<Beijing> Pedicab Ride and Family Visit at Beihai Hutong


I was in Beijing a few weeks ago. It was my first time visiting the capital of China and I enjoyed myself immensely although I was sick for 2 days due to the extremly cold weather ( the temperature dipped to as low as -3C at night!).

Whilst I gaped and awed at the magnificence and grandeur of the Great Wall of China and the Forbidden City and sighed at the extravagance of Cixi Dowager at the old Summer Palace, I was equally fascinated by the hutongs, the residential neighbourhoods which still form the heart of Old Beijing.

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We managed to take a family photo in front of the entrance of a sinheyuan while waiting for other tour fellows going about doing their business in the communal toilet. There is no toilet in the respective sinheyuan and during peak period, these communal toilets can be congested. Smell is not pleasant at all

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The fellows from the tour going for family visit

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Hutongs are alleys formed by lined of sinheyuan; a traditional courtyard residences. Many neighbourhoods were formed by joining one sinheyuan to another to form a hutong, and then joining one hutong to another ( Source : Wikipedia).

I love the hutongs, which date at least few hundred years back. It offers a glimpse of the daily life of the grassroot Beijinger. Exuding certain aura of romanticism, it felt great to walk around ( or you can choose to take a pedicab ride) the hutongs. You would discover new things at almost every nooks and corners!

 

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It was so cold that I was wrapped in 5 layers of winter clothing. Thank god for the blanket that was provided. These pedicab drivers are so professional. Once you hop into the pedicab, they would put blanket to protect you from the cold and subsequently, offered to take pictures for you.

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Our pedicab drivers. It ain't an easy job. Respect them

 

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Vegetable seller

We were on a tour and the Beihai hutong tour was pre-arranged by the tour agency. If not due to time limitation ( which is a common characteristic of joining a tour), I could easily spend at least half a day at Beihai hutong. We took a pedicab ride that weaves through the narrow alley, stopping abruptly to avoid oncoming traffic ( mainly bicycles and other pedicabs).

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During the pedicab ride, bumped ( no pun intended) into others!

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We stopped halfway to visit a sinheyuan and continued our pedicab ride that brought us around Beihai park.

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Family visit

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The main characteristic of a sinheyuan is that there is a courtyard in the middle of sinheyuan

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A bedroom which is for rental for RMB240 per night. No ensuite bath though!

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Kitchen

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The owner modified one of the rooms into a traditional Chinese marriage chamber!

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Artsy fartsy that I could not resist.

Some of these sinheyuan have been converted into cafes, restaurants and boutiques. I wish that I could chill for a while at these cafes, enjoy a cuppa, drink in the scenic sight of the lake and let life unfold itself. I will be back!

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Converted into restaurants, cafes, etc

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The picturesque Beihai Park

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