INSIDE BEIJING

AN INSIDER’S GUIDE TO BEIJING

It’s easy to fall in love with Beijing, especially when you pay attention to the little details. I’m speaking of the villagers washing their clothes by the river, the sudden burst of firecrackers from a nearby wedding celebration, the constant giggle of children, the small group of elderly people gracefully balanced while practicing tai chi in the park. You’ll notice these moments and many more while experiencing my top five suggestions for this wondrous city.

Hutongs

The Hutong is a makeup of narrow alleyways connected by common courtyards. In previous times a single family owned a single courtyard, but increased population and development have turned them to a shared communal space. Although many homes have been remodeled inside, the exteriors remain untouched or restored in an effort to preserve this special piece of history right in the center of a booming city.

Hutong,Beijing

The Opposite House

The Opposite House is a contemporary and bright property among those throughout Beijing and echoes the relaxed feeling of its Shanghai sister property, the Middle House. Kengo Kuma’s vision is echoed through open-concept rooms with wooden floors and glass walls that create clean vibrant spaces; ideal for decompressing after a long day of exploring. The hotel’s atrium also houses ever-changing art installations, adding to the dynamic atmosphere.

The Opposite House, Beijing

Forbidden City

Once home to the great rulers of China, the Forbidden City stretches over 200 acres of spectacular courtyards and palaces. Designated an official World Heritage Site and listed by UNESCO as one of the most impressive wooden structures in the world, the stately home is an unforgettable sight to be seen. Though entrance is generally not permitted inside the palace itself, Abercrombie & Kent can arrange private after-hours viewings of the Emperor’s quarters for curious clients.

Beijing,The Forbidden City

Tobogganing Down the Great Wall

Stretching over 13,000 miles throughout China, the area of the Great Wall nearest to Beijing is considered to be the best resorted portion of the wall. Visitors have the option of hiking to the top or hopping on a chairlift. Once there, you can continue on to the three highest towers or plop yourself down on a picnic table and bask in the lush green vistas. The ultimate experience, however, is tobogganing down while sat atop a rickety plastic cart with just a lever to speed up or slightly slow. An unforgettable ride not for the faint of heart. Image Credit

Tobogganing down the Great Wall, China

Cloisonné Factory

An unexpected pitstop on the way up to the Great Wall is the fascinating little cloisonné enamelware factory where you can watch artisans as they craft their magnificent designs. Copper is hammered into shape and wires are laid to create intricate designs. Rocks are ground to a fine powder for painting, taking up to eight layers to achieve the vibrant coloration. Once colored the pieces are polished with sandstone and a gold lining is applied. An intricate process which produces equally intricate pieces.

Cloisonné, Beijing

To book this experience, please contact Esther Klijn.

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