How can I secure a room in Beijing during the Olympics?
May 16, 2008 10:17 AM   Subscribe

I'm in Japan right now, but I have all of August off. I want to hang out in Beijing for a week or so during the Olympics. I don't actually want to attend them, I just want to take part in the hubbub. How can I reserve a cheap bed (~30USD) now? Caveat: I do not speak any Chinese.
posted by borkingchikapa to Travel & Transportation around Beijing, China (5 answers total)
I stayed at the Beijing Yongdingmen hotel back in 2003. It fits your price range.

At the time, the manager was named Rennie. I guess he still runs it. He's a really nice guy who speaks English and will pick you up at the airport in his car.

It's not a luxury place - plain and somewhat worn down. Breakfast came with our stay and there was a true-blue Chinese internet cafe in the hotel (stinky, dirty, and full of guys playing all kinds of online games 24/7) when I stayed there.

Rennie is a cool guy who will help you get around Beijing. He even took my friend and I to a sweet section of the Great Wall, bypassing the big tourist areas with their tons of buses. He also helped us arrange a train ticket to Xi An, drove us to the station, and had another "tour guide" waiting to get us sorted out when we arrove in Xi An.

The hotel is pretty close to Tiananmen, so very well located. I'd give that a shot and see if he has any rooms available.
posted by syzygy at 10:37 AM on May 16, 2008

Checking the site, it looks like Renny's still in charge... You can contact him via email and even make a reservation that way (at least that's how we did it in '03).

If Renny's in charge, and he has rooms free when you want to travel, I'd recommend staying there - super guy who will help you get sorted out.
posted by syzygy at 10:43 AM on May 16, 2008

Just a warning: China's basically decided to not issue any new visas from June 1 to the end of the Olympics. Make sure you can get a visa before buying a ticket. (Of course some consulates now require you to show your ticket before they apply for a visa. Wonderful little conundrum.)
posted by FuManchu at 11:12 AM on May 16, 2008

Make extra certain that you can find a room that fits your budget. Most places have been booked solid for months, including hostels. There are hundreds (thousands?) of small 2 and 3 star hotels that don't have websites, but most of these places won't have any English speakers on staff. Also, most of them are fully booked. I'd be very careful if I were you about showing up without a fixed reservation and getting in a situation where you end up having to pay through the nose for a crappy place to stay.

Try '', which will have ads and forums for good, up to the minute information. You can possibly find sublets there. I think that may be your best option if you're on any kind of a budget. Lots of expats are planning to leave the city during the Olympics (I'm one of them).

Oh, and getting a 1-month, single-entry tourist visa shouldn't be any problem. It's renewing inside of China or getting anything longer term than one month that has changed.
posted by bluejayk at 1:49 PM on May 16, 2008

And look at the room rates for the Olympics at the hotel in the first comments... You would need at least 500 Euro to do what you want there. One hostel I stayed at said that they were charging 500 yuan a night for a bed in a four bed dorm room. And they were booking back in November.

To get a visa to China, you need proof of an exit ticket and a hotel reservation. At least, that's the latest story, and it depends on the consulate... everything's with regards to tourist visas is muddled up right now. Japan would probably be simliar to what it is here in HK... Entry / Exit ticket and hotel reservation.

You could go to another city for a bit, like Nanjing, and, get a train to Beijing / fly when you want to take part in the hubbub, and try to find accomodation through the expat channels (sublet an apartment).
posted by sleslie at 4:13 AM on May 19, 2008

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