An initiative by

An initiative by

30 Nov 2011
Yuval Golan

No better Place to Socialise- Hostels

Here is where other stories and people meet- crazy life, crazy coincidences and of course crazy people involved.

I have a confession- almost all my life I have been spending my money on luxury and boutique hotels but last year a friend convinced me to try to spend some nights at hostels in China.

I said- “Lets go for it”!

It was one of the best choices I have made in my life- you can meet so many people, your journey will change, play games, drink, eat, cook and have the wildest nights people can’t even imagine.

So, as my Socializing experiment during the Quality Hunters’ journey, after trying medium hotels, luxury hotels, and Chinese residences I have decided to spend my first night at the Blue Mountain Bund Youth Hostel in Shanghai:

Let’s go back in time, I have met on one of my flights to Rome a great and interesting person and as faith brought us back together, luckily we were also on the flight to Shanghai together- luck? Coincidence? You tell me!

You will read about her soon…

Back to Shanghai, I arrived to the Hostel after a very long night of conversations, fun and interesting and colorful people I have met on the flight.

I had to work and then to research an idea I had about Hair stylist in airports.

In order to be inspired I went to my Old Italian hair stylist who left Rome and had a re-location to Shanghai!

The “Salon” is the best place to socialise, meet new people, hear the current gossip and stories and most importantly improve your looks.

After that long flight full of work I had sleep for a few hours.

When I woke up the it was already 19:00 and I decided it’s time to socialise, I met new friends from Korea, the UK, Argentina, Kazakhstan, Brazil, Italy and Australia.

We played some pool together and I offered them some whiskey:

Later on I was quite starving so I wanted to look for a local Chinese restaurant to have dinner and there I met some of them again:

After dinner, a few drinks at the hostel and a few games of pool we decided to go out the Muse 2, one of Shanghai’s top clubs.

5 of us went out together- me, an Australian, an Argentinian, an English and an Italian:

We danced, drinked and some of us got lost in the party so at the end 3 of us ended up eating Barbeque outside the club around 3 am.

At 3am I received a phone call from “Peter Pan” and she said- let’s go to an underground party….

Stay Tuned.

Hostels are both convenient in means of price and location and are the best places to meet new travel buddies.

I have had great time and service in all the hostels in China and the prices were a Joke.

If you never tried a hostel- you should!

Hopefully we will have one soon in Helsinki Airport and if not a hostel then a Backpacker’s lounge or a garden.

Have you ever stayed at a hostel?

Did you enjoy your stay, meet new people and experienced new things?



  • 30 Nov 2011 at 1:55 pm

    I have stayed in many hostels and they are indeed more social. Rather that is too say hotels and airports are rather unsocial where the cultural norm is to stick to yourself. I wonder how many people want to be socialable, figure out a ratio 80/20 – 50/50 – 20/80 as it is not 100-0 or 0-100 and design some cool spaces which encourage people to mix.

    I am interested in how cost plays a role. If a pool table is free, I would think people are more likely to play a game with a stranger.

    • 30 Nov 2011 at 6:19 pm

      Hey James,

      Good points here.

      About the pool table- I many bards I’ve noticed a play board where you could register and play so many people who either come by themselves or with a group that are interested in playing pool join the list and play against the table’s winner!

      I think this could be fun!


      • 30 Nov 2011 at 10:41 pm

        Could include coporate rivalry It would be interesting to organise league teams, take banking for example, that you would see morgan stanley were in 10th place of the banking league and you could get a notification that 5 of the JP morgan players are in the airport and you would like to send a message to challenge them! bit complicated, but fun all the same! ha!

  • 30 Nov 2011 at 3:26 pm

    This passed October , in Beijing, was the first time I ever stayed in a real hostel. (The other time was at a really nice YMCA hostel in Basel, Switzerland. Had my own private room, so didn’t feel different than a regular hotel. Anyway….) Sleeping in a dorm with 5 other strangers was an uncomfortable idea for me years back. But in recent years I started to think: I want to meet and talk to more people! So I decided to stay in a hostel after a week of tiring work in Beijing. Of course there’s nothing luxurious about it, but it was very clean and quite convenient.

    I’m actually a bit shy to be the one to break the ice, as you never know if the other person might not want to be disturbed. After a whole day of exploring the forbidden palace and some awesome sichuan food, when I walked into my room , this guy, Pete, was organizing his stuff. He was ultra friendly, and it was easy to start a conversation about where you’re from, where you’re heading…… this initial conversation wasn’t long, as I was going to the lounge to check some emails.

    At the lounge, I saw quite a lot of people were doing their own thing, or chatting in a group. So I just quietly check my emails. Then Pete came in and sat next to two Swedes. Finally I found a bit of courage, what the heck. So I walked over and asked Pete if I can join them. It was the first time I made new friends at a hostel. It turned out to be a few nights of good chatting, sharing travel experience and tips on what to see in Beijing and around. I’m really glad that I decided to stay at a hostel. It was so much better to have some people around to chat with, then staying all alone in within the walls the entire trip.

    I love hostels, but you do have to be careful to pick the good ones.

    • 30 Nov 2011 at 6:22 pm

      Hey Katherine,

      Nice stories and good tips about hosteling.

      Breaking the ice is the hardest part of socialising but once you do, it becomes so much fun!

      Staying in hosteling changed my life and caused me to meet many new friends, expand my horizons and travel fo secret places…


  • 30 Nov 2011 at 4:22 pm

    Dear Yuval Golan, that was a nice posting.

    Socialization is the means by which social and cultural continuity are attained. It is not a normative term: it describes a process which may or may not affect the reflexive agent, and which may or may not lead to desirable, or moral, outcomes.

    A Hostels provide budget oriented, sociable accommodation where guests can rent a bed, usually a bunk bed, in a dormitory and share a bathroom, lounge and sometimes a kitchen.

    So there is an impenetrable relation between socialize and hostels.

    Whenever I visit India, I get chance to meet with our researcher friends. We eat together, visit together and enjoy together. I have a real experience.


  • 30 Nov 2011 at 6:24 pm

    Hey Mohammad,

    Thanks for the formal definitions and personal experience.

    It seems like you are an experienced traveler as well who learned about the “behind the scenes” of traveling.

    These socialising moments are great fun and everyone should benefit and enjoy from them.


  • mike
    30 Nov 2011 at 7:28 pm

    Personally i never have and never will be staying in hostels.

    When i travel, i want to travel right and not have the feeling i am to much on a budget. And hostels give me that feeling.

    If i decide to travel i should be able to add some luxery to that and if i am not able to afford that.. i simply wont travel

  • Craig Nolan
    30 Nov 2011 at 8:42 pm

    Yuval, again this is another area that needs looking into from a disabled traveler’s point of view. There are very few disabled friendly YHA hostels worldwide or any other hostel chain or independent company for that matter. In fact Helsinki doesn’t even have a fully accessible hostel at all. The only one that says they come close to accessible has a portable ramp at the front door but no disabled toilet or shower. I wrote a piece about this when Mirva wrote a blog about the type of accommodation she had stayed in over the experiment . My suggestion is that Helsinki City uses some of the ship containers that lie around ports like Kalasatama and convert them into disabled accessible rooms at hostel prices. I have seen a travel channel program about the Netherlands where they have done this but they are (or at least the ones they showed on the program) were upstairs. Helsinki has the World Design Capital year next year so maybe with some input from disabled people and a construction company/designer this could work. To further connect to your subject this also outcasts disabled travelers more because they lose that socialization aspect you are talking about, further isolating them.

    • Mirva Lempiainen
      30 Nov 2011 at 9:53 pm

      Craig, I just thought of you when I got to the Grand Hotel Amrath Amsterdam because the first thing I saw was an automated ramp! So at least this hotel is wheelchair-accessible. :)

  • Hanne
    01 Dec 2011 at 4:35 am

    I have to confess, that I tend to avoid hostels as much as I can. Yes, they’re great for socializing, but I don’t sleep well with other, mainly strange people, in the same room.

    Like Mike, when I travel I want little bit of that luxury and especially get the good nights sleep! And usually you can’t find bathtubs from hostels, and that’s the luxury I want to have on my holidays :)

  • Michael C.
    01 Dec 2011 at 2:00 pm

    many, many times, both for remoter areas if hiking, and for the social aspect. met so many nice, interesting, funny, weird etc. ppl.. simply wouldn’t have happened in a buttoned down hotel.

    but all are not the same. some are fantastic, some are awful, much depends. unfortunately they also tend to be less social these days because of computers & mobys. spaces that would have sofas, games etc have been given to computers. and ppl stare into their lcds in the lounges, kitchens, everywhere. a good manager & staff to get ppl going makes a huge difference.

  • Jacek Klemens
    01 Dec 2011 at 9:49 pm

    Hi Yuval,

    what a great adventure !!! what a nice hostel !!! I think it’s an incredibly good idea to have some nights spended in such place ! What can be nicer than spending a time with cheerful and great people ? And I see you had a great time there ! Unfortunately I have never stayed at hostel yet but I would definately go for this option next time I go somewhere ! Seeing the atmosphere on the photos, I guess you are in contact with these nice people ?

    Hopefully when I stayed at one hotel in Spain during my holidays, I socialised with people at the volleyball sandy field. If I stayed only in my room at walked only my paths I would hardly meet any friends and I did not like such outcome.

    And coming to the airports I guess it may be done during these sports games, meetings connected with common interests, passions, shows we discussed earlier and also quezzes that Mirva wrote about in her very interesting post about Hamburg Airport. It is located under the link:

    Great idea, isn’t ? What would you say Yuval to introduce such quezzes also on the planes ? Maybe about some cities, maybe Finnair as well :) . The minutes would go then much faster, even than the plane itself !

    Greetings and till the next post meeting !


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