Spring Renewal Retreat
Location: Sancha is located two hours from Beijing by car, on the boarder of Huairou and Yanqing Counties. It is nearby Huanghuacheng, an older section of the Great Wall.
About Sancha: "Sancha" in Chinese means "three crossings." The village is situated in the intersection of three mountain valleys and springs. There is a lower as well as upper village; our retreat center is in the upper village.
Sancha is tucked in the hillsides of Huairou. It lies at the foot of an unrestored section of the Great Wall, and has lovely hiking trails (free from tourists or ticket collectors) that fan out from the village's center. The population of Sancha is quite small--only 398 residents, including the upper and lower villages. Mimi, a Yoga Yard teacher and co-director, has been renting a cottage in this village for over six years; she knows the villagers well (all are surnamed Wei), and sees Sancha as her personal place of retreat to compliment Beijing's urban energy.
Springtime in Sancha awakens streams and invites a landscape of apricot tree blossoms to unfold across the mountainsides. You would hardly know that Beijing's roaring metropolis lies just two hours south from this peacefully undisturbed village, rocking quietly in its seasonal rhythms.
Accomodations and Facilities: There is a bed and breakfast opened recently in the village by Mimi's landlord, Wei Ziqi. He and his family have built a number of guest rooms adjacent to their home to accomodate overnight visitors. Their house is the highest in the village, offering a view from their terrace that overlooks the valley below. In the springtime, the views are splendid, with apricot and peach trees in full bloom.
The Wei's guesthouse has 5 rooms available: Three doubles, two triples, and a common room with a traditional "kang" bed that will sleep up to six. A "kang" is heated bed used by many northern Chinese village homes as a source of heat as well as common gathering spot. Hot showers are available, as are western-styled toilets and bathroom facilities.
The Weis and most of the villagers are still farmers, though--so don't be surprised to rise to the sound of roosters crowing and donkeys breying.
Read a story about Sancha by New Yorker writer, Peter Hessler.