Au Pair: A Day Trip to the Hutongs with My Au Pair Kid| 2 min read


If you are lucky enough to get placed with a family that encourages you to explore your surrounding areas you will find that often you’re able to take your child with you on these adventures.

I am allowed to take my girl, Ally, out every Sunday for a day trip. Most recently we went to the Hutongs, which are traditional historical Chinese streets and buildings that are still intact.

The hutongs represent important cultural elements in the city of Beijing.

Given, some Hutongs and building even represent historical events and also reflect the grassroots of Chinese culture.

People, to the day, still live in the old buildings, forming the heart of old Beijing. Most houses have been transformed into small shops that sell traditional Chinese tea, toys, art, pottery and many more.

There are even hidden restaurants that sell the most incredible foods, from sweet and sour chicken to soups and dumplings.

When adventuring in the Hutongs you allow yourself to be immersed in the ancient Chinese cultures. Experiencing their way of life in the space of a day. You are able to see how people once lived.


The larger Hutongs are split into sections but still keep the same name.

There are groups of Hutongs that were named after important people who once resided in the houses during the different dynasties.

Others are named after positive attributes, for example, the Xiqing Hutongs which means happy Hutongs.

Many of the Hutongs reach back to over two hundred years such as the Bell Tower.

Today, such as it were in the past, the Hutongs are home to Celebrities, business owners and other important people in China.

Ally had never been to the Hutongs before I took her there, as famous as they are. I find that if you live in a city you never really explore its surroundings because to you, ‘they will always be there.’ Which is why I am so happy that I had the opportunity to take Ally on this adventure, to explore her cities ancient streets.

We went from sweet stores, corner store restaurants to tea shops and adventuring around the streets to the various different houses that once were home to the Great Emporers or that are now home to important Celebrities and Businessmen.

It was there where we learned that a large number of Hutongs are being demolished in order to make space for new roads and housing. Although, many of the Hutongs have been labeled as protected in order to preserve the Ancient Chinese cultures.

Rachel Yoon

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