It may sound unbelievable, but many Singaporeans I know have serious misconceptions about youth hostels.
In the past, there were only 宾馆/招待所 in China. Western style youth hostels quickly caught on in Dali. Apart from being good value for money, the advantage of staying here is that there is a homely feel and you get to interact with other travellers who often have interesting stories to tell. Contrary to what the 5-star snobs may think, these places are not dirty and dangerous. In fact, the guests are more likely to be philosophers than thugs.
My young man wanted to play snooker and asked me how to say it in Mandarin. There are also a few desktop computers for guests and a library of donated books. He liked it. Youth hostels are good for those who wish to soak in the atmosphere of this ancient city; with no rushed itinerary. Sadly, there’s less and less “ancient atmosphere” here. You don’t need 破四旧 to achieve that. You just need commercialisation and the relentless construction of 仿古 structures.
Youth hostels are also good for those passing by on long trips. There’s a laundry room; self service. They may be called youth hostels, but they’re quite suitable for retirees too.