One of China’s six ancient cities, Beijing is a tourist’s haven where traditional architecture and culture meet a modern city. With a population of approximately 21.5 million, Beijing is China’s capital. It’s famous not only for being China’s political center but also it’s an economic and cultural hub.

The ancient city is a huge metropolis with a variety of tourist attractions. Visitors can explore the downtown business district and marvel at the modern sky rise buildings, and later find themselves seamlessly wandering into a traditional “hutong” (a narrow alleyway, typically including traditional architecture and cultural shops and restaurants). These alleyways are scattered all around the city, making Beijing a magical place to explore. It would be impossible to see it all in one trip!

Check out: Best Hostels in Hong Kong

 

Beyond simple exploration, tourists won’t want to miss out on some of the world’s most famous tourist attractions in and around Beijing, including 6 world heritage sites.

Because of its incredible history, delicious food, and fascinating culture, backpackers from all around the world flock to Beijing. It’s one of those destinations on any avid traveler’s bucket list. 

Below are some of the best hostels to accommodate young backpackers while they explore this beautiful city.

365 Inn

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from $18 / 6-dorm 3.8/5 Map

**Prices are shown for weekdays in Mid-season (October)

365 Inn is a modern hostel in a building that’s 150 years old. It has a traditional feel with the comforts of a well-maintained hotel. It’s a well-rounded hostel with a little something for every type of traveler. Guests here have plenty of opportunities to relax and unwind in the beautifully decorated property, and those interested in partying can easily do so without obstructing the peace and quiet. 

The hostel’s staff takes hospitality seriously and aim to treat each guest as a personal friend. Guests can choose between dorm-style beds or private options. Private rooms are equipped with a variety of thoughtful touches such as slippers, electric kettles, lockers, and private TVs.

Located just a 10-minute walk from Tiananmen Square, guests at 365 Inn don’t need to worry about taking a cab. They’re within walking distance of most popular tourist destinations in the city.

Highlights of the hostel

  • Washing machine
  • Hair Dryers
  • Bar 
  • Restaurant
  • Convenient location

Reviews

  • “Location is excellent”
  • “Nice restaurant with good prices”
  • “Spacious and nice dorm”
  • “Reception was incredibly kind”

Chinese Box Courtyard Hostel

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from $23 / 6-dorm  4.5/5 Map

**Prices are shown for weekdays in Mid-season (October)

Located right in the heart of Beijing in a historic Hutong neighborhood, Chinese Box Courtyard Hostel was once rated best hostel in China by Hostelworld, and the award was well deserved. The property is a beautiful traditional Si-He style house transformed into a modern world hostel. Plus it’s got everything a happy traveler could want to feel comfortable and at home, including free breakfasts (for private room guests), bicycle hire, games, guidebooks to borrow, and free vegetarian-friendly family dinners three times a week!

The hostel is also well known for its weekend activities such as tea ceremonies and calligraphy classes. The vibe here is relaxed and chill, making it a great place to meet fellow travelers. It’s smaller than your average hostel, so it creates a “family” feel where travelers are likely to make friends. 

It’s also easy to get around from Chinese Box Courtyard. Guests need only walk five minutes to the nearest metro to have access to the whole city, and plenty of restaurants and markets can be found right outside the hostel’s door.

Highlights of the hostel

  • Free family dinners 3 times a week
  • Tea ceremonies
  • Calligraphy classes
  • Location in a hutong neighborhood

Reviews

  • “Great atmosphere with quaint rooms”
  • “Small hostel where you can meet really fun people”
  • “Clean and secure”
  • “Staff were very friendly and helpful”

Leo Hostel

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from $17 / 10-dorm  4.0/5 Map

**Prices are shown for weekdays in Mid-season (October)

Leo Hostel is a colorful fun hostel located in a hutong neighborhood, just 10 minutes to Tiananmen Square and walking distance to most popular tourist destinations. Here, guests will get a taste of what it’s like to be a Beijing native, with the winding hutong alleyways just outside the door. It’s beautifully decorated with traditional art, bright colors, twinkle lights, and plants growing throughout the property. It offers dorm and private rooms, and the dorms are separated by gender. 

This is a bustling social hostel with ample common room areas to get to know other travelers, a quality bar and restaurant (with an international fusion menu), and activities for guests to stay entertained and relaxed on the property. Guests have access to plenty of board games, DVDs, a book exchange, a communal computer, and a pool table.

Highlights of the hostel

  • Great restaurant
  • Bar
  • Pool table
  • Chill communal area

Reviews

  • “Lots of interesting people”
  • “Fantastic atmosphere and location”
  • “Clean and comfortable with a great common area”
  • “Great breakfast options”

Red Lantern Hostel

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from $20 / 6-dorm  4.1/5 Map

**Prices are shown for weekdays in Mid-season (October)

Red Lantern is all about the authentic experience. Located in the heart of Beijing is the largest preserved hutong neighborhood in the city, Red Lantern offers a traditional experience for guests wanting to know what the real China is like. Red Lantern is a family-run hostel and provides an experience similar to staying with a Chinese host family. 

It’s a budget-friendly hostel that keeps in mind the important amenities that the weary traveler might be looking for. It’s got bikes for hire, a receptionist with plenty of tourist advice in English, laundry, mail service, and arrangements can be made for day tours to all of the most popular tourist attractions. 

Red lantern offers private rooms as well as dorms, and all are well kept and clean. Guests can also unwind in the hostel’s bar and restaurant, and purchase necessities at the mini-supermarket.

Highlights of the hostel

  • Authentic experience
  • Beautiful traditional decorations
  • Bar and restaurant
  • Location near everything

Reviews

  • “Really helped me immerse myself in the local culture”
  • “Great quiet atmosphere”
  • “Helpful English speaking staff”
  • “Decorated with interesting traditional artwork”

Peking International Youth Hostel

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from $26 / 6-dorm  4.6/5 Map

**Prices are shown for weekdays in Mid-season (October)

Sometimes considered more of a boutique hotel, this hostel will cost a little more for a stay here, but it’s well worth the price. Perhaps the most noticeable aspect of the place is the abundance of flowers and plants that absolutely cover the hostel. It’s a lively, clean and colorful place that feels welcoming and warm. 

Located just a few blocks from the Forbidden City, the best tourist activities Beijing has to offer are right outside the hostel door. Guests can take a short walk to various art galleries, restaurants museums, temples, bars, and more. 

The hostel boasts a beautiful outdoor terrace that overlooks the botanical gardens. Guests can gather here in the afternoons to mingle and drink tea. Like most hostels, guests here can choose between dorm rooms or private rooms. They’ll also have the choice of a luxury private room. All guests also have access to air conditioning, a book exchange, hairdryers, a washing machine, safe deposit boxes, bike hires, and reading lights.

Highlights of the hostel

  • Rooftop lounge
  • Location in the center of the tourist district
  • Beautiful flower decorations
  • Washing machine

Reviews

  • “Awesome facility right above a cute cafe!”
  • “Perfect location”
  • “Friendly and accommodating staff”
  • “Clean with lots of flowers”

Qian Men Hostel

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from $57 / 6-private  4.1/5 Map

**Prices are shown for weekdays in Mid-season (October)

Qian Men Hostel is the perfect option for the quieter traveler. With a calm atmosphere suitable for families with children, it’s the perfect place to relax after an adventure-filled day of touring Beijing’s attractions. The location of the hostel can’t be beaten. It’s only a 2-minute walk to Tienanmen Square and it’s a short walk to many other popular attractions such as the Forbidden City, and the ancient Dashilar walking street.

The architecture of the building is astounding as well, having been built in 1875. The historical architecture has been maintained, creating a charming authentic feel, and the rooms are equipped with quality furniture with a similar antique style. The hostel’s carved wood balconies open up to inner courtyards, with plenty of space for greenery and fresh air.

Qian Men is also equipped with plenty of amenities to keep travelers comfortable, including a bar, restaurant, air conditioning, reading lights, key card access, luggage storage, postal service, fax services, and a travel desk.

Highlights of the hostel

  • Unbelievable location
  • Children friendly
  • Travel desk
  • 19th-century architecture

Reviews

  • “Great place for a family”
  • “Great, down to earth owner”
  • “Very strategic location”
  • “Cool hostel with a traditional courtyard”

Once backpackers have settled on their ideal hostel, they’ll want to make sure they check off all of the must-see destinations in Beijing before trekking off to the next destination on their journey. 

The most obvious must-see attraction near Beijing is the Great Wall of China. The majestic wall, stretching 13,000 miles (21,000 kilometers) lies to the northwest of Beijing, only about an hour away by car. It’s a necessity for the photo op alone, but tourists will marvel at it’s ancient architecture and the stunning rolling green hills beyond it.

Another Beijing essential site is the Forbidden City, which is the imperial palace from the Ming dynasty, and the largest imperial palace in the world. Located right in the center of Beijing, here, tourists can learn about Beijing’s ancient history dating all the way back to the year 1420.

Another famous palace in the middle of the city, Tiananmen Square is often the first thing travelers think when they think of Beijing. This beautiful palace was also built in the 1400s during the Ming dynasty, but is perhaps most famous for the  pro-democracy protests turned massacre that occurred there in 1989.

Finally, visitors won’t want to miss Beijing’s Temple of Heaven Park, calm, peaceful temple where China’s emperors used to come to pray for the people’s good fortune.

These are just a taste of all of the gems a visit to Beijing has to offer. Backpackers could spend weeks exploring this beautiful city and never want to leave. It’s a place to settle in for a while to really soak all of the cultural attractions hidden within the city’s walls.