China has been a dream destination for a long time for me. I always thought it was slightly out of a reach but I’m thrilled that I went and was able to experience this beautiful country and all of the culture that comes with it.
I had a very short time to explore and see what China had to offer. However, with the THIRDHOME experience, having Liz Bates (the Director of Travel and Concierge Services available exclusively to THIRDHOME members) sort out my complete itinerary for me, inclusive of a driver who took me to all the right places with his excellent local knowledge, I can comfortably say I experienced the best of Beijing even though my time was limited.
Honestly, I felt much more respect here from the people than I have ever felt anywhere else that I have traveled. It’s interesting because the tourists here get treated extremely well. They are celebrated and people are fascinated. Actually, you are basically a celebrity here. I had many strangers come up to me to have their photo taken with me and at one stage I had 4 large cameras all photographing me for about 10 minutes.
Although I wouldn’t welcome this experience everyday, for a moment I knew what it was like to be a celebrity. It was a fun experience.
The fascination might be because surprisingly I didn’t actually see that many foreign tourists here. There are many Chinese tourists, but very few from beyond Asia. I loved this. At times being surrounded by tourists in a country you are exploring ironically can taint the experience a little. Being surrounded by pure local culture is something I now really appreciate.
I must give a huge shout out to the home I was staying in. The words “pure luxury” hardly sum up this home. The location is by far the greatest aspect of the home, followed closely by the external architecture.
Nested into the mountains very close to the Great Wall of China, you’ll see endless mountains covered in dense dark green forest from every window you look out of. At sunset, the beauty you’ll witness is very difficult to put into words.
The driveway is a long, 1km windy road leading you into total privacy and the view of the home at the end of this driveway will leave you speechless every time you see it. An extremely modern home, its primary colors being white, grey and brown, and the unique design of rectangle formations somewhat make it look like a sophisticated design of tetris. I’m a fan.
It has 8 bedrooms and is 4 stories high with ample room for entertainment, including the rooftop deck with obvious stunning views and the pool on the lower deck.
The short distance to The Great Wall of China was a highlight for me. There’s something extra special about staying in a home that is so closely located next to one of the wonders of the world. I explored the wall on two separate occasions.
First, I visited the renovated part of the wall. The housekeeper took me to an area that wasn’t as busy as the other entry points. Thank goodness for his local expertise.
The second day I explored the original, run down Great Wall of China. Both were breathtaking and soul touching in their own ways. It’s hard to imagine the length of this wall until you see it. It’s a spectacular sight that must be seen within your lifetime.
I also got the chance to explore the city of Beijing for a day. I covered a lot of ground in one day however, you really should spend multiple days sightseeing to be able to soak up the sights fully.
The places I visited were The Summer Palace (overwhelming in size and beauty), The Forbidden City (again – the size and detail within the walls of this city is incomprehensible), The Temple of Heaven and Jingshan Park, which allows for birds eye view of The Forbidden City and this cannot be missed.
Besides the prominent sights, just people watching and getting familiarized with the Chinese culture was a treat.
And of course the Chinese food to be had will almost knock you off your chair from the taste sensation.
Finally, there is the world renowned Chinese markets where you can buy real or very well made copies of your favorite products or brands. The one I visited was the Pearl Market filled with electronics, cosmetics, jewelry and silk garments.
Who would I recommend China for?
Anyone that is ready to witness a new culture unlike no other. Someone who appreciates fine Asian architecture, food and history.
Actually, this country I would recommend to everyone because I can’t imagine going through life and never experiencing the gem that is China.
During her trip to China, Sorelle stayed at the Great Wall Paradise Villa. Click here to view all THIRDHOME properties in China.
Sorelle Amore won THIRDHOME‘s “Best Job On The Planet,” which garnered more than 17,000 applications from around the world. In her position as a Luxury Travel Connoisseur for THIRDHOME, she is traveling the world, staying in 12 luxury homes.
THIRDHOME is the exclusive luxury property and travel club that enables second home owners to exchange time in their home for stays in spectacular destinations around the world. Click here for more information on how to become a member.