving you a sense of romantic mood and contemporary leisure.
You can also occasionally see two or three foreigners wearing a red five-star green cap, or holding a Chairman Mao, or stopping in the statue of Mao Zedong, or smiling in front of the Fidel Castro wearing a Red Star T-shirt.
From the numbers of signs, you will know there are a variety of food here, not only the traditional coffee, bars, but also the ones I had never eat before.
Dazzling of feature gourmet shops, you will droll only looked at the signs.
It was a pity I came so early. If it were the night, I must have the chance to enjoy the delicious food as much as I could.
Out from Nanluoguxiang, you can also enjoy the bell tower, as well as the rickshaw.
When enjoy the Hutong customs, you can buy a pair of old Beijing shoes, comfortable to wear (but maybe you will feel uncomfortable at the beginning).
And of course, you’d better buy the old Beijing shoes in a shop with Chinese name as Neiliansheng, a famous shoe shop since the Qing Dynasty, making shoes for the office officials at that time.
Then take a seat in a teahouse, listening the elderly local people chatting their stories.
Hey, that feeling, it’s so wonderful, you should have a try by yourself!
Beijing Travel Guide: http://www.tourdechina.cn/chinaguide/Beijing/