Sharing Culture, Sharing Knowledge
The Hutong is Beijing’s culture exchange center in the heart of the Chinese capital and a retreat where expats, foreigners and locals meet and connect. They host events, teach cooking classes, take people on tours and tea journeys, educate students, promote healthy habits and encourage creative pursuits.
On one frosty Beijing winter day, while riding his bicycle through the hutongs’ zigzagging alleyways, Mark Thirlwall peeked into a courtyard, stumbling across an old lady huddled over a stove, blowing into her hands to keep warm. Striking up a conversation, the lady became our landlord, renovations began, and the rest is history.
*As winter thawed, Mark’s friend Stacey Shine fell in love with the courtyard and moved in. The two threw their heart and soul into the courtyard home, and began creating projects and events first for friends, and then for Beijing’s larger expat community. The Hutong was born. *
Today The Hutong has an eclectic and passionate team running a wide variety of programs in Beijing and across China. Our goals are to provide patrons with exceptional experiences, and ensure that they leave having learned something new, and above all, having had a great time. Explore our website or do stop by, our doors are always open to visitors and friends.
9 days (Bike: 7 days)
385 km (~55km per day)
Tour Operator The Hutong
Golden Week Bike Journey Through Remote Tea Fields, Rainforests & Mountain Villages
Bordering on Laos, Burma, and Vietnam – and only a short boat ride from Thailand – Yunnan is one of the most ethnically diverse and geographically stunning areas of the world. Twenty-six of China’s fifty-six ethnic minorities reside in Yunnan, and The Hutong’s Yunnan Bike Journey gives riders the opportunity to experience the variety in Chinese culture while taking a challenging, yet fun, ride through remote mountain villages and verdant tea forests.
This 385km ride takes us through Xishuangbanna, the southernmost prefecture of Yunnan Province – China’s most southwestern province. Renowned for its tropical climate and lush rainforests, the region is teeming with wildlife, rare plants, and historical and cultural significance. Xishuangbanna is the birthplace of tea cultivation, and is home to the Pu’er tea industry.
Each day, adventurers meet a different ethnicity and savor their unique specialties. The secluded villages bring new flavors, new recipes, new stories, and new friends. From the area’s most populous minority, the Dai, to the region’s most remote ethnic groups like the Jinuo or the Hani, The Hutong’s Bike Journey explores one of the last virgin lands where one can find undisturbed but welcoming cultures.
In addition to our Summer Journey, this 7-day bike trip and cultural excursion takes place each October during Golden Week and each winter during The Chinese New Year. The Hutong also brings school groups to Xishuangbanna to study ethnic diversity, the history of China’s borderlands, the pros and cons of economic development, environmental preservation, and to be immersed in nature. We also organize private trips for groups of families and friends.