Basic Information of Houhai
Chinese Name: 后海 Pronunciation: Hòuhǎi
Opening Hours: All day
Admission Ticket Fare: Free
Suggested Visiting Hours: 4 Hours
Address: Xicheng District, Beijing, China
Covering Area: The total area is 1.467 million square meters, with a water area of 0.34 million square meters.
Overview of Houhai
At the Riverside
Located in Xicheng District of Beijing, Houhai is an integral part of Shichahai.
Bordering Di’anmen Street in the east, Xinjiekou Street in the west, Ping’an Street in the south, and the 2nd Ring Road in the north, Houhai used to be the ancient water area of Beijing 700 years ago in the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368).
Houhai is a place for leisure, with beautiful views of water and rockery, weeping willows, and the shore. The residential houses on the shore and the surrounding palaces and celebrities’ former residences are even full of Beijing flavor and infinite endless charm of history.
Houhai is not only a man-made lake but also surrounded by a lot of cultural attractions, such as Yandai Byway, Yinding Bridge, Houhai Park, and the Former Residence of Soong Ching-ling.
The water of Shichahai has always been a treasure of geomantic omen since ancient times. So, monks built temples here, Princes and ministers built gardens here, and celebrities also moved here.
Houhai is also well known for its small bars. With the moon, the music of erhu or pipa from the boats on the lake, Houhai is a place for people to enjoy the night.
Big Events Happened in Houhai
During the reign of Emperor Xuantong of the Qing Dynasty (1636-1912), Regent Zai Feng, Prince Chun, lived in the area, and the Yinding Bridge was on his daily route to the imperial palace. On March 31, 1910, the Revolutionary Party placed a bomb under this bridge and tried to kill Zai Feng. But they failed because their whereabouts were discovered. Since then, the Yinding Bridge has become famous for this event.
Houhai Top Amazing Sights You Should Not Miss
Houhai Park, located in Shichahai Scenic Spot in the northwest of Xicheng District, Beijing, is a national 4A-level scenic spot. In spring, the warm wind blows, willows are green and soft, and the birds sing beautifully. In summer, cicadas singing everywhere, people going boating, and lotus, with thick leaves and blooming flowers, are also special sights.
In autumn, all kinds of trees are intertwined into a colorful scene, which is gorgeous and charming with water, ancient and modern buildings. In winter, snowflakes fly, and the lake freezes, thus becoming the best playground for skating.
Around Houhai Park, there are many bicycle rentals services. There are single bicycles, double bicycles, and triple bicycles. Cycling around Houhai Park is a pleasure. Some people ride bikes, some row boats, some enjoy the sun, and some enjoy the sight of the beautiful Houhai. Everything seems so lovely.
The Alley and Hutong
The alley and Hutong of Houhai were formed in the Yuan Dynasty. Many ancient buildings have the typical characteristics of Beijing’s traditional architecture, such as the Dajinsi Hutong and Xiaojinsi Hutong in the Jinsitao District, Nanguanfang Hutong, and Beiguanfang Hutong, Ya’er Hutong, Baimi Byway, Yandai Byway, Nanluoguxiang, and so on.
In the Shichahai area, there are over 40 relics preservation units. The palaces and the former residences of famous people in different dynasties are scattered in the alleys and Hutong, including Prince Gong’s Mansion, Prince Chun’s Mansion, the former residence of Soong Ching-ling and the former residence of Guo Moruo. Eight of the ten grand marshals of the New China once lived in Liuyin Street by the Shichahai.
Interesting Story of Houhai
In the northwest of Beijing, there was a large area of low-lying land, which people called Jishuitan. It is desolate, barren, and inaccessible. People lived a hard life.
Night Scene of the Riverside
One night, people saw a ball of something falling wrapped in a fire falling from the sky. After making a loud noise, it crashed into the low land. No one dared to go out to have a look.
At dawn, people came out, only seeing a huge dark red boulder poking on the ground, more than two meters tall and still hot. People made great efforts but could not hold it. An old gentleman with grey hair came and left a message: “This is a treasure! All of You should protect it well.”
Later, many people came to steal it, but they failed. After the capital of the Yuan Dynasty was located in Beijing, when people stood on the hill where the stone was located, people would find that the desolate area became prosperous with business activities. After the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, it suddenly disappeared and became a mystery.
Suggested Travel Route
Houhai Park→Former Residence of Soong Ching-ling→Prince Chun’s Mansion→Prince Regent Mansion→Yinding Bridge→Yandai Byway→Dajinsi Hutong and Xiaojinsi Hutong→Nanguanfang Hutong and Beiguanfang Hutong
Best Travel Time
Houhai is worth visiting all year round. There are more travelers in spring and summer, followed by autumn and winter.
Summer (June to August) is the best time to travel to Houhai. At this time, the temperature is suitable, the wind is moderate, and the air is very fresh. The lotus flowers are in full bloom. People can enjoy the lotus flowers, go boating, visit the park, and enjoy the Hutong tourism.
It rains a lot in June, so remember to bring your umbrella. You can also take your raincoat so that it will not affect your trip on rainy days.
How to Get to Houhai
Take sightseeing line 3 and get off at Deshengmen Station. After getting off, walk along the Deshengmennei street about 30 meters, turn right, walk about 600 meters, turn left, walk into the Yangfang Hutong, along which, walk about 300 meters, you can see the Houhai.
Take bus 124 or 60 and get off at Gulou Station. After getting off, walk along the Di’anmen street for about 500 meters and turn right to walk 20 meters, turn left to cross the road and turn right, to walk straight about 400 meters, then you can see the Houhai.
Take bus 111 and get off at Dongguanfang Station. After getting off, walk about 270 meters along the West Di’anmen street, turn right, walk about 270 meters to the the Songshu Street, walk straight for 680 meters to the destination.
Take Metro Line 8, get off at Shichahai Station, and exit A. After getting out, walk 90 meters along the Wannian Hutong, turn right to walk 150 meters, turn left to walk 20 meters, turn right to walk 1 kilometer to the destination.
Take Metro Line 6, get off at Beihai North Station, and exit A. After getting out from the exit, walk 180 meters along the West Di’anmen Street, turn right, walk 270 meters to the Songshu Street, walk 680 meters to the Houhai.
Chinese: 请带我去后海。English: Please take me to Houhai.
If you go to Houhai from the center of Beijing (Grand Hyatt Beijing), it takes about 15 minutes (about 20 yuan).
If you go to Houhai from Beijing Daxing International Airport, it takes about 1.5 hours (about 160 yuan).
If you go to Houhai from Beijing Capital International Airport, it takes about 1 hour (about 110 yuan).
If you go to Houhai from Beijing West Train Station, it takes about 25 minutes (about 40 yuan).
authorName23242: Yahui Zhao
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