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Hostel Information - Mainly focused on China but good all around hostelling info none-the-less

USA | Saturday, 13 June 2009 | Views [982]

Book it in advance – via email or phone (they fill up quickly)
China approximately - $3 for a shared dorm room (4 or 6 beds) and $22 for a single; $20 for a double.

Ask hostels for all your information:
o    They will translate everything into Chinese for you
o    They will tell you where to go for travel: trains, planes, etc.
o    They can help you with anything and they are fluent in Chinese and English
o    You can lock your laptop up downstairs
o    They have computer kiosks you can use for free in the lobby
o    They can book hostels for you in other cities
o    They have “sister hostels” in suzhou, shanghai and other cities

NOTE -- In Hangzhou there are 2 train stations - the train to Guilin is not at the "common" one - always show your actual ticket to the taxi driver or hostel to get instructions or be taken to the correct station!!!!

DO NOT BOOK ANY HOSTELS THROUGH ONLINE THROUGH HOSTEL.COM – you will be charged an outrageous fee after you have paid with paypal (they add on like $25 w/out telling you first).  However Hostelling International has a website - http://www.hihostels.com/ and although I have no idea if they charge to book through them they do offer the hostels direct email addresses and phone numbers so you can book directly yourself. I also recommend becoming a member of Hostelling International (you can do this at any hostelling international hostel – most that I’ve recommended are such) and then you get discounts on your bookings elsewhere.

If you bring your computer pay for skype international calling. I put $10 on and was able to talk to US for @8 hours with money left over. You can also use skype to book your hostels if you can’t find emails for certain ones.

Hostel for Hangzhou:
Mingtown – I booked via email:
[email protected]
Address:No.101-3 Nanshan Rd, Hangzhou,China

Guilin: - if you are looking to get to the countryside outside of Guilin……

The train ride from Hangzhou to Guilin is around 20 hours, be sure to get a sleeper. You can get a hard or soft sleeper. We tried each one and both are fine but the soft sleeper is more private. If you get a hard sleeper try to push your way to the front to get a bottom bunk (elbows to the ribs - are not only permitted, they are required). The hostel can write this out for you in chinese (soft or hard sleeper and looking for a ticket to Guilin, etc.)

You get into Guilin via train very late at night and will need to stay in a youth hostel. The closest one to the bus station is  Called Flowers -  -- http://www.yhaguilin.com/
It’s cheap but book ahead of time. I booked a week ahead but people were turned away when we got there that hadn’t pre-booked.

You will have to show your passport at every place you stay so always have it with you.

NOTE -- In Guilin there are 2 bus stations, one is a few blocks (on the same street) from the other

Outside of Guilin, Yangshou – the countryside
The Giggling Tree" - http://www.gigglingtree.com
This was my favorite place of everywhere we stayed and they offer dorm rooms, singles and doubles as well.

Once you arrive at the bus station in Yangshou you go to the street and take a right and the cabs are ½ a block away. Do not take a ride from any scammers on bikes or unmarked cabs here. We took a tuk tuk thing back from West Street one night and that was fine although very bumpy and we negotiated the price first. They will charge you 40 kuai to go to the Giggling Tree from the bus station but it only costs 30. And when you go back to the bus station you will only have to pay 30 each time. All the cab drivers know where the Giggling Tree is.

No need to do the touristy thing of going down the Li River on the expensive raft from Guilin. Instead take the bus to Yangshou (be sure to go to West Street at night in Yangshou), take a cab to the Giggling Tree and then they will help you take a bike on a bamboo raft down the Dragon River and give you instructions on how to take a bus back up to a tiny town (on their map) and then hike or take a bamboo raft to the town of XingPing (my favorite town!!!). It’s MUCH CHEAPER this way and much less “touristy”.

If you miss the last bus from Xingping back to Yangshuo, you can stay at a hostel (The Old Place Youth Hostel) in Xingping, which looked really cool!! And remember if you need info (like what time the last bus leaves and where to catch it) you can ask at the hostel – or any hostels – their email address is: [email protected]

Other information:

Side trips from hangzhou:
o    Tongli
o    Suzhou
o    Shanghai

If you go to Beijing the hostel is “Saga” - Tel. 86 10 65272773
[email protected]

If you can get a phone for local calls in China, do it – it took me 5 hours to get one (China Mobile) but it was the best investment I made. If you have a phone that you can swap the sim card in you can do it that way.

Watch out for scams. Cab drivers that don’t use the meters and try to get you to overpay. The not main train station in Hangzhou is known for this. You have to find the cab queue on your way back to the city (if you arrive in Hangzhou from here) and it should cost like $6 or less but the scammers will try to get you to pay $14.

Other hostel information:
I was looking for a hostel to stay in in Hawaii and there was only one that came up on my internet search. I read the reviews (a must) and found out that there were a lot of problems reported here. As a matter of fact 9 out of 10 people who stayed there had a horrific experience. As I read the reviews I found that someone who had reviewed this hostel recommended another one – that did not come up on any other internet searches. Needless-to-say I’ve booked my stay at the other hostel. ☺  This is just an example of the complete one might have to do to travel well and safely.

For more information – please check my blog – I have blogged about my experiences there including bargaining and will be adding a “scamina” blog soon.

Tags: china, gulin, hangzhou, hostel, hostelling, hostels, li river, travel, xingping, yangshuo

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