Meet your guide at your hotel in Beijing downtown and follow him to the hutongs area, the alleys formed by lines of traditional courtyard residences. Clamber into a traditional rickshaw and relax as your driver weaves through the ancient narrow lanes. The hutongs have captured traditional Beijing’s essence, and spending time here is a real look into authentic Beijing city life as many of Beijing’s residents still live in them and spend their days around the alleys. In fact, many of the alleys have been around for centuries. They sometimes feel a little bit like a village instead of one of the biggest cities in the world.
You will stop at a local family’s house to learn the art of Chinese calligraphy, which is more difficult than it looks! This ancient art is revered in the Chinese cultural sphere, including Japan, Taiwan, Korea, and Vietnam, and many students learn it at school. The experts will show you different styles, which have changed throughout the years and are different across the country too and introduce you to the materials and tools needed.
Before leaving the hutongs area, you will also stop near the Bell Tower to a Tea House to sample some tea. Then the guide will take you to the Beijing Zoo, where you’ll be able to see the endangered giant pandas in real life. Did you know that giant pandas devour about 12-38 kg of bamboo everyday to get all their nutrients out of bamboo? When they are not eating, they are generally napping and digesting all that bamboo.
After watching the pandas eat, then it will be time for a traditional Chinese cuisine lunch, which we will have at a local restaurant (at your own expense). When you’re ready to go again, we will head to the Olympic Park (without going inside of the stadium) to fly kites. Kites are generally recognized to have originated in China and are a really popular hobby for children and adults alike. Most parks that you visit in China during the summer will have stalls selling kites in all different colors, shapes and sizes. This is also the perfect time to enjoy the Olympic Park – the site of the 2008 Summer Olympic Games. Marvel at the architecture, space, and modern developments of this bustling city.Lastly, you will stop at the Toy market where you will have the opportunity to pick up some gifts for your family, friends, or yourself. After this last stop, your guide will bring you back to your hotel to relax after a wonderful day.