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ShiChaHai, Beijing, China

HouHai ('Hou lake') is situated between QianHai and XiHai, just north of QianHai. HouHai is in the center of the tradional hutong area of central Beijing. The ancient Drum and Bell Towers are nearby.

Around the south and along the west side of HouHai are a variety of teahouses, cafes, bars and boutiques that combine modern and traditional elements in their unique designs. There are also some cafes, restaurants and bars on the east side.

The area of Houhai, QianHai and XiHai collectively is often referred to as ShiChaHai. The water for these lakes comes via canal past the north of BeijingZoo from KunMing lake at the Summer Palace. In turn, the water in KunMing lake comes from rainfall in the Western Fragrant Hills.

HouHai is popular all day with small shops in hidden alleys and lots of rickshaws passing by. In the evening, trendy lighting and neon mixes with traditional red lanterns to create a lively yet relaxing atmosphere.

Follow the lake southwards on the west (right) side to reach the popular area where QianHai joins HouHai and Lotus Lane beyond.

If you take a rickshaw tour around the HouHai area, there are two historical spots that you are very likely to visit. China's last emperor, Puyi, was born in a mansion near HouHai. Another courtyard house (SiHeYuan), in this case a very large one, was the longtime residence of Song QingLing, the wife of Sun YatSen. Both these mansions are now museums. The expansive gardens and ponds provide a glimpse of what life was like for the privileged before the Communists, who officially frowned on such extravagance.

HouHai - part two
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HouHai Two

HouHai Three

HouHai Four

HouHai Five

HouHai Six

Beijing Guide

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