Tired of paying ever-increasing hotel rates and travel costs, four friends in Chongqing decided to get into top gear by fitting out their own camper van.
The two-bedroom, 24-square-meter (258-square-foot) apartment on wheels, is basically a five-seat cargo van with foldable containers that can be extended out for seating and tables, reports ecns.cn.
The exterior resembles an ordinary Foton van and it takes about an hour for two people to set everything up for an overnight stop.
When fully laid out, the campers have access to a kitchen, bathroom, living room, and two small bedrooms.
“It can accommodate up to 12 people at a pinch,” said Qiu Yong, 35, the main designer.
“Road trips have become increasingly popular in recent years, especially as prices for popular destinations get ridiculously high and there are swarms of people.”
A trip to Sanya, Hainan province, from Chongqing last October, during the weeklong National Day holiday, made him determined to provide his own transport and accommodation.
“Hotel rates in Sanya were triple the normal rates, and sometimes even more. A room that normally cost a few hundred yuan for a night suddenly cost thousands of yuan. I even spent 4,500 yuan ($740) one night for a room,” Qiu said.
Helped by three friends, he took matters into his own hands and raised 270,000 yuan. Of that, 190,000 yuan was used to buy the van and containers, and the remaining 80,000 yuan was spent remodeling it.
A big screen TV hangs from the vehicle’s roof.
“We are karaoke fans,” said Yang Chenghong, 40, one of the co-owners, adding that they can also play mahjong in their apartment on wheels.
Qiu works in real estate and knows what makes for a successful interior.
“It is not easy to satisfy all stockholders, some like cooking, some like singing,” Qiu told China Daily, adding that it took him two weeks to finish the design and more than two months to finish the refit on February 10, though the van is yet to make its maiden voyage.
“We might take a trip nearby at first,” Yang said.
The recreational vehicle has been registered with the vehicle administration in the Jiangbei district of Chongqing.
Qiu was confident the van would have no problem getting registered as its exterior has been largely untouched.
An officer from the Chongqing freeway law enforcement administration said that although this particular vehicle received a license, most refitted vehicles have difficulty passing examination.
“Refitted cars like this are typically banned,” he said.
There is nothing like a dream to create the future.