Discover the Unique Style of Contemporary China
- On June 18, 2016
- By Lesley Daunt
- In General
Contemporary China offers much to explore with a unique style all its own. Take on a motorcycle adventure through Beijing’s architectural wonders or hunker down in the Hotel of Modern Art and discover just how cool China can be!
Spend the Night at The Hotel of Modern Art
When it comes to incorporating art into their DNA, no hotel goes as far as the Hotel of Modern Art in Guilin (HoMA). The entire hotel covers 1,300-plus acres and has been around for quite awhile. HoMA was the brainchild of a Taiwanese cemetery real estate billionaire who dared to treat art as a way of living.
The hotel, which is one huge rambling museum, opened in 2006 and has been slowly unfolding ever since. Even with the additions of new accommodations and art studios, there is still a huge chunk of undeveloped land where herds of water buffalo roam, perfect for a day of exploring on one of the hotel’s complimentary bikes.
Up-and-coming artists from Asia, China, and beyond, occupy the studios year-round, cloistering themselves for months at a time. When their residency ends, they bequeath a piece of art to the hotel which then becomes part of the collection. You’ll find art at every turn as you wander the grounds.
The hotel itself is divided into two properties: the high end HoMA Château and the more affordable HoMA Courtyard. Together they have less than 100 rooms and both buildings are nothing less than architectural delights. The sloping roof of the Château is covered in grass. Each guest room has a different design and houses a unique collection of art.
After you explore the grounds on your bike, you can grab a bite in a cave at the Lotus Restaurant. HoMA is one of the only places in China where you can do that. Flickering candlelight and the perpetual subterranean cool make for a magical experience. If spelunking for dinner isn’t your thing, they can also do al fresco meals by the lake or in the middle of a forest. They also have a top-notch spa surrounded by stunning landscape.
And HoMA art isn’t just for pros. There are plenty of classes for adults and kids in fascinating areas like jewelry making, calligraphy, and pottery. The best thing is that you won’t have to donate your masterpiece to the hotel upon departure.
Take a Sidecar Motorbike Tour of Beijing
Get a lay of the land and pick up tips from your guide on where to come back to later. Meander through the Central Business District, looking around at the beautiful architecture, all while on the side of Beijing’s popular vehicle.
Head to smaller neighborhoods located in Hutong town as your guide shares facts about the city’s traditional cultural, religious, and political history. Later, make a final stop at a bustling street market where you can try out your bargaining skills before returning to your meeting point.
Shanghai has a population of more than 20 million. Aside from being the largest city in China, it is the second largest city proper in the world after Mumbai. With many international and Chinese companies opening offices there, it has become the largest center of finance and commerce in mainland China today.
Life goes on way beyond the daylight hours in this sleepless city full of colorful nightlife. It has a diverse cultural flavor, with theaters featuring puppets, acrobatics, drama, dance, and opera, and cinemas showing Chinese and foreign films. There are also numerous night clubs and bars which are open until the sun comes up.
Shanghai attracts people from all over who either want to live there or just experience its oriental charm. Its vibrant oriental culture and favorable location have even attracted such legends as Tagore, Albert Einstein, and Bernard Shaw. In the eyes of the Chinese, Shanghai has a strong Western flavor, while in the eyes of a foreigner, Shanghai has a unique oriental charm.
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