A tour through Beijing’s hutong and 798 Art Zone

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A tour through Beijing’s hutong and 798 Art Zone

Postby yesman » Tue Sep 09, 2014 8:13 am

The Beijing Backpack Tour Contest has wrapped up. The winner, Fida Rehman, chosen from over 1,000 candidates, chose a friend and visited 798 Art Zone, Beijing’s hutong, the Drum Tower and Houhai Lake as his reward. All expenses were paid by China Travel Depot.

The tour was filmed by a professional photographer with the tourist agency to preserve this unique experience.
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798 Art Zone, located in the northeast of central Beijing, is often compared with Greenwich Village and Soho in New York. The area is a perfect combination of history, reality, industry and art. Also known as 798 Art District, the area is a growing,avant-garde and trendy space that hosts high-level cultural, artistic and commercial activities.

Rehman and his friends had a good time appreciating mottled redbrick walls, industrial plants, crisscrossed pipelines, and age-old revolutionary slogans on the wall.

At noon they came to a hutong in the Houhai area and were impressed by the traditional Chinese architecture and pace of hutong life. People here are much more relaxed than those on Beijing’s broad modern avenues.

The narrow alleyways and courtyard homes discourage heavy traffic but encourage residents to go on the street, fostering a strong sense of community. It is common to see the residents playing cards, Chinese chess, Mahjong, or simply chatting with each other. Hutong are like villages within the megalopolis.

Wandering among the hutong, our winner and his friend felt as if they had stepped into the past. They had lunch in a hutong and tasted the Chinese cuisine.
On the morning of Jan 12, 2013, Rehman and his friend started the tour by visiting 798 Art Zone.
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Visitors may also experience rickshaw rides that zigzag through the hutong near Houhai Lake. In ancient China, people rode rickshaws like taxis. They now enable tourists to have an easy trip with a pleasant street view.

They also dropped by the Drum Tower. The tower was built in 1420 on a 4-meter-high base and rises over 46 meters high. Not far from it stands the Bell Tower. The twin towers together worked to tell people the time in ancient China.

Rehman said he was amazed by the size of the drum. No one could imagine how ancient people could have made and installed such a huge drum. About 600 years have passed but the drum is still there, telling time every single day.

At the end of the day, Rehman and his friend expressed their sincere gratitude. They had a wonderful day and got a better understanding of Beijing’s local culture. We also hope more and more people can have a chance to join us on our China tours.
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