Beijing- Tiananmen Square – Nanluoguxiang Hutong

IMG_20171215_130405 Tiananmen Square

My day in Tiananmen Square was the day I walked 12.6km exploring Beijing.  I took the hottest shower ever when I returned to the hotel that night!  I started the day by walking to Tiananmen Square from my hotel in Wangfujing.

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Traveling in China was not as easy for me as in Hong Kong or Tokyo.  Many things were not in English or even pinyin.  However, I went to a lot of touristy places where maps were along the roadsides.  Although I could not tell what they said, I had a familiarity with my destination locations directionally and the red star demarking “you are here” was pretty universal.  My only destinations were the Tiananmen Square and the most famous hutong, Nanluoguxiang.

For those who might not know, Google, Amazon, and many social media sites (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc) were banned recently in China.  I knew this ahead of time and thought I had planned for it.  My research suggested certain maps apps. They were supposed to work but didn’t work when I arrived in Beijing.  The hotel had suggestions for alternatives as well, however they were all in Mandarin.  Without a map app, I got lost a lot.  My fellow tour-goers had told me about an app called Turbo VPN.  This app supposedly scrambles your phone to show that you’re not located in China.  I cannot vouch for it because I could not upload this app.  I could not access my Google play store.  Without Google translate, I was squandering.  It was still doable.  However, I was not as adventurous as I’d been in Tokyo.

We’re going to Shanghai for Chinese New Year and this time Mr. Chen is coming with me so I won’t have to worry about it….although, I will download the Turbo VPN and report if it works.  If anyone else has suggestions, please leave a note in the comments section.  Thanks in advance and cheers!

One of the first things I couldn’t figure out was crossing the street.  There were railings along the street at intersections so it was impossible to cross.  I kept passing these signs but I figured it was for entry to the subway.

IMG_20171215_124233 Tiananmen Square
see the railing along the road and the sign for stairs? those stairs go down under the road so pedestrians can cross the street
underground crosswalk

Some of them had peddlers selling hats and toys.

After Tiananmen Square, I walked north to the most famous hutong in Beijing- Nanluoguxiang Hutong.  It still had residences but now it’s mainly a mall with street food.  It smelled delicious.  I had pineapple bread there but it wasn’t even 25% as good as it was in Hong Kong.  I’m addicted to it in Hong Kong!  My stomach growls just thinking about it.

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Next up, the food in Beijing and Wangfujing street market.  We also went to Macau for Christmas, hiked up to Victoria Peak, visited another famous street market and went on a dinner boat cruise in Victoria harbor for NYE.  I have never seen so many fireworks!!

If you missed my other adventures in Beijing:

Great Wall, Summer Palace, Ming Tombs, Forbidden City and Temple of Heaven.

Thanks!