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Living in between Hutong, Beijing + Giveaway

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You must see Hutong in Beijing, you will love it!”, it was Vi’s last message to me before she boarded the train to Nanjing. I typed in the word “hutom” into iPhone 2do app, under Beijing to do list. That time I didn’t know what’s a hutom Hutong even though I was going to Beijing the next day. After reading some kick-ass blog posts later; link (and giveaway) below; I was sold before I reached the Beijing train station, I needed to see Hutong!

Hutong is an architectural mark of Beijing. It’s rows and rows of alleys on commoner’s areas formed by the houses in between called Siheyuan. The hotel I was staying in, Hotel 161 Beijing, was located in a Hutong, Lishi Hutong. After checking in, I spent the day walking up and down the alley, but nothing much to see there so I decided to visit the famous ones near the Bell Tower the next day.

Hutong and Siheyuan at Beijing

Siheyuan is a traditional open courtyard residence and has a history of thousand of years. In the early days, Siheyuans were owned by wealthy families whilst these days it is used as a housing complex of many families. The real, single family owned Siheyuan is a rare sight Beijing these days, but I was lucky enough to get to step inside one.

It all started with a rickshaw ride around the Hutong. Admittedly, it’s a touristy thing to do in Beijing, but I like doing touristy stuff, especially while visiting a new place. Also, because I AM a tourist.

My rickshaw guy was an old grandpa who explained the history of Hutong eagerly to me. He pointed the places on the left and right while explaining the stories behind it. In Chinese. I don’t speak Chinese. But I didn’t seem to bother him. I liked his attitude. I tipped him extra.

Hutong Rickshaw

This Siheyuan is owned by a friendly aunty who was happy to show me around. She shared what seemed like interesting stories about this house, but then again, it was in Chinese, so I just nod and smile. To think if she had told me “I am going to keep you here and feed marry you off to my son”, I would have nodded along and never came back to share these pictures with you..

Siheyuan Beijing

Hutong Siheyuan


Prayers Offering

Hutong Decor

Hutong Residence

An afternoon well spent. My love for Eastern architecture and the nosy-parker in me both were satisfied.

Next time I visit Beijing (there will be a next time!) I am so going to stay in this area. I saw a few motels and guest houses, coffee shops and a bar. Also, it’s a stone throw away from the shopping alley, which I ended up going to every evening while in Beijing.

Speaking of shopping alley, I have a giveaway from Beijing for you (Yaay!!). It’s a tea and a handcream combo. Think Oriental Downton Abbey, with Lady Mary and no sugar in her tea.

Beijing Giveaway

Just drop a comment below, or you can retweet my tweet about this post, whichever one. A winner will be chosen randomly and announced on next Tuesday. I will send the giveaway to your address where ever you are.

Can’t get enough of Hutong? Check out Scenes from the Hutong (first picture is my favorite), The Best Hutong in Beijing and a guide to choose a Hutong.

I am linking up with Bonnie, Melanie and Tina as a part of Travel Tuesday and with Nicole on Treat Yo Self Thursday.

Thank you for reading you guys and I hope you are participating in the giveaway. See you next week for another Travel series. Once again, Xie Xie Ni.

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  • Dianne Lee Farrell

    Your blog is so interesting. I have just recently started reading it after following you on instagram. We also have rickshaws in Durban South Africa, very touristy too. Big Zulu men who decorate their carts and pull people up and down the promenade. How awesome are those tins the tea and handcream come in. Enjoy your travels

    • Foreign Geek

      Hey Dianne, thank you very much for the compliment (made me smile ear to ear). You are living in SA? That’s so cool! I would love to read your stories about it!

      • My blog is a very personal journey not so much about life in South Africa more my everyday life very boring not at all interesting like yours.

  • Your travels and the way you describe them always just draws me in! So glad you’ve been joining us for Travel Tuesday!

    • Foreign Geek

      Thank you Tina, so glad to be part of the troops 🙂

  • Great post. How do you get by and around without speaking mandarin? Looking forward to more Beijing posts – I’ve never been but feeling inspired right now.
    Claire xx | somewhere… beyond the sea

    • Foreign Geek

      It wasn’t easy at al Claire l! A little bit scary to bit honest, what if i need something urgently :S but I would do it all over again!

  • Really interesting post. I loved what you said about loving doing touristy things because you are a tourist. My thoughts exactly!!

    • Foreign Geek

      Fun minds think alike Sammy and thanks for stopping by, I am a fan of your blog!

  • Tracy O’Neill

    I love visiting Asia and I can’t wait to visit Beijing someday. It looks like you had a great time!

    • Foreign Geek

      Oh yes Tracy, I did! Which part of Asia have you been to? and yes, please put Beijing in your travel list. It’s an awesome sauce place!

  • Brittany Hite

    Hi, thanks for the link. Glad you liked my hutong pics — yours are fab too, and sounds like you got a good tour of them. -Brittany (From the Scenes From the Hutong link)

    • Foreign Geek

      OMG you are here! In my blog :)) I really2 like all the pics, you have amazing skill ! and you are welcome, it’s my pleasure.

  • Rima Sagala

    teaaaaaaaaaaaa. China is definitely in my list. But i heard it’s kinda difficult to get a visa there -_-

    • Foreign Geek

      Hihihihi,. Btw Rim, it’s not (but surprisingly expensive). It took me like 4 working days without any hassle whatsoever to get it. Btw the food? SOOOO delicious ! Banyak yg pedas2, betah gue disana ;P~~

  • Oh I love China! And Hutongs are amazing! I have another trip planned to China with a few days to spend in Beijing and plan on wandering some hutongs. Excellent post!

    Elizabeth from luyoutravel.blogspot.com

    • Foreign Geek

      Another trip? Wow that sound like fun! Thanks for stopping by Liz 🙂

      • Another trip..I know! I was living in the south of China for a while and I went on a quick trip to Beijing to visit a friend. He showed me all around, but I really want a chance to wander the hutongs a bit more!

  • I am so jealous! This trip looks fantastic! I am hoping to make it to China this year, so I am making sure to write down all your suggestions! And great idea for a giveaway!

    • Foreign Geek

      And this came from a girl who’s going to China in the fall? I should be jealous of you!! I would love to share things with you Bri but I am also excited to read all about Beijing from your point of view 🙂

  • Oh wow! Your pictures are simply wonderful! And I love the way you write! It keeps me so intrigued 🙂 I seriously want to visit Beijing one day and this post has put it firmly on my travel wish list (which keeps growing by the second)! I look forward to catching up on lots of your posts!

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