Beijing with Beijingers Itinerary - Day 2

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This post has come nearly 4 years after the first time I've been to Beijing... and since then I've been there countless of times, so in a way I will be re-organizing / merging my multiple trips to make it the most efficient / informative self-guided tour of these places ever.



The first day had us on a crazy 30,000 steps walking tour; which in hindsight, is not the best way to enjoy Beijing if you had more time or are not particularly fit. Beijing is certainly a city that is worth visiting again and again, what's more, if you do intend to visit North Korea, you are likely to be passing by this city again.






Here is a Day 2 of our itinerary, again, it will be a pretty long day - but the scenery and stops for this day itinerary are just awesome. ♥



1. Nan Luo Gu Alley 南锣鼓巷
Start your day at the lovely Nan Luo Gu Xiang (from the train station), which is a very long stretch of pedestrian walking street, one of Beijing's oldest streets. This street is just one stretch, but there are smaller stretches of hutong perpendicular to it. It has been preserved for its cultural and historic value, but for the modern folks, there are plenty to look forward to.


For one, the snacks, dessert and bubble tea shops that are scattered across the entire alley, and there is not a moment that you'll go hungry.



I have spent so much money on this alley just on food, it's crazy 😂 Here are some must-try snacks that you'll get at Nan Luo Gu Alley (not necessarily exclusively, but it's easier as everything is congregated here):



Wenyu Milk Pudding Shop 文宇奶酪店

This is hands down my favourite food to get at NLGX! Ever since Lexi introduced me to this, I have been binging on this whenever I see their shops... This is the original shop of Wenyu Milk Pudding Shop. They have new-fangled flavours like chocolate now, but please go for the original milk flavour!! I love to taste the pure milky taste - it reminds me of the Yee Shun Milk Company in Hong Kong which I'm equally crazy over. The traditional flavour consists of very thick and cold milk pudding (you can get it warm/ room temperature but I like it cold), topped with fat sweet red beans. It is da - bomb~



Matieer ("Modern") Ice Lolly 马迭尔冰棍

Again this is one of my favourite snacks - this traditional Northern China dessert that is also one of my favourite ice-creams in the world (my favourite lies in Qianmen, Beijing, to be featured soon). It is not too sweet, with a light milky taste, and it's actually fragrant / eggy in a very natural way. None of the artificial flavourings. OK technically it's not a Beijing snack, it's from Harbin further north of Beijing, but I really liked this and you can get it here too. It's not a shop on its own so keep your eyes peeled for this (usually in an ice chiller).



Beijing traditional yogurt 老北京酸奶

I know, it seems like I have a penchant for all things milky, but when in Beijing, do as they do and try their traditional yogurt! if you're imagining it as Yili Ambrosial Greek Yogurt, it's not the same, this is a lot more original, fresh and natural. It's also usually served cold (or room temperature), thick but not in completely "curdled" way. Just try this local snack if you get hungry. Also, they recycle the little porcelain flasks - it's a common practice for glass soda bottles as well - so return the flasks when you're done with it.



It's Time To Bubble Tea Shop 鲜果时间

Out of the many bubble tea shops, this is the most popular one - I would always see so many people carrying this cup meandering down the streets. I don't find it particularly delicious, it's a regular thirst-quencher.



Gulou Mantou Shop 鼓楼馒头店

A local's favourite - I guess you may find yourself the best mantou ever, as certified as many Chinese people. Many of their outlets throughout Beijing spot long queues, as people buy this as their main carbs source.


Chuangketie shirt, which says "北京小妞 Beijing Girl"

I skipped 'international' or non-Chinese snacks such as churros, egglets, fries, which are aplenty across the alley too. On top of that, there are also a few graphic t-shirt shops, my favourite being Chuangketie 创客贴 for its super cute drawings.



There are also many "Chinese" stuff, like snuff bottles, Shanghai women beauty brands, cafes, international beauty brands such as Nature's Republic. Okay obviously my favourite part about Nan Luo Gu Alley is the food!!

Keep walking, human

As you walk along the alley northward, you will eventually reach Gu Lou East Road (鼓楼东大街) and you should walk towards the Clock Tower for your next stop!

Side note: If you continue northward, you will reach Bei Luo Gu Xiang 北锣鼓巷 (literally the North version of Nan Luo Gu Xiang), which is another treasure trove of awesome places, but to ensure your itinerary doesn't require you to trace back steps as much as possible, leave it for another day. Bei Luo Gu Xiang has many small boutique restaurants that are great for meeting friends, so keep it in your little Beijing itinerary tips.

2. Drum Tower and Bell Tower of Beijing / 鼓楼 钟楼



One of the highly protected monuments in China, the Drum Tower in Beijing is hugely important in ancient history. Every city/ town has a drum tower, but the one in Beijing is especially critical to tell time to everyone in the capital. You can enter the tower at an entry fee of 10 RMB/ pax. If you want to. Otherwise, it's pretty cool to just be there and know that that's literally the clock for the city in the past.

  

It was sunny af that day, snapped a photo and off we go!

3. ~ Lunch ~ Huoqi Chaoshan Casserole Porridge 火齐潮汕砂锅粥


Steamed chicken feet with black beans 豆鼓凤爪
Dry scallop, prawns and crabs porridge (干贝虾蟹粥)



I've been to Huoqi a couple of times - and it's my preferred restaurant choice along this stretch because I honestly haven't had a bad dish from this place before, and it's always so delicious. It is known for its casserole porridge, especially the dry scallop, prawns and crabs porridge (干贝虾蟹粥). It has a very flavourful and umami flavour throughout the entire porridge goodness, it's definitely one of my favourite things to eat here.  For side dishes, the steamed chicken feet with black beans (豆鼓凤爪) is really good as well as the ginger chicken (姜葱鸡)! They also do have an entire menu of dimsum which I have yet to try, but there's so much good stuff from Huoqi that I think is the best place to have lunch in this area. (Of course there are many more, you have your friendly 大众点评 to help you out with that ;))

火齐潮汕砂锅粥 (鼓楼二店)
鼓楼东大街 206号


4. Yan Dai Xie Street 烟袋斜街



From the late Qing dynasty to 1930s, Yan Dai Xie Street is a commercial street selling shisha and shisha's equipment, antiques, calligraphy, paintings, framed paintings, stationery and snacks.



Now, Yan Dai Xie Street is now a culturally preserved street for tourism purposes.



It leads nicely into Bei Hai Park, and because of its "slantedness", and it is also especially photogenic. But be prepared to fight with the throngs of tourists going through this narrow street!




5. Bei Hai Park 北海公园


Bei Hai Park is the world's oldest imperial gardens for sightseeing, government affairs and sacrifices by the emperors. It consists of a lake, with islands on it, surrounded by greenery and smaller mansions. There are many restaurants and bars around too, but I haven't found one that I think is really good, they are mostly very touristy.



Great for snacks though! ♥ Here, have a red bean fried pancake while walking..


The best part about Bei Hai Park is definitely its garden, scenic lake and its water activities, and also going to visit the white tower. Even though it is a super popular tourist attraction, the whole area is really huge, nearly 700,000 square metres in size, so the crowd density is not that high (except for the area between Yan Dai Xie Street and Bei Hai Park).


  

We picked a flower motor boat to float along the lake, and it was really nice. We could go near the white tower without actually spending too much energy after walking for so long. The motor boats go by the hour, and if you're feeling energetic, you can even go for pedal-powered boats..!









To enter the "garden" area of Beihai Park itself, we bought the tickets (10RMB/pax).



This is the famous "Nine Dragons Wall 九龙壁". Dragons are auspicious creatures in Chinese mythology, and they represent the emperors or Heaven's son(s). There are nine of them because nine is the largest single digit which signifies "the highest order". In many temples and key attractions around China, there is often the Nine Dragons Wall, but the most impressive is in Beihai Park.

That brings us to the end of the day. There are honestly sooo many places in Beijing that I wanna continue to introduce, and they will follow up with this post fairly soon! ♥

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I share interesting episodes in life revolving around food, lifestyle, travel and inspirational ideas. If you would like to stay in touch, follow me on my Instagram on @amieishungry and Facebook page!  

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