White Birch Youth Hostel – Urumqi, Xinjiang
- Chinese Name: 新疆白桦林国际青年旅舍 (Xīnjiāng báihuà lín guójì qīngnián lǚshě)
- Address: 186 South NanHu Road
- Phone: 0991-4881428
- Directions: Take the BRT bus 3 to the 电信公司 (diànxìn gōngsī) stop or take a taxi to 南湖南路 (nánhú nánlù). The hostel is on the east side of the road behind a building facing the NanHu Park. You should be able to see the “YHA” sign on the front of the building.
The White Birch International Youth Hostel isn’t located near any major Urumqi sights, which is unfortunate because in general it’s a good location. It’s right next to two BRT lines (the 3 and the 5), it opens out to one of the few beautiful parks in the city and a large Carrefour grocery store is less than 1km away
For those that need to do any sort of visa work, it’s worth noting that the hostel is also right next to the city’s visa office where all the foreigners go to renew visas or apply for resident permits.
Of all the good hostels in Urumqi, this one in my opinion has the worst location. It’s the furthest from the airport (although they say they offer airport pickup), train station and any tourist destinations. I’m not saying it’s a bad hostel – it’s actually quite peaceful – it’s just quite a bit out of the way.
The White Birch Hostel is quaint but not spectacular. There’s nothing that really stands out and says “this is unique” about the hostel. There is very little natural light which makes the place feel dark and cold.
The common area has a nice large table as well as other seating options that make for a nice gathering area. The White Birch has been featured in Lonely Planet and other travel publications for a few years now so during the travel season it’s quite busy with both foreign and domestic travelers.
The staff try to keep it clean but the place seems so run down that it’s an impossible task.
The White Birch offers only dorms in both 4-person and 10-person options. The good news is that they are reasonably priced, moderately clean and they all come with lockers (although I’ve been told by some that not all the lockers truly lock, which is a problem). That’s worth noting because the Maitian hostel, a competitor, does not offer lockers. Each room has both air-conditioners for the summer and a radiator for heat in the winter.
There is free access to the internet over wi-fi if you bring your own computer and they have some old Windows desktops that you can use if you don’t have your own.
Unfortunately all of the dorm rooms use shared bathrooms and in the winter it’s hit or miss whether you actually get hot water.