I get a lot of emails asking about good guesthouses to stay at in China and Tibet. In this article I am going to list the places I feel do a good job meeting the needs of budget travelers. These places are all well-run, have helpful staff and have good rates.
Located near Tiananmen Square, Leo Hostel is one of the most popular guesthouses in Beijing. They arrange tours around the Beijing area including tours to "secret" places along the Great Wall that few people know about. They also can arrange train tickets and flights to Lhasa along with Tibet travel permits.
Lotus Hostel is a comfortable, quiet guesthouse located near the Hutong areas in Beijing. It is within walking distance of many of the famous places in the city.
Sim's Cozy Guesthouse and Sim's Garden Hostel are run by a Singaporean/Japanese couple who have traveled extensively across China. The staff here are all very friendly and speak English well. They can arrange tours throughout Sichuan and can arrange tickets and permits to travel to Lhasa.
Lete Youth Hostel opened in April 2007 and is located in the south downtown area of Xining. It is on the 16th floor and has a great view of the city. The address in Chinese is 青海省西宁市城中区国际村公寓5号楼15-16层 or you can call them at (86) 0971.820.2080.
Xiliang Inn is located in the downtown area of the city close to the night market. This quiet guesthouse is managed by a local Chinese man who lived in France for several years.
The Barkhor Namchen House is located on the back side of Jokhang Temple along the Barkhor market area. This new Tibetan run guesthouse has an excellent view of the city from the rooftop garden. They can help arrange tours in and around Lhasa. You can email them at email@example.com or call them at (86) 0891.679.0125.
The Flora Hotel is not really a guesthouse, but a hotel. It is located near the big mosque in Lhasa on the far corner of the Barkhor. They have very clean rooms with well priced doubles with attached bathrooms. You can email them at firstname.lastname@example.org or call them at (86) 0891.627.3177.
The Compass Lodge and Cafe is located in the heart of the Old Town district of Shangri-La. The cafe serves up excellent western and Chinese food. They have excellent advice on travel through the area. You can email them at email@example.com or call them at (86) 0887.822.3638.
Baoma Hotel is located within walking distance of Labrang Monastery. This Tibetan run hotel has dorm style rooms as well as nice double rooms with attached bathroom. It has a small restaurant serving both local and western food.
The Overseas Tibetan Hotel is also close to Labrang Monastery. This popular Tibetan run hotel has a good cafe and offers day tours around the area.
The Camellia Hotel has been a popular place in Kunming for budget travelers for a long time. This place has cheap dorm rooms as well as inexpensive double rooms. There are travel agencies around the hotel that can arrange overland tours from Kunming to Lhasa.
The Traffic Hotel is located in the middle of Dege. It has well priced dorm rooms and is well kept. You can call them at 0836.822.3819.
The Potala Inn is the best guesthouse in Lithang. The Tibetan owner, Medok, has good travel advice on the local area. You can contact the Potala Inn at 0836.532.2533.
The San Jiang Yuan Hotel has well priced dorm style rooms as well as decent double rooms with attached bathrooms. It is located on the main street in town. You can call the manager at 0.159.0976.6903.
The Yushu Hostelling International is found on the east side of town on the main road. They have well priced 4, 6 and 8 bed dorms. You can call them at 0976.863.5558.
The San Jiang Yuan Hotel (no relation to the hotel with the same name in Nangchen) is a nice new 3 star hotel located across from the bus station which goes to Sichuan. The Tibetan staff here are nice and helpful. The double rooms with attached bathrooms come with a free breakfast. You can contact them at 0976.882.9900.
The Traffic Hotel is basic, but clean. You can expect too much from a hotel that is found at 4300m in the middleof nowhere. You can call them at 0975.854.1222.
The Zhaxi Zhuokang Backpackers Hostel has hot water 24 hours a day and can organize bus tickets and trips in the area. You can contact them at 0836.352.1806.
The Black Tent Guesthouse is probably the best run guesthouse in town with clean dorms and double rooms. Their phone number is 0836.886.2107.