Beijing Backstreets

Uncover the bizarre and fascinating lifestyles of locals living deep within Beijing's dense residential blocks, or hutongs. Stroll through oddball commercial alleyways selling everything from vegetables to artificial legs, chat with locals in unique outdoor exercise parks and meet the man behind Beijing's high-stakes cricket fighting culture on an in-depth, endearing discovery of authentic Beijing life.

Destinations included:

We pride ourselves in creating personalised travel experiences that suit all your preferences and needs.

With this tour you can:

  • Choose your own departure date
  • Select the comfort level of accommodation
  • Adjust activities to cater to special interests
  • Modify any aspect of the tour as needed
  • Exploring Beijing's little-seen back alley culture on an in-depth walking tour into its hutons
  • Tasting old Beijing-style snacks and treats that few outsiders try
  • Learning how experts turn soybean into tofu and milk
  • Passing through distinctly "local" areas for a taste of local culture
  • Visiting the home of a local "cricket master" to learn about the bizarre local cricket fighting culture
  • Tours as mentioned and air-conditioned transfers
  • Sightseeing and permit fees during guided times
  • Meals listed in the itinerary
  • Expert English-speaking local guide
  • Service charges and government VAT tax

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.

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