Beijing a city of vice? Actually yes! When the Communist Party of China came to power in 1949, they re-educated around 35,000 prostitutes, most from Beijing’s former red light district of Dashilan. And — most amazing of all — some of the brothels and opium dens that once littered this centuries-old area still exist (though no longer in business, of course). Want to see them? Of course you do! Well, Bespoke Beijing and Beijing Postcards has the key.
Our first ever limited edition historical Walking Tour – Sai Jinhua and the Brothels of Dashilan – has already sold-out and is underway this May. But if you missed out on a place, don’t despair! You can view an exhibition of maps, prints and photos of the former red light district in its heyday (from the personal archives of Beijing Postcards historians Lars and Simon) at the wonderful Ubi Gallery, open Wednesdays to Sundays from 10.30am-18.30pm. The exhibition will run throughout May and June, and the gallery can also be opened by appointment for journos and the like – contact Zhang Fan on 137-1791-8120.
Best of all, the tour will continue to be available as a Bespoke private tour throughout 2013 – perfect for groups of friends, embassy outings and corporate events.
Finally, here’s a few of the many fascinating factoids you’ll learn on the tour:
- The district of Dashilan used to have 350 men to every 100 women. Is it any wonder that brothels thrived here?
- The legendary brothel madam and subject of the tour, Sai Jinhua, was expelled from her family at a young age — because of her claim to inheritance
- There were more than 700 opium dens in Dashilan in the early 1900s
- Why is Dashilan Street curved and not straight like most other Beijing streets? You’ll find out…
To find out more about our ‘Sai Jinhua and the Brothels of Dashilan’ tour, or any of our Signature Experiences, visit our website or get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.