Everything You Need to Know About Nanluoguxiang
One of the best parts about touring various parts of the world is being able to move away from the tourist hotspots and going to places where you can engage with the locals and take part in their day to day activities.
Seeing how the locals live in any area is an excellent way of appreciating the place’s heritage and getting to terms with the people’s way of life. In Beijing, one of the perfect ways of doing that is visiting one of the numerous hutongs around the incredible city. With the plethora of hutongs around, one that stands out is the Nanluoguxiang.
What Is A Hutong?
A hutong is a long and narrow street that is lined with shops and courtyard homes. Going back in history, you will see that these alleys were developed when several residents built their own homes called the siheyuans, which were well organized in small compounds. After a couple of years, the people living there started joining the small compounds to form bigger ones, and the narrow pathways that were created from the establishment of these large residences were then referred to as the hutongs. The Nanluoguxiang is one of the hot places you need to visit whenever you set foot in the city of Beijing.
The Nanluoguxiang Hutong
Hutongs are very common in Beijing, and it is easy to assume that the Nanluoguxiang is just like the rest of them. This particular hutong is a retail haven with a wide variety of merchandise in store for visitors and locals. The history of the Nanluoguxiang dates back the mid-18th century when this neighborhood was first established. The alley is still filled with some structures that have survived the years, and they are a joy to the eye especially for those who are keen on the Chinese history.
The rise in popularity of this hutong took a meteoric rise after the district was completely refurbished in preparation for the 2008 Olympic games. There are numerous restaurants and shops scattered along this hutong, and they range from the ones offering old and traditional stuff to the modern and contemporary ones.
Walking down the street will give you the experience of enjoying some freshly prepared juice and ice cream from various vendors. People who wish to stay for a while and enjoy the cool atmosphere may find the bars and restaurants hard to pass as somewhere to sit and enjoy an amazing meal alongside a cold beer.
One of the notable restaurants is the Fish Nation which is highly renown for its fish and chips prepared in the British way. The place has a roof top space for those who wish to enjoy the cool evenings. Shopping enthusiasts may be interested in the Pottery workshop which has a collection of some amazing pieces made by the famous Caroline Cheng. The shop offers drinks and you could enjoy the art pieces while drowning a glass of chilled wine.
The most striking part about this hutong are the courtyard homes that give this neighborhood its true identity. It is said that if you really want to experience what it is like living in courtyards in China, this hutong should be your perfect place to see it. The neighborhood has the complete identity of the old school courtyard culture that was once the dominant living style in Northern China.
As it is with other hutongs, the attractions are all confined in the main path. The Nanluoguxiang has some other mini paths that stretch out from the main pathway, something that offers you more options to explore and find some hidden treasures. The best way of exploring the entire alley is by going in through one side and walking straight to the other end. Once you get there, you can take a rickshaw on that end and use it to explore the mini alleys stretching out from the main one.
Getting To Nanluoguxiang
This hutong is increasing in popularity with each passing season and the neighborhood is easily accessible even from the main city. The Nanluoguxiang subway station is easily accessible from the Southern entrance as it was built specifically for tourists. However, keep in mind that this hutong is becoming too crowded with tourists and you may not enjoy your trip to the fullest if you visit during the peak season.