A art studio in 798 art district
Itineraries by Bespoke Beijing may include visits to
modern venues such as the 798 art district, which
features art exhibits in an industrial setting, or
traditional attractions such as the Great Wall.
Like many Beijing newcomers, Sarah Keenlyside was
intimidated by the size and scale of the capital
city and frustrated by being unable to speak, read
or write the language. The picky eater was also wary
of the unfamiliar food.
A art piece of 798 art district
But instead of griping, or getting on a plane home,
the UK expat formulated a plan to build a business
that focused on making life easier for new arrivals,
whether they were residents, or tourists. That
operation, Bespoke Beijing, began on a small scale:
clients were issued with a guide book and a mobile
phone that offered access day and night to an
individual who knew the city and could speak English
It has since grown into a full-fledged events and
travel company that organizes corporate shindigs
usually with an offbeat twist and tailored
itineraries for individual visitors who want to know
the real Beijing.
Ironically, the once-fussy eater is now something of
an expert on Chinese cuisine, able to speak with
authority on the different regional styles and
recommend the best places to dine.
Says Keenlyside: "We live in the city daily and
focus only on Beijing, which means we are able to
dedicate our time to trying new things out as and
when they open, ensuring our clients are the first
to know about new and better opportunities.
"We are creative and contemporary, always staying on
top of what is new. We are always imaginative and
the way we price it is much more transparent; we
don't mark everything up, we always give our clients
the honest price of the suppliers and then we charge
for our time. I think people like that level of
A typical Bespoke Beijing itinerary might involve
dinner in the courtyard of an ancient temple, a
team-building treasure hunt designed to foster
company camaraderie or a tailor-made chauffeured
tour to a little-visited part of the Great Wall.
China Daily, By Mark Graham 2013-04-30 )
North-Eastern Corner Tower of of the Forbidden City,
Beijing. Photo by LS