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March 9, 2012

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Plenty to see and do on Taikang Road

TAIKANG Road has much to offer, playing host to different fashion and lifestyle boutiques, as well as several bars and restaurants. The lanes which run off of Taikang Road form the ever popular Tianzifang. These lanes, which form somewhat of a maze, feature restaurants serving a variety of cuisines, a wide selection of bars and boutiques to suit a variety of styles and tastes. Venture beyond the main lanes to find new lifestyle boutiques. This is a nice setting for a relaxing weekend afternoon or for a special evening when dinner and drinks are required.

Suyong Creative Living

Suyong Creative Living has been open for 11 years. Its original focus was on Miao embroidery. Since relocating here, it has dedicated half of the space to modern designs by in-house Malaysian-Chinese designer Linguo. The concept was developed with the aim of helping villagers and to continue the tradition of Miao embroidery. As owner Maddie Lim said, "Hand embroidery is one of the treasures in China, so we don't want it to go away."Suyong Creative Living has an extensive collection of antique and modern pieces of Miao embroidery, many of which took many months and a great deal of dedication to make. Pieces range from 1,000 yuan (US$158) for simpler, more modern styles to 35,000 yuan for intricate, antique pieces. Miao embroidery is thought to be the finest embroidery in China, using over 50 different kinds of techniques and utilizing bright colors and handmade fabrics. The Linguo label started over a year ago and combines Western and Chinese styles. Many pieces are unusual, making use of draping and twisting while keeping accessories to a minimum. The designer tries to avoid using too many zippers or buttons, favoring comfort. The styles are sophisticated and durable, a particular favorite being a modern take on the qipao dress. Prices range from 400 yuan to over 1,000 yuan, with coats costing around 2,000 yuan.

Opening hours: 10am-8pm

Address: 2/F, 220 Taikang Rd

Tel: 1367-1525-542

Zen Massage

One of the popular massage parlors in the former French concession area, Zen Massage on Wuyuan Road is a zen-like retreat inside a three-floor lane house. It recently opened its second outlet inside Tianzifang, with a bigger space. Decorated with the same dark wood flooring, white plastered walls and modern, minimalist Asian accents, it has 14 treatment rooms and five well-trained therapists. Until the end of March, they offer a buy-one-get-one-free promotion on their Zen signature treatment (398 yuan/90 min) and aroma oil body treatment (338 yuan/90 min). Both treatments use high quality aroma oils (jasmine, lavender and five blended oils for different therapeutic values). The signature massage is designed to relive severe muscular tension and get rid of water retention while the soothing aroma oil treatment is created to help the customer relax. It can easily put one to sleep. The menu is designed to cater to all needs, from simple foot reflexology (108 yuan/60 min) to a two-hour four-hand massage (two therapists) priced at 788 yuan.

Opening hours: 11am-11pm

Address: 2/F, No. 6, Lane 210, Taikang Rd

Tel: 5408-1566


Scent opened at the end of last year and offers a more unusual option to boutique shopping, specializing predominantly in incense. Situated in a beautiful, secluded courtyard, Scent is a small boutique which spans two floors and has a warm and homely feel. The owner is a Malaysian who has her own incense factory, which makes a large percentage of the items on sale, including Indian, Tibetan and Agar wood incense sticks. The cheapest option is the Tibetan incense, which is priced at 35 yuan and the top range is the Agar wood at 180 yuan. Additionally, Scent sells imported Bhutanese and Nepalese incense; the 42cm Bhutanese incense sticks burn for up to 160 minutes. There is also a variety of incense accessories such as wooden holders and colorful wooden boxes, which would make great gifts for any occasion. A variety of incense coils, which are used in Buddhist ceremonies, cost 150 yuan. In addition to the wide selection of incense related merchandise, there is a selection of designer clothes and lifestyle goods such as ceramics, tables and chairs, all of which are chic looking. Scent holds weekly classes on their second floor, specializing in tea ceremonies, incense ceremonies and flower arrangement. Classes cost 260 yuan to 300 yuan. The upstairs space is open with a lot of natural light, making for a beautiful and relaxing atmosphere.

Opening hours: 10am–8pm (Monday to Saturday); 10am-6pm (Sunday)

Address: Rm 111, No. 3, Lane 210, Taikang Rd

Long Bar Asia

Long Bar Asia has an interesting mix of styles; its decor uses retro designs such as pop art, which are accented by some elements of Art Deco. The interior utilizes brick and dark wood, however the two glass walls prevent the bar from feeling dingy, making it a pleasant environment to enjoy a coffee or lunch. There are two menus, one with a wide variety of Asian cuisines, including Malaysian and Thai; meals range in price from 60 yuan to around 200 yuan. The second menu features basic Italian cuisine such as rice and pasta, all priced around 90 yuan. Additionally, there is a selection of pizzas which are priced around 85 yuan, with snack options such as garlic bread and onion rings at around 30 yuan. Long Bar Asia also offers several lighter options, more suitable for lunch on the go. They have a wide selection of soups and salads, including more unusual options such as a delicious Spanish-style seafood soup costing 30 yuan. Long Bar Asia caters to a variety of tastes and as such, attracts customers from all nationalities. This can sometimes mean that the bar can become quite smoky, especially during winter months when the ventilation is particularly poor. Free Wi-Fi is offered.

Opening hours: 10am-1pm

Address: No. 3, Lane 210, Taikang Rd

Tel: 5465-3600/5213-1909


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