Because a birthday party at McDonalds is so 90’s…

Unless an intercalary year has anything to do with, we all celebrate our birthdays once a year. Dinner party at the local Tex-Mex restaurant, catching the new box-office hit, 15 minutes of adrenaline on the indoor kart circuit or a sleepless night out in the town…  Some people start planning months in advance, others just tend to go with whatever comes along. Although all these things have a certain charm and are perfectly fine, a festive occasion calls for some grandeur!

No more “Been there, done that.”

Being passionate about traveling, going abroad seemed like the most logical thing to do and when a good deal fare to Beijing suddenly popped up in my mailbox, it felt like destiny had gone digital.

So yes, for my birthday I flew 5.000 miles across the globe on Lufthansa’s A380,  set foot on Asian soil for the first time, wandered around within the walls of Forbidden City, climbed the Great Wall of China, attended the flag-ceremony at Tiananmen Square at the break of dawn, … and returned home after an amazing 6 days. An exciting trip from which I vividly remember all the breathtaking views and have fond memories of my cultural experiences.

Beijing Great Wall

Beijing Great Wall

People might consider it to be crazy, but when you travel frequently and meet new interesting people on a regular basis, it’s always nice to notice some share the same vision and ask the right question: “Why not?

Seriously, instead of pondering, living life to the fullest should be at the top of everyone’s list.

On the day itself?
As I am a sucker for rooms with a view, the Intercontinental Beichen cannot be beaten and gave me the true pleasure of waking up with a fabulous view over the Olympic Green with its Bird’s Nest and Water Cube.
Two venues that during the night before shined ever so bright.

IC Beichen

After savoring the moment, I was chauffeured to yet another Intercontinental downtown, where I was overwhelmed with gifts: flowers, strawberry cheesecake and a lovely handmade card by the cheerful staff.
They even flawlessly sang the “Happy Birthday” song.

Lunch at the Monsoon restaurant, going for a stroll on Wangfujing Street, spending some time at the gym, relaxing in the hotel’s Club Lounge and enjoying the complimentary food & drinks: all contributed to a perfect afternoon…  In the evening I went to the Sanlitun area in the Chaoyang District and met up with people from Colombia, Spain & the US in a local nightclub, drinking Tsingtao beers, partying & dancing the night away. At one given moment in time, I stopped, looked around and thought to myself: “How cool is this?”

Dear November 24th 2013,
I have plans for you.



  • I was in Beijing in 2007, the year before the Olympics, and I was really amazed about the language barrier. From taxi drivers to shop owners to even hotel personnel, literally nobody spoke one word of English!
    How was your experience in regards to that, five years later?

    • svenluckermans

      Well, I have to admit, a language barrier still exists, especially with taxi drivers!
      Hotels have to write little cards with the address of the places you would like to visit..
      On the otherhand, people who work in the shops near Wangfujing all seem to have at least some basic knowledge of English.

      Of course, the staff from both the Intercontinental hotels was impeccable.

      The funny thing is: I was approached two times by Beijing residents who both were fluent in English but they, unsuccessfully, tried to pull a scam on me 🙂

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