One of my favourite places in Beijing- Houhai, which is a huge lake area in central Beijing and is famous for its night scene. It has a completely different vibe to it than most other places in Beijing. Beijing is amazing for many reasons but sometimes besides Sanlitun there are few other areas great for nightlife and students, until you find Houhai.
Houhai is a place to spend all day/ afternoon and then stay throughout the night. There is so much to do during the day and shopping in particular is great here as there are many market places and independent shops- where you will have to bargain for a decent price. Although most of them sell the same stock I really enjoy looking around the touristy shops and I know so much of it is cheap rubbish but I still buy it anyway.
There are many places to eat in Houhai and there are a range of different cuisines, which sometimes in Beijing and China can be harder to come by than other places I have found (besides of course the fast food chains). We ate at a traditional Chinese restaurant with the rotating table top which I love. There is something so much more sociable about a circular table and this is definitely something I will miss when returning to England. On the topic of food, I really enjoyed the sweet shops in Houhai and the fig rolls are to die for I don’t know what they do but they are different from any other fig roll I have ever had (maybe it is because I haven’t had fig rolls since I was forced to eat this ‘healthier’ snack as a child).
A really nice thing to do in Houhai is to watch the sunset go down over the lake. You can go on boat rides on the lake, you can take the traditional Chinese style wooden boats where you can drop lotus flowers into the water. However, we are students and didn’t even ask how much this cost and opted for the pedal boats. I am so glad we did it though it was hilarious even if we did cause a disturbance on the lake.
The view from the water at night is super cool. If you only have a short amount of time I would recommend choosing Houhai at night rather than the day as I feel this is when it is at its best. The bars and restaurants at night light up around the lake different colours. Also, I don’t want to make this post more negative but be warned- we paid the deposit of 500RMB (approximately £50) and we were given it all back in fake 100 notes. It didn’t put a downer on the experience but we really could have done with that £50! All across China make sure to watch out for fake money- there is a lot of it going around so be extra careful.
I am currently writing this post in a cafe in Tokyo so I am way behind on blog posts, so expect a lot (hopefully) upcoming. I will probably intertwine all my blog posts from the different places I travel rather than sticking to chronological order as I am so behind with what I wanted to have posted by now! I have so many posts planned but no time to write them. As always, thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed, Katy x