Accommodations in China: Part 2

Accommodations in China: Part 2

posted in: Asia, China, Travel | 2

Hosteling in China

Over the last 8 months, I’ve had the opportunity of traveling to some pretty great cities and staying in some pretty decent (and not so decent) hostels. I have compiled a list of my personal rankings of all the places I’ve stayed this year. My rankings are based on:

Price: ****
Location: ****
Atmosphere/ Aesthetic: ****
Room Quality: ****
Customer Service:****
Overall: ****/4

Qufu International Youth Hostel, Qufu, Shandong Province, China

Price: ****
Location: ***
Atmosphere/ Aesthetic: ***
Room Quality: **
Customer Service: ****
Overall: 3.2/4

The first place I stayed when I came to China was Qufu International Youth Hostel during Mid-Autumn festival. It was a pretty nice hostel as far as I was concerned, and it was only $7.50/ night. It had a nice restaurant with decent coffee, so that was good enough for me. Our nights were spent hanging out in the lounge playing pool, and our days wandering around the 3 Kongs.

The location was great as the tourist sites were well within walking distance of the hostel. I think the best part, however was the customer service. Chen Bing Bing, the bartender, was one of the friendliest people I’ve met in all the places I’ve stayed. My only real problem with the place was that the bathrooms were only accessible from outside, which was a little strange.

Taishan International Youth Hostel, Tai’an, Shandong Province, China

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Price: ***
Location: **
Atmosphere/ Aesthetic: –
Room Quality: *
Customer Service: *
Overall: 1.5/4

This was the worst hostel I’ve stayed in in China. During the autumn holiday, we decided to go to Taishan and climb the mountain. We ended up picking the first hostel we could find online. The website boasted of hip accommodations with a steady stream of guests, and a lively night life and bar. However, once we got there, this was not the case. This ghost town of a hostel was located in the most inconvenient location, and their were no directions to get there. When we got to Tai’an, we tried to call the hostel, only to discover that the number the site provided was incorrect. Alas, we finally arrived.

After a few hours, we quickly realized we were the only ones there, and our room was the farthest possible from the front desk. The walls were unfinished drywall, and the windows were covered in mold. The bathroom had an awful ammonia- like smell and the wires in the shower were live and uncovered. Our theory upon leaving the hostel was that it was probably condemned or on the verge of it. I didn’t take photos of the place, though I wish I had so I can prove how bad it was.

Qingdao Kaiuye Youth Hostel, Qingdao, Shandong, China

Price: ***
Location: ****
Atmosphere/ Aesthetic: ****
Room Quality: ***
Customer Service: ***
Overall: 3.4/4

This was a really nice hostel, maybe even my favorite that I’ve stayed in. The price was great at 80 RMB/ night for a private room ($12/night) and it was located right in the center of Old Town. They had a really great bar and restaurant (where I ordered a delicious steak) and live entertainment every night. The hostel even give guests a free bottle of Qingdao beer for every night of their stay. Can’t go wrong there.

Qingdao Marina Hostel, Qingdao, Shandong Province, China

Price: ***
Location: **
Atmosphere/ Aesthetic: ****
Room Quality: ****
Customer Service: ***
Overall: 3.2/4

The second hostel I stayed at in Qingdao was the Marina Hostel. We stayed in a triple room for about $15 USD/night. The location isn’t the best in terms of accessibility to the center, as it is pretty far on the outskirts of town. However, it was probably the most unique hostel I’ve stayed at. The hostel is located right on this old ship marina, and there are a ton of great restaurants on the beach front. It would be a great place to go for an early morning run (you know, if you’re into that kind of thing.)

Leo’s Hostel, Beijing, China

Price: ***
Location: ****
Atmosphere/ Aesthetic: ***
Room Quality: **
Customer Service: ***
Overall: 3/4

The first time I went to Beijing, I stayed at Leo’s Hostel based on my friend’s reccommendation. It was a very nice hostel. Located right in the Hutongs, you could spend hours exploring the preserved historical alleyways of Beijing where many locals still live and conduct their day to day business. Leo’s is also conveniently located within a 15 minute walk from the metro lines, Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City, and other tourist areas. The staff was really friendly and helpful, and the hostel offers daily tours to the Great Wall.T heir bar and restaurant was pretty decent, but nothing to write home about…. ironically enough, I’m doing just that.

Sanlitun Youth Hostel, Beijing, China
Price: **
Location: ***
Atmosphere/ Aesthetic: **
Room Quality: **
Customer Service: ***
Overall: 2.5/4

On my most recent trip to Beijing, I stayed at Sanlitun Youth Hostel, which is located in the clubbing district. The hostel was nice enough, nothing really memorable about it. By this point, most hostels are starting to look the same to me. It is located about 6-9 Kilometers away from the city center; however, since it is close to the metro, it is easy enough to get where you need to go. There’s actually a good number of restaurants and things to do around the area, so you won’t get bored. This hostel also offers 3 daily tours to the Great Wall. Unfortunately, I didn’t take photos of this hostel; but really, if you’ve seen one, then you have seen them all.

Blue Mountain Bund Youth Hostel, Shanghai, China

Price: ***
Location: ****
Atmosphere/ Aesthetic: **
Room Quality: **
Customer Service: **
Overall: 2.75/4

This hostel is just minutes from Metro Line 2, just off East Nanjing Road, which is a truly prime location of many touristy things. It takes 20 minutes to walk to the Bund, Hungpao River, and Yunan Gardens (all are must sees). It also has a really nice rooftop bar and patio, which is nice for encouraging community between travelers. I stayed in a six bed female dorm, and it was very comfortable and private. Being on the sixth floor of a high rise building also allows the hostel to feel very safe and secure.

My only gripe is that it was a little difficult to find. While the directions were accurate for the most part, they left out that it was located in a multi-story building and that it can’t be seen from the street. I spent about 15-20 minutes walking back and forth right in front of the building trying to find it, and felt like a prime idiot when I realized that it was literally right in front of me the entire time.

I always use HostelWorld.com
Anytime I book a hostel, I go through hostel world. Their descriptions are usually pretty accurate and it is really simple to use. Most places I’ve stayed in China have ranged in price from about $7-$20/ night, though it does depend on the type of accommodations you want. There really isn’t much to be said about the room quality, as I think they are all pretty much the same, even down to the furniture.

Sometimes, I’ve been in 4,6, or 8 bed mixed dorms and other times I’ve stayed in private rooms. I can’t say there has been a significant difference in my enjoyment, or quality of sleep. The biggest dictator of price is mainly location. Shanghai was the most expensive city I stayed in (for obvious reasons), while Qufu and Tai’an were the cheapest. Either way, even paying $17/night, as I did in Shanghai, is still cheaper than any place you can find in the US.

2 Responses

  1. This may sound like a silly question, but is a Hostel in China similar to a Hotel in the States? It seems like it. If not, how are they different?

    • No, hostels and hotels are completely different things. A hostel is a budget option for many younger travelers and generally consist of dorm style rooms with bunk-beds and the like. Hostels can range anywhere from $5-$20/ night. I’m doing a post on the hotels I’ve stayed at in China soon.

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