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Our team blends careful historical research, storytelling and humor as they share their knowledge. No flags, no funny hats, and no being lured to somebody’s cousin’s gift shop … these Beijing day tours, researched and designed by local experts, are led by guides well-versed in history and Chinese culture.

Forbidden City

 

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The Ming and the Manchus: A Walk and Discussion at the Forbidden City

For nearly 600 years, the Emperors of the Ming and Qing Dynasties governed China from behind the high red walls of the Forbidden City. This walk and discussion looks at what life was like in the palace for the men and women who lived and worked there.

We will talk about the differences between the two dynasties. The Ming were a Chinese dynasty, founded in 1368 by a commoner who rose to become emperor. The Qing Dynasty was founded by the Manchus, a people from what is today Northeast China. Beginning in 1644, the Qing Empire ruled China by conquest.

Although the Qing Dynasty ended in 1912, the imperial legacy continues to influence China’s present and future.

Price: 300 RMB ; 260 RMB for Members (includes all guide fees and admission tickets)

Consider a Private Tour!

Looking for a walk that fits your schedule? Interested in a personal experience for you or your group?

Private walks of the Forbidden City are available for individuals, families, school and company groups.

Private walks are 1900 for up to five people and 165 RMB for each additional person. Price includes all guide fees and admission tickets.

Contact us at [email protected] more information and to reserve your private Forbidden City experience.

Temple of Heaven

 

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In the Footsteps of the Emperor: A Walk and Discussion at the The Temple of Heaven

The Temple of Heaven features some of the most iconic architecture in Beijing. It is also a gathering place for Beijingers of all ages. Nowhere else does the city’s past and present exist so prominently side by side.

On this walk, we will explore the Temple of Heaven complex and discuss the ritual and historical significance of the spaces we visit. We will also examine the connections between past and present and how ancient forms of political legitimacy linger even into the 21st century.

Along the way, we will have a chance to witness the vibrant culture of one of Beijing’s largest parks. We might see dancers, musicians, martial artists, even parents matchmaking their (often unsuspecting) grown children!

Price: 300 RMB ; 260 RMB for members (includes all guide fees and admission tickets)

Consider a Private Tour!

Looking for a walk that fits your schedule? Interested in a personal experience for you or your group?

Private walks of the Temple of Heaven are available for individuals, families, school and company groups.

Private walks are 1500 for up to five people and 100 RMB for each additional person. Price includes all guide fees and admission tickets.

Contact us at [email protected] more information and to reserve your private Temple of Heaven experience.

Summer Palace

 

The Dowager and the Dynasty: A Walk and Discussion at the Summer Palace

The Empress Dowager Cixi (1835-1908) was one of the most notorious figures of Modern Chinese history. For nearly a half century, she used her cunning and connections to rule China from behind the throne. Even today, many still blame her for spending money on an elaborate pleasure garden at a time China faced grave threats from without and within.

But the real story of the Empress Dowager Cixi – and the Summer Palace she built – is more complicated. As we stroll along the shoreline and hillsides of her magnificent creation, we will discuss the life and legacy of this fascinating historical figure.

From May to October, we will also get a chance to explore parts of the park by boat as well as by foot.

Price: 300 RMB ; 260 RMB for members (includes all guide fees and admission tickets)

Consider a Private Tour!

Looking for a walk that fits your schedule? Interested in a personal experience for you or your group?

Private walks of the Summer Palace are available for individuals, families, school and company groups.

Private walks are 1700 for up to five people and 125 RMB for each additional person. Price includes all guide fees and admission tickets.

Contact us at [email protected] for more information and to reserve your private Summer Palace experience.

Historic Hutongs

 

Traditions and Transitions: A Walk and Discussion in the Hutongs of Dongcheng

This walk explores the past, present, and future of the hutongs, Beijing’s network of historic alleyways. One of Beijing’s most distinctive urban features, the hutongs have long been at the heart of the capital’s distinctive local culture.

This walk takes us through the hutongs of the Dongcheng District, once home to some of Beijing’s most fascinating figures. Today these neighborhoods also represent Beijing’s vibrant future, as old spaces are repurposed into new commercial and residential developments.

We will discuss the history of the hutongs, who lived there and why. As we stroll the alleyways, we will also visit local markets and have a chance to try some of Beijing’s famous street side snacks.

Finally, we will examine how the pressures of rapid urban development are presenting challenges to the preservation of the physical structures and communities of in these neighborhoods.

Price: 260 RMB ; 220 RMB for members (includes all guide fees and admission tickets)

Consider a Private Tour!

Looking for a walk that fits your schedule? Interested in a personal experience for you or your group?

Private walks of Beijing’s historic hutong neighborhoods are available for individuals, families, school and company groups.

Private walks are 1500 for up to five people and 100 RMB for each additional person. Price includes all guide fees and admission tickets.

Contact us at [email protected] for more information and to reserve your private hutong exploration experience.

Tiananmen Square

 

Tiananmen and the Making of Modern Beijing: A Walk and Discussion

For much of China’s modern history, the area around Tiananmen has been the political epicenter for the Chinese nation. It is the beating heart of Beijing and the stage for some of recent history’s most dramatic moments. This walk and discussion will take us through Beijing’s history from its days as an imperial capital through the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949 and down to the present day.

We’ll visit the Beijing Urban Planning Hall (a fascinating museum in desperate need of a catchier name!) and explore Tiananmen Square.

We will conclude our stroll by taking in two of Beijing’s most beautiful parks, both former imperial spaces that were part of the Forbidden City.

Along the way, we’ll also discuss the political significance of Tiananmen, and the ongoing evolution of Beijing from imperial capital to modern megalopolis.

Price: 300 RMB ; 260 RMB for members (includes all guide fees and admission tickets)

Consider a Private Tour!

Looking for a walk that fits your schedule? Interested in a personal experience for you or your group?

Private walks of Tiananmen Square and the surrounding parks and museums are available for individuals, families, school and company groups.

Private walks are 1600 RMB for up to five people and 120 RMB for each additional person. Price includes all guide fees and admission tickets.

Contact us at [email protected] for more information and to reserve your private Beijing history experience.

Lama Temple and Confucian Temple

 

The Emperor and the Lama: A Walk and Discussion at the Lama Temple and Confucian Temple

The Lama Temple (Yonghegong) and the Confucian Temple are important physical reflections of Buddhism and Confucianism respectively, but both these sites have also long played a major role in state ritual and the ideology of empire.

At the Confucian Temple and the adjoining Imperial Academy (Guozijian), students, officials, and rulers came to venerate the Great Sage and to study for the examinations which were the gateway to power and elite status in imperial China.

At the Lama Temple, we will consider how the emperors of the Qing Dynasty appropriated the forms of Tibetan Buddhism by consecrating a holy space in their capital even as their armies were steadily moving westward across the Tibetan Plateau.

The historical connection between empire building and Buddhism in Tibet continues to have profound implications for the relationship between the government and the people of that region.

Price: 300 RMB ; 260 RMB for members (includes all guide fees and admission tickets)

Consider a Private Tour!

Looking for a walk that fits your schedule? Interested in a personal experience for you or your group?

Private walks of the Lama Temple and Confucian Temple are available for individuals, families, school and company groups.

Private walks are 1600 for up to five people and 125 RMB for each additional person. Price includes all guide fees and admission tickets.

Contact us at [email protected] more information and to reserve your private Lama Temple and Confucian Temple experience.

Old Summer Palace

Imperialism, Opium, and Nationalism: A Walk and Discussion at the Old Summer Palace

The Old Summer Palace contain the ruins of Yuanmingyuan, one of a series of lavish imperial gardens destroyed in 1860 during the Second Opium War. Today the shattered pillars, stone foundations, and abandoned archways are a vivid reminder to visitors of the “Century of Humiliation” and the tragedy of imperialism in 19th-century China. The events of that century continue to play a role in shaping how China views the world today.

We will discuss the background to the Opium Wars and how the memories of the imperialist era are kept alive as part of China’s contemporary political culture.

Along the way, we will wander the ruins and explore one of Beijing’s most beautiful historic parks. From May to October, we will also get a chance to see parts of the park by boat as well as by foot.

Price: 300 RMB ; 260 RMB for members (includes all guide fees and admission tickets)

Consider a Private Tour!

Looking for a walk that fits your schedule? Interested in a personal experience for you or your group?

Private walks of the Old Summer Palace are available for individuals, families, school and company groups.

Private walks are 1700 for up to five people and 125 RMB for each additional person. Price includes all guide fees and admission tickets.

Contact us at [email protected] more information and to reserve your private Old Summer Palace experience.

Poets, Prime Ministers, and The Immortal Donkey

Bell-Tower

Possibly The Hutong’s wackiest and most absurd walking tour. Meet an enchanted donkey? Exchange barbs with the official who stared down a Mongolian Khan. Meet the poet who managed to anger both Chairman Mao and Chiang Kai-shek.

Contact us at [email protected] for more information or to reserve a private walk for you or your group.

 

Prophets, Prostitutes, and Spies

Beixinqiao

A theatrical tour exploring Ghost Street and the maze of hutongs behind the Lama Temple. Discover secrets of the official who quelled the dragon’s fire. Look a Ming Dynasty general in the eye! Creep around the remnants of one of Beijing’s nastiest imperial prisons. 

Contact us at [email protected] for more information or to reserve a private walk for you or your group.

China's Roaring Twenties/Imperial Parks

Revolution, Restoration, and China’s Roaring Twenties: A Walk and Discussion through Beijing’s Imperial Parks and Gardens

The years between 1912 and 1927 marked an era of profound change in Beijing and for China. The end of the imperial era ushered in a new age of revolutionary thinking which affected not just the culture of the capital, but the very shape of the city.

We will explore this transformation as we stroll through some of Beijing’s most beautiful landscapes. Our walk takes us across the old “Imperial City,” the walled heart of the capital which contained the Forbidden City, several imperial gardens, and the residences of princes and eunuchs.

We will stop at the former location of Peking University, the birthplace of the May Fourth Movement and where some of the most influential figures in modern Chinese history worked and studied. (Including a chubby intern from Hunan who would one day lead a revolution!)

We will then visit Jingshan, the 600-year-old artificial hill and former Imperial garden which on good days gives us a 360-degree view of Beijing and a stunning perspective on the Forbidden City and its environs.

Finally, we will explore Beihai Park, one of Beijing’s loveliest parks, and the lakeside gardens there which were once the private domains of the imperial court.

Price: 300 RMB ; 260 RMB for members (includes all guide fees and admission tickets)

Consider a Private Tour!

Looking for a walk that fits your schedule? Interested in a personal experience for you or your group?

Private walks around Beijing’s parks historic sites are available for individuals, families, school and company groups.

Private walks are 1600 RMB for up to five people and 120 RMB for each additional person. Price includes all guide fees and admission tickets.

Contact us at [email protected] for more information and to reserve your private Beijing history experience.

Houhai and Beijing's Lakes District

The Prince, the Widow, & the Scholar: A Walk and Discussion around the Lakes of Beijing

This walk takes us around Beijing’s scenic lakes including Qianhai and Houhai. We will first visit the gorgeous former home of Guo Moruo, an author, artist, and poet who was one of the most influential Chinese scholars of the 20th century.

We will then visit the palace of Aisin-Gioro Yixin, better known as Prince Gong. The younger brother of the Xianfeng Emperor, Yixin helped defend Beijing from the Anglo-French Expeditionary Force in 1860 after his brother had fled the city. Later Yixin would become a diplomat, a reformer, and an official who suffered through a long career serving under the Empress Dowager Cixi. His palace, a Beijing landmark, is famous for its lavishly restored pavilions and gardens.

Finally, we will travel around the lakeside to the former home of Soong Ch’ing-ling, the widow of revolutionary leader Sun Yat-sen. One of the famous “Soong Sisters” (her brothers-in-law include Chiang Kai-shek and Chiang’s finance minister H.H. Kung), she established her own legacy after her husband’s death in 1925.

Price: 300 RMB ; 260 RMB for members (includes all guide fees and admission tickets)

Consider a Private Tour!

Looking for a walk that fits your schedule? Interested in a personal experience for you or your group?

Private walks around Beijing’s Lakes and historic sites are available for individuals, families, school and company groups.

Private walks are 1800 RMB for up to five people and 150 RMB for each additional person. Price includes all guide fees and admission tickets.

Contact us at [email protected] for more information and to reserve your private Houhai history experience.

Maliandao Tea Tour

Tea

Join a group of fellow tea connoisseurs, amateurs, and thirsty friends on a journey to the Maliandao Tea city, where The Hutong’s tea expert will guide you through all the teas in China. Includes a delicious lunch at a nearby restaurant!

Price: 300 RMB; 260 RMB for members

Find-Out-More-

See what featured programs are coming up in our courtyard, and around China: classes, tours, adventures, and more.

Upcoming-Events

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Visit our calendar to see all of our upcoming events – we look forward to seeing you soon!

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