The Best Hostels to Book in Shanghai

Some of Shanghai’s most historic buildings line the Bund promenade
Some of Shanghai’s most historic buildings line the Bund promenade | © Alex Segre / Alamy Stock Photo
Tom Smith

Hidden within the cityscape, these budget hostels keep accommodation wallet-friendly for travellers on a shoestring budget.

Although China’s backpacker scene is still taking baby steps, Shanghai is a great destination for budget travellers. At first glance this gigantic metropolis, one of the world’s most populous cities, is all about towering skyscrapers and glittering five-star hotels, but visitors can also look forward to a growing collection of excellent hostels.

1. The Phoenix Hostel Shanghai - LaoShan, Huangpu

Hostel

Guests at The Phoenix can relax on the hostel’s rooftop terrace
Courtesy of The Phoenix / Hostelworld

Even Shanghai’s finest five-star hotels couldn’t claim a better location than this hostel on South Yunnan Road, wedged between two subway stations, People’s Square, the Nanjing Road shopping strip, and the Bund waterfront. The Phoenix also has a “take a book, leave a book” communal library, reception staff who can help you with advice on travel and tours, and a rooftop terrace where guests can unwind after a day’s sightseeing.

2. Shanghai Hidden Garden International Youth Hostel, Lujiazui

Hostel

Shanghai Hidden Garden Youth Hostel underwent a makeover in 2017
Courtesy of Shanghai Hidden Garden Youth Hostel / Hostelworld

The only backpackers’ hostel located among the dazzling skyscrapers of the Lujiazui financial district, Shanghai Hidden Garden is a green oasis in this concrete jungle. The property has seven double bedrooms and 15 spacious dorms, all with en-suite bathrooms and air-conditioning for those warm summer nights. The enormous garden and terrace is the perfect place to mingle with other guests over a barbecue and a few beers.

3. Shanghai Meego Qingwen Hotel, Jing’an

Hostel

Courtesy of Shanghai Meego Qingwen Hotel / Expedia

This Jing’an property prides itself on providing an environment for travellers to get to know each other, both in its mellow communal lounge and fully equipped communal kitchen. The air-conditioned dorms and private rooms all come with bathrooms and free wifi, and the reception desk is open 24 hours. Bunks come equipped with their own private storage space and wraparound curtains, so you can keep your stuff handy and safe while you relax in complete privacy.

4. Bufan International Hostel, Pudong

Hostel

Courtesy of Bufan International Hostel / Expedia

Spacious and airy, this is a hostel with hotel-grade private rooms alongside dorms in varying sizes. A shared space furnished with Bauhaus-style armchairs is a cosy spot from which to work, and attracts lots of digital nomads to stay. Rooms are spick and span, beautifully clean with crisp white linen, and lockers to safely store your things. For those wanting to indulge their inner child, the hostel is just 4mi from Shanghai Disneyland.

Molly Codyre contributed additional reporting to this article.

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