Kunming is a major transit hub for all kinds of tourists, and has a number of hotels, hostels and guesthouses for people looking for places to stay. While the number and diversity of Kunming lodging is its advantage, the short-term nature of its guests is a great disadvantage when looking for a quality choice. Since it is less a destination and more of a hub, Kunming hotel owners expect their guests to stay for one night and never return. This means a great number of Kunming hotels and hostels have no interest in offering quality, service, or even cleanliness.
Luckily, there are few a few choices that will allow you to rest easy while you prepare for the next leg of your journey. Since Yunnan is a big backpacker destination, a lot of them have great services and even better prices, especially if you’re willing to stay in a dorm. There are certainly those hostels that are more party oriented, but Kunming still has a few quiet places to relax if that’s what you need before you get on the train out of town.
1) The Hump Hostel驼峰客栈 View In Map
Without question the most famous hostel in Kunming, The Hump has a well-earned reputation. The massive three floor complex of dorms has a great bar and common room for meeting travel companions or just getting advice. Since it has been open for almost a decade, the Hump’s staff are aware of everything a young traveller needs, and are more than happy to help you with any aspect of your journey. Pick up from the train station is free. The rooms are clean and well-furnished (they also have satellite TV).
The Hump’s rooftop terrace. Photo: hostelworld
The real attraction is of course the bar. Upstairs is a massive terrace with comfortable seating and a great view of downtown. It’s a relaxing way to unwind after a day of trecking around the city. The food is not highly recommended but filling. Downstairs, however, is the famous Hump bar, which is a favourite of local expats for a number of reasons. Most nights feature a local DJ or live band that is sure to pull a lot of people, which goes well with the cheap drinks and dance floor. It’s one of the few hostels that is in and of itself a destination.
2) Cloudland International Youth Hostel昆明大脚氏国际青年旅舍View In Map
One of the better known quiet hostels, Cloudland is conveniently located downtown. A haven for backpackers and budget travellers, Cloudland’s dorms are spacious and comfy. The owners’ many years of travel experience really shines through in the hostel’s organisation. It’s also the kind of hostel that has occasional events like making dumplings and outings to local tourist attractions. Here you can really take advantage of the helpful staff.
Unlike most hostels, the restaurant at Cloudland is pretty good. There are plenty of fried dishes and finger foods for simple snacking, and some of the main courses are a nice break from Chinese food if you need one. The seafood pasta is surprisingly good, provided they have the ingredients in stock.
Add: 23 Zhuantang Lu, Kunming
Phone: 0871 410 3777
Price: Dorm beds start at 35 RMB
3) Lost Garden Guesthouse & Restaurant一丘田七号客栈View In Map
This tiny guesthouse is recently opened but already fully booked weeks in advance. One of the few places you can stay near Green Lake and Yunnan University, Lost Garden is built on the idea of enjoying the amenities of a traditional Chinese villa at a reasonable price. It’s built in a Qing Dynasty complex for housing professors and imperial examinees, and the rows of flowerpots that surround the terrace hearken back to an earlier time when conversation was the highest form of entertainment. The comfortable rooms are clean and spacious, but the real attraction is the building itself.
Lost Garden offers the same services as any hostel, as well as a bike rental and guided tours. Its proximity to the lake and the foreign district makes it an ideal jumping-off point for exploring Kunming. Its back alley location does make it quiet, but it is extremely difficult to find. It might be worth springing the 50 RMB for airport pickup, especially if you don’t have a phone.
As the capital of a very well-travelled region, it seems as though Kunming would be an excellent place to rest your head for the night. However, most of Yunnan’s best attractions are outside the city. As a result, most people interested in a quality place to stay gravitate towards the other towns around the province. The best advice is to minimize your time in Kunming or at least lower your expectations. It’s best to treat Kunming as a base to explore the more interesting parts of wild Yunnan.
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Keywords: best hostels in Kunming clean hostels Kunming budget lodging Kunming backpacking in Yunnan
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