As a first time backpacker I found it hard to find much useful information online
Hostels can vary between £3 and £8 a night depending on where you are and how touristy the area is. The most expensive place for me was Wuhan as there wasn’t much anticipation for non-Chinese tourist and what was on Hostelworld was very limited. Booking in advance wasn’t particularly necessary however I find it easier to know where I’m heading from the train station. Places such as Fenghuang were heavily geared towards tourism and the local rooms to pay for were a far better deal than the hostel so sometimes it’s worth only booking the hostel for one night then finding something local. I personally get quite moody when I’m carrying my backpack in the heat and so wouldn’t want to deal with looking around whilst carrying it.