Hutong, refers to the lanes and alleys in the main streets of town and village, also means the relatively small streets leading into the inside of residential area. It is an integral part of local transportation. Hutong is a major feature of Beijing, with the famous ones such as Nanluoguxiang, Yandaixiejie, Dongjiaominxiang and Shichahai.
Hutong is the unique ancient alleys in Beijing. There are thousands of Hutong in Beijing, they are distributed around The Forbidden City, and most of them are formed in Yuan, Ming and Qing dynasties.
Visitors can start the Hutong tour by taking the old traditional rickshaws from Hutong tour starting point which is about 100 meters west of Beihai Park North Gate, and then arrived at the first stop: Drum Tower. As the timekeeping center of the capital, Drum Tower was built in 1272, about 50 meters high. Visitors can the climbed to the Drum Tower, and have a look at the Hutong on both sides of the central axis of Drum Tower, to know more about Beijing’s history, urban pattern and the formation of the Hutong.
After that, visitors can pass through Hutong by taking rickshaws along Shichahai, get off at Yin Ding Bridge, and walk to some Hutongs which are full of Beijing’s folk, guides will tell visitors Beijing’s hutongs and courtyard culture, as well as the traditional way of life at Hutongs. By chatting with the residents, visitors will understand the people’s living habits and customs.
Visitors can also take the rickshaws to the Prince Gong’s Mansion garden, which is also known as “Red House Grand View Garden”. Prince Gong House garden is a large Qing aristocratic family house. It was founded in 1779, covering an area of three hectares, and now it is the best preserved Qing Dynasty palace. Visitors can have a rest in Prince Gong House garden, drinking tea, and eating snacks, as well as enjoy the opera theater.