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Gulou / Houhai

Gulou is also one of the last remaining areas of the city that maintains its “old Beijing” atmosphere. Gulou and Houhai are very well known for their numerous number of entertainment and dining venues.
Gulou, the drum tower, was originally built for musical reasons and for announcing the time. Together with Zhonglou, the bell tower, the neighboring towers are both a tourist attraction and high point in the city providing great views over central Beijing. Houhai, an artificial lake very popular among tourists, expats, and local residents alike, is known for its nightlife and scenery.


Accomodation in this area consists mainly of hutongs and scattered apartment buildings. Due to recent government protection policies, this area is temporarily safe from demolition. However, prices have since drastically increased. For example, a 60 sqm un-renovated hutong can be rented for around RMB 5,000/month while a newly renovated 400 sqm hutong (including jacuzzi, sauna, two-floors, great city access, etc) can be rented for around RMB 60,000/month.

Shopping & Amenities

Though there are no new shopping malls in this area, there are many streets offering a wide variety of boutique shopping. Gulou Street is home to many musical instrument shops while Nanluoguxiang Street boasts of some of the best shopping experience in Beijing.

Entertainment & Leisure.

Many restaurants and bars are located in this area, ranging from Indian to Italian cuisine. You will be able to satisfy your palette at very reasonable prices. Many venues such as Jianghu Bar, Pass-By Bar, Bed Bar, Café Sambal host intimate live music events. The Central Academy of Drama also offers a wide range of shows to the public year-round.


Though Yuanfuren University, a few local Middle and Elementary Schools are nearby, this area does not offer many foreign schools.


Subway line 2 is the only accessible subway line in this area. However, taxis and buses are abundantly available anytime of the day. Traffic can get congested during peak hours, but government plans to limit private use of cars in this area will help.

Health Care

Beihai Hospital Beijing, Jinxiang Clinic and Beijing Doncheng first-aid station are the main hospitals in this area. For foreign hospitals or clinics, you should head to SOS Clinic in Dongzhimen or Beijing United Family Hospital in Lido.

  Very touristic attractions available (Gulou towers
  Heavy Traffic with few access to easy traffic (except if living close to the 2nd ring road - Jiaodaokou street)
  Houhai Lake), Many bars
   Far from the CBD and Sanlitun Area
  Restaurants and clubs around (NanLuoGuXiang Hutong Alley & Jiaodaokou), Traditional Chinese accommodation lifestyle (Quiet and slower pace of living)
   No major supermarket to buy foreign products
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