The second you step foot into Ming Palace, you are instantly taken back to all the great things about backpacker's hostels that have now been overlooked to make way for quirky, fancy hotel-style surroundings.
A fridge next to the reception filled with beer and water, worn-out sofas with travellers lounged over them, public-use computers that were probably once owned by Jesus and a pool table that has had one too many bad players ripping up the green - and this was just at reception. On the way up to the rooms, the walls are coated in messages and murals of travellers past, either saying how amazing their stay was (in writing and hilarious illustrations) or giving links to their personal blogs - on the staircase up to the first floor and the one up to the third, see if you can spot my JoeySupertramp blog urls!
The room was cosy and had all amenities required. After a motorbike accident in Yangshuo, the girlfriend just needed somewhere to relax and it was absolutely ideal for that.
The main pull about this place is the staff - friendly, always greeting you when you walk past and with very good English. When we missed our train to Kunming, we ended up dragging our bags all the way back to the hostel and, seeing that we were extremely stressed, the staff gave us a deluxe room for the price of a regular room - tell me where your fancy-pants hostels do stuff like that!
The bar area is really chilled out and perfect if you are hoping for a quiet night, updating your blog with a beer and a plate of noodles.
Also, when you step out of the hostel, turn right and take the first street on your right, about 4 or 5 shops in is a dumpling house with some of the best dim sum I have ever had - a bag of about 6 dumplings comes to less than a dollar! Just look out for the big silver steamer outside.
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