Beijing has changed at a fast pace the last 20 years and some areas tha used to be Beijing siburbs are not clearly downtown. The areas in Chaoyang district that I put the focus on here are, from south to north : Liufang, Sanyuanqiao, Taiyanggong.
These districts are now residential areas located in between the two Beijing CBDs, the present CBD centered on Guomao and the incoming new CBD located in Wangjing, northeast. This location makes of Sanyuanqiao, Taiyanggong and Liufang a great place, and convenient, to rent an apartment. This is a triangle you can drawn at the northeast of Beijing between the second ring road and the fourth ring road. This practically means a rather easy car access to most of Beijing’s locations, and that it is still quite convenient for frequent commuters who want to use the Beijing airport.
The big advantage of these areas are quite simple : you can find really great accomodation there, with rents a little bit less expansive than in the CBD at the south, without having a feeling of Beijing outside Beijing, a feeling you might have, for example, in Shunyi. If you want to go out at night, Sanlitun ang Worker’s stadium at easily reachable. Living in these areas makes sense as well for people working in the diplomatic area. The Liangmaqiao area, close to Lufthansa commercial center, is really close and the embassy personnel often lives in Sanyuanqiao, as well as people working in the business hub there, in places such as the Gateway Tower, the Silver Tower, Xiaoyun Tower.
For shopping, you have there a large Phoenix Galleria Center 凤凰汇购物中 and for fod, a Carrefour, several Jenny Tang.
This is not an area with the most international schools. Russian children can attend the Smashariki center, at the north of the Chevalier compound, you might find there some Kindergarten, for example the Huijia Kindergarten.
The area is not very far from Shunyi, shuttles from all the internaional schools can bring yours kids home rather conveniently in reasonable time.
Here is a list of the apartent compounds we like best in this area and that we recommand for expatriates looking for an accomodation in the area.
In Sanyuanqiao : UHN International Village 国际村, King 9 置地公寓, Phoenix Town 凤凰城, Chevalier 裘马都, Times International 时间国际 International Friendship Garden 友谊国际花园.
In Taiyanggong : Sunny Era 太阳公元, Sun Star City 太阳星城星园, Sunny Palace Apartments 太阳国际公寓, Urban Avenue 和平里de小镇.
In Liufang : Hao Hong Yuan 浩鸿园 Fang Xin Yuan 芳馨园
See more information and links to descriptions there.