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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 ruled China from behind the red walls of the Forbidden City. Theirs was a private world of palaces, gardens, courtyards, temples, and thrones.

The Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) was a Chinese dynasty which came to power in a rebellion against the Mongol Khans. The Qing Empire (1636-1912) was founded by the Manchus, a people from what is today Northeast China. In 1644, the Manchus conquered China and moved the capital of their empire to Beijing. We’ll tell the story of the fall of the Ming Dynasty and the Manchu conquest, one of the epic tales of Chinese history, and examine the differences and continuities between the Ming and the Qing eras.

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

This walk considers what life was like for the men and women who lived and worked in the palace. Who built the Forbidden City and why? What did it feel like reporting for duty as an imperial official? Who were the eunuchs who performed much of the necessary daily functions for the palace and its inhabitants? What was life like for a woman in the imperial family?

Our walk will take us to some of the more recently opened areas to avoid (as best we can in China!) the crowds while giving visitors a sense of the diverse architecture of the Forbidden City.

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 2200 for up to five people and 110 RMB for each additional person. Price includes all guide fees and admission tickets.

Contact us at info[at]thehutong[dot]com for more information and to reserve your private Forbidden City experience.

Temple of Heaven

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

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

During this two-hour walk, we will explore the Temple of Heaven complex and discuss its ritual and historical significance. We will also examine the connections between past and present and how ancient forms of political legitimacy linger 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: 240 RMB; 200 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 1400 for up to five people and 40 RMB for each additional person. Price includes all guide fees and admission tickets.

Contact us at info[at]thehutong[dot]com for 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) is one of the most notorious figures in Modern Chinese history. For nearly a half-century, she used her cunning and connections to rule China from behind the throne. Even today, many historians in China blame her for spending too much money building an elaborate pleasure garden at a time when the empire 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 lakeshores and hillsides of her magnificent creation, we will discuss the life and legacy of this fascinating historical figure. We’ll consider the reasons behind her scandalous reputation as we look at the final years of the Qing Dynasty, the last empire to rule China.

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 1800 for up to five people and 80 RMB for each additional person. Price includes all guide fees and admission tickets.

Contact us at info[at]thehutong[dot]com for more information and to reserve your private Summer Palace experience.

Hutong Walk: Traditions and Transitions

 

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

One of Beijing’s most distinctive urban features, the hutongs have long been at the heart of the capital’s culture. This walk explores the past, present, and future of the hutongs, Beijing’s network of historic alleyways. Our exploration takes us through the hutongs of the Dongcheng District, once home to some of Beijing’s most fascinating figures. We will discuss the history of the hutongs, who lived there and why.

But this walk is more than just history. The hutongs are the living breathing fabric of Beijing. They represent Beijing’s future, as old spaces are repurposed into new commercial and residential developments. The past year has seen sweeping changes to Beijing’s urban landscape. The government boarded up small shops and forced some residents out of the city center. What does this mean for the preservation of these historic neighborhoods and the people who live there? How have the pressures of urban development affected the communities who live in Beijing’s historic center?

While we wander the hutongs, we’ll also check in on local markets, taste some of the snacks on offer from local sellers, and immerse ourselves in the culture of Old Beijing.

Duration: About two hours

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 1400 for up to five people and 100 RMB for each additional person. Price includes all guide fees and admission tickets.

Contact us at info[at]thehutong[dot]com for more information and to reserve your private hutong exploration experience.

 

All of our public walks and discussions are available as private tours for your family, school group, company, or organization. Enjoy your own private and customized historian-led walk at one of Beijing’s famous sites or exploring the city’s hidden neighborhoods. Each private walk is tailor-made to incorporate you and your group’s interests and goals.

We can also work with you to customize all-day and multi-day tour programs including transportation to and from your hotel, visits to Beijing’s hottest restaurants and best local eateries, and more.

Whether you are here for history or to experience the best of modern Beijing, let us craft your best Beijing experience.

Contact us at info[at]thehutong[dot]com for information and pricing.

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

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