One friend told me about the Drum & Bell Tower and the nice walk around Houhai lake so I decided to listen his advice and went this weekend to visit it. Drum & Bell Tower were used to measure time and if you want to know the exact story related to them, better read the explanatory photos bellow. Drum tower still has a demonstration of the drums playing few times a day and I did hear it while I was there but I didn´t get to see it in person. For both towers you have to climb very steep steps so beware, it is easier than going to the Chinese wall but still a challenge.
The Bell Tower
The Drum Tower from inside
I was done with that rather quickly and then I proceeded to the Houhai park around the lake, my first thought was that I will just pass it on my way to another famous Beijing park (Bei Hai), but it was not possible just to pass it. The stroll around the lake is so beautiful and interesting that every now and then you just have to stop and enjoy the atmosphere.
There are people playing traditional Chinese game Mahjong.
There are beautiful and affordable jewelry pieces that you can buy (including the one made of ox bone that is carved before you).
There is a possibility to do a massage as well and I tried it although I was a bit afraid after a friend told me about her unique experiences of Chinese massage, but this one was quite nice.
Of course, there are many places to eat and drink, I took a break on a nice water terrace that in background played some nice Chinese music and it was so relaxing.
But actually the whole Houhai area seems like a great place to listen to live music in Chinese, there are dozen of bars that play it and it sound pretty good so if I will have time I would like to go there again one evening. Actually if I go there again, I would also like to rent a boat which can be done and cruise the lake, it seems such an enjoyable thing to do. This was definitively one of the nicest places I have seen in Beijing, this conclusion was particularly strong during the sunset time as I was leaving the area.