I’ve never experienced hostelling until I went to Guangzhou, a city in the southern part of China. I thought it would just be another small hotel, or an inn, for that matter. I didn’t expect that there was entirely something different with the experience, particularly with youth hostelling, which I never realized till I was in one. In short, a was a first-timer in hostelling.
Hostelling, in my view, prior to the experience, was just a cheap way to stay in a place, with dormitory-type rooms. For travelers who only look for a bed to lay their head for a night, hostelling might be a likely option. So, here I was with all my notions of hostel, but what greeted me took me by surprise.
Still with New Year decorations, the reception was very welcoming to guests, particularly to those who arrive almost midnight. That was me and my friend. The receptionist, a Chinese guy with glasses, conversed with us as if we were his long-time friends. Some backpackers were at the lobby area, tapping on their laptops or warming themselves with a bottle of drink to ward the chill off. The lobby was like a residential living room, better than the dormitories where I lived when I was still in the university.
Our room had twin beds, a television set, and a clean bathroom with hot shower. Not too far from the amenities of hotel rooms, and better than inns where I’ve stayed in my other travels. In fact, it could compete to some hotels which charge a higher price.
For three nights, we paid about just P600 (around US$12-15) each per night. It was truly affordable.