eChinaJOBs APP Download

New Year, New You: Taking Up a New Hobby in Beijing

By Robynne Tindall , Comments (1 )     Add your comment Newsletter

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • WeChat
  • Email
  • More sharing

After the excitement of Christmas and New Year and with the weather still cold in many parts of China, January can seem like a real low point in the year. As tempting as it may seem, instead of holing up at home and watching the latest season of Homeland, why not take the new year as an opportunity to start a new hobby? Just like any big city, Beijing is full of fun things to do. Check out some of our favourites.


1) Pick up a new skill - cooking
Established in 1992, the Yiqin Cookery School offers international-standard cooking classes for both Chinese and Western food. If you are really looking to take your Chinese cooking skills to the next level, a two month, full day course on the fundamentals of Chinese cooking will set you back 3400 RMB. The course covers Chinese culinary culture, knife skills, sauces and a total of 38 different cooking styles.

If you prefer a more relaxed, English-language environment, then try one of The Hutong’s many cooking classes. With classes covering everything from different Chinese cuisines to traditional Pakistani cooking and cupcakes, there is something to suit all tastes. Classes are interactive and move at a moderate pace, so you should be able to keep up whatever your level. At the moment The Hutong is offering a Year of the Snake six-lesson package for 1100 RMB (lessons are valid until the end of 2013).

Yiqin Cookery SchoolView In Map
Add: 1/F, Jingbao Tower, 185 Andingmen Waidajie, Dongcheng District, Beijing
Tel: 010 6445 3872

The Hutong View In Map
Add: 1 Jiudaowan Zhongxiang, Dongcheng District, Beijing
Tel: 159 0104 6127
Website: (see website for detailed map of how to get there)

2) Learn a new language
You’ve mastered the basics of Chinese (hopefully), so now’s the time to try your hand at another language. Learning a new language is not only beneficial to your CV (or chatting up that attractive exchange student in the bar), it could also help keep your brain healthy. A Swedish study published in late 2012 suggested that language students experience growth in certain areas of their cerebral cortex, which may contribute to staving off mental decline in old age.

Culture Yard offers a comprehensive range of languages, including English, Russian, Spanish, Hebrew, French, Dutch. Courses range in price, for example, a 30 hour weekend conversational Portuguese course (split over 10 sessions) costs 3300 RMB. See their website for more information.

Culture YardView In Map
Add: 10 Shique Hutong, Beixinqiao, Dongcheng District, Beijing
Tel: 010 8404 4166

3) Take better photos
Whether they are cultural, funny or just downright weird, Beijing is awash with “Kodak moments”. Learn how to make the most of them with a photography class from Beijing Center of Photography. Based in Wangjing, this passionate group of professional photographers takes a practical approach to teaching, helping you to advance quickly. A 1.5-hour beginners class (every Wednesday morning 10:00-11:30) costs 600 RMB per person, or 1000 RMB for two. They also hold photography lunches and occasional classes covering subjects such as black and white photography and portraits.

Beijing Center of PhotographyView In Map
Add: Room1107, LOFTEL, 1 Huguang Zhongjie, Wangjing, Beijing
Tel: 010 8579 0296

4) Get off your ass!
If you’re anything like us, your waistband will be feeling the strain after the Christmas holidays. Rather than slogging away on the treadmill as usual, find a sport you’ve never tried before and get stuck in. You’ll be much more motivated to keep going!

If you miss good old-fashioned aerobics, then you’re sure to love Heyrobics. Based in Sweden since 1978, Heyrobics is built around the intensity curve principle, which helps work the body to its maximum with minimum perceived exhaustion. The upbeat instructors and current soundtrack will keep you motivated even when you think you’re ready to quit. Heyrobics holds classes in several locations around Beijing, including Sanlitun, Shunyi and Beitucheng. Check their website for the most up-to-date class schedule.

While it can’t take the place of a traditional gym workout, horse riding is still a form of cardiovascular exercise. All that fighting to keep your balance is also beneficial to the muscles in your core and thighs. There are several equestrian clubs in Beijing, mostly based out in the suburbs in Shunyi or Daxing. Beginners’ lessons typically cost around 300-400 RMB per hour, but much like riding a bike, once you’ve learned you won’t forget in a hurry. We recommend Beijing International Equestrian Club, which is managed by a professional European team or read this article for more options.

Beijing International Equestrian ClubView In Map
Add: 99 Cailang Lu, Caiyu, Daxing District, Beijing
Tel: 4006 121 819

5) Don’t be afraid to embarrass yourself
Sometimes the best new hobbies take you completely out of your comfort zone. For example, if you’re always the joker in your group of friends, but would never dare get up in front of a crowd, this could be the year to kick your stage fright into touch. The people behind Beijing Improv run a weekly bilingual improv workshop at Hot Cat Club. The workshop is split into two levels, one for beginners and one for people who have been doing improv for over a year.

Hot Cat ClubView In Map
Add: 46 Fangjia Hutong, Dongcheng District, Beijing
Tel: 010 6400 7868
Opening hours: Daily 10:00-late
Website: See for more information

For the latest China related news and stories sent right to your phone follow our WeChat account:



The use of any news and articles published on without written permission from constitutes copyright infringement, and legal action can be taken.

Keywords: Hobbies in Beijing New Year hobby Beijing fun things to do Beijing

You might also be interested in

  • 3 Tips to Make Reading Time Fun and Beneficial for Your Child

    How do you ensure that children stay interested in and enjoy their reading time? YCIS Beijing Primary School Curriculum Coordinator Jennifer Mills offers three tips on how to make reading fun and beneficial for your child.

  • Four Easy Steps to Bagging Beetles with Bona Fide Bug Traps!

    During his tenure at Yew Chung International School, Dr. Wickham has shared his passion for insects through both hands-on demonstrations and interactive experiments, some of which you can even conduct at home with your own children. The easiest and least supply-intensive of these experiments is ...

  • The 3 Best Chinese Cultural Sites in Beijing You’ve Never Visited

    Children in YCIS Beijing Primary School have the opportunity to explore Beijing with their teachers, discovering different aspects of traditional Chinese culture through field trips to cultural sites around Beijing that align with what they’re studying in class.

  • Eight Great Ways to Encourage Your Child’s Artistic Talent

    The Primary Art teacher at Yew Chung International School of Beijing tells you how to foster your childs creativity.

  • Language Learning Tips for Chinese Newbies

    If you’ve just moved to China or are looking to jump-start your language learning, YCIS Beijing Secondary School Chinese Curriculum Coordinator Jessica Sun have some essential tips that will make sure you’re learning the right way.

  • 3 Reasons Why Physical Education Matters

    China has become somewhat infamous for the abandoned sites left strewn throughout the country in its rush towards urban development. Some of the eerie destinations listed below take the prize as the top five most notoriously abandoned places in China.

1 Comments ( Add your comment )


hello dear How are you today i hope you are ok please My name is Miss helen I come across your profile today at ( and It was so good to me. So i decided to stop on it and let you know that i am interested to have a relationship with you. Please contact me at my email address (

Feb 11, 2014 07:50

Add your comment

All comments are subject to moderation by staff. Because we wish to encourage healthy and productive dialogue we ask that all comments remain polite, free of profanity or name calling, and relevant to the original post and subsequent discussion. Comments will not be deleted because of the viewpoints they express, only if the mode of expression itself is inappropriate. Please use the Classifieds to advertise your business and unrelated posts made merely to advertise a company or service will be deleted.

Please login to add a comment. Click here to login immediately.

Most Read in eChinacities

This week This month

Scan the QR Code to Follow Us!

Are you an expert on Beijing

Write about your favourite places and activities in Beijing to earn rewards.

How can I earn points? Post Blog

Hot Jobs Hot Classifieds

Hot Listings