Beijing audio tour: Beijing's Old Hutongs

Beijing's Old Hutongs

Walking Tour

|
45 mins
|
2mi

About the Tour

The hutongs are the historic heart of old Beijing. Join us on this 3km walk from the Drum Tower to the Tibetan Buddhist Lama Temple, through a winding labyrinth of alleyways and local color that takes you past some of Beijing's most ancient landmarks.

IMPORTANT: There is a GPS offset in China, and as a result your position on Google and Apple maps will be incorrect. This issue doesn't affect the offline map, so after you've downloaded all the audio files, but before you hit start, switch to 'airplane mode' (or turn off data) and you'll be able to track your position correctly.

Tour Producer

avatar

Alec Ash

Alec Ash is a writer and editor in Beijing, author of 'Wish Lanterns' (Picador, 2016) about the lives of young Chinese.

Major Landmarks

  • Bell and Drum Towers Beijing

  • Temple of Confucius

  • Lama Temple

Directions to Starting Point

Get yourself to the south side of the Drum Tower. If you're taking the subway, get out at Exit C of Shichahai Station on line 8, turn right and walk up. You'll see the tower in front of you: it's a big square red building, past a fork of traffic.

Alternatively, take a taxi to "Gulou" and you should end up at the same spot. Either way, walk over the fork of traffic and get right up close to the barred gate.

Note this is not the entrance to the Drum Tower (the way in is on the north side, next to a quieter courtyard), but is where the walk begins.

Show Directions
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Tips

Places to stop along the way

Drum Tower, Bell Tower, Ancient Liquor Museum, Imperial College, Confucius Temple, Yonghegong Lama Temple

Best time of day

A lazy afternoon

Precautions

Watch out for scooters

Comments

An excellent tour. Highly recommended!

Posted by L , about 2 years ago

The map doesn’t align with the locations on the tour & so the app keeps on saying “you appear to be off track” when we are actually facing the drum tower. The directions aren’t clear enough to follow without the map. But the commentary that we have managed to align with our location is very intwresting

Posted by Anonymous Explorer , over 2 years ago

Ok, now I realise that I should have read all the instructions & turned off 3G so that I was using the offline map. I can’t fault the quick response to my comment. Only a couple of hours! Thanks for being so quick at responding to my comment. The tour commentary was really excellent for the bits we managed to navigate to.

Posted by Anonymous Explorer , over 2 years ago

It is really a good tour, and made my walk in this winter lovely

Posted by Anonymous Explorer , over 3 years ago

Wonderful walking tour. We found the comments and stories to be charming, entertaining and informative. Many of the things we had noticed walking around Beijing were discussed in the walking tour. A couple of the restaurants referenced were gone, but overall the information is still accurate. The walking path itself was nice as well.

Posted by Joe P , almost 4 years ago

I this is a wonderful walking tour and I really can't recommend it enough. It feels as though your walking though the city with an old friend who's showing you their favorite places.
The technology with the app is really seamless and you flow along the journey quite smoothly.
I would recommend dedicating longer than the hour indicated, you'll want to stop in and visit some of the places you pass by.
The only disappointing thing is that there aren't more tours available!

Posted by Anonymous Explorer , over 4 years ago

Great tour, highly recommended. Gave a great insight into the old Beijing with some great stories along the way. We started a little late, doing it on dusk, but still thoroughly enjoyable. Picked up some nice beers from some local craft beer bars along the way to add to the experience.

Posted by Glenn T , over 4 years ago

Glad you enjoyed it!

Posted by Alec , over 4 years ago

Great tour, highly recommended. Gave a great insight into the old Beijing with some great stories along the way. We started a little late, doing it on dusk, but still thoroughly enjoyable. Picked up some nice beers from some local craft beer bars along the way to add to the experience.

Posted by Glenn T , over 4 years ago
Preview mode limited to first 3 locations.