Depending on what you like doing, the location of the Ming Han Tang Hostel is either very good or some what inconvenient. The hostel is located on the North West outer edge of the city and is close to the Lingering Garden, right next to a canal, on the edge of the classic 7 mile Shan Tang street and not far from Tiger Hill Pagoda.
Not that close though to the gardens in the inner city (Suzhou has an inner and an outer city) such as Lion Forest Garden and Master of the Nets Garden. This suited me because I like to wander (getting lost) through the back streets of the inner city and reaching the gardens by foot. If you don’t like walking or don’t have much time to travel around Suzhou, an inner city hostel may be more suitable.
The Ming Han Tang Hostel is very easy to get to from the train station. You can catch a taxi which cost 10RMB, walk which takes 15-20 minutes or catch a bus. All buses that go to Lingering Garden, ie buses 7, 22 and 44, will go past the hostel.
Taxis will only pick up passengers from the train station’s taxi rank so do not be smart like I was and try to catch one on the street.
The dorms are 40RMB a night and the prices of private rooms are 160RMB. The dorms are excellent value but I think the private rooms are a little expensive.
Rooms & Facilities
The condition of the dorms is very good. I was in a 4 bed (two bunks) dorm so there was no crowding and each person has a locker for security and was supplied with a padlock. An added bonus is that each bed has a two socket power point so you can use laptops and tablets in bed (way too comfortable) and charge what ever electronics you have.
The dorms are on the second floor and the showers are also on the second floor which is fine. The toilets though are on the first floor which is a little annoying. The hostel has all standard facilities such as wireless internet, restaurant, luggage storage and clothes washing.
The lounge is very comfortable, good for socializing and packed with power points so great for working/playing on tablets or laptops.
The digital keys for rooms have a habit of not working. I tried to make a run dripping wet wearing only shorts from the shower back to my dorm after forgetting to take a towel. As luck would have it the key decided not to work so I had to go half naked down to a crowded lobby to have the key reset.
They are very friendly and fun but not so professional. Meaning they will be very helpful and nice but they will not take any attitude from guests and have a few rough edges. I’m used to this and enjoyed interacting with them but if you are used to “the customer is always right” philosophy, you’ll be in for a rude shock.
I arrived there around 9pm and Qie, one of the front office staff, invited me to go to the Tiger Hill Pagoda with him and a couple of friends the next day. Very nice guesture.
The hostel also has two super cute kittens and two half Golden Labrador dogs. Awesome if you are into pets but a put off if you don’t want animals in your hostel. I love animals and enjoyed having the kittens sleep in my lap while working on the lap top in the lounge.
Tourism knowledge of some of the staff is a little rusty so you can rely on them for basic details like bus routes but not more in depth details like booking train tickets.
Bookings and Availability
This hostel was busy every day I was there and booked out on the weekends so make sure you book in advance.
Address and Phone Number
Hotel name in Chinese – 明涵堂青年旅舍
Xin Ming Xiao (Bridge), Shan Tang St, Guangji RD Shantang ST, Suzhou, China