Living in a typical HDB flat in Singapore, I’ve always heard my neighbours playing mahjong at night, and they seemed to have so much fun playing it. Hearing them mixing the clacking tiles around and getting so amped up was so entertaining.
I always wondered how to play mahjong but unfortunately I just never got the chance since I wasn’t Chinese and it’s not typically part of our culture to do so. My colleague then told me about an Airbnb experience that actually teaches people how to mahjong. So I thought, why not?
This Airbnb mahjong experience offers foreigners and locals alike, the chance to learn how to play mahjong- which gained more popularity because of that scene in Crazy Rich Asians.
It is one of the few Airbnb experiences in Singapore that teaches you how to play mahjong. The Airbnb host is Sabrina, who joined Airbnb in 2016. She’s the first Airbnb host in Singapore to offer such an experience according to her.
Sabrina started by teaching us more about the mahjong tiles and the various winning combinations with the help of these guide sheets. It was easy to familiarise myself with the “picture”. However, since I can’t read Chinese characters, it was a little tough trying to remember the numbered tiles. I appreciate how there was a guide printed out, so that I always had something to refer to.
I have to admit, I was a little overwhelmed with the amount of information being presented. But then again this is normal whenever you learn a new game.
The guide sheet really does help beginners during this learning process.
After ‘washing’ the tiles around, Sabrina taught us how to arrange them properly into walls and pushing them together.
By the third round, I was getting better at remembering the different sets and found that I didn’t need to rely on guide sheet as much (other than reading the numbered tiles with Chinese characters).
I’ve always heard the distinctive tiles knocking against each other resonating from my neighbours closed doors, and finally getting to play was something I really enjoyed. Whenever I was close to winning, someone else would find their winning tile. So I guess I do understand now why people get so amped up while playing it.
Mahjong is often played as a gambling game to increase the excitement, but I in no way encourage gambling whatsoever. Once we got more confident, we started to play with ‘chips’ as a way of keeping score.
This Airbnb mahjong experience has been a hit with tourists, who have travelled from America, Mexico, Brazil, UK or Canada. The youngest player was a 12-year-old boy!
It’s no surprise that Sabrina has a five-star rating on Airbnb for her mahjong workshop experience. She and her mother are so patient, which I truly appreciated. Learning how to play mahjong was truly a fun experience for me and its just so different from what I’m used to.
If you too have always wondered what it’s like to play mahjong and don’t want to feel left out, I highly recommend you try out this Mahjong experience on Airbnb. Even I, as a non-Chinese, successfully learnt it in two hours as a testament to how anyone can learn this game. Use this promo code link for free credits if you’re new to Airbnb!
Nearest MRT Station: Khatib
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