Beijing 2015: The Adventure & ARTbnb

30 Aug

There has always been an inside joke among my friends that I’m an honorary member of the Chinese community. Besides having a lot of pure Chinese friends within my close circle, I’ve always had this strange fascination for Chinese delicacies.  And so, when #mjgowanderlust spontaneously invited me to go on a trip, I didn’t think twice about booking for Beijing….

The #Pabebeijing2015 Adventure

Beijing is the capital and the second largest city of China. Found in the North, it is home to a population of 21 million. Beijing serves as the center for the country’s politics, education, culture and art. What drew us to visit was the endless number of places to see given China’s rich cultural heritage.

The destination choices that range from palaces, pavilions, temples, gardens, notable places of interest to UNESCO Heritage sites will make one forget the daunting language barrier in this country. With the country’s well-preserved history and amazing ancient structures, one cannot help but feel envious of the China’s glorious past. Despite spending full four days in the city, there was always something more to see.

The Pabebeijing Warriors

I’ve always raved about how my former company has given me great work mates. And for this trip, four of us from our core group “Watchout” decided to go. The trip was initiated by #mjgowanderlust for S as she wanted to visit Beijing before several of these heritage sites will be closed for renovation. More than the city to discover, it was our natural good vibes that really made this trip memorable. All of us were always ready to take on the next destination with a smile despite the scorching heat, tiring fatigue and frustrating language barrier.

The jokes and the crazy antics were non-stop with this group. I couldn’t stop laughing for most part of the trip. And because of that, I don’t think I’ll ever forget in this lifetime the tight accommodations, the daily #mjgowanderlust snoring, the see-through and self-opening showers, the long (and tight) train rides, the never-ending staircases to climb, the sincere heart-to-hearts, the obsession for “Peking Duck” (and siopao for me), the Chinese cosplaying and the hello “Snapchatters” videos that I will always associate with the Pabebeijing Warriors. ❤

Our Accommodations: ARTbnb

All four of us are corporate slaves which meant that most of our planning was done through chat and email. Due to lack of time and planning, we randomly picked an airbnb listing called “Artbnb 5 – Hutong Courtyard House“.

The location of the listing was walkable from the subway station but we were more delighted to note that it was walking distance from our daily breakfast joint: Mcdonald’s.

ARTbnb is situated within a hutong in Gulou where one can find some drinking joints, coffee shops and mini-marts. We figured on our last evening that it was actually walking distance from Nanluoguxiang where one can find hip stores and popular restaurants.

We arrived past midnight and despite riding a cab to find the place, we had great difficulty finding ARTbnb. Streets were way dark and deserted. Make sure you get the complete address and instructions from the host as explaining the location to the cab driver took about 20 minutes of our lives.

ARTbnb may be best described as a compound of several private rooms. It has two communal spaces which were the rooftop and the kitchen. If you are looking for a real hostel experience, ARTbnb may not be for you as most of those who book keep to their rooms and there is no staff to entertain your questions.

The rooms had a strong WiFi connection, cold aircon, free towels, toiletries and a hair blower. However, the actual stay was so stressful. The most obvious reason was the size. It left us living in tight conditions and it lacked plugs and areas to place our things. Although the listing says that it can accommodate up to four, the studio style loft was still way too tight for us.

Another stressor was our see-through shower that had a malfunctioning lock. This made it impossible for us to take a stress-free shower. On our last day, we took a snapchat to demonstrate our daily showers. #lol #NoLightsDuringShower #FreeShow

Given our limited grasp of the Chinese language, we were hoping that our host would at least hook us up on our tours and requests. Even though he would answer our inquiries, the lack of proactiveness on his part made ARTbnb such a mediocre stay versus the experience that I’ve been so used to in my previous travels.

Despite the cramped accommodations, Beijing was all good with the crew! 😉

The Beijing 2015 Adventure

Come join me as I track back on the cultural and gastronomical adventure we had in the following blog posts…

4 Responses to “Beijing 2015: The Adventure & ARTbnb”

  1. daebak September 1, 2015 at 11:14 am #


  2. daebak September 5, 2015 at 2:46 pm #

    go to Ancient China
    have breakfast at McDonald’s

    • androrono September 6, 2015 at 10:48 am #

      Only for breakfast! 🙂 And my friend Yen has this tradition of eating at a KFC in every country to see how different it is! 😉

      • daebak September 10, 2015 at 11:28 am #

        Speaking of comparing multinationals, you should def check out 7-elevens in Japan. They’re quite legendary, at least according to Western tourists who after coming in to one of these stores couldn’t stop praising them 24/7.

        Let me share these two links…

        “The 7-Elevens in Japan elevate the mere notion of convenience. They’re shining beacons of comfort. A one-size-fits-all plug for pretty much any purpose. Here’s why the 7-11s are superior in Tokyo.”

        “Convenience stores are cheap and convenient, and in the U.S. that’s synonymous with poor quality. In Japan, however, 7-Eleven food and services are above and beyond.”


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