The Best Hostels 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
Photo of Tom Smith
2 July 2019

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.

The Phoenix Hostel Shanghai - LaoShan, Huangpu

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.

More info

Shanghai Hidden Garden International Youth Hostel, Lujiazui

Map View
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.

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  • Blue Mountain Youth Hostel, Luwan

    Blue Mountain Luwan Youth Hostel has its own common room
    Courtesy of Blue Mountain Luwan Youth Hostel / Hostelworld
    Sitting just across the street from the Luban Road subway station, this homely hostel is well connected to the rest of Shanghai. There’s a common area with a lively bar, a cosy fireplace and a pair of antique “shi-fu-men” doors hanging on the wall that are hundreds of years old. With bunk beds that you can entirely curtain off – meaning no more light disruption from other guests and an added sense of privacy – you’ll be sleeping like a baby no matter how busy the room is.
    More info

    Shanghai Meego Qingwen Hotel, Jing’an

    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.
    More info

    Shanghai Rock and Wood International Youth Hostel, Changning

    Rock&Wood International Youth Hostel is in the quiet neighbourhood of Hongqiao
    Courtesy of Rock&Wood International Youth Hostel / Hostelworld | Courtesy of Rock&Wood International Youth Hostel / Hostelworld

    Located away from the hustle and bustle of central Shanghai in the quieter residential area of Hongqiao, Rock and Wood is a serene place to stay on a budget. The al fresco common area is almost as lush as nearby Tianshan Park, while the lounge room is loaded with books to borrow, and the bar area is a great place to meet fellow backpackers.

    More info

    Bufan International Hostel, Pudong

    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.
    More info

    Molly Codyre contributed additional reporting to this article.

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