• The Beijing Drum Tower rises above several houses and Nanluoguxiang’s night scene unfolds.

The Beijing Drum Tower rises above several houses and Nanluoguxiang’s night scene unfolds. (Photo : Getty Images)

Taking advantage of the recent holiday, throngs of tourists head to Nanluoguxiang in Dongcheng District even if group tours are banned in the popular hutong in Beijing, reported China Daily.

Undaunted by the imposed ban, more than 90,000 eased their way through the alley on Sunday. On April 30, the place, some 780 meters to 800 meters long, greeted more than 70,000 visitors.

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Li Xuemin, director of Dongcheng District Tourism Development Committee, told CCTV News that Nanluoguxiang can handle 17,000 people at one given time. Apparently, a huge turnout of tourists is way too much for the 740-year-old hutong’s carrying capacity.

Li also said that his office already cancelled the triple A rating of the alley.

China National Tourism Administration gave Nanluoguxiang a tourist attraction rating of AAA, and district authorities toyed with the idea of scrapping that rating to lessen tourist arrivals.

According to CCTV, many tourists have been complaining of the poor condition of the alley’s public restrooms.

To lessen the impact to historic buildings and to local residents caused by the overwhelming number of tourists, authorities imposed a ban on large group tours beginning April 25, according to China Daily.

On weekdays, Nanluoguxiang receives an average of more than 30,000 visitors. It increases to more than 50,000 on weekends and possibly up to 100,000 on holidays, according to the Beijing Municipal Commission of Tourism Development.

If the alley could only speak, perhaps it would complain about the foot traffic. Business operators apparently don’t mind the massive crowd.

Aside from interesting and mostly historic structures, traditional Chinese restaurants or fandian, galleries and bars brighten up Nanluoguxiang even on daytime.

Time.com said that for those who are into shopping, Nanluoguxiang is a “must-see.” Several stores line up the hutong, from curio shops to antique stores to those selling T-shirts and tea cups, selections are plenty and varied.

Nanluoguxiang traces its beginnings from the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368).