Exploring Wudaoying Hutong, Beijing

Hutong, the original Beijing scene.

Whenever I have the fortune to stay in Beijing, I always make it a priority to go explore one of Beijing’s many hutongs. This was also the case when I went to visit China in September 2017.

My understanding of hutongs is limited. In general, hutongs are the traditional Beijing style residences with all apartments sharing one garden. Once plentiful, many were destroyed in the past few decades to make way for bigger and better apartment buildings. People then realized the significance of hutongs and started protecting them. Then over the past decade, the creative folks ended up turning these hutongs into their creative space and into boutique stores. Now there are several “gentrified” hutongs around Beijing that are huge tourist attractions. After the success of the first few gentrified hutongs, many other hutongs were renovated.

I love how hutongs marry the old Chinese traditional architecture with modern aspects. The gardens of the hutongs that were turned into businesses have this wonderful charm about them. Seeing how the hutongs develop in Beijing is also an indication of how the creative field in China is developing and what consumers are currently looking for.

This time my friend took me to one of the less well known hutongs called Wudaoying (五道营). It’s mainly made of a single lane and it’s close to the Confucius Temple. Wudaoying was definitely way less crowded than the other hutongs I’ve visited before but it’s no less charming.

Pictures to convince you to go check out Wudaoying Hutong

Look at all these wonderful delights I managed to catch:

Jose Cuervos in front of a bar. Never knew my fellow countrymen liked this stuff so much. Yech.
There were all these small gardens around with succulents and other plants.
An artisanal store selling blue dyed clothing. You should have seen how beautiful this entire house was. If instagram was allowed in China, folks would be flooding to it #instagramgoals
We stopped by my friend’s favourite Japanese restaurant for lunch. I simply loved their whole vibe.
It was definitely a delicious lunch. The sushi was heavenly.
And look at this salmon/roe bowl that I ordered. It looked good and it tasted as good as it looked. I can swim in that stuff.
And the Unagi bowl that my friend wanted to have. It was as delicious as she described it.
A small plant store that we visited. The storefront was super easy to pass, but I saw it after this delivery guy delivered food to the store owner. After I saw the door open, I had to go in.
Look at these delightful plants <3 This is what instagram dreams are made of.
Around the corner was the Confucius temple.
Random little alleyway.
Even trash looks delightful in the hutong.
As I said, plants were an delightful in the random open gardens.
Don’t forget the walkways and doors.
An adorable doorway with Chinese “Fu” character paper.
Look at this – it’s the door to the hostel in the hutong. How can you not fall in love?

I can’t wait to go back to Beijing in the near future to explore more hutongs! Have you ever visited a hutong in Beijing before? Which one is your favourite?

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