Stayed in Beijing for 3 days.
I visited Beijing in the year of 1997 with Wendy, with a budget of a little bit over 1000 RMB for two persons and 7 days. We stepped to most of places in Beijing. I did spend a lot of time to calculate the most economical route to take buses, which turned out to be good exercise to know the roads of the city. That was wonderful time I always remember.
© Jian Shuo Wang. The flower on the wall of the Forbidden City.
This trip should be, at least, my 10th business trip to Beijing. However, I don’t think my knowable about the city significantly improved after so many visit since 1997. There are two reasons:
- There is no time to go to any other place in the city than the office building.
- I never took subway or buses in the trips since my taxi fee is covered. So I lost many chances to get a deeper touch with the people in the city. Because of the same reason, the geographic concept of the city is still blur in my brain.
Business travel is the comfortable but boring travel. The five-star hotels anywhere are very similar with the standard greetings, standard smile and standard guest room. The differences were killed by the five-star standard. It is much more comfortable but less interesting to stay in hostels.
Cheaper Hotel is More Interesting Hotel
Compare the two hotels:
© Jian Shuo Wang in courtesy of Renaissance Beijing Hotel
© Jian Shuo Wang Image in courtesy of Fanrong Hostel
One picture is taken at Renaissance Beijing, costing 80 USD per night (discounted price) and the second is the Fanrong Hostel with less than 4 USD per night.
I even stayed at the best guest room in a hostel at 1.2 USD per night. See the room inside below:
© Jian Shuo Wang. Taken at a small hostel in Tantou, Zhejiang
It turned out that the lower the price is, the more memorable the trip will be.
Bed and Breakfast is a nice combination of comfort and ambiance. It is often owned by retired couple in the states, kids grow up and go to college in other cities, then the family house is converted to a small inn, with all the family photos, paintings, and each room can tell a story while one walks in. My favorite part is the home-made breakfast, one can also chat with the owners, get a first-hand info about the city and area you are visiting, which bakery has the best bread and cake,etc. you will be surprised that they probably can even speak asian language.
Unfortunately, there are no Chinese B&B listed yet, maybe one day, I will start one…
Jianshuo, enjoyed reading your blog for a long time, it keeps me close to my beloved hometown.
you are so right about business travel. My favorit trip was the 3 weeks I spent in Italy where I stayed in inexpensive hostels. I usually try to tag on a personal trip along with my business trip. i.e. staying a weekend in NYC to catch a broadway show and visit some interesting places, that is one perk I enjoy about business travel. Sometimes its a nice little romantic getaway without having to pay for the flights and hotels myself :-) I’m still hoping one of these days I will get a business trip to China, then I can stay for a personal visit!!
You said that “I never took subway or buses in the trips since my taxi fee is covered. So I lost many chances to get a deeper touch with the people in the city.” It is also my experience, I travealled most of the East Asia and Pacific cities but didn’t feel that I “enter” the city because that I had no chance to take public traffic system.
Today, I used the subway #1 and the bus #1 in Beijing. I will update the experience when I am back to Shanghai. I took a lot of pictures.
Fanrong Kezhan seems interesting for us, if we happen to arrive in Beijing during our journey. Do you have any contact details of this hostel, and can you recommend a few more names of similar places in the central area of Beijing?
Thanks in advance.
FanRong Kezhan is in Tongli, not Beijing. Read my article on the trip: http://home.wangjianshuo.com/archives/20030702_tongli_beauty_at_night.htm
I found this great site for business trips and when I had my trip planned (to NY) in a few moments I managed to arrange hotel reservation , got some hotel reviews and so on..