It’s been a while now since we stayed in a hostel and I can honestly say I miss them. Whilst staying in Chiang Mai we’ve been living in a large hotel/apartment block and although it’s what we wanted we’ve both been missing the atmosphere of hostels.
During our six weeks in China we stayed in hostels the whole time other than one terrible night in Xiamen. In fact we stayed in some great hostels, particularly in Guilin, Hangzhou and Xiamen. However crossing the border into Vietnam it seemed that guest houses were much more abundant and often cheaper than their hostel competitors.
Why do I miss them? Sure some aren’t the cleanest and some even have smelly squat toilets! But they are far more accommodating for backpackers, after all we’re their main target audience. A great example of this is the Guilin YHA hostel, one of the common room walls is covered in transport information for just about anywhere you could possibly want to go. It includes bus and train timetables as well as special instructions for public holidays and any issue’s you might bump into, isn’t that the sort of information we all spend far too long researching?
Continuing to use this hostel as an example it has a TV room complete with hundreds of dvd’s left behind by previous guests, computer access, plenty of sofa’s, a free pool table, cheap food available, helpful notice boards, book exchange, cheap beer in the fridge and very helpful friendly staff. I can definitely say we’ve stayed in many hotels that have had none of the above. This type of environment also brings all of the guests together, dorm rooms and decent hostel common rooms being by far the easiest place to meet people.
We leave Chiang Mai on the 10th February and I’m looking forward to getting on the move again and hanging out in some funky common rooms with a cold beer chatting to some other backpackers… so who’s coming to Laos and Cambodia?