Please note: Currently we only cater to English-speaking foreign travelers who cannot speak Chinese very well or need assistance getting around Beijing.
We are located in the heart of Beijing. The house is in one of the few remaining Hutong areas (alleyways) of old Beijing, with courtyard houses. Along the nearby lakeshore it is very scenic and there is a lively nightlife. But once inside the alleys, there is no sound of traffic and the tranquility of traditional life still prevails.
Our home is a 7 minute walk to Prince Gong’s Mansion; a 15 minute walk to Beihai Park; a 30 minute walk to Jingshan Park ("Coal Hill"), where the last Ming Emperor ended his life; a 3 km walk to Yonghegong (Lama Temple); and a 4 km walk to the Palace Museum (Forbidden City) and Tiananmen Square. We have excellent access to public transportation including subway lines 8 (station called Shichahai, 450m from us) and 6 (station called Beihai North, 800m), plus bus lines to many parts of the city.
This is a private home of a Canadian + Chinese couple, with backyard garden (in spring/summer), rooftop deck, kitchen, living room, and laundry room. We have modern comforts including decent bathrooms, hot water, purified drinking water, coffee machine, floor heating, air conditioners, and comfortable mattresses.
We are an English-Chinese bilingual and retired couple who can offer assistance in getting around Beijing. We and our son Ian are happy to show you around the neighborhood, the local bank, post office, swimming place, and the like. We can help you figure out what public transport to take to get to places in Beijing or suggest places to go for buying specific things or having items made.
Our ideal guests are mature English-speaking travelers who are interested in sampling life in Beijing but not wanting to give up some basic comforts. We prefer guests closer to our own age. Young travelers: please check out Backpackingchina, it's a youth hostel in our neighborhood, cheaper and more suitable for you.
We have two short-haired house cats. So people with cat allergies please be forewarned.
This is an upstairs bedroom for one person, with shared bathroom (shared with up to two other guests). This room has a private entrance -- when you come home from that late event, you don't have to bother others!
Other Things to Note
The following are tourist destinations we recommend. All these are accessible by public transport (or tours). Places with easier access are put in the front. Peking is huge. Long travel time means above 1 hour.
1. Houhai and hutongs: Old Beijing residential area; common people’s lives, lake. This is not crowded, especially in the mornings. An easy walk of about 4km. Right outside of our door.
2. Drum and Bell Towers: Old Beijing monument; cultural relic. Not crowded; RMB20 entrance ticket; less than 10 minutes walk from Gladys Garden.
3. Beihai Park: Oldest royal garden in Beijing; local people’s recreation spot. Not crowded; easy walk; about 15 minutes walk from Gladys Garden.
4. Jingshan Park: Small hill overlooking Forbidden City; weekend singers and dancers gathering place. If you have no time for the Forbidden City, this park offers a bird’s eye view. About 30 minutes walk from Gladys Garden.
5. Forbidden City: Palace Museum; can rent GPS-guided audio set. Very crowded all the time with Chinese tourists. Exhibitions inside charge extra. Go by bus no. 5 or 82.
6. Lama and Confucius Temples: Tibetan Buddhist temple; Confucius Temple is less crowded; nice little private museum Songtang close-by. Can go by bus or walk 3km.
7. Ancient Observatory: Star-gazing equipment designed by Chinese and Jesuit priests on top of a Chinese tower. Not crowded. Easy to get to by subway.
8. Ming City Wall Park: Remnant of a once magnificent city wall; nice little walk in the city. Not crowded, 10 minutes walk from the Ancient Observatory.
9. Zhihuasi Monastery: Ming dyn. Quiet little Buddhist temple, marvelous sculptures, Buddhist music. Not crowded. Can be reached fairly easily by subway.
10. Temple of Heaven: Sample of Chinese ancient architecture; large green grounds. Not crowded. Can be reached fairly easily by bus or subway. Close to the Pearl Market; the Museum of Ancient Chinese Architecture.
11. Great Wall at Mutianyu: Day trip with English guided tour groups. This is not crowded. Takes 2 hours to drive out there, therefore it makes sense to join an English guided tour, either a hiking one or a sight-seeing one. Pick up close to home.
12. Great Wall at Badaling: Most visited part of the Wall by Chinese tourists. Easier to get to by bus and hence cheaper.
13. Great Wall at Jinshanling: Unrestored part of the Wall, spectacular hiking trail. Best way to get there is to join an English-guided tour.
14. Summer Palace: Qing dyn. Royal garden, very popular with Chinese tourists. Pretty crowded. Fairly easy to reach by subway.
15. Olympic Forest Park: New man-made forest park; good for easy hiking. Not crowded. Very easy to get to by subway line 8.
16. Fragrant Hills: Peking residents’ “mountain climbing” park. Fairly crowded during holidays; takes over one hour to get there by bus.
Botanical Garden: Botanical garden + Monastery of Sleeping Buddha + small mountain valley with a spring; nice picnic spot. Takes over one hour to get there by bus.
798 and Caochangdi: Modern art districts with galleries, studios, and shops. Not crowded, can reach by bus but complicated. Best go by taxi.
If you are traveling alone and it’s the first time in Beijing with limited time, we suggest the following program:
Morning: Drum + Bell Towers and Houhai and hutongs (half day) guided by Ian to get your bearings and learn about the life of old Beijingers.
Afternoon tour of Beihai Park, Beijing’s oldest royal garden--a charming park.
Forbidden CityIan will take you there by bus and you can do the tour armed with a GPS-guided audio guide. After getting out of the north gate of the Forbidden city, you enter Jingshan Park and climb the small hill, get a view of the forbidden city from there.
Great Wall day trip: join one of 3 tours which you select the day before and we will help you arrange.
Caochangdi Art District in the morning guided by Ian. Get a glimpse of modern art in China
Afternoon shopping at Tianyi, the local “small commodity shopping mall” to pick up souvenirs, either Ian or Yang Zhi can accompany you.
Evening acrobatics performance at Chaoyang theater.
Please note: Smoking is not allowed in any room except the kitchen or outside of the house.
•Common areas are:
the master bathroom downstairs
the bathroom upstairs (shared by two or three residents) - this may be used "in a pinch" by other guests;
the living room/dining room;
the laundry room;
the study downstairs (for borrowing novels or use of hosts' computers and printer on request)
Please feel free to use the living room at any time. We often watch TV in the evening, but except for a very few programs, we generally prefer conversation with our guests.
Breakfast from 8AM to 10:30AM. Basic breakfast supplies (coffee, cereal, eggs, milk, etc.) are supplied by the host. Please speak up if you need anything.
You are welcome to any fruit, cake, chocolates, coffee, tea, and beer when available in the house.
Unless requested otherwise, guest rooms are cleaned after guests leave. Bed linen and towels can be changed whenever necessary or on request.
There is a washing machine in our laundry room. No dryer. Clothes are hung up either outside or in the laundry room to dry. You may operate the washing machine yourself or have your laundry done by us. Laundry detergent is provided.
For the safety of everyone living in the house, at night residents should keep doors locked and all open windows screened. We are not responsible for any burglaries that occur because of doors and windows left open at night.
We normally own one or two cats, so if the resident has a cat allergy, this is a problem. Residents may not keep their own animals on the premises.
David and Yang were extremely welcoming and went above and beyond to help me find their location. Their location in Beijing is excellent with quick access to a nearby subway.
Gladys' Garden is one of the top AirBnB's I have had the pleasure of staying at. Starting with the perfect easy to follow instructions from the airport to the front door, Yang Zhi and David were exceptional hosts. The lovely hutong style house is in a most convenient location for enjoying anything Beijing has to offer from food to art and music. The lakes are lovely for a morning walk, and the many bars and restauraunts nearby offer live music and good people watching almost every night.
Yang Zhi and David were very welcoming hosts and great people to converse and share stories with. They were kind enough to loan me a bicycle which made for great sighseeing of Beijing, and David even let me play his guitar, which helped ease some homesickness. The cat's Yoda and Frankie were also great comforting housemates bringing many laughs to the party. House is beautiful and very clean, great shower with good water pressure, western toilet, good wifi, clean towels and bedding provided. Could not ask for more. Oh yeah, Yang Zhi makes some killer banana bread to go with the real (not instant) coffee in the morning. Thank you sou much David ang Yang Zhi.
Zhi and David are the best hosts, very friendly and helpful. Their home is comfortable, clean and well located. Homemade bread and yoghurt, and fresh fruit for breakfast. This was my third travel to Beijing and my third stay at Zhi an David's place. And I hope to stay at Glady's Garden when I next visit Beijing.
This is an absolutely lovely observation post for experienced travelers who already know Beijing. Yang is a delightful host, and the family is a joy, cat population included. Hutong life does not get better than this; very comfortable house with all the amenities. Try to get the room on the second floor with an independent entrance and a verandah. Observation of the daily rhythms of life in the courtyard - and on surrounding rooftops - is priceless. Skip the nightlife nearby - and go for a first class Beijing duck either on Duck de Chine (at 1949 Hidden City) or Made in China (at the Grand Hyatt). And then back to Garden joy. Ten stars are not enough.
Excellent stay at Gladys Garden in Beijing. Comfortable bed, pleasant environment, great location, friendly hosts. All you can ask for. Thanks!
What an amazing experience staying with David and Yang Zhi. I stayed for a week in one of the rooms upstairs, and had a magical time. David and Yang Zhi were fantastic hosts, and it was like being with family - a welcome respite from my intense work and travel schedule. Ian, their son, was also very helpful in showing me the best noodles and dumplings in the area.
Not only is the area already in one of the renouned hutong areas with the Crooked Pipe Street (Yandaixie Jie) just a stone's throw away, but it is also extremely central and within walking distance to many of the city's must-see sights.
It felt like I was really living in Beijing, and not just a traveller. If I would be lucky enough to stay here again, I would be so pleased!!!
Thank you, David, Yang Zhi, and Ian!
Could be better than this! The best BnB experience ever. The main reason I use BnB is communicating people(host) and experience real local life and become one of them. David's house is the experience I was looking for. Lots of communication about Chinese local life, history and so on. Of course, their house is beautiful and nice. I don't think anyone can have any issue with their house and helps they provide. Highly recommend and I was very lucky meeting them. Everytime I visit Beijing, I will stay David's.
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Traveled a lot. Lived for last 26 years in China. Before that, Jordan. Before that, Chicago, New Orleans, Missouri, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Canada, West Indies...