A Family RTW Travel Adventure (2008-2009)
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Home Sweet Hutong


You always take a chance when booking accomodation over the Internet.  Will the place be as advertised?  Are the reviews accurate?  Have I read the message between the lines?

For our arrival in Beijing I had booked us into the Downtown Beijing Backpackers Accommodation, a hostel in a hutong not too far from Tiananmen Square and The Forbidden City.

A lucky choice, as it turned out.

Now, you might ask, what the heck’s a hutong?  Before we stayed in one I couldn’t have told you.

A hutong is a traditional Chinese neighborhood, a series of narrow alleyways, one-story dwellings and courtyard homes.  In anticipation of the Olympics, the government renovated streets in several hutongs and dozens of restaurants, shops and bars replaced family homes.

The Downtown Beijing Backpackers is on one of these renovated streets.




The main gate of a hutong traditionally faces south, satisfying feng shui requirements.  Dwellings are typically located on the east-west streets, while the north-south alleyways connect the residential alleys.

The effect of being in a hutong is oddly calming.  We’re in our own little world, protected from the crazy chaos of Beijing.

1 comment

1 Doug Spiro { 04.15.09 at 4:21 pm }

James gang,

Thanks for your posts today. It has been one of those days in the video business and I was at the end of my rope until I read about Sponge Bob and hutongs.

Happy 8 months and 22 days!

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