ITINERARY BY DAY
Explore the little-seen side of Beijing’s back alley culture on an in-depth walking journey into some of Beijing’s biggest hutongs, famously labyrinthine residential blocks. Set off first along the perimeter of Huguoshi Hutong, a 600-meter long commercial street that dates back to the Yuan Dynasty 800 years ago. Its past life as the home of the Huguo Temple and its many religious festivals has led to its current fame as the best place to find Old Beijing-style snacks and treats! Try a few specialties before wandering further into nearby Mianhua Hutong and toward its busy soybean stall. Learn how the experts here turn soybean into a favourite local treat – tofu and milk!
Stroll further on, passing bustling vegetable stalls, cramped alleyway convenience shops and even a hospital-adjacent area selling wheelchairs and artificial legs! Then, arrive at the banks of a nearby lake that’s dense with fishermen and swimmers. Pass through a government-subsidized outdoor exercise park and chat with the locals here before picking up a cup of xuan nai - a traditional fermented milk drink popular with residents here.
After your snack, stroll further onward to the family home of the “Cricket Master”, a local guru in the bizarre local culture of cricket fighting! Over lunch, learn how this quirky pastime has been a serious sport in Beijing for nearly a millennium, and how the “Cricket Master” plays a big part in “training” his rough-and-tumble insects. Finally, wrap up your tour with a weaving walk back out of the alleyways and at the entrance of the Beijing Drum Tower.