Renting a motorhome in China


Beijing - city center

Center of China RV life

After several emails to various websites which stayed mostly unanswered or pointed us elsewhere we ended up in Beijing which seems to be the center of RV life in China right now.

When we approached the place in the late afternoon we immediately saw the motorhome out in the street - a European looking type on an Iveco base.


Elegant outline

...but did the license plate get stolen?

Very interesting paintwork! Attractive lines on the side and a silver metallic bunk above the cabin. Great first impression!


An unusual sight...

...on Beijing roads

We had a look at it from all sides, and were pleased with what we saw.


Dometic windows?

All windows with double glass

This looks like the world famous Dometic S4 window with PU frame....wow.


Utility Openings

...on the driver's side

Several covers on the driver's side made us wondering what they were for


Rear View

Camera not expected

The view of the rear side revealed not only a foldable ladder, but even a rear view camera, something we had not expected in a rental RV in China


Foldable ladder

from Italy's Fiamma company

Fiamma seems to be well positioned in China as many of the accessories carried the red logo


The water hole

...just like in Europe....

The water intake is well labeled although the translation may need some finetuning. Maybe it was translated from Italian to English.


The interior

....finally going inside.

A Centech representative arrived quickly and opened up the door for us, finally we could step inside.


The power panel

An important feature

Liu Bing explains the power panel for us. There is a main power relay plus individual buttons for several lights


Microwave oven

Another surprise

A small microwave above the kitchen counter. Very luxurious but dependent on a power supply


The bathroom

...with integrated shower

'Not sure what to think of this....a toilet in a car' Lily seems to think.



...a must in Chinese RVs

Chinese summers can get very very hot and muggy, even up north. But the aircondition needs a lot of power, mains connections are required.

Notice the many halogen spotlights and the smoke alarm.


Top cabinets

...with real wood veneer

Protected by a high gloss lacquer it looks bright, clean and cozy.

The bright white fluorescent tube on the left seems to be installed later on to give a better light.


Spacy Seating group

Table surface in wood veneer

The seating area sits four persons easily, even Europeans which are sometimes a bit bigger than Chinese. To protect the upholstery there were clean covers.

The provided cushions and installed curtains made the motorhome really comfortable.


The bunk bed

separated by curtain

Because we had booked for two people the bunk bed was not made up for sleeping. It is spacy for the person sleeping neer the edge, the person in the back has some restrictions in height and length due to the shape of the nose.


Dometic windows

....on both sides of the bunk 

Integrated mosquito gaze provide a breeze while keeping the bugs out. The shades provide protection from heat or light coming in.

When open, the windows provide a nice overview to both sides of the caravan.


Driver's seat

Joy stick shift and camera monitor

Driver's seat and dashboard are regular utility vehicle style, only the camera monitor incluiding GPS provides a touch of luxury


Passenger seat

Spacy passenger seat

Functional and clean.

The ash tray on the dashboard gives away that this is a smoking vehicle, however we could not notice any smell when we entered. The stack of business cards provided is for giving out to interested people which as it turns out will be plentiful.


This was the inside

...let's go outside now?

Lily looks more comfortable now, she had had no idea what to expect from a motorhome, it was her first time inside one.


Have a chat first

....and discuss the deposit

The deposit is normally very high and needs to be paid in cash. We explained that we could not get the required cash in the short time while we were in the country. And as so many times in China, we could negotiate that we paid the deposit in Euros which we had brought over.

Please note that at this point Liu Bing did not know who we are. He thought we were just a regular couple renting a motorhome. We only told Centech after the RV was returned and the deal was completed that this was a test and we planned to write about it.


The outside tour

...so many keys!

Liu Bing explains to us all the keys and all the connections. We will probably not need any of them except the diesel tank.


The fresh water tank

....with locked cap

Unfortunately we missed to ask about the fresh water and foul water capacities.


External shower

This is pure luxury

An external shower is a great thing to have. It is located on the driver's side, under the bedroom window. I personally would prefer it to be located closer to the entry door.


Power and water

CEE power connector and city water

This RV allows convenient power and water hookups.


The big surprise

Onboard 6500 Watt generator

A big surprise was hidden under the largest door: a 6500 Watt Honda generator. And suddenly I understood the concept.

So far I had not seen any gas powered appliances, and now I realized there were no. All appliances like microwave, stove and air conditioner (also used for heating) were running on electricity.


No LPG Installation

No gas installation at all

Later I would be told that Chinese people would mistrust gas installations. So electricity is the only power source.

But how do you operate the generator?


The easy answer

Operating the generator

Although the generator has a remote control, it can not be operated inside the compartment, it needs to be pulled out.

To facilitate this, two rails are provided on which the generator can be slid out placed besides the RV.

This concept with all its disadvantages did not appeal to me very much as it seems very impractical.


Now the paperwork

The introduction was without any rush

All our questions were answered.....although I missed quite a few details as lots was spoken between Lily and Liu Bing in Chinese.


Contract signing

Lots of paperwork

All the contracts and check lists are in Chinese, I would have been lost without Lily.

Usually weary and suspicious I stayed calm here because my experience with Chinese rentals is great, never a problem.


Checking off....

...the big checklist

This seems more a formality, we did not check all the items on the list.


Almost done....

...we are getting a bit nervous now

How will the traffic be, how will other drivers react, will we survive without accident or scratches?


Ahh....not stolen

Here are the license plates

Maybe they were taken off because they would be stolen otherwise. Or can China use a set of plates for more than one vehicle?

We don't know but next time we will ask.


rear plates

What is the wet patch?

We decided out would be water from the exhaust due to the jagged outline


...and front plates

...now we were ready to drive

During the whole procedure Liu Bing as well as the other staff were very friendly and patient to us, answering every question we had.


Driving instructions

Liu Bing explains the Iveco dashboard

Nothing unusual here, it was easy to understand and operate


All loads secured

And ready to go

No unsecured loads in the living area....well, no loads at all


my turn

A long wish comes true

I drive a motorhome in China for the first time....in one of the most busiest cities in China, starting from the wrong lane.


Amid Beijing traffic

Evening rush hour

Passing San Litun Area, in the front one of my favorite handouts, Hooters, with its fabulous wings.

The gearbox is a bit difficult but otherwise the RV drives great, and other drivers are defensive as ever.


RV parking

Right in front of hotel

No problem at all, we parked right in front of the revolving entry door, and had lots of watchers.


first group meeting

......of course in the motorhome

All group members had arrived during the day and we met right in the front of the hotel entry. Within a couple of minutes everybody forgot where we were. This is RV life!

Nobody of the hotel staff minded either.....imagine this in Europe.


Enroute to the fair

Beijing East Terminal in the background

The 4th Beijing International RV Fair started today, we went there by motorhome. Driving in Beijing was no problem at all.


Discussions in rear

A new driving feeling

Sitting opposite to each other at a table while driving through dense Beijing morning traffic was a new feeling for all



Don't risk the deposit

Full concentration is required, I did not want to risk losing the deposit.

The GPS which speaks English and displays locations in Pinyin is extremely helpful for navigation although lately the iPad or iPhone also came in handy.


coffee break

A McDonalds saved me

Fresh coffee is hard come by in China, so a McDonalds with a McCafe was a welcome sight.


The day can begin

The group enjoys a round of coffee

I'm sure I enjoyed it most though.



Lily is delighted

....and points out the cup holders to the group


Drawing big interest

No fear!

Immediately after arriving at the fair parking site, and after opening the rear door, a crown of people asked to have a look around.

I was immediately reminded of the story that Konstantin Abert told at the last Caravan Salon and could not help but smile....it was so true.



RVs are still uncommon in China

The group was asked a lot of questions, discussions went on for quite a while.


Another RV?

Such a coincidence

While I had never seen an RV in Beijing before, on the way back to the hotel there was another one, also a Centech, right in front of us. Unfortunately it turned before we could see it closer.


Parking impossible?

Not really!

While I am sure it is difficult to find adequate parking for a RV in Beijing, that night we had no problem finding a spot.

To celebrate the day we had some German food in famous Schindler's Tankstelle, a German restaurant with quite authentic food.


Parking on Fairgrounds

Be in the middle of it

The next day we could park right on the fairgrounds with a short way to walk.

We hope this report was useful for you. should you need more information, should you have questions or should you need assistance please do not hesitate to contact anyone of us, we will try to help.