Hou Lake

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4.5
4.5 of 5 bubbles59 reviews
Excellent
29
Very good
23
Average
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Poor
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Terrible
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SOH KIEN PENG
Singapore, Singapore6,668 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2014 • Couples
We stayed near Andingmen, took the subway to Guloudajie station and toured the Bell and Drum Tower hutong neighborhood. We subsequently roamed around the Hutong neighborhoods and my wife became so infatuated with the traditional shops along Smoking Pipe Street that she `coerced' me to shop there for a second time on our last day trip in Beijing.

Well, I must admit that the atmosphere for shopping along this well-preserved traditional Qing dynasty shopping alley was uniquely relaxed. My wife was particularly fascinated with beautifully embroidered silk scarfs and spent time selecting her option.

I was not the sort of shopaholic. While she pursued her interest slowly browsing her items, I went around the Sichaihai area comprising the 3 lakes: Qianhai, Xihai and Houhai (Hou Lake) for sightseeing. Through my many days in Beijing, I found that it was extremely safe for anyone including female to wander around alone in broad daylight.

I visited the Temple of the Fire God near the Qianhai lake and the Lotus Flower market before walking across to the Hou Lake area. The northern part of the Hou Lake was crowded with bars, cafes, restaurants and shops and very commercialized with Caucasians seen drinking beer and relaxing in the bars and cafes while westernized rock music blasted in the air. This hutong neighborhood is particularly attractive to the younger local generations and the expatriate community in Beijing.

I strolled around the Hou Lake and visited two unique attractions: the former residence of Song Ching Ling and Prince Gong Mansion. Song Ching Ling married Dr Sun Yat Sen and was remembered as the Mother of Modern China. She died in 1981 when the modernization programs under Deng Xiao Peng had just embarked in the southern provinces. She is one of those revolutionary martyrs who abandoned wealth and luxury in search of a socialist China that brings prosperity and happiness to her people. Prince Gong Mansion was one of the most exquisite and well preserved imperial mansion in Beijing.

The water in the Hou Lake came from the Kunming Lake in the Summer Palace and both attractions share an atmosphere of serenity and tranquility. While the northern area may be crowded and noisy with bars, cafes and western music, the rest of the lake area is quiet, calm and serene and it is very suitable for an evening stroll. If you tired, you can rent a trishaw for RMB 20 to ride you around the lake.

By the time I finished my stroll around the lake, my wife had also completed her souvenir shopping task and we happily proceeded to one of the eateries at Hou Lake area to have our sumptuous dinner.

Do drop by to appreciate the beauty of the Sichaihai lakes while you are in Beijing - be it for souvenir shopping or for a jug of beer.
Written October 7, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

866Paul
Washington DC, DC91 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2016 • Solo
Houhai has many faces. The lake itself is a place that you would not expect in the center of a major city. It is a great photo opportunity in the daytime and takes on a different character at night time.
The district itself also has different personalities; day versus night and south versus north. The daytime personality in both south and north is very charming. I would recommend the north for pictures and it is a great place to catch a rickshaw tour of the Hutong area.
At night time the south has larger restaurants and better for families. At night time the north section comes alive with over 100 small bars and restaurants. Each competing with the loudest bands, best happy hours and food. Any adult tourist would love this place at night time. It is fun and exciting and loaded with people looking to have a good time.
Written March 7, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Alienandbear
Daly City, California, United States155 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2013 • Couples
Right to the north of Bei Hai park this is a place where you have to go during your Beijing trip at night.

If you enter from the south you'll walk along a beautiful lake that you could ride a small boat in. Definitely a great place to spend a romanic night.

The food here is quite expensive but it is worth the atmosphere.

If you come during the day you can go see Song Ching Ling residence, Gong Wang Fu and Mao Guo Rong residence are all nearby this area. Also, you can go browse and shop at Yan Dai alley way.

At night there are a few bars that are quite friendly and there is a good mix between Chinese and international in the air.

The pedicabs are friendly and it's nice to ride around just once for the feeling of traveling through the Hutongs and along the lake.

Summary-
Beijing Hou Hai nightlife<--Something you need to experience here if you've never been to Beijing
Public bathrooms might be dirty go into a restaurant to use one
Take a pedicab ride and a boat ride!
Go at night and see people sing awfully at karaoke! See the bar and restaurant scene.
Written September 11, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

nellielim
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia4,110 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2017 • Family
Houhai means rear lake and it is the biggest of the three lakes known collectively as Shichaihai. Ringed by restaurants, cafes and bars, it has a buzzling nightlife popular among the younger generation and expatriate crowd. In the daytime, boat and rickshaw rides can be taken around the lake and neighbouring hutongs.
Written March 28, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

BalikpapanRain
Moscow, Russia286 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2023 • Solo
There are dozens of cheap eats, bars, tea shops and hutong neighborhoods situated around these lakes. So much to see and do and try!
Written October 7, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Ramón
Vega Alta, Puerto Rico219 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2019
Make sure to enjoy the views and visit the different bars and shops around the area. There are some boats to enjoy the lake in the water or you can take a bicycle tour also around it.
Written June 4, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Soxblue
Val Morin, Canada669 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2018 • Family
Hou lake( 后海)also called Shishahai(什刹海) is the water system connecting with Beihai(北海)and Zhongnanhai(中南海)。

It’s a family fun place, boating in summer, skating in winter. But also a hang out place for youngsters. The bars and restaurants spread on both sides of the lake. The night life is more busier than day time.

I’ve told the city has a different plan for this area and all the bars will be gone after summer. Some already moved out. So if you want to experience this unusual side of Beijing, you better do it now.
Written July 10, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

hildeborg
Seattle, WA77 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2018 • Friends
This is a strange place to describe. It's just one live music bar after another that all look remarkably similar. There are a handful of sit-down restaurants, some food vendors, and other treasures to discover in the alleys. Watch out for the scooters and rickshaws zipping along the narrow streets. Fun place to experience at night!
Written April 22, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Life2Travel
Denver, NC1,599 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2016 • Family
Our tour guide brought us to Hou Lake on our last day in Beijing, what a lovely area of shops and restaurants around a lake. We took a nice walk around the lake. There were lots of shops and restaurants, many places with outdoor patios to enjoy a drink, a meal and the view. There were people taking boat rides along the lake and rickshaw rides around the lake as well. I wish we would have discovered the area sooner, we would have returned for dinner one evening but we enjoyed walking around during the day!
Written September 1, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Sergie Arruda
Manchester, UK227 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2016
The area is full of restaurants and bars nearby and it gets quite beautiful during the evening. Good choice for a relaxing night.
Written August 15, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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