(English version from the text posted in Jun/2014)
Definitely, the best solution in terms of accommodation in China are the Youth Hostels that despite the name are not limited to welcoming young people.
They are generally well located, in city centers, near bus or train stations, or near tourist attractions. These type of accommodation are scattered all over the country, and there are at least two or three for each province of the vast Chinese territory. They offer good conditions, with double or single rooms, with private or shared bathroom. However the most popular option is the dormitory or shared room, of four, six or eight beds, always in the bunk system, that can have or not a bathroom inside the room.
The YHA hostels are presented with good decoration, clean and airy. Filtered, hot or natural water is always available free of charge. They have security lockers, usually by the bed or sometimes at the front desk. The shower and sometimes the sink have hot water. A hairdryer is usually provided at the front desk upon payment of a deductible which is refunded upon return.
Depending on the climate of the region, the rooms are sometimes equipped with central heating, fans and even some with air conditioning. In regions where winters are harsher, it is often found electric blankets to warm up the beds. Only in the big cities, it’s possible to find a laundry service in this hostels, however, there are always washing and drying facilities. There is also the option of using the washing machine costing around 10 yuan per charge.
Depending on the location and the size of the hostel, they may also have a restaurant, a TV, lounge room, snooker, games, a small library but mostly with Chinese books… the best ones have even small green spaces such as Hello Chengdu, which make you forget that you are in the center of a city of more than four million people.
At the reception of these Youth Hostels, there is always someone who speaks English, who is able to provide information about transport and places to visit in the vicinity. In the hostels located in the big cities, it’s possible to book bus and train tickets for a commission, as well as tours and organized visits to the more touristy places.
Prices for dorms range from 30 to 40 yuan but may be higher depending on the conditions offered and the location, being generally more expensive in large cities compared to the one located in smaller settlements or remote areas. With a Member Card, with the annual cost of 50 yuan, it is possible to have discounts in the various hostels and the value of one night in a dormitory can have a discount of 5 to 10 yuan.
Kunming: Upland Youth Hostel
Dali: Spoor Youth Hostel
Dao Cheng: MaMa Hotel
Dao Cheng: Yading Backpacker International Youth Hostel