On this matter, we pass you the sarcastic truth of a vignette published this week on the Internazionale magazine where someone says China is highly developed in many things, but not in human rights To say ‘all that glitters is not gold
If you are among the ones that can choose the period to travel to Beijing, be aware that it is exposed to a continental monsoon climate with clear-cut seasons. Best time to go is during Autumn with generous sunshine and fewer tourists are in town. Locals describe this short season as tiangao qishuang – literally ‘the sky is high and the air is fresh. Spring is less pleasant – not many tourists but lots of wind and dust.
Some of the best activities one can indulge in can be the following:
– renting a bicycle and discovering some of the latest preserved hutongs.
– getting into a vision of early morning Tai Chi practitioner at the ‘divine’ Temple of Heaven starting their day.
– relaxing on an un-expensive foot massage
-seeing a Beijing opera in a typical Tea House
Last tip that can make you say wow, this article rocks! concerns very special lodgings you can experience. Maybe not everyone knows that the word hutongs (from the Mongolian hottog meaning “water well’) are narrow streets or alleys formed by lines of ‘siheyuan’, traditional courtyard residences. Many neighbourhoods were formed by joining one siheyuan to another to form a hutong, and then joining one hutong to another. The word hutong is also used to refer to such neighbourhoods. In these days hutongs are used to guest travellers and tourists. They will fascinate you with their décor, atmosphere and pieces of furniture.
Usually, as the traditional architecture imposed, guests rooms face an inner secret garden decorated with marble statues, ponds or fountains and plants. Some hutongs have been transformed in boutique hotels, some others keep the price on a budget and are classified as youth hostels. Just to mention some: the Saga Hostel, the Shongtang hotel, the 9 Dragon hostel, the Houhai Youth hostel, the Temple Side hutong hostel, the Hutongren or Autumn Garden Hotel. They are all well run and will make your stay better.
Following the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, many of the old hutongs were demolished and disappeared, replaced by the high rises and wide boulevards of today’s Beijing. Some of Beijing’s ancient hutongs still stand as more recently they have been designated as protected areas in an attempt to preserve this aspect of Chinese cultural history. The hutongs in the vicinity of the Bell Tower and Shichahai Lake are especially well preserved and attracts many tourists.