The Dazhalan area (pronounced ‘Dar-shuh-lar’ in the Beijing dialect) is backpacker central and hands down the best area in the city for value-for-money youth hostels. This one, five-minutes walk from Tiananmen Square, is arguably the best of the lot.
It’s housed in a creaking, 100-year-old three-storey building with a central courtyard and was originally a famous Beijing restaurant.
The more expensive rooms, with private bathrooms, are in a more modern block off the courtyard, and lack character. But the cheaper, bathroomless rooms are older and wonderfully rustic with wooden-beamed ceilings and wood-panelled walls.
Even if you don’t stay here, the courtyard is a lovely place to come for a coffee or a beer – the coffee here is excellent, and only ¥10 a cup.
Staff members are friendly, helpful and speak excellent English. And, like all the hostels round here, this one has wifi, bike hire and can help with booking tickets and tours.
Dazhalan is full of cheap places to eat and drink. Worth checking out are De Yuan Roast Duck and Urumqi Muslim Restaurant.
33 Meishi Jie