Where to Stay on your Trip to China

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

I'm still going on about our summer trip in China! I can't believe I've still got things to talk about and it is October. I promise that I only have a few posts left. I realize that I haven't yet mentioned hotels that we've stayed in. I decided that I wanted to round the hotels we stayed in into one post after you were familiar with the destinations. I don't generally stay in super classy hotels (I'd rather save for more trips and delicious meals!), so these hotels are low budget options.

The hotel in Beijing was not great (partially because of my epic fail of booking the hotel for the wrong month!) so I didn't take any photos. We stayed at the FX Hotel Yansha Beijing. This hotel was in a great location; however, I wouldn't recommend staying there, especially with all of the other affordable options in Beijing.

In Kunming we stayed with friends. I've seen the rooms in the Home Inn (a pretty large chain), the Seagull Hotel, and the Green Lake Hotel. These three hotels are in the Green Lake/Yunnan University area. It can be hard to find more affordable hotels online in Kunming (and Yunnan Province in general), so I suggest booking into a hotel for one night. You can always book your room for longer or find a different hotel. In Yunnan I never (until this trip) used to book hotels in advance. This may seem crazy, but it is pretty typical for Chinese and it totally works! Additionally, when booking hotels in Yunnan Province (especially outside of Kunming) you may find yourself in a room with an Eastern-style squatting toilet. Just a warning!


Xi'an

The Bell Tower Hotel in Xi'an is directly across the street from the Bell Tower, making it a perfect location. The Bell Tower Hotel was the nicest hotel we stayed in during our trip in China. The check in and check out were quick, the staff was friendly, and they can set you up with a tour of the Terra Cotta Warriors.

The rooms at the Bell Tower Hotel were clean, had a great selection of complimentary teas, and offered free bottles of water (you CANNOT drink the tap water in China). Overall, I liked this hotel and would stay there again.

The Xi'an bell tower during the day
 The Bell Tower at night

A room in the Bell Tower Hotel

A Room in the Bell Tower Hotel

Lijiang

Lijiang is one of the places that I never book in advance for a hotel room. Even with the huge amounts of tourists in the spring and summer, you can always find an available accommodation- especially with all of the new hotels they are building. I almost always stay at the Cao Jia Hotel near Heilongtan (Black Dragon Pool). Cao Zhai is 60 to 100 RMB (10USD to 16USD) per night. The rooms at Cao Jia hotel are clean and the family that runs the hotel are so nice. The mother even recognized me and remembered what I studied after two years of not living in China (how 'bout that for customer service!). Below is a map with the approximate locations of several hotels that I've stayed at in the Heilongtan area.

Should you choose to stay in the Lijiang Old Town you should take into mind that the winding streets in the Old Town make it really hard to find your way AND cars aren't allowed to drive in Old Town. This can make finding your hotel while dragging a large suitcase behind you pretty impossible and annoying.

 The Cao Jia Hotel in Lijiang


Lugu Lake


I'll be posting more about Lugu Lake next week, but until then lets talk hotels. Lugu Lake has only recently been built up for tourists, but you can still find a huge number of hotels. We stayed at two different hotels in Lige Village on Lugu Lake.

We booked the Sui Meng Hostel through hostelworld.com and despite booking a private room with one bed we still had to pay for two people. In my opinion, this makes the price of the room absurd for China prices. We arrived at Liga village a day and many hours later than we had anticipated due to bus ticket availability and a terrible, horrible, no good bus ride (more later). By the time we reached Liga, all I wanted to do was take a shower and curl up in bed.

Check in at the Sui Meng Hostel was pretty easy and on first impression our room was lovely. We had a great view of Lugu Lake and of Lion Mountain. I'm not a huge fan of an entirely glass bathroom - privacy much- but made it work. The deal breaker for the Sui Meng Hostel was the lack of electricity in the room. Only the light in the bathroom and one outlet worked, which made it pretty impossible to see in the evenings or morning. The Sui Meng Hostel also didn't have a water boiler available in the room and didn't have pre-boiled water available without asking (and waiting for water to boil at high altitude).

Luckily, J and I had done what the Chinese do! Only book for one night! So on to our next hotel - the YHA youth hostel.

The Sui Meng HostelA room in the Sui Meng Hostel
The view from the Sui Meng Hotel


The YHA Youth Hostel was a pretty simple, typical Chinese low budget hotel. Our lights worked, we had numerous working outlets, and there was free wifi! What more could we want! The YHA Youth Hostel was a much better value for the price and was in a better location than the Sui Meng Hostel. If I happened to visit Lugu Lake again I think I would stay on the Sichuan Province side of the lake to check out the hotels there rather than stay in Lige again.

The YHA Youth Hostel in Lige Village, Lugu Lake

I wanted to provide a map for hostels in the Lugu Lake area, however google maps is too crappy for that rural of an area in China. I'll see what I can dig up for my posts about Lugu Lake.

*Expert Tip: I find that hostels (even if you are sharing a room) are MUCH more expensive than local accommodation in China. This is especially true if you are using a site like hostelworld.com that requires you to pay per person.

What do you look for in a hotel? What hotels do you suggest for China?

14 comments:

  1. I've never been to China OR anywhere in Asia, but I will revert back to this went we decide to go! xx
    www.teamstarnes.com

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    1. I hope you get to visit Asia someday. It truly is special!

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  2. I'm so envious of your multiple stays in China!! I've never been to Asia but am desperate to in the nearish future.
    How wonderful to have the hotel owner remember you! Sort of like coming home I can imagine :)

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    1. It felt just like going home. It was quite lovely. If you need any help when you plan a trip to Asia let me know! I would be happy to give some suggestions :)

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  3. your accommodations look lovely! what a bummer in the Lugu Lake one - glad you only had one night!

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    1. The Lugu Lake one was a nice room - just needed some electricity!

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  4. it's so interesting to read about accommodation in China. it seems like there are always good options, but you have to know your stuff! x

    Miho @ Wander to Wonder

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    1. So true. It is helpful if you know someone there or someone who has travel there recently.

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  5. I've never traveled to China on my own.. and usually when we're with Jacob's family we end up at high end hotels. Jacob and I do a mix of hostels and hotels when we travel on our own.. i dunno if i could do without electricity though!

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    1. Did you like the high-end hotels you stayed in in China? Several years ago I stayed in an AMAZING hotel in Shanghai. It had a giant bathtub and a tv in the bathroom. Perfect for right before a long day of travel!

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  6. I, too, prefer to save money on accommodations. If the vacation goes how it's supposed to, I only use the hotel for sleeping. As long as it's sanitary, I don't really care much.
    All of these look like options I would choose for myself!

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    1. So do I. I usually don't spend a ton of time in the hotel either so there is no problem.

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  7. That last hostel looks great! That view is just wow! And I know who to call for tips whenever I head to China! :)

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    1. Everywhere in that area had such a great view!

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