Kashgar Old Town Youth Hostel, Wusitangboyi Road, Kashgar (300 meters from Id Kah Mosque)
Dorm: 35 RMB per person, Private double room: 80-90 RMB per room. All rooms are without bathroom. Common bathrooms are shared but reliable (clean, hot shower, separate toilet).
Facilities: Free WIFI, PC in public area in case you dont bring laptop/tablet – free for 1st hour usage. Free hot water for drinking. Washing machine 10 Yuan per use, iPad rental 15 Yuan per hour. They also provide air and train tickets booking service. Tours to Karakul Lake and other places can be arranged.
The hostel entrance doesn’t look very impressive when we arrive. From outside it looks almost like an abandoned old building, needless to say with a small sand hill right in front of the door makes it even uglier. They’re apparently doing some renovation inside, so yeah.
I read that this building was once a traditional Uyghur mansion before being turned into a hostel. It has plenty of rooms and bathrooms, renovated in such a way to become some large dorm rooms (with bunk beds) and a few private room with twin beds. None of them are really fancy, but for a price of a hostel, you just get what you pay. At this point of time, there are some travelers staying, but not crowded.
Our first night in the hostel was in the dorm room as all private rooms are occupied. But luckily they have been nice enough to arrange us to stay in an empty room so we practically have the whole room by ourselves at that night without sharing with others. Not planning yet for other nights as tomorrow we’ll be heading to Karakul Lake and Tashkurgan for a night or two. We are given clean bed sheet and blanket cover (yes, you have to make the bed on your own!).
Some distinctive feature of an old Uyghur house in Kashgar – nice door deco! The old mirrors were painted in colorful to give a new life to their look.
The hostel also offers tour to Karakul Lake with permit with a little cheaper price than quoted by agent in Eden. Feeling this might has to be our last option, we ask the hostel manager if we can share the tour with other travelers. We passed by a European couple and I promptly asked if they have visited Karakul Lake, and when they said they havent, I asked if they wanted to go with us and share the tour. I was surprised when the girl says “We want to go buy bus”.. and I ask “Do you have permit?”.. “No, we dont need permit”.. “Are you sure?”.. “Yes, there was another traveler who’s been there recently and he didnt need permit”.
They however are planning to go there later next week. So nevermind, we can go by our own by bus too. Now I just have to jump in excitement. WE’RE GOING TO KARAKUL LAKE BY BUS WITHOUT PERMIT!! XD
How could that be? All this time, we have come to believe that we need that bloody permit and were having hard time finding a (cheap) way to get a hand of it, thanks to a number of sources on internet claiming so! Still in a slight doubt, we decide to go to police station nearby to ask for confirmation when we go out walking later.
Dowstairs, they have this common area with tables for travelers having breakfast, tea, etc together while exchanging chats and travel stories. When entering the main entrance, you probably will see this open area first, most probably with a sight of a few foreign travelers hanging out having a drink or checking their laptops, and probably it’s the first place you’ll greet anyone there and introduce yourselves :)
One of few staircase to upstairs, but this one is connecting from the yard. They’re having renovation in the hostel yard, so it was a little messy at this time with sands and unfixed holes. You’ll be required to walk up the stair as quietly as you can. They also provide hot water which is again useful for us to prepare our Nescafe and Milo. Some canned and bottled drinks are available for sale from a fridge next to it.
When we’re away to Karakul Lake, we’re sllowed to check out the room first, get our big luggage packed and they will keep them safe in the management office which we will collect them later upon returning. After coming back from Karakul Lake, we manage to get the private room for 80 yuan, although it’s even less attractive than dorm room, it’s just good enough for us to sleep in our own room without sharing with others.
The Hostel is run by a nice Chinese couple, they’re very helpful when you need anything in Kashgar. When we want to change our train ticket, we just write down a note and ask them to write the Chinese translation for us to show at the railway counter. The self-drawn Kashgar city map given by them has been very helpful (combined with a full Kashgar map we collect in Eden). Everything you need to know will be informed right at the moment you check-in: which bus to go which place, places to see, which roads to follow. Thinking about it again, it’s actually our first experience staying in a hostel and all I can say it’s not that bad! Recommended for budget travelers and if you dont want to get stuck by your own in this non-English speaking city.