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Whats it like to visit San Li Tun in 2024?

San Li Tun

While four years is quite a long time, it is fair to say that some people and places do not change in such a time. China though it seems is not one of those places. So, what is it actually like to visit San Li Tun and Beijing in 2024?

For starters my reason for being away is an interesting one. Prior to the pandemic I had lived mostly happily for 15+ years in the country. Then after a visit to Beihai I was given 8 hours notice to leave Shenzhen, or be stuck here for the pandemic. I chose to leave just 30 minutes before I would have been stuck.

The next few months would prove quite the adventure, until I was to land in the place I now call home, Cambodia.

But, now after 4 years and with North Korea on the brink of opening I had to get my Chinese visa in Hong Kong, so I may come to Beijing to meet partners at the Mansundae Art Gallery. For this we decided to stay at the Super 8 at San Li Tun, where we might also sample the nightlife.

The foreigners have left Beijing and China

Before I deal with any of the nightlife elements to Beijing, or San Li Tun it is important to deal with one major elephant in the room, and that is that the foreigners have left China in droves.

This is for a number of reasons, but officially at least a major one was China “not wanting them”, particularly the English teachers. This though is only part of the story, with many Chinese having also left the city. The Chinese economy is bad and that means people fighting for the few jobs, rather than this being the city of opportunity.

I am sure there are some that will read this and say it is great that Beijing is “more Chinese”. Funnily enough though these are likely the same people who champion multiculturalism and celebrate when a European capital becomes less “white”.

The truth is though that everything is best with balance and now the foreigner have gone the town has much less of a party vibe.

Staying in San Li Tun in 2024?

Largely this had not really changed, with the same hotels being around and prices having barely risen. Although with that being said Beijing is not the cheap place it once was, with even the way that you pay having now changed.

For the uninformed China and in Particularly Beijing and San Li Tun and now the most cashless places on earth, with there even being stores manned by robots only taking digital payments. But, before you get excited this does not mean Apple Pay and Visa, but rather WeChat pay and AliPay. Thankfully both of these now work at least to some degree with foreign cards, something unheard of in the past.

The San Li Tun nightlife in 2024?

San Li Tun as an embassy area was the original place where the open door policy started to mean a real nightlife. This made it the place to be, before it become the touristy area. Yet even through these times you could alway find cool places to go.

Said places were also cultural melting pots and offered different vibes. The foreigner leaving has meant everything has now morphed into one style of Chinese bar. Now you might say that this not bad, but whether it is good, or bad the fact is the variety has now gone.

Therefore while old haunts like Heaven Supermarket and Great Leap are OK, they lack the dynamism of before.

Eating at San Li Tun in 2024

Sadly many of the great restaurants and bars are no more, but this is still Beijing and therefore you will not go hungry. Some of the best burgers are still allegedly here (although I was not impressed), but the main draw is still the high array of great Chinese street food in San Li Tun.

Whilst here I got to eat all my classics breakfast snacks, Xinjiang cuisine, and even a donkey burger. What made me the most happy through, was the night I had Beijing Ma La Tang, although I am sure it will not hold a candle to Dandong Ma La Tang.

And when all else fails? Well at least they have a good 7-Eleven now.

Beijing Fashionistas

One cool thing though was that San Li Tun still appears to be the fashion capital of Beijing, with the current trend being Japanese School Uniforms for girls and guys looking camp. For now at least Beijing still adheres to a two sex policy, but who knows if this might change.

Click the link for my Extremes of Japan Tour.

So, overall? Well should you wish to visit San Li Tun in 2024 you will have fun, just don’t expect to relive any bygone era….