This section is dedicated to take away all your "I wish someone had told me that before I went!" experiences. This way, you can spend less time settling in, and more time making new friends in your chosen hostel. We share our insider knowledge of tips, tricks and important things to look out for in Songpan.
Songpan is an ancient town in the Sichuan province of southern China. It’s a six hour drive from Chengdu, the capital of the province, and is mostly used as a base to explore the Tibetan plateau and the nearby national parks. But don’t think that just because its remote means its lacking: Songpan is a melting pot of four cultures: the Tibetan, Qiang, Hui, and Han and has a ton of excellent food and shopping that blends these four cultures into one unique experience. Songpan also incredibly well-preserved city walls that date from the Tang dynasty (618-907) when it was a military base. The walls and the five city gates were rebuilt in the Ming dynasty (1368-1644).
To get here, you either need to rent a car in Chengdu and drive yourself, or take a bus from Chengdu. The airport in Chengdu has flights from all across China and some in Asia. There is a very small airport nearby, but you might find getting there tricky and expensive. There is a regional bus network in Songpan to get you to the tourist sites.
There aren’t very many hostels in Songpan, but you can find decent, inexpensive accommodation at a guesthouse. Some of the hostels here function more as inns with shared facilities, but there are a few traditional dorm-style hostels. Ask at the tourist information centre if you have questions. “Hostel” in Chinese is “宿舍” and is pronounced “su-she,” but you’re likely to find at least one person that speaks English. Most of the accommodation here caters to trekkers. There are two national parks nearby but Songpan is also in the mountains and as a result you can trek the Himalayas with a guide. There is also mountain biking and overnight horse treks if you don’t feel like walking.
Off the mountain, head into town for the traditional Tibetan butter tea. Songpan is a tourist town and has a wide range of food and drink options.
Written by local enthusiast for Songpan hostelsJakob Lombardi