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Enjoy Serene Experience in Beijing

With the weather nice and pleasant, there is truly no better way to explore Beijing than on foot or by bike. And one of the most popular tourist destinations for a serene experience or retreat in Beijing is no doubt the Shichahai Area.

Shichahai Area

The Shichahai is composed of three scenic lakes, inclduing Qian Hai (Front Lake), Hou Hai (Back Lake) and Xi Hai (West Lake). Essence of the area - the Back Lake neighborhood, located next to the Forbidden City, is home to a large number of alleys and streets surrounding the lakes. Moreover, Houhai is also filled with some of the last remaining traditional hutong houses across the city. During the Yuan Dynasty, the Great Canal extended right here, making it one of the most bustling neighborhoods in the capital city at the time. Worth a look is a classic example of Chinese courtyard - Prince Gongs Mansion, one of the best preserved Qing Dynasty mansions in the city. With a visit to the mansion you may get an insight into what life was like back in those days when those royals led their lives every day.

Beijing Hutong

Today, one of the best way to enjoy the retreat to this area is get on board a little boat cruising on the now calm waters of the lakes, or ride bikes or walk on foot while scaling through the scenic area. Pretty much every visitor to this area would stop by one of the many cafes, restaurants, bars and shops that are now housed in many of the old courtyards. One of the best-preserved courtyards is Mei Lanfang Guju, the former residence of a world renowned Peking Opera master during the 1930s. If you want to do some shopping for some souvenirs or simply window shop, Yandai Xiejie (Tobacco Alley) is really not to be missed, where you can find just about anything from kitschy tourist shops to dozens of quality finds, like No. 63, a popular artsy boutique.

While exploring the neighborhood, the twice-hourly performances at the Drum and Bell Towers are also well worth a look. The performance is amazing and free, and then, you can ascend the top of either tower for a sweeping view of the sprawling city below. To sum it up, you can easily find lots of fun stuff to do in the area!