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Sanlitun: Something here for everybody

08-25-2010 10:13 BJT

It's the place to be for many expats and Chinese alike, especially those who love to shop till they drop. If you want to be seen as being part of the action in Beijing or are in need of some major retail therapy, then there is only one place to hang out -- that place is Sanlitun.

Art and furniture shop
Art and furniture shop

Sanlitun Village is a budding Omotesando cum Roppongi — a fashion and entertainment centre reminiscent of Tokyo. It boasts cool cafes, bars and discos, as well as a host of shops with all those brand names we clamour for. Uniqlo, Apple, Nike, Lacoste, Benetton — they're all here.

Sanlitun Village is constantly being expanded and improved upon. In fact, the Village, as it is affectionately called, is even home to the largest Adidas store in the world.

After the foundation of the People's Republic of China, the government wanted to move the diplomatic district outside the inner city. This area was picked as the spot and named Sanlitun, which translates as 1.5 kilometres away from Dongzhimen Gate.

april gourmet
april gourmet

The area began to blossom once the economic reforms of the late 1970s and early 1980s kicked in. Expat bars opened, and later on the Chinese would also venture into them to hobnob with foreigners. As the years passed more and more bars, restaurants and hotels sprang up on both sides of Gongti Bei Lu, and well-known lanes such as Nan Jie were demolished to make way for new buildings.

Sanlitun Village opened in the summer of 2008, just in time for the Beijing Olympic Games. Today, the shopping mall is a magnet for kids and teens as well as adults. There are numerous boutiques and restaurants to explore, as well as a multiplex cinema where you can enjoy the latest movies. In the basement, there is a supermarket in which you will more than likely find that breakfast cereal or jar of Vegemite you are missing from home, while on the upper levels of the mall you can find a wide selection of restaurants.

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