Mingtown Nanjing Road Youth Hostel Review 23
Mingtown Nanjing Road Youth Hostel Review 23
Photo by: Mingtown Nanjing Youth Hostel

 

At Saturday’s San Diego Flyertalk dinner, nzpilot and I started talking about upcoming mileage runs to Shanghai. I mentioned I had stayed at a hostel on my last trip and would post a review.

In November 2011, I did two mileage runs to Shanghai, but to get the lowest airfare you had to stay 3 days.  Since my second mileage run was the week of Thanksgiving, hotel rates in downtown Shanghai started at $300 a night.

I wasn’t about to spend $600 on hotels when my airfare was only $700.  So I compromised and booked the Mingtown Nanjing Road Youth Hostel for the first night and the Peninsula Shanghai for the second.   (More on the Peninsula Shanghai in the another post.)

Mingtown Nanjing Road Youth Hostel

I choose the Mingtown Nanjing Road Youth Hostel because:

  • it was walking distance from the metro and the Bund
  • the price was amazing
  • I’ve never stayed in a hostel and wanted to see what all the fuss was about

In 2011, the Mingtown Nanjing Road Youth Hostel had just opened and had yet to be reviewed. So I was more than a bit nervous about staying there.

Location:

The Mingtown Nanjing Road Youth Hostel is in a great location. You can easily walk from the East Nanjing Road metro station, and the Bund is a short walk away.

Airport Shuttle:

There is no airport shuttle but you can take the Maglev to the metro and then walk to the hostel.  This is the cheapest way if you’re traveling by yourself or if there’s just two of you.

For three or more people, it’s cheaper to take a cab from the airport.  But many cab drivers aren’t familiar with the location so it could cost you more if they take you the long way.

Accommodations:

For my first hostel experience, I opted for my own room vs a dorm room.

View from room at night Mingtown Nanjing Road Youth Hostel Review
View at night

 

Not a lot to look at during the evening – or maybe because it was close to midnight when I arrived.

View during the early morning Mingtown Nanjing Road Youth Hostel Review
Early morning before traffic…

 

During the day the road gets busy but this was about 5am so no traffic yet.

The metro is about two blocks up the street.

Twin Private Ensuite Room Mingtown Nanjing Road Youth Hostel Review
Twin Private Ensuite Room at the Mingtown Nanjing Road Youth Hostel

 

I booked a basic twin private ensuite for $100 CNY per person.

With a hostel, if a room accommodates more than 1 person, you have to pay for the number of people that can sleep in a room, even if you have less than the maximum number.

Since the room had 2 twins, I had to pay for 2 people, making my total $200 CNY total, or about $35.11.

Another View of Twin Private Ensuite Room Mingtown Nanjing Road Youth Hostel Review
Another view of the twin private ensuite room at the Mingtown Nanjing Road Youth Hostel

 

Here’s another view of the room.

If you like a firm bed, you’ll love these beds.

Like most beds in China, (with the exception of US branded hotels) the mattresses are very firm.

I used the comforter from the second bed as a cushion so it was more comfortable.

But I could still feel that pea. (wink)

There’s not much to the room other than the beds, a small table and chair, hot water pot, lamp, mirror, hangers, and bathroom.

But sometimes that’s all you need.

The table is just large enough to work on.  The outlet was above the table (always a plus) vs hidden below as in some hotels/hostels/bed and breakfast establishments.

Desk Mingtown Nanjing Road Youth Hostel Review
Small table – suitcase not included :)

 

Closet area Mingtown Nanjing Road Youth Hostel Review
Mirror and hangers at the Mingtown Nanjing Road Youth Hostel

 

There’s an open closet with a mirror, hanging hooks, hangers, and slippers.

Slippers For Him and Her Mingtown Nanjing Road Youth Hostel Review
Rubber slippers to use during your stay.

 

I enjoyed having the use of the slippers. I’m guessing red was for women and blue for men.

Heating and Air conditioning unit Mingtown Nanjing Road Youth Hostel Review
Heating and air conditioning unit in room

 

The heating and air conditioning unit worked great!  It can get really hot in Shanghai so having air conditioning is a must!

The only drawback was needing a chair to reach the unit, as it was practically ceiling level.

 

View of sink Mingtown Nanjing Road Youth Hostel Review
View of bathroom and door

 

As with most hotels in Asia, you put your keycard in the slot to activate the electricity.

You can see the keycard slot on the wall adjacent to the bathroom.

Since the bathroom was tiny, this was the best shot I could get of the sink.

Bathroom sink Mingtown Nanjing Road Youth Hostel Review
bathroom sink

 

The sink was normal sized, which given the size of the bathroom was pretty generous.

It was only about 5 inches deep, just deep enough to be able to wash a few things.

 

Toilet Mingtown Nanjing Road Youth Hostel Review
Toilet

 

The toilet was a bit narrow, but the height was perfect.

I hate hotels with low toilets – I don’t want to be forced to exercise and do squats to get on and off a toilet.

Shower Mingtown Nanjing Road Youth Hostel Review
Shower with dual shower heads

 

The shower was compact but more than spacious enough to turn around without knocking elbows on the glass.

Toiletries are not provided so you will need to bring your own.

A towel, wash cloth, and hand towel; there might have been two of each but it’s been almost two years since my stay so my memory is a little fuzzy on that point.

Check-in:

My flight arrived late and it was after 11pm when I arrived at the hotel.

Check-in was quick and easy. The front desk is on the ground floor in the same area as the “café” or dining area.

I wasn’t able to get any photos since every seat was occupied with everyone using the wifi.

The balance of my room was due – you pay a 10% deposit when you book a hostel and the balance at check-in.

A $100 cash deposit was also required, but was given back at check-out.

I was given my key and directed to my room on the 3rd floor (if I remember correctly….)

Amenities:

The hostel has wifi but since I got in late and left first thing in the morning (so I could get to Yu Yang Gardens before the crowds), I never tried it.

There’s also a kitchen, game room, and laundry.

Summary:

If you’re looking for a fancy room, this isn’t the place. But it’s a clean hostel in a great location, walking distance to metro and the Bund, and had working air conditioning and/or heat.  And for $35 a night for what I consider a hotel room, it’s one of the best deals in Shanghai.

I’d definitely stay at the Mingtown Nanjing Road Youth Hostel again.

This review is based on my experience on November 21, 2011.
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Shanghai Postal Museum lifesize replicas

Shanghai Postal Museum

When traveling I like seeking out the little treasures, spots that most people don’t know, seldom visit, things off the beaten path if you will.  When I find a spot that the locals rarely frequent, I know I’ve found a gem.

The Shanghai Postal Museum is one of those rare gems visited only by school groups, bored locals, and tourists looking for something different.

The Shanghai Postal Museum is housed in a gorgeous four-story Baroque style building featuring Greek columns and a clock tower – a little out of character and completely unexpected from something as utilitarian as the postal service.

Inside the building on the second floor a small but functional post office similar to what you’d find in any modern city, with rows of postal mailboxes of various sizes and tellers selling stamps and accepting mail.

Shanghai Postal Museum mailboxes
modern mailboxes

 

A walk through the Shanghai Postal Museum leads you through the history of the postal service from inception in the 1st millennium BC to present day.  Stunning lithographs depict images of pony express couriers riding at break neck speeds, speeds that required getting a new horse every nine miles least the horse fatigue and the courier unable to deliver his message.

Shanghai Postal Museum lithograph
lithograph of pony express rider

 

Among the lithographs and other memorabilia on display, is postal box No.1741.  Postal box No.1741 is the rented mailbox that the Chinese Party used to conduct secret communications.

Shanghai Postal Museum Box 1741
Box 1741

 

Other displays include a collection of rare stamps from China and other countries sure to please even the pickiest philatelist.  The stamp collection is housed in a climate-controlled room where photography is prohibited.

Photography is welcomed and encouraged in the expansive courtyard and atrium on the ground floor where you’ll find replicas of a 1909 horse-drawn carriage used during the Qing Dynasty, a 1917 postal truck, a 1917 mail car, a 1929 plane representing air mail deliveries, and a post office complete with a mannequin dressed as a postal worker.

Shanghai Postal Museum lifesize replicas
life sized replica of postal truck

 

Career as a postal worker intrigue you? Try your hand at sorting mail inside the postal train car.

Shanghai Postal Museum sorting mail
sorting mail

 

If you have time you can watch a film on the interpretation of the postal service of the future.

Last if not least, weather permitting, go up to the roof for some of the best free views of The Bund.

Whether or not you’re into stamps, the Shanghai Postal Museum is worth a visit, if not for the building’s architecture but for the views.

Shanghai Postal Museum basement
Shanghai Postal Museum

 

The Shanghai Postal Museum, 250 North Suzhou Road, is open Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday from 9 a.m.–5 p.m. with last entry at 4 p.m. Admission is free to the public.

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Land Down Under, Sydney Australia, Opera House, Harbour Bridge
Land Down Under, Sydney Australia, Opera House, Harbour Bridge
Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge

 

It’s been very quiet at Traveling Well For Less. No worries, I haven’t ditched the blog, I’ve been traveling.

We (my husband joined me on this trip, imagine that) went to Sydney for a week, so expect to see lots of blog posts about Sydney, all there is to do and see, free things in Sydney, the Blue Mountains, Sydney craft breweries, Qantas First Class A380, Radisson Blu, Hilton Sydney, and Park Hyatt Sydney, how to spend a week in Sydney for less than $200, and more.

I’m now traveling solo again to another destination. Once I get there, I’ll post a photo.

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lost passports

when passports wander off

We had a few terse moments in the Traveling Well For Less household yesterday when I could not find the boys’ passports.

Even though we’re only going to Hawaii, passports are required because we’re going to Hawaii via a free stopover on American Airlines enroute to Australia. I’ll elaborate more on free stopovers in another post.

The passports were not in their secret hiding place.  Apparently, so secret, I could not remember where I had put them.

I checked all my secret hiding place spots. And yes, I have more than one. Call me cautious, ok, paranoid.  If someone is going to break into my house I’m not going to make it easy for them to find my documents.  Electronics I can replace and if it means we’re without a tv or computer for a few months so be it. But not having our documents, that’s going to cause trouble. So, I hide them.

Thankfully the lost passports resurfaced…in one of my secret hiding places. And yes, I did look there yesterday, six times as a matter of fact. For whatever reason, they were cloaked, simply took a vacation on their own, wandered off, were playing hide and seek, or just didn’t want to be found.

Which leads to the question, where do you store your valuable documents?  In a secret hiding place?  Safe? Safety deposit box?