[by Teo Cheng Huat, Beijing, China]
Nanluoguxiang 南锣鼓巷， is a narrow alley, an old part of the Beijing city , Dongcheng district , it has traditional architecture and many narrow streets known as hutong. The alley itself is approximately 800m long, running from East Gulou Street in the north to Di'anmen East Street in the south.
Nanluoguxiang was built in the Yuan Dynasty. In recent years, the area's hutongs have become a popular tourist destination with restaurants, bars, live music houses, coffee shops, fast food and souvenir shops, as well as some old Siheyuan (Courtyard houses)
However, the government felt that the location had become so popular that many resident had sub let empty houses for commercial use often causing lots of traffic congestion ,safety problem and inconvenience to the neighborhood and residents. New rules and regulation are pass down to chase out illegal business and residents. The government plan to revive the traditional courtyard architecture and landscaping.
Security has improved a lot, CCTV camera at many street and road junction, many roads are single way traffic and motor vehicle are not allow on most of the street. Bicycles and trishaw are common mean of transportation on these street and nearby hutongs and alleys.
We visited these places every few months and it always has many new surprises as many restaurants, cafes and shops changes owner very often.